Esquire partscaster project underway

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by KelvinS1965, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    I've been tempted by a used MIM Esquire in the same white blonde finish as my Classic 50s Telecaster, but the asking price is about 25% more than I paid for my Tele (and it's a lacquer model too). I did a temporary mod to run my Tele as an Esquire, with the Eldred mod wiring for the switch forward position. It gave me chance to decide if I would find any value in having an Esquire as well as a near identical Tele.

    I'm really pleased with the result, so I've decided to put together a partscaster using an existing Squier Tele body I have, plus some lightly aged parts I've bought. I'm still deciding whether to take the neck off my Classic 50s Tele (and then upgrade the neck on that guitar) or whether just to buy a neck for the Esquire project.

    I was also inspired by Stefan's lovely Tangerine Esquire, in particular the rounded off bakelite pickguard. I may still spray mine a similar colour, but I'm leaning towards a 'closet' aged Lake Placid Blue having seen a CS Tele for sale recently in this finish, with a black bakelite 'guard, maple neck and finish checking.

    This is my test guitar in it's current Esquire configuration:
    Esquire sans ashtray.jpg

    This was my avatar Tele that I modified last year from a standard 2SC 50s Classic. I might do the same modification to bridge on the Esquire as I did on this one. (I've since fitted better springs to the saddles):

    Bridge mod close up.jpg

    I liked the slight ageing effect I got by dulling the (poly) finish down by wet sanding, then a light buff, plus some 3M pads on the metal parts. I hope the Esquire project will end up similar, but with some light cracking on the body to add to the worn feel:

    Bridge mod 6.jpg

    Just ordered a bakelite Esquire pickguard which I will round over the edge on, like Stefan's Esquire. A few other parts already here, so I'll take some photos and add another post later.
     
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  2. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    I've been preparing my shopping list.

    I've already ordered/got the following:

    5 Hole Bakelite pickguard (will round the edges, then a light coat of clear nitro).
    Fender vintage bridge (to cut the sides down like my avatar Tele and modified for top loading).
    Steel saddles from my 50s Classic.
    Lightly aged nickel control plate.
    B stock dome top knobs (I'll age them lightly myself).
    Electrosocket and output jack.
    'Greasebucket' tone circuit and treble bleed for volume components.
    Existing Squier Telecaster body (thinner type) in a dull shade of mid blue, to be stripped and sprayed with Nitro and then some checking of the clear coat. Colour TBA, maybe metallic orange like Stefan's Esquire or possibly Lake Placid Blue. I have a small spray gun, so will buy paint rather than aerosols, probably from North West Guitars.

    Still to be ordered/decided on:

    Gotoh SD91 lightly aged tuners.
    Aged round string tree.
    NOS Mullard capacitor (various values, for modified Eldred wiring).
    Bareknuckle Flat '52 bridge pickup??
    CTS 'TVT' 250K volume and tone pots.
    Aged neck plate.

    Haven't decided on the neck yet:

    Either swap the neck from my 50s Classic which is a tinted nitro finish and 7.25" radius/vintage frets, then buy some other neck for my 50s Classic*. Other option is the new 'U' shape MIM neck with 9.5" radius and vintage tall frets: I'd have this one levelled and the nut cut by my local guy as I don't like tall frets and figure that a level/nut cut and set up will give a great result, based on other guitars he has worked on for me.

    Kind of just thinking out loud here, but if any comments or other recommendations on the above, please let me know.

    If take some photos of the pile of parts over the weekend too, since I know we like pictures. :)

    * As a separate project I'm going to do some mods to the 50s Classic based largely on a '53 EU Custom Shop Paul Waller model with Eric Clapton mid boost: I fitted the mid boost to my Strat and really liked how it worked out, so want to try it in a Tele.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
  3. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sounds like it will be a cool guitar when you get it together. Look forward to seeing pics and your progress with it.
     
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  4. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yep sounds very cool. Go for it.
     
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  5. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Got a few bits in the post today. I'm relieved to see that the Bakelite 'guard is square edged (thought it might be bevelled), so I'll be able to round it off and polish it like Stefan's Tangerine Esquire.

    Annoyingly I just found the Fender bridge I took off my avatar Tele when I was putting parts away, so I needn't have bought another one...an excuse for another Partscaster though? ;):D I'll have to drill it for top loading, take the sides down as my avatar Tele and give it a bit of light ageing too.

    Some parts.jpg

    I'm thinking I might try another UK pickup maker; Creamery pickups. They make a 'Tapped Tele' bridge pick up which seems to be like two pick ups in one. It's a 7.5k and 9.6k pick up, so leans towards a Broadcaster in 'full' mode and a bit more like a '64 in tapped mode. I'll use a pull switch on the tone control to switch the taps.

    Half way down this page for info:
    https://www.creamery-pickups.co.uk/...nd-telecaster-replacement-pickups.html#custom

    Between the taps, 'Greasebucket' tone control, treble bleed volume and modified Eldred 'cocked wah' setting I should have a decent range of tones available from this single pick up guitar. :cool:
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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  6. baiff

    baiff Tele-Holic

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    Don Mare and the Pickup Wizard have tapped tele pickups too. I have tried the PW tapped Broadcaster and thought it was really good.
     
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  7. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Good to know; Don Mare and Pickup Wizard are probably harder to get over here in the UK though, but the idea of the tapped pickup seems worth following up on.
     
  8. baiff

    baiff Tele-Holic

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    Pickup Wizard will be a much shorter wait time too. Call or email Peter and he will help you.
     
  9. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    They are USA based though? Not good for me with the import taxs, etc and delivery. I'd rather support a more local supplier too if I can.
     
