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Headless Mini Kotzen Travelcaster

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by bancika, Dec 17, 2014.

  1. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    Hi everyone,

    new to the forum and new to telecasters. I've disliked telecasters most of my life but as I'm getting older I started appreciating simplicity and idea of tele, so I decided to start a tele project with my father (who's a luthier). Two years ago we did a Les Paul Studio with reduced size body and easily detachable full scale neck that served as my travel guitar (more info at http://diy-fever.com/guitars/mini-les-paul/). In the meantime I sold it and now I'm GAS'ing for a new travel guitar. Here's what I plan to do:

    * reduced size telecaster inspired by Richie Kotzen signature tele, with smaller body but full scale neck
    * maple top on alder body (original is swap ash, not easily obtainable here), two tone burst, comfort cuts
    * quartersawn maple neck, thick(ish), but probably not as thick as Kotzen model. I'm used to super thin Ibanez necks and I do want a thicker neck for a change, but something about 23mm at the nut will probably be a good compromise. I don't have giant hands. Like the LP, it will have brass inserts and allen screws.
    * headless construction with Hipshot system (gold), but I plan to leave some sort of headstock to avoid that terrible feeling on headless guitars when you think your hand's going to fly off the neck.
    * Dimarzio Chopper bridge pickup with parallel/series push pull, no neck pickup (still on the fence about the neck pickup, but I like the idea of simplicity)
    * single volume control, no tone
    * Jescar EVO gold jumbo frets

    Below is the drawing. I'm still collecting parts and wood, it will probably take few more weeks before we can start the actual work.

    [​IMG]

    and here's a photo of mini LP we did before

    [​IMG]

    Cheers,
    Bane
     
  2. JNE

    JNE Tele-Meister

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    Hello & welcome to the TDPRI!

    Nice LP and a great write-up. But being a Tele guy myself, your travel Tele project seems very interesting.
    How much did you reduce the body, and is the drawing in scale?
    I'm asking only because I have a couple of small scale Tele builds (or actually Esquires if you judge by the amount of pickups) in progress, and they both are reduced 80%, including necks, bridges and pickups. So I'm comparing visually, just out of curiosity.

    Good luck with your project. Thread subscribed :)
     
  3. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    Appreciate the comments. I plan to shrink only the body to 80% of the original, like we did with the LP. I don't mind shorter scale on acoustics, but for electrics I prefer full scale necks, so neck will be 100% size of the original, minus the headstock.

    And yes, the drawing is in scale.

    Cheers,
    Bane
     
  4. digiprod

    digiprod Tele-Meister

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    Like what I see in your drawing. Especially if you can keep the scale length. Recently I bought this guitar and swapped out the pickups. Its a Hohner GT3-BK Headless uses a Steinberger licensed design. I would have purchased a "travel" Telecaster if I could have found one. The biggest issue with travel guitars is scale and neck.
     

    Attached Files:

  5. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    Forgot to mention - one of the biggest goals of the project is for guitar *not* to look anything like Steinberger guitars. I absolutely hate them. The "paddle" models are so ugly and uncomfortable and those bigger models (don't know names) belong to 80s p0rn set and should stay there :twisted:

    [​IMG]

    I actually haven't seen a headless guitar that I liked, regardless of brand, so I set a challenge to build one! :idea::cool:
     
    leonard d rock likes this.
  6. digiprod

    digiprod Tele-Meister

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    I use to feel the same way. Always felt these guitars were souless. I needed a good travel guitar and this was a good one for that. Once I modded it was OK.
     
  7. MatchlessMan

    MatchlessMan Tele-Holic

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    Bancika - once you have completed your build, you will soon become tired of people asking you: 'Is that a Steinberger?'
     
  8. elelpe

    elelpe Tele-Afflicted

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    Awesome project. I've been considering tele travel project myself. Definitely subscribe!
     
  9. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    New Year Update: I got most of the parts. Hipshot finished the headless system and it should be in its way. In the meantime I had some doubts about not putting the pickguard. Yes, it gets in the way of the flame top, but I feel like it would lose that tele vibe. So now I'm torn between three variations - no pickguard at all, pickguard that doesn't cover the horn (musicman inspired) and full pickguard which is slightly shrunk compared to the original, but retains tele shape. It's maybe not ideal that with or without the pickguard, the pickup will be mounted directly in the body. I couldn't fit the pickguard over the pickup without completely losing the tele pickguard shape.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers
     
  10. MatchlessMan

    MatchlessMan Tele-Holic

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    I like the 3rd option as it's the most 'Tele'!
     
  11. hemingway

    hemingway Poster Extraordinaire

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    I like this idea - but I love Steinbergers too.

    My one gripe with Steinbergers and the Hohner copies are the pickups, which always seem like an afterthought compared with the main idea. I have a Hohner G3T, too, and the pickups are lousy. I'll change em one day.
     
  12. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    Here's another option with cabronita-style pickguard. I normally don't like it...but it may help solve the problem with tele pickguard not working well with the way the pickup is mounted.

    [​IMG]
     
    61fury likes this.
  13. JNE

    JNE Tele-Meister

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    While reading your previous post, I already thought to "vote" the traditional Tele PG, but IMHO the Cabronita style PG suits your design very well!
    On the other hand, if the top has nice flame, it'll be shame to cover it with a PG.
     
  14. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    I agree that not having a pickguard would bring the beauty of flame maple and sunburst...but what worries me is that without the traditional telly ashtray bridge, without control plate and without the pickguard, it will not look like a telly at all. Another design that would allow the pickup and pickguard to work together may be something like this

    [​IMG]
     
  15. JNE

    JNE Tele-Meister

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    Not trying to be a "wise-guy" here, so I hope you don't mind my following "analysis":

    Why I really like about your Cabronita style pickguard proposal, is that the curve of the pickguard flows parallel with the imaginary curve between the pickup and the potentiometer.
    IMHO, same lines in your latest proposal do not flow equally well.
    On the other hand, if you decide to omit the pickguard, I'd probably consider moving the potentiometer in line with the pickup angle.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. mefgames

    mefgames Friend of Leo's Double Platinum Supporter

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  17. digiprod

    digiprod Tele-Meister

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  18. digiprod

    digiprod Tele-Meister

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    I changed my pickups immediately. The cheap EMG Select pickups are terrible.
     
  19. bancika

    bancika TDPRI Member

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    thank you for that. I spent new year's day drawing and analyzing different options and arrived at the same conclusion. Larger guards just don't fit well with the small body and pickup/bridge configuration. Cabronita works rather well aesthetically, but doesn't help my goal - to make it look like a telecaster. So now I'm back to the plan to build it without the guard and add it if I feel like something is missing. The drawing without the pickguard looks rather plain, but with the burst and nice flame maple top I've got, maybe it won't be needing one at all.

    As far as the volume knob position, I see your point. I never thought about relocating it because this is the position from the original telecaster. I'll think about it.

    As far as I know, the headpiece is not meant to be used as a nut. I'll have a conventional nut cut to my specs and headpiece will be about an inch further behind the nut, just holding the strings in place. Something like this, but even further behind the nut. It leaves room for fine-tuning the spacing

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Lacking Talent

    Lacking Talent Tele-Holic

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    Love your project! Thought you might be interested in seeing this Carvin HH1:

    [​IMG].

    There are many more to see at carvin.com and throughout that site's forums.
     
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