Need Tips on Building an Inexpensive Tele

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by yellowsnow4free, Sep 9, 2009.

  1. yellowsnow4free

    yellowsnow4free TDPRI Member

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    What's the best route for building an inexpensive Telecaster?

    I really don't have the tools to build a guitar from scratch (just your typical garage tools)

    I'm thinking it comes down to a few options:

    1) Build one from parts
    2) Modify/upgrade an existing Telecaster

    I'm not sure if I'd want a traditional Tele or if I'd like to build something more custom. Either way, I'm no stranger to DIY so I'm down for almost anything.

    Normally, I'd buy a used MIM off Craigslist, but they are still more than I'd like to spend, plus they are scarce.

    I'd like to build a nice Telecaster for as cheap as possible, preferably in the sub-$200 range.

    Any tips/suggestions?

    Thanks
     
  2. Codger

    Codger Tele-Meister

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    I see there is an SX STL-50/62 Owners club here. They cost less than a kit and the basics are really good. I really like the chunky necks and big frets, but some folks swap the necks. You can practice your setup skills, upgrade with hardware and pickups of your choice , and end up with a great guitar.
     
  3. yellowsnow4free

    yellowsnow4free TDPRI Member

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    Yeah, I was wondering if starting with a guitar from SX or Xaviere would be better than a kit.

    Any other tips?
     
  4. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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  5. MGMorden

    MGMorden TDPRI Member

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    I too have been interested in this. GuitarFetish has some kits available for $90 that include all needed parts. Not sure on the quality though.
     
  6. Codger

    Codger Tele-Meister

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    I can’t speak for the Xavier. I’ve heard some say that they think the SX is a better platform for modding, but I guess that’s personal. The SX do have chunky necks and big frets. I happen to like that. The SX bodies are alder, and they cost less than the kits that come with a basswood body. I have two, one I bought new, and one used. Out of the box, they are amazing for the price. I think the basics are really good, and they build to a price by keeping the hardware cheap. People complain about the tuners, but one of mine still has the originals. I find with a little lube, nut and tree work, the tuners are plenty good enough. The saddles are the first thing I’d change. With upgrades you can make a great guitar out of them. I love mine. I also like the "GG1 Jr", LP Jr copy.
     
  7. kman900

    kman900 Tele-Afflicted

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    Read a lot here . . try some different kinds of guitars (teles) at shops or friends . . then decide what you want.
    With that in mind decide if you want to modify an existing guitar or build one (from parts or from scratch) yourself.

    Cheapest way is to buy a SX (around 100 bucks) and you already got a playable guitar. Parts from Eden or GFS are pretty cheap but still usable. Still all upgrades possible.

    But first you have to become clear about where to go, then you can choose one of the paths that will lead you there.
    Sure, you can chose any path first . . and see where you'll end up . . ;-)

    Decision's up top to YOU.
     
  8. dantonel

    dantonel Tele-Meister

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    I own the SX STL ASH and it is one of the best playing guitars I have ever encountered. Also Kurt at Rondomusic.com is very Active. I also wanted to start with building one but was talked in to a "pre-made" Tele for less. Also, SX has great reviews on Harmony central.

    Hope this Helps
     
  9. garymaddox

    garymaddox Tele-Afflicted

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    One of the SX and some Bill Lawrence Keystones and you will have a great sounding guitar in the sub-$200 range. It wouldn't hurt to change out the pots and switch too.
    If you really want to go cheap, buy the SX, play it stock on a street corner with an open case, yodel, collect some nickles and then apply those to a set of Keystones!
    Easy-peasy China-cheezy!
     
  10. jimdkc

    jimdkc Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'm working on a PartsCaster, and, even with some really good bargains (eBay body for $22 and neck for $25), the build is gonna top $200.

    A $100 SX from Rondo is looking like a pretty good deal to me right now!

    Don't get me wrong... I don't regret doing this the way I am. I'm learning a lot, and will end up with a unique tele that is truly mine! It's just from a strictly price standpoint, an SX is hard to beat... and is playable right out of the box!

    Jim
     
  11. yellowsnow4free

    yellowsnow4free TDPRI Member

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    The way I see it, I want to build a classic Tele that's at the least going to be of the same quality as a MIM Fender.

    I'm thinking of starting with one of these:

    SX STL50

    And maybe get some upgraded parts from Guitar Fetish.

    On the other hand, I'm also thinking of a build more along the lines of a Fender TC-90:

    [​IMG]

    Although that would be more difficult and require more custom fabrication, and I'm looking for that classic Tele twang anyway. (Maybe a good second build?)
     
  12. garymaddox

    garymaddox Tele-Afflicted

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    The STL-50 would be a good choice. I wouldn't look for an upgrade from Gutar Fetish though. All Parts or StewMac have much better hardware and electronics. GFS parts aren't any better than what is already on the guitar. IMHO. You'll spend a very few dollars more but get much more value. As I mentioned earlier, if you want the classic Tele sound, the Bill Lawrence Keystones have it and they are a bargain!
     
  13. yellowsnow4free

    yellowsnow4free TDPRI Member

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    Does Rondo ever have any sales or clearances?
     
  14. Stratified

    Stratified Tele-Meister

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    Re sales or clearances, from Google, try a search on the phrase "B stock" on the Rondomusic.com domain. I've never actually tried to buy one, but a lot of dinged finished guitars come up on that google search. Probably returns.
     
  15. duster77

    duster77 TDPRI Member

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    I've been shopping tele parts to build vintage style teles for awhile...
    And..believe it or not..the cheapest way for me has been to shop the parts on ebay..one at a time...If you a patient..you can build an axe that is just as good as a custom shop...for WAY under $1000...My current tele bild for example: my last part closes in about an hour...And it will bring the tally to just over $600...And when its done..I'll be getting asked over and over..what year is it?? How can you take that out..are you crazy?? Or..is that a fender custom shop??
    And if you dont care about vintage specs...and just wanna assemble a playable tele...It can be done..on ebay...for between $100-200 I'm guessing...
    Check here and the gearpage also...But ebay usually wins out for me...
    duster

     
  16. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Start with a cheap guitar, and pour lots and lots of money and time into it.

    No, that's wrong. That's what not to do. :oops:

    Frankly, the best way to get a really good inexpensive guitar is to find an expensive one that's being blown out by the Big Boxes or their Webstore partners. Or Craigslist or a Pawnshop if you know what you're doing.

    Doing Partscasters is generally not about saving bread, but creating a guitar with a combination of features/ components that are not readily found together. Lots of trial and error, no guarantees you won't end up with three closets full of disused guitars and guitar parts.

    Better to start with a complete guitar you can make some fundamental evaluations about. Then, if you wish you can tinker (like I do) do that.

    But with the economy so weak; so many really nice guitars up for grabs cheap because people gotta pay the rent - go for those, instead.
     
  17. yellowsnow4free

    yellowsnow4free TDPRI Member

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    You mean like this?

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&hs=ZxY&as_q=b+stock+&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&num=10&lr=&as_filetype=&ft=i&as_sitesearch=rondomusic.com&as_qdr=all&as_rights=&as_occt=any&cr=&as_nlo=&as_nhi=&safe=images
     
  18. OlBlueHair

    OlBlueHair TDPRI Member

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    Don't buy the guitarfetish kit. I did and I wish I hadn't. I wound up with a tele, a cheap one, but the holes were too small for the tuners and there was no wiring diagram. The switch was some weird cheap one with 7 pins and I could only find diagrams for 8 pin ones or the kind with the non circuit board switches. I emailed and asked about it and the guy was really rude and basically told me "You're on your own."

    I will never buy anything from them again. Anything. I believe if you get a kit the parts should all fit and if you can't afford one little xerox sheet of paper for a wiring diagram, you should at least provide it by email when asked.

    **** guitar fetish.
     
  19. yellowsnow4free

    yellowsnow4free TDPRI Member

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    They are! I saw a blem Tele on there for $60 :eek:

    Unfortunately, when I tried adding them to my cart, they said they are out of stock :cry:

    Apparently the B stock items sell out within hours, if not minutes

    Inspirational though!
     
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