I accidentally built a really good guitar. (In praise of Paulownia)

teletimetx

Doctor of Teleocity
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Congrats! Fine looking guitar with truly unique and beautiful fretboard.

Your description of which pickups you eventually landed on was not exactly clear, but the pictures show the Charlie Christian in the neck and apparently a Lollar BS in the bridge - which is what your post says - but ok, just needed to read it twice.

The double bound body is also well done and elegant in an understated way.

Excellent choices, I hope it brings joy for all.
 

jdl57

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Congrats! Fine looking guitar with truly unique and beautiful fretboard.

Your description of which pickups you eventually landed on was not exactly clear, but the pictures show the Charlie Christian in the neck and apparently a Lollar BS in the bridge - which is what your post says - but ok, just needed to read it twice.

The double bound body is also well done and elegant in an understated way.

Excellent choices, I hope it brings joy for all.
The Charlie Christian is also a Lollar. I bought that and a Novel T bridge a few years ago to put into a headless Lotus that i've had since the mid '80s. While I didn't succeed in turning it into a D'Angelico like I wanted, I very much liked how it sounded. I have been playing for 56 years, mostly classical. I went through a period of about 20 years where I barely played at all. From the age of 8 to 60, I had managed to collect a total of five guitars. When I started playing again, I treated myself to something I had always wanted--a Brazilian Rosewood guitar. I bought a Breedlove, it was the least expensive Brazilian available. I started getting into jazz on it which led to the Lotus modification, then a Fender D' Angelico archtop. I discovered Tim Lerch and started thinking Telecaster when Fender came out with the 70th anniversary Broadcaster. If I were to order a Fender custom shop guitar, this would be it. I had fully intended to stop there. You see how that worked out. At least for now, this guitar has replaced the Broadcaster as my go to guitar. It plays as good as it looks, and I'm having a great time with it.
 

teletimetx

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The Charlie Christian is also a Lollar. I bought that and a Novel T bridge a few years ago to put into a headless Lotus that i've had since the mid '80s. While I didn't succeed in turning it into a D'Angelico like I wanted, I very much liked how it sounded. I have been playing for 56 years, mostly classical. I went through a period of about 20 years where I barely played at all. From the age of 8 to 60, I had managed to collect a total of five guitars. When I started playing again, I treated myself to something I had always wanted--a Brazilian Rosewood guitar. I bought a Breedlove, it was the least expensive Brazilian available. I started getting into jazz on it which led to the Lotus modification, then a Fender D' Angelico archtop. I discovered Tim Lerch and started thinking Telecaster when Fender came out with the 70th anniversary Broadcaster. If I were to order a Fender custom shop guitar, this would be it. I had fully intended to stop there. You see how that worked out. At least for now, this guitar has replaced the Broadcaster as my go to guitar. It plays as good as it looks, and I'm having a great time with it.
Tim Lerch is wonderful. I noticed that the Lollar video demo for their BS pickup featured Mr. Lerch.

My experience is somewhat similar to yours, except I’ve played many genres, but not classical. For the first 40-some years say mid ‘60’s to 2000’s, the general “rule” (in my way of thinking) was that a non-pro player only owned one guitar at a time.

Sometime in the last 20 years, I changed that approach. I don’t think I’m alone.
 

jdl57

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Tim Lerch is wonderful. I noticed that the Lollar video demo for their BS pickup featured Mr. Lerch.

My experience is somewhat similar to yours, except I’ve played many genres, but not classical. For the first 40-some years say mid ‘60’s to 2000’s, the general “rule” (in my way of thinking) was that a non-pro player only owned one guitar at a time.

Sometime in the last 20 years, I changed that approach. I don’t think I’m alone.
The guitar I bought the Lollars for was routed for two humbuckers, so I got the CC and a Novel T, which is just a Special T in a humbucker size. I would have used the Novel T in the pink guitar, but I didn't want to reroute that body. My initial plan was to use the GF body and make an Esquire with the Novel T as I don't care about rerouting the GF body. I will probably still do that, as I have all the necessary parts. If I had just purchased an Ash or Alder body, I would have saved a lot of money. It's the Paulownia I was so enamored with.
 

TX_Slinger

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Dude, I'd rather have that than the Fender you mentioned. I've never liked modern Fender pickups or hardware, and everything you did there is exactly what you wanted.
 

Skub

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My first was a Paulownia body,as was my most recent.(The Esquire in my avatar) It's a bit soft and naff to work with,but both guitars play and sound great.
 

teleman1

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jdl57

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I was in LA and went to LAVINTAGEGUITARS. They carry boutique guitars and this was like the MM I tried that stood toe to toe with any, "better Danocaster" I have ever tried. Paulownia. Probably gave this high end guitar its extraordinary resonance. Seems like the OP fell into something nice and it confirms the popularity of Paulownia.
You probably know this, but I'll say it for those who don't, MM, or Mario Martin Guitars and Guitar Mill are two sides of the same company.
 

jdl57

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There is an amendment to this guitar story. I had contacted Ron Ellis prior to getting the Lollar bridge pickup. While waiting for a response, I found the Lollar used on Reverb for a decent price. Then I got an email from Alan Ellis, Ron's son. Figuring I was on the list now, I went ahead and ordered a set, figuring I could sell them on Reverb for a profit if need be. The gist of the story is that they are in this guitar now. The Lollar Charlie Christian I had in the neck was quite powerful and worked just fine buried under the pickguard. Not so with the Ellis neck pickup, so the guitar now looks like a regular Tele.

IMG_4080.jpg

What follows is an Ellis pickup review. Feel free to ignore this part.

First off, this set of pickups cost $650 plus $18 shipping. The vast majority of you would say that there is no way these pickups are worth that much, and I would agree with that, except for the fact that I could sell them for a slight profit anytime I wanted to, which makes them in essence, free. I could earn more than my bank would give me for the same amount in a savings account.

So, cost aside, are they worthy of the reverence they are given? The answer is a qualified yes. The qualifiers are thus: I have three amps, a solid state Class D Quilter 101 Reverb, a solid state Class AB Fender Jazz King, and a 5 watt tube 1949 Fender Tweed Princeton. Through the Quilter and the Jazz King, with all controls set at 12:00, and the tone on the guitar rolled off, they are unpleasantly bright, and that includes the neck pickup. Through the Princeton, they are glorious, without the brightness. As a matter of fact, the Princeton has never sounded so good.

If you are the (very) odd Telecaster player who uses a solid state amplifier, and refuses to use any type of tone shaping, (as this brightness can be easily fixed with a few twists of the tone knobs on the amp and/or the guitar, or through the use of an equalizer pedal), these are not your pickups. For the majority of you who use tube amps, I will try to describe how these pickups sound. Forget listening to YouTube demonstrations, they tell you nothing. I know, I tried that route. Here is the list of pickups I own and use, about half of these have been in this guitar. Bridge: Lollar Novel T, Lollar B.S. Tele Bridge, Lace Sensor T-150, Guyatone Gold Foil humbucker (modern). Neck: Lollar Novel CC, Lollar Special T, Lace Alumitone Fusion Jazz humbucker, the modern Guyatone Gold Foil, a vintage ZenOn gold foil (most people think it's a Teisco), and finally, both stock pickups in my Fender factory built Broadcaster reissue. Oh, and I forgot, a Danelectro with lipstick pickups. My Ron Ellis pickups are the 50/60B bridge and 50/60TN neck.

None of the pickups I just listed are bad. None of them are particularly cheap. The Lollars are priced beyond what most people would consider reasonable. I did give an offer of $750 for an Abby signed Fender bridge pickup, the guy laughed in my emails face. THAT was overpriced. But, as they should, the Ellis pickups outshine them all.

When I had the Lollar B.S. and CC in this guitar I liked it very much, but I missed the authority that the Broadcaster could deliver. The Ellis pickups deliver the authority, while making the Broadcaster sound muddy and dull by comparison. Keep in mind, I like the Broadcaster's sound. When I strum a chord on the Broadcaster, I hear a chord, with perhaps a hint of shimmer--pleasant enough. When I strum my partscaster, I'm going to have to name this thing, I hear the six separate strings singing out in harmony, dancing about with each other like rays of sunlight on the surface of a clear mountain lake, shimmering and moving about in three dimensional spaces. It almost sounds like a chorus pedal is in the circuit, but the effect is wholly organic. It mimics a fine acoustic guitar without actually sounding acoustic at all. And while an acoustic has to work hard to make this sound, this guitar does it effortlessly. Oh, and yes, the bridge will twang if you want it to.

This is now my number one guitar. The neck is superb, the body purrs like you are holding a contented kitten, and the tone is unrivaled. I had wondered if a person could build a guitar that is as good as one that comes from the factory that makes the top of the line guitars. The answer is an unqualified yes. I would put this up against a custom shop Tele. I, of course, didn't cut out the body, or carve the neck, wind the pickups or stamp out the bridge plate, but I did select all of the parts, and I assembled them. I used to think that building a parts guitar was a waste of money, because a goo0d one would cost as much as a factory model, and have a poor resale value. Resale value doesn't matter to me because I will never get rid of this guitar, and I doubt I could do any better with another try.
 

jdl57

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Nvm. Just saw your update. Nice build in all iterations!
I have to say, I liked the Esquire look the best, even though it still had a neck pickup under the pickguard, but I love the Ron Ellis pickups. The Ellis neck pickup just didn't work that far from the strings, while the Lollar CC did.
 

El Tele Lobo

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I have to say, I liked the Esquire look the best, even though it still had a neck pickup under the pickguard, but I love the Ron Ellis pickups. The Ellis neck pickup just didn't work that far from the strings, while the Lollar CC did.
This^^^

I think I would love an Esquire, but I love my neck pickups too much! The next build I do is going to be an Esquire though. Probably with a Don Mare pickup.
 

jdl57

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The Guitar Fetish body I talked about at the start is going to be turned into an Esquire. I already have all the parts I need. I don't plan on having a switch, just a volume, tone, and output jack on the control plate.
 




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