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Mesquitecaster Build (some Assistance Required)

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by pattyb, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. pattyb

    pattyb TDPRI Member

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    Alright, you guitar-building vets, I'm looking to you in my time of need.

    I've got to be honest, when I started my guitar building journey by switching out a couple pickups in a Stratocaster, I had no idea what I was getting into. I'm still totally intimidated by this big wide world I've discovered, but I'm learning a whole lot and I need a challenge.

    I've been doing some research and I've found that my love for the look of an unfinished mesquite-top telecaster is growing too strong to just sit on my butt and not do anything about it. I really love the rustic look of some of the guitars I've seen and I want to try to make it my own. Now, I'm not a woodworker in the most general sense; I'm pretty young yet and most of my knowledge about this topic has come from forums and YouTube videos. However, I had some mesquite lying around, and I wanted to see how deep my newfound passion could take me (in short: WAY TOO DEEP). At any rate, my research has led me to these photos, which is kind of the look I'm going for here:
    Raw Tele 1.jpg Raw Tele 2.jpg
    As you can clearly see, I dig the old license plate pickguard thing. I'm pretty sure I want to go with a standard tele pickup setup though, unlike in these photos.
    Mesquite Tele Body 1.jpg
    I included this one because this guitar has a similar finish to the one I'm going for. This particular guitar is an ash body with a mesquite cap, and was built by TDPRI user garymaddox.
    Mesquite Guitar 1.jpg
    I included this photo because although I would like my mesquite to be all one piece and clean and beautiful like the one above, it probably won't be, and it will have holes and knots and stuff like this PRS style guitar built by TDPRI user AZkoaMan a while back (this one has an African Mahogany body). I might use his build for reference on fitting the mesquite cap, if I end up doing one, because he goes into great detail about the way he formed/capped his guitars.

    So, to pull this off, I have options for the body:
    1. Make the body all mesquite. I certainly have enough stock to do so, it would just be a matter of glueing several pieces together. One of the big downsides of this that I can see is that the guitar would be heavy--weighing upwards of 12-13 lbs, put together. However, it would look really stinking cool to have a guitar carved out of a chunk of mesquite.
    2. Use some other wood for the back, and put a mesquite cap on top. This, to me, seems like the easier option with more pros than cons. It certainly would be lighter, and (correct me if i'm wrong) it would be easier to work with Alder, Ash, or some other less dense wood, than with 100% mesquite. This way, I'd still get the look and the tone without compromising weight or workability.
    As for the neck, I'm way too afraid to try and make one by myself with zero experience and very little knowledge--maybe someday when I have an actual shop to work out of and more woodworking under my belt I will get the guts to. So for now, I think I will order one from Warmoth or another online dealer, something along those lines. If I do that, I'll need to make sure my diagram is dead-on accurate to fit the neck, which is a little risky...

    Hardware shouldn't be too hard to find, although I've been wrong before. I'm thinking I want a 3-Saddle, for the mojo, ya' know? I at least want to try it out. Like I said before, I think I want to keep the traditional Tele pickup routing, although I could probably be convinced otherwise... ;)

    Aaaaand I think that's all I have to say for right now. So, Pros, vets, noobs like myself, what should I do, in your opinions? Tear my idea apart, rip it to shreds, tell me I'm a genius, tell me I'm an idiot--Whatever you like! Is this even possible, or is it just a pipe dream?

    Thanks y'all. Happy playing!
     
  2. twocup

    twocup Tele-Meister

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    On my very first guitar, I started with the neck. It turned out awful, unusable. So I tried again. Turned out great.
    If you decide to order a neck, I suggest that you get it first, and build the body to accommodate it. As far as the body is concerned, if you are going to gig with guitar, seriously consider the weight. If you want the all mesquite look, you could do a chambered body with a cap. ps. You're a genius!
     
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  3. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

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    Mesquite is often full of voids as in the PRS-ish body above. They can be filled easily enough with epoxy. I've had good results dyeing clear epoxy using a drop or two of Transtint "mission brown" dye. That makes a very dark (practically black) filler you can scrape down into the cracks and then level off by scraping it.

    A solid mesquite body would be northwards of 10lbs by itself. Plan on doing a top over a hollowed body of a lighter wood. Alder would be great as would the lighter varieties of ash.
     
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  4. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    Well, one thing about mesquite -- if the body doesn't work out, you can always smoke some brisket over it! ;)
     
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  5. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    The NTB guitar I just finished was mesquite over alder. If you try to do an all-mesquite guitar, you'll have to laminate a lot of stock together to get the proper width and thickness. I think you'd have a hard time finding a large enough chunk to make a 2 piece body without, as Eric pointed out above, having tons of voids to fill and work around.
     