  10. baiff

    baiff Tele-Holic

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    Pickup Wizard is located in Canada.
     
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  11. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    OK, same difference for me in the UK then in terms of import charges and delivery times/costs and general hassle...might as well stick with either BK or Creamery. The general idea of the tapped pickup seems more popular than I'd thought, so that's a positive take away from this.

    I'm close to making a decision on the neck: I played a friend's Baja Tele this week which is a 9.5 radius, but with taller frets than I prefer. The '51 MIM neck is apparently thicker still than the Baja, so I'm waiting on some feedback from a couple of UK buyers who will have received their necks soon.

    As I'll be getting the neck levelled and crowned anyway he can take the height of the frets down to something closer to a vintage height, I might add an upgraded nut at the same time. Since the nut isn't cut I'll either have to buy tools for a one-off job, or pay my guy to do it, so might as well get him to fit a bone or Graphtech nut at the same time. It'll all be set up perfectly after that; he did a fantastic job on my 1982 JV Squier Strat which he re-fretted as well as my LP 60s Tribute which he levelled the frets on to make them lower.
     
  12. baiff

    baiff Tele-Holic

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    Sounds good. I hear good things about Bareknuckle pickups. I may put a set into my next build.
     
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  13. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    I've placed my order for the neck. I've gone for the '51 Fat U, 9.5" radius, vintage tall frets MIM neck (there is a thread already in the Telecaster discussion forum). It's a poly neck, possibly a bit thickly coated, so I will be taking some of the finish off it and dulling the back of the neck down as per my 2 Classic 50s.

    https://www.gear4music.com/Guitar-and-Bass/Fender-1951-Telecaster-Neck-MN-U-Shape-95-Radius/2W89

    It might seem a bit perverse, but I think I prefer poly necks to nitro as it doesn't matter what I do to them, they still become sticky after I've played a while. Last night I did a short open mic set with my White Tele (from the first post) and it sounded great for the 50s Rock and roll I was playing/singing. Not long enough for the neck to get sticky too.
     
  14. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    This doesn't look much, but took me a while linishing down the sides, polishing them up, drilling for the top loading strings and then sanding down the shiny chrome at the front of the plate to give it a start with the ageing process.

    Annoyingly I caught the plate with the drill tip (gouges just near to the mounting holes) as I drilled by hand. Should be hidden by the saddles though and will eventually get rust and dirt in them, so will just be part of the worn look.

    Modified bridge plate.jpg
     
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  15. hamerfan

    hamerfan TDPRI Member

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    In the case of the 9.6k bridge pickups its wound with 43 awg wire, so the 7.5k tap is more like a 6k with a 42awg. So the might be a bit brite. I like the tap more like only 10% lower, like 9.6k and 8.5.
     
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  16. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Useful to know, though if it's bright that's a plus for me as I make good use of the tone control on my current test guitar, which has a Fender OV in the bridge with 250K pots. I may just build it with one of the original Classic 50s pick ups I have spare while I get used to it and get a base for where I need it to go.

    Just been using some weak wheel cleaning acid to age the knobs and the bridge plate. Seems to be working well, I'll add some photos later.
     
  17. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Just wet sanded the edges of the bakelite guard to round them over, then gave it an all over sand with P1000/P1500 so it's ready for a coat of clear nitro when I do the body.

    Think the bridge looks better now with a bit of etching and some surface rust. The wheel cleaner did a good job on it and also the knobs, but it's hard to photograph the knobs to get the effect to show. I also polished up the pre-aged control plate I had to try to match the look of it and the knobs.

    Aged bridge and rounded guard.jpg

    Close up of an aged knob:

    Tone knob.jpg

    The whole control plate:

    Aged knobs & plate.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  18. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Ageing seems to be harder than I thought: The bridge looked too rusty/worn against the other parts (I'm aiming for more of a closet lush finish, with the crazed paint, but not a heavy relic). So I polished up the bridge a bit and lightly aged the saddles/screws/springs with the wheel cleaner acid to take the shine off them. I think I'm getting there. No doubt it's like other projects in that I focus on tiny details at the time, but afterwards it all settles down and you stop noticing the details and enjoy the whole thing...

    Mock up (on a coffee table I striped back and oiled the top on a few years ago, so it's not a body blank. :D):

    Mock up.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2019
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  19. MrHamburger

    MrHamburger Tele-Holic

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    I predict in a year that coffee table will have a Telecaster-shaped hole cut in the center of it.
     
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  20. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Played the white Tele 'test Esquire' tonight at a rehearsal and the neck was so sticky...it's a wet, but warm night here in the UK. I think I made the right choice with the poly neck for this project...

    Probably not worth starting another thread, but I'm going to put the neck pickup back in the White Tele...but with a twist: I'm going to fit an Eric Clapton mid boost kit like the Custom Shop EU '53 Paul Waller model. I can't get the same pots as Fender use for this CS model (or rather can't actually find out what they use) and I want it to look standard with just two knobs.

    Instead I'm going to wire the 'tone' knob with a pull switch to change between a TBX tone knob set to centre detent (standard 250K pot/0.22uF tone capacitor) and when pulled out it will be like the TBX control set to around '7'. These seem to be the two settings I use most with my Strat, though I might need to tweak them I'll use fixed resistors once I've tested with a pot to get the two tone options I want. Then the 'tone' knob will be the mid boost control.

    Maybe in the future I'll find out another way to do it so I can have the volume & mid boost combined on the same knob like the EU model and wire the tone control as a TBX.

    I also might spray the back of the neck with some non-nitro clear coat to see if I can sort out the stickyness as I've tried all the usual tricks (3M pads, pump polish and it's been played hard for 4 years).
     
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