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NGD: 40th birthday blackguard on a budget

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by Craig_D, May 5, 2020.

  1. Craig_D

    Craig_D TDPRI Member

    Age:
    40
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    33
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    Location:
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    So it's my 40th in lockdown today so here’s my new Telecaster’s official unveiling, and the long winded story I wanted to share of how I got there.

    ***SPOILER ALERT*** it’s a modded Squier CV 50’s Telecaster if you can’t be arsed reading my ramblings, there’s a photo at the end of post 2 that looks mostly like every other CV 50’s tele.

    Anyway, the backstory, I have always been more of a humbucker player growing up listening to hard rock and metal, I preferred PRS’s and Les Pauls. I’d completely stopped playing for nearly 6 years but over past 2 or 3 years I’ve started to get back in to it again. I’ve found I’m enjoying and playing a lot less gainy stuff and my US Strat has become my favourite guitar to play to play lately, I picked it up used and don’t know much about it other than it’s white and it plays nice.

    With my 40th approaching, it may have been quite a bit away at this point to be honest, I decided I wanted a guitar from my family so it would be something I could keep. I’ve had a couple of tele’s over the years my favourite being a 2006 Baja I had for a while when they came out and as I’d been enjoying single coils more decided a blackguard tele was what I wanted. I’ve always liked the Black Crowes and Rich Robinsons tele always looked a beauty to me, I also recently fell in love with the look and sound of Joe Bonamassas 51 Nocaster. I know both those guitars were probably modded in tribute to micawber but although I like some stones music, I’ve never been an obsessive fan. I am however a sucker for a smooth gainy neck humbucker solo, so that feature stuck out and a Humbucker modded 50’s inspired tele became the plan.

    The long GAS filled days of obsessively looking for what I wanted began!

    My ideal guitar would have been easy, a Fender Custom Shop Journeyman Relic Hot Rod 50’s Tele, but that was never, ever gonna be in my price range, and honestly even if it was, it would be wasted given my ability and how much I get to play now. There wasn’t really a production guitar I could find that had everything I wanted, the ESP Ronnie Wood and G&L blues boys were close but they’re not really Telecasters. I found a custom builder in Ireland I liked the look of, SC Relics, and considered one of their full builds but it was still more than I could really afford and although I plan on it to being a keeper, if I did decide to move it on small builder relics never seem to hold any value. The next plan was a full self-build partscaster using one of sc relics bodies as a base but the cost would have still probably have ended up higher than I ideally wanted to make my wife pay and I wanted to get something I could actually be playing on my birthday. So the two realistic options left seemed to be to mod an existing guitar to make it what I want or just go for something totally different.

    I was wanting a 50’s style Tele whilst ideally only spending around £500-£600, it’s my 40th birthday so there was a bit of room to spend more for the right guitar as I wanted to be good to myself, but I am still skint and it’s the wifes 40th next year so I need to remember I will have to reciprocate. The US models were all more than I wanted to spend, the new vintera modified seem too pricy for what they are tbh and too much to spend for a modding platform. I really liked my Baja so a used Baja would have been a good choice but would have meant routing the body If I wanted to get my neck humbucker and whilst I’m ok with electrics and setups, I’ve never really done any woodworking. A used MIM seemed like best shot though most are not really 50’s styled and trans butterscotch isn’t the most available finish. There’s some lovely MIJ 50’s but they’re not to common in UK, can be quite pricey and a lot are getting quite old now so didn’t want to end up needing a refret the day I got it. I was starting to think, “sod it those new Epiphones sound promising and will be out soon”, when thanks largely to TDPRI I discovered lots of rave reviews of the Chinese Squier CV50’s.

    Decision made! CV50’s Butterscotch Telecaster it is, 50’s styling, already routed for neck humbucker so an easy mod, would like a fat neck but I’m pretty sure my strat is a C, it seemed the perfect platform to start from so sorted… Then I discovered they had just stopped making the ones everyone loves and it was being replaced with a cheaper Indonesian version that everyone seemed to think looked like it would be rubbish compared to the original.

    Never mind, I’ll wait until nearer my birthday and pick up a used one there was loads on ebay so I’d just look out for some in travelling distance at the time. It will be even better that way as It’ll be cheaper so I’ll have more money for parts…. Then covid hit and the country went on lockdown and as I live in a small town in Scotland buying one used became impossible as we’re not allowed to travel and no one ships Squiers as they don’t have hardcases and can’t go to the closed shops to blag a box.

    Never mind, turns out the Indonesian CV’s are actually getting great reviews on TDPRI, even though they still have a skinny neck and now the logo and string tree are in completely the wrong place for a 50’s tele which seems a stupid unnecessary choice, but still I can order a new guitar from the online stores still operating…. Then it arrives with damage and missing accessories.

