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MIJ '62 Custom underhood refresh

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Alaska Mike, Apr 16, 2021.

  1. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    [​IMG]
    When I was 13, I saved up about 75,000 pennies from mowing lawns to buy this guitar. Ordered it out of a catalog, because the local Fender dealer didn't stock Telecasters in those days. Basically I read a review in a magazine (Guitar Player, I think), put in my order, and mowed more lawns until it came in a few months later. Other guitars have come and gone, but this is the one that I always kept.

    There was the disastrous EMG phase I went through in the '80s when I thought it was too noisy and wanted it to sound horrible. Then there was the Hot Rails/Nashville phase when I wanted to go a little hotter. To be honest, the more I messed with it, the less I liked it. Just didn't do my research and went cheap far too often.

    Now I'm going boutique.

    I shielded the cavities with tape/paint. I replaced the electronics (which were a mishmash of low grade parts from over the years) with a MojoTone 4 way harness. The pickups are now a Cavalier Fat Lion/Fat Lion King combo. I debated on installing the original 3 saddle bridge (still have it), but opted to leave the 6 saddle on for now. Replaced the metric flat tops with domes.

    Cleaned up the neck and frets, oiled the fingerboard, because it had been far too long.

    Now I'm going to wait a couple days for the neck to settle before adjusting the intonation and action. Did play it a little, and it definitely sound warmer and less shrill across the pickups, with no buzz. I like the tone, but also need to adjust the pickup heights. Should have done this decades ago.
     
    Geo, Fretting out, aadvark and 11 others like this.
  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's an awesome Cavalier set. One of my favorites. Enjoy your well-refreshed lifer tele!
     
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  3. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice comeback. Lots of us went down the EMG path in the 80s.
    Nice looking handle.

    And 4 way is the way.
     
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  4. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, with regards to the EMGs, all I knew was what the press releases said. None of mentioned the soulless void they would transform your guitar into. But, at least the void was quiet.

    By the bridge serial number, it's a '85 model which I brought home in late '84.
     
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  5. Deeve

    Deeve Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Click those ruby slippers and repeat after me . . . "there's No place like home..."

    RubySlippersCassandra-Yap-Wizard-of-Oz.jpg
     
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  6. Jay Jernigan

    Jay Jernigan Tele-Afflicted

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    That sunburst Tele I do like. Most I don't. Congrats on finding her Soul.
    Again.
     
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  7. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    As I recall, the only colors in the US catalog for the customs were Candy Apple Red and Sunburst, and the Customs were the only ones with rosewood fingerboards (which I really wanted). What I originally wanted was a black on black Telecaster with a rosewood neck like I saw Pete Townsend play, not realizing it was a copy made by ESP or somebody. I just loved the vibe (it was the '80s). Denied that, I went with the sunburst. When I brought it home, my father immediately approved of my choices. Quite the bonding moment.

    Now onto upgrading my Getsch Electromatic Jet with a new bridge and harness...
     
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  8. Telecasters84

    Telecasters84 Tele-Meister

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    Glad to see you have rekindled the love for your Telecaster...

    Congratulations and enjoy.
     
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  9. Crobbins

    Crobbins Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Congrats.:cool:
     
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  10. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, I always luv bound Teles.

    I got a MIJ '62 also, but didn't wait to mod it.
    .
    IMG_20181130_205930.jpg
     
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  11. Alaska Mike

    Alaska Mike TDPRI Member

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    Purdy...
     
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  12. kinkstah

    kinkstah Tele-Afflicted

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    You did good! Those Fender Japan Telecasters are well built instruments that deserve to be upgraded (pickups, electronics, ...) when/if needed, then played!
     
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  13. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice homecoming tale. Congrats on your restoration. For what it's worth I destroyed a Strat body with my lack of skills, putting "bloody" EMG's in. I hate EMG's now.
     
  14. teleplayr

    teleplayr Tele-Afflicted

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    Love my MIJ Custom Tele with a Bigsby!

    I replaced the pickups with Duncans a 4-way switch and an Orange Drop cap. It's been my keeper Tele for many years.
     
  15. aadvark

    aadvark Tele-Meister

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    Nice work, they are mighty fine guitars... those 80s MIJ guitars, and a perfect platform for a few electronics upgrades.Congrats on a beautiful looking burst tele. I bet she sounds a treat now!
     
  16. KenRothman

    KenRothman TDPRI Member

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    Wow, the OP and I have a very similar trajectory...

    i bought an MIJ sunburst '62 Tele custom at Manny's in Jan of 1988 (it has a 1985 neck date, though)

    i bought it b/c Pete Townshend played teles, although his was the Schecter

    I put in EMGs b/c they were silent.

    Then I eventually put Harmonic Design Vintage Plus pickups into it...

    Now it has a Duncan CS broadcaster in the bridge and a lollar (fralin?) in the neck.

    I had a black guard on it for a bit (as in this pic)... it's back to the original white one now.

    Also has glendale compensated brass saddles on it

    [​IMG]
     
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  17. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Holic

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    I did the same with my Japanese Paisley Telecaster. All new electronics. The original pickups were decent in the beginning, but one them became microphonic. I installed a 64 Pure Vintage set in that and now it sounds incredible.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
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  18. standup

    standup TDPRI Member

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    Same guitar for me, MIJ I’d-80s. The bridge pickup went dead, so over the years a few pickups came and went. Now the bridge is a Lollar special T. I had a period of interest in goldfoil pickups, so the neck is a Klein goldfoil, same size as the original.

    Pull knob for series-parallel switching.

    If I had the bridge pickup rewound I’ve got everything to return it to stock, but I like where it is.

    it’s considerably fuller and darker than a stock Tele.
     
  19. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    Pete Townsend"s Tele was/is a Schecter.
     
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