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Novice Build: First Partscaster

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Hockey Rocker, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. Hockey Rocker

    Hockey Rocker Former Member

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    Here's my first shot a assembling a guitar from scratch. I'm pleased with the result, and would be remiss if I didn't thank the webmaster here as well as all of you amazing contributors to TDPRI. I would've never attempted this build had I not found this site.

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    So, this is no big deal for many of you. It's not like I'm milling my own truss rod as I build a Telecaster from scratch or anything, but I figured that maybe a newbie like me might pick something up from my fumbling around with this axe.

    Basically, I wanted something along the lