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If you were going to buy a Custom Made Tele.......

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by rodtod423, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. Eggsterguy

    Eggsterguy TDPRI Member

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    Mar 5, 2011
    Location:
    Calabash, NC
    I had a replica of my original '65 Tele Masterbuilt by Fender. Requested that my pups be hand wound and signed by Abigail Ybarra, and she did.
     
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  2. Prince1999

    Prince1999 Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
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    May 15, 2019
    Location:
    Leo Fender's backyard, CA
    I went down this road with buying built fly fishing rods, to building and wrapping my own fly fishing rods, picking out reel seats, guides, thread wrap colors and type of wood in the reel seat blank. In the end, it just looked really pretty, and custom. It really didn't fish any differently than the one's I bought from a big factory, or the one custom bamboo rod that I bought from a known pro bamboo rod maker. I just know the wait was long for the bamboo rod.

    In the end, they all cast a fly line really good, and they all caught fish. Only thing increased was perhaps the pride of ownership.

    Sort of feel the same way about Telecasters. Have a friend that runs a cabinet / mill shop, and builds custom cabinets for high end custom homes. His cabinets are beautiful. Do they hold glasses, dishes, mugs or bowls any better than the Home Depot stuff? Probably not, just depends on the installation.

    Get whatever makes you happy, however you arrive there to get it.
     
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  3. ishtar

    ishtar TDPRI Member

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    56
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    Jul 18, 2009
    Location:
    Tramfalmodore
    I moved back to the town I grew up in (1960-1989) and spent a few more years there, from-to 2007-2010.

    I got to know a luthier who I had met 30 years earlier when I was 10-12 years old. He had flipped my sister's guitar from righty to lefty orientation for my southpaw needs.

    I saw he was still in his shop, decades later, lived a couple blocks away, and brought a craigslist-acquired guitar in to his shop for reorientation.

    I started hanging out there. It was kind of like a barbershop, but with guitar guys.

    Jerry helped me put together a lefty tele that is kind of a hybrid of the best aspects, IMHO, of a couple of Teles and G&L ASATs and BluesBoys I have played. When it was all done, I felt/thought a Fender American Standard Tele I had was just one of the nicest guitars I had played. Nicer to play than the 'custom' partscaster.

    The partscaster I had/have was/is made of nice components, but the American Standard was really nice to hold, feel, strum, seemed precise.

    Ultimately, I still have my partscaster, my only T-style guitar.

    It is a lot more familiar and friendly and forgiving in many aspects than it was when we were getting to know each other. There was that time the wheels on the chair and the wood floor let inertia and acceleration have their way and the partscaster punched a hole in the back of a rosewood Martin and knocked some braces off the soundboard...

    But the tele was no worse for the wear. I was beat up and still have string mark scars from the Martin's bridge and saddle on my cheek. Nightmare!
    [​IMG]
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  4. BlueTele

    BlueTele Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    102
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
    Location:
    California
    As with any purchase, the biggest factor is your budget...what are you willing to spend to get what you want? After that the key questions are:
    1. Body wood - what tone are you after, since wood - along with pickups - define your tone? Ash? Alder?...or?
    2. Fretboard wood - maple or rosewood? Depending on builder rosewood might cost you a little more - not much.
    3. Pickups - standard Tele, or maybe a neck humbucker. Over-wound, under-wound, etc. for the tone you want?
    4. Finish and feel - do you like sparkly NOS, or slightly aged, or relic'd
    Personally, I play Whitfill T-styles (I have one of his Strats as well). Everyone is different, but after playing guitar for 50 "+" years, Whitfill nails it for me and my ears. If you did a blindfold test of, say, two Whitfill's and two 50's Fenders, other than the feel of the fretboard radius as a clue ('50's Fender at 7.25" of course, and Whitfill at 10"), you could not tell the difference in terms of feel, tone, weight, sustain, etc. In fact, I feel Whitfill is better. That is why I sold everything I had, and play them exclusively now. "New" ones are around $2,995 depending if you want to add binding, or have a semi-hollow. Other well-regarded brands that come to mind (no particular order per my preferences): Danocaster; Nacho; Mario Martin; Riggio; Ron Kirn; Creston; Asher, and Suhr to name a few.
    All of that and what you want, rolls up to a price that is in or not in your budget. Lots of choices - MANY good ones. I found my perfection in Whitfill, you'll find yours. Good luck.
     