    Never mind, I’ll return it for a replacement or get a refund and order one from somewhere else… Then when I go to do this every retailer now appears to be sold out and there’s no sign of new stock coming soon as covid has wrecked the supply chain and Fender UK advise there is no stock and no ETA for suppliers. ☹

    Now at the this point any sensible person would, I think “hmmm, maybe this isn’t to be, just wait until this all blows over and take the time to choose the right guitar”.

    So I’ve kept the damaged cv 50’s tele. Honestly, it’s really got nothing wrong with it other than a tiny dent and finish crack which is covered by the strap button which was being swapped out anyway and I’m overall really happy with it, also I talked them down from the £359 it should have cost and ended up paying £294 due to the damage. I’d still have preferred a guitar with a thicker u or soft v profile neck, but it’s got a decent c profile and that would have been the case for almost all but the Baja in my preferred price range. The fretwork looks clean, the nut seems well cut and measures perfect to specs, the body has a fairly nice grain pattern I feel and is a decent 3 piece pine made up of a wide centre piece and two reasonably matched side pieces. Weight is 8.2lbs which is fine for me and it sounds and plays great. Here is how it looked…




    I have to say giving it a play it’s actually a lovely tele and the pickups sound great, I’m kinda having second thoughts about taking it to bits! But it’s not really what I wanted, it’s my birthday guitar and I wanted a vintage styled, humbucker equipped rocker that would be my guitar and not just my off the shelf Squier that’s the same as everyone else’s, so it’s getting an overhaul. Plus I’d already bought all the goodies, here they are ready to go in…


     
    Last edited: May 5, 2020
  2. Craig_D

    Craig_D TDPRI Member

    Age:
    40
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    Location:
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    It’s getting set up with 10’s been enjoying d’addrio exl110bt balanced tension strings lately, it might get re-setup with 11’s later but they’re a bit much on my fingers just now after as long a break from playing. A PAF style humbucker in neck and hot 50’s style single in bridge, I originally wanted a Seth Lover for the neck with either a Mojo Esquire or Bare Knuckle Flat 50 in the bridge but to keep costs down for now I’ve gone with IronGear pickups which seem to get good reviews. It’s getting a raw nickel Blues Engine in the neck and an overwound Steel Foundry in the bridge, I may eventually swap them out for some fancier ones but we’ll see how it goes. I’m doing a complete rewire using cts mojo vintage taper 500k volume and cts 500k push/pull tone which will switch neck pickup in and out of phase. I was going to go with the standard 470k resistor inline for the bridge pickup but was considering a higher value to bring back a bit of the brightness the overwind loses, I ended up going for a 750k resistor which should make it see a 300k pot. I’m starting with a .022uf tone cap though tempted to reduce this as I never use the full sweep of the tone so got higher and lower values ready to swap in if I’m not happy.

    I’ll be finishing it all off with cloth wiring, a CRL three-way switch and an electrosocket with a switchcraft jack. I’m going for 50’s wiring initially as I’ve been simplifying my rig and ride the volume a lot so I’m thinking this will help me clean up and not get muddy but I can easily switch it over if I’m not keen. I’ll also be adding a killswitch, I’ve had to order the switch I want from china as I couldn’t find one I want in the UK so I’m still waiting on it. It’ll be a steel 16mm button that will sit between tone and volume to let me replicate those stuttery chord endings I could do with my Les Pauls, I’m not sure a button will give me the same feel but think it will look better than a switch, another mod I might regret but it’s only £7 for a plate and £3.50 for the switch so worth a go.

    I like the aged look on a 50’s style guitars, I know it’s not everyones cup of tea but I just see it as an aesthetic choice, no different from a different paint colour or adding a sticker or artwork. I’m replacing all the bodies hardware with aged metal parts including a fender bridge plate and gotoh intune saddles and using slotted screws. I’ve aged the hardware the idiot safe way using white vinegar a dish scouring pad and very sparsely a lighter. It all seemed to work ok apart from the chrome control plate which didn’t really age so much as half the chroming disappeared so it’s not a kinda chrome/copper camo effect now rather than aged. I’ll replace it but I’ll wait until after the killswitch experiment and need to decide whether to stick with chrome or go nickel. I’ve bought slotted screws for the body for a bit of added retro but they’re stainless steel and impossible to age were in vinegar tub for 4 days and didn’t even slightly lose their shine. I saw in a gun maker video on youtube where he used a blow torch a bunch of fancy heatproof stuff and coffee filter leftovers to age small metal parts and screws. I used a 20p lighter a pair of pliers and dunked them in a sludge of cheap tesco instant coffee granules with a tiny bit of water after heating them, actually worked quite well I thought and it doesn’t affect the threads that way at all. I’ve just gone for a plastic 5 hole humbucker pickguard just now, again partly to keep costs down initially but also it was easier to find, and added a pickup ring because for some reason I think it looks so much better than a direct pickguard mount. I do plan to add a bakelite version at some point. I’ve tried to make the plastic one look a bit worn in but not sure it has worked. At the moment just the neck, tuners and body are the Squier and the rest of it’s parts will al get stored in case I ever decide to go back to stock or sell it