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  6. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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  7. RogerC

    RogerC Poster Extraordinaire

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    I spent a lot of time as a kid helping my parents cut mesquite firewood. I don't recall ever seeing a tree that would yield as long and straight a piece as that, Marty. I was probably too distracted by the thorns while I was trying to stack it.
     
  8. guitarbuilder

    guitarbuilder Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm sure the good stuff gets tucked away like every other choice timber :).
     
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  9. pattyb

    pattyb TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for your advice and kind words, Tim! That actually is what I had in mind for an aftermarket neck, so thanks for reinforcing that idea. As for the body, chambering it could work very nicely to take away some weight although I am a little hesitant to try it out. I'll keep it in mind, for sure though!

    That's a great idea, thank you Eric! I was wondering how to fill those cracks. I may be able to find a solid piece in my stock that doesn't have any voids, but I won't be too upset if I don't because I personally dig them. Even if I don't use that technique now I will definitely keep it in the back of my mind for a future project.

    That's for sure, bsman! Haha! I was just thinking this afternoon how it's been a while since I've had some good home-cooked barbecue... Sounds like I'll have to fix that soon!

    Thanks for your advice, Roger! By the way, again, excellent work on that NTB Guitar. I agree with what you said about needing to laminate a lot of stock. I guess I'll see what I have to work with, but even as I type this I'm leaning towards a cap over a lighter body. I feel like that would just make things easier, and as I am a student with a limited amount of time (and money) with which to work on this project, I would think that the simpler the process is, the better.

    Thanks for that link, Marty! I think I might have some pieces similar to that one. My grandfather, before he passed, managed to have lots of long boards like that cut from several old mesquite trees on his property by a local mill. I got to go watch, it was pretty interesting. And you're right--it would make a great top! :D
     
  10. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I was surprised to learn only recently that mesquite can actually grow to be a pretty decent size tree, but apparently between the ranchers for whom it's a pest, its firewood potential, and BBQ lovers harvesting it small for cooking purposes, you just don't see many big trees or wide boards of it.

    Patti, do you have a way to thin some glued-up boards to make a lightweight cap?
     
  11. jdm61

    jdm61 Tele-Holic

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    Sacrilege!!!!!! Proper Texas brisket is smoked over post oak unless you want it to taste like burning tires. Then use mesquite. :)
     
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  12. twocup

    twocup Tele-Meister

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    Hmm, I see this thread getting derailed (not that I'm encouraging that ;)).
     
  13. jdm61

    jdm61 Tele-Holic

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    Lets wait and see who the guitar tastes. ;)
     
  14. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

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    I've also used black chalkbox chalk to color epoxy for filling voids, but the results are less glossy than using tinted epoxy.
     
  15. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

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    I bought a big slab from RGV-StingrayMill on E-bay. You'll find his stuff if you search "mesquite slab". He normally deals in larger pieces. The one I got was like 3' x 10" x 6" and the shipping cost was as much as the slab itself.
     
  16. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Laminate the back of the body out of mesquite, fill the voids as OG said, hollow out the shape like a thinline then find a suitable piece of mesquite to bookmatch for the top. Best of both worlds and you get your all mesquite geeetar!

    Wait did someone say they smoke brisket over OAK?...not to derail but please do tell? I love to smoke meat. Alder, Hickory, Mesquite, Pecan, and my 2 favorites Cherry and Apple are all I've ever used... Oak is a new one
     
  17. OpenG Capo4

    OpenG Capo4 Friend of Leo's

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    Chestnut is my favorite wood for smoking. It makes a sweet smoke and is good for everything. But those scraps are expensive!

    I like cherry for hamburgers, steaks and chicken.

    Maple is good for chicken and pork. Haven't tried it with beef. I don't know if that would be good.

    Oak is good for poultry according to my cousin who uses it to smoke turkeys. It's a lighter flavor than hickory, but similar.

    Alder is supposed to be a good wood for smoking too, but I haven't tried it.
     
  18. R. Stratenstein

    R. Stratenstein Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Alder-smoked salmon at Ivar's in Seattle is some of the finest food you'll ever put in your mouth. Actually, I think it's more grilled, but over Alder coals. Out of this world.
     
  19. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    Hot smoked salmon is smoked with alder.
     
  20. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Chestnut, well I'll be... I hadn't thought to keep those scraps for smoking. Def going to try that on some special BBQ ribs. I'm going to give the oak a try too. Thanks for the info! carry on!:D
     
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