  5. musicmand

    musicmand TDPRI Member

    Age:
    38
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    Jul 12, 2016
    Location:
    USA
    My perfect Tele at this point?

    Purple sparkle finish, just enough relicing to get checking in the finish.
    Either an offset body (I like how the neck is repositioned with an offset) or a bound solid body.
    Dark rosewood fretboard, bound and block MOP inlays, black headstock, 43mm nut width. Jumbo stainless steel frets. Locking tuners. Soft V shape.
    Mini-humbucker in the neck, something distinctly "Telecaster" in the bridge (still want as traditional a Tele sound as I can get out of this thing), Bigsby. Matte finish on all the hardware.
    Reversed control plate so I can do pinky volume swells. Push pull knob to split the mini-hum, second push pull as a "blow" knob to bypass volume and tone knobs.

    And as long as I'm spending this obscene amount of money for this custom guitar, I'll probably have them drop a piezo pickup into it, too, so I'll need a miniswitch to engage it.
     
  6. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    71
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    Aug 25, 2019
    Location:
    West By God Virginia
    I've bought a couple. I did a lot of research on makers and first decision was WHO. I decided on Doc Fisher. Then I called him up, told him what I was looking for and went with his recommendations. I've bought two teles off him this year, both were outstanding. Not cheap, but the best teles I've ever played and I have some very nice teles including a Ron Kirn and a Fender Custom Shop (no disrespect to Ron or any other builder intended).
     
  7. turfdoc

    turfdoc TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    90
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    Mar 14, 2009
    Location:
    Texas
    good neck on an ash body....everything else can be parted out
     
  8. ale.istotle

    ale.istotle Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    797
    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I would want something weird like a mahogany & holly t-style in the aesthetic of old chriscraft barrel back speedboat. Maybe inlay fretwire into the body as purfling or as line emphasis. P90's. Maybe an offset.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. luthier59

    luthier59 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    61
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    Aug 15, 2020
    Location:
    Tucson,AZ
    As a custom builder specializing in telecasters, if you want exactly what you want , soup to nuts, order a custom build. Neck wood , fretboard wood radius markers ,neck profile,tuners , bone nut, fret size, body wood , chambered or solid ,bound or unbound ,esquire or telecaster, pots , pickups , type hardware , saddles ? bridge , finish of hardware nickel, chrome, gold, black,string thru or top loader, tone bar or string ferrules, painted or highly figured top, these are jus a few of the many choices when you order a custom build.
     
  10. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    3,201
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    N. Cal.
    I’m with the folks who say know what features you really want before ordering custom. Even if it takes a few more years - wait until you know the material, the pickups, the tuners, the frets, the neck shape and wood you love the most. Then get it built. I’d played on and off for many decades before I ordered a Suhr T to my specs in 2007. It remains my favorite guitar of all time.
     
  11. Terrytown

    Terrytown TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

    Age:
    74
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    Apr 24, 2019
    Location:
    Tigard, Oregon 97223
    Butterscotch Blonde with Rosewood Neck
    22 Frets
    6 saddle bridge for intonation adjustments
    Ash body
    Truss Adjustments at head-stock end
    Pearl White Pick guard
    Pretty much off the shelf with a few adders only other accessory adder would be a wide strap to save my trapeze muscle.
     
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  12. Gary135r

    Gary135r Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    119
    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2020
    Location:
    Maine
    Fender told me that ash bodies are being reserved for special editions and custom builds because of a shortage of ash. I told them I have a big stand of ash on my property. Maybe I could trade a tree for a guitar. :)
     
  13. AngelStrummer

    AngelStrummer Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    54
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    3,039
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Location:
    London
    I thought about this some time ago, here's where I landed with my dream custom Tele, purely hypothetically:

    - Swamp ash body
    - Quartersawn, 1-piece maple neck, soft V profile, 9.5" radius fretboard, 21 medium jumbo frets
    - 5-screw black pickguard, semi-translucent vintage blonde body finish, all poly
    - 3-saddle, bronze, vintage-style bridge, non-compensated
    - 4-way switch, barrel switch tip
    - Fender OV bridge pu, Twisted Tele neck pu
    - Vintage-style machine heads, 1 round string tree on the B and the E
     
  14. AmericanClassic

    AmericanClassic TDPRI Member

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2019
    Location:
    Anniston, Alabama
    Custom guitars are not for everyone. I get people asking everyday about building something for them. We talk woods, necks, fingerboards, custom colors, custom hardware, electronics, tuners, everything. I'm working one now that will be a sassafras 1 piece body, birdseye neck, ebony fingerboard, Coral nitro lacquer, fancy hardware, custom buttons on the tuners, custom inlays, etc.

    The issue comes when we start talking money, "How much is this going to cost?" Usually the next thing I hear is "I'll get back with ya on when to start."

    The instrument I described above will probably run about $5000. Most people will say that's just too much for a Tele style. But I know it will sell. I know someone out there will just fall in love with it. I may have to take it to a show or put it on the circuit for a while. Maybe someone will see it on the webpage and follow it's development. I've sold a few that way.

    I always go back to an old saying - "Speed cost. How fast do you want to go?"

    I've had a number of custom instruments. Got 2 now. I love them. But would you want to buy one? I'd sell it in a heartbeat.

    A custom guitar is for someone who REALLY wants something no one else has one of, and probably will never be seen anywhere else.
     
  15. AlbertoMilanese

    AlbertoMilanese Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    234
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2020
    Location:
    Bavaria
    If I could, I'd get a Rick Kelly Telecaster again - but since he isn't allowed to do the correct headstock shape anymore, I'm not gonna order one anytime soon.

    So here are basically my Fender CS specs, if you wanna order my exact guitar, a super weird 67 early 50s Tele hybrid, I call it the Twanger Special Nr. 3 (its brother and sister met their unfortunate demise in a marital disagreement and later pickup truck accident):

    Roasted Ash Body, light weight
    Natural Nitro Finish (aged+faded)
    Quartersawn Roasted Maple U Neck 1 1/4'' the whole length through, 21 frets
    one piece, no truss rod
    7.25'' to 12'' compound radius
    ~1.65'' bone nut
    clay inlays, vintage size frets (so speed bumps for me!)
    vintage-style split shaft tuners
    and here's the kicker: 67 style Telecaster lettering on the headstock, but with a 50s string tree and position, the poor folks at FMIC are gonna kill me for that
    cherry or walnut pickguard, could probably settle for some reddish tortoiseshell if needed
    vintage 3-saddle Bridge with intonated steel saddles
    Don Mare Bakersfield or FCS 67 Tele Pickups
    1Meg pots, treble bleed on the volume and no load on tone

    Man, that guitar'd be a tone bomb! twang attack, zing zing! Perfect for high frequency hearing loss! Sadly I've been informed by a representative that Fender won't do necks that thick or wooden pickguards, even at masterbuilt level...
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2020
  16. Lance Morgan

    Lance Morgan TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    70
    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Austin
    I recommend Hibler Custom Guitars in Marble Falls TX. Just outside Austin, Bryan Hibler is the real deal, especially with Teles. Check him out online.

    He builds everything, winds his own pickups. I have his #10 guitar, love it. Redd Volkarrt has two of them.
     
  17. MikJr

    MikJr TDPRI Member

    Age:
    64
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    6
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    Dec 4, 2019
    Location:
    Rochester, WA
    Just go to a music store and play the tele. IF it feels right buy it. I'll bet you play 12 before one hits the target.
     
  18. Mur

    Mur Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,930
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    USA
    I commissioned a couple custom built ...its a gamble, especially regarding tone.
     
  19. TVandFILM

    TVandFILM NEW MEMBER!

    Posts:
    2
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    dallas texas
    I would order body and neck from Warmoth. Maybe unfinished if I had the time. Find some nice boutique PUs, Gotoh bridge, Sperzel tuners, CTS pots, blah blah .
     
  20. Entropydave

    Entropydave TDPRI Member

    Age:
    62
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    May 19, 2017
    Location:
    Indiana
    Ron Kirn... he's yer man...
     
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