    I’m not attempting a fake relic on the finish, it usually ends up looking **** on a poly finished guitar and I’m not sure my artistic abilities are capable regardless of the finish. I may eventually replace the body for one of cs relics lightly reliced ash bodies. I’d also eventually like to get an Allparts tmo fat neck or a Baja neck if one came up. I’ll probably change to vintage style locking tuners too, I know they aren’t necessarily any more stable or a real improvement but I just like them, particularly for restringing, and have added them to most my guitars since using them on my first PRS. If all that gets done, I’ll end up having built my full partscaster and have a real-world reminder of the axe riddle in the book John Dies at the End. Probably a bit stupid but it kept the initial cost down and I got it all ready by buying parts on my own and getting them ready to drop in so I could have my guitar ready to play on my birthday.

    So yeah all in it cost less than £500 to this point, £294 for the guitar and £190 for all the parts. It’s not a perfect 50’s tribute, it’s not a radically original guitar, it’s probably not as good as good as a Baja which I could have bought used for about the same money and most of the changes weren’t strictly necessary, but it is close to what I originally wanted and it’s mine!

    So here it is…




    I spent a lot of time researching this one and a lot of that time was lurking here on tdpri so thank you to everyone who shares their knowledge here, it was a huge help. I’m happy with it, I kinda wish I’d ordered the steel twin but thought it would be to powerful, in hindsight the neck bucker is blowing away the single so I’ve had to really jack up the bridge, the pickup ring also makes the bucker look lower than it really is. It’s an all out rocker though with some twang when needed, can’t wait to play it in properly.
     
  3. tah1962

    tah1962 Friend of Leo's

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    Congratulations. Happy NGD.
     
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  4. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    :cool::cool::cool:
     
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  5. naveed211

    naveed211 Tele-Afflicted

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    Honestly, you can’t do a whole lot better than a CV50s for straight up, no nonsense, Tele tone at just about any price point.

    You chose well. Enjoy.
     
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  6. GGardner

    GGardner Friend of Leo's

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    Great narrative! Great photo. I plan to do something similar with a CV 50s and a mini humbucker. And unlike you, I prefer the thinner neck. After this splendid isolation ends, I'll go out looking for a (preferably used) candidate.
     
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  7. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Holic

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    That looks fantastic and thanks for posting the backstory and 'work diary too'! Best it sounds and plays superbly! Happy new guitar day and happy 40th!
     
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  8. Craig_D

    Craig_D TDPRI Member

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    Thanks guys, it's a bit wordy sorry but times not so short at the moment. I'll add some better pics later, might even brave a recording though the chops are a bit rusty and weren't that great to start.
     
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  9. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Gratulations and happy 40th to you. Looks great.
     
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  10. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Knoxville TN for now
    I bought a $125 Squier Affinity BSB to replace an MIJ 82 '52 Tele
    I had to sell... and ...

    It ...


    Played just as nice or better ...
     
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  11. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Honestly that's all one needs in terms of telecaster: just so iconic, to my eyes it is THE telecaster. Great mods too.
    Congrats, happy new telecaster and 40th!
     
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  12. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Happy B’day!
     
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  13. Ebidis

    Ebidis Tele-Afflicted

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    Cool.

    HNGD!:)
     
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  14. speedy mcfeely

    speedy mcfeely Tele-Holic

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    Nice work!
     
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  15. Dr Weird

    Dr Weird TDPRI Member

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    upload_2020-5-10_1-50-48.gif
     
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  16. jannodude

    jannodude Tele-Afflicted

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    Happy Birthday and congratulations on the new guitar!
     
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  17. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Tele-Meister

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    HNGD !

    Nice choice & mods ;)
     
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  18. fattboyzz

    fattboyzz Tele-Meister

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    Didn't hardly recognize with the haircut ....lol
     
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  19. 68Telebass

    68Telebass Tele-Afflicted

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    Great work-
    Is that kill switch on it yet?? I couldn’t see it on the control plate...
    Looks Great!!!
     
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  20. Craig_D

    Craig_D TDPRI Member

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    Thanks not yet, just waiting on that to finish it off, last tracking shows it left shanghai 1st May so hopefully not too long but posts all over the place at the moment
     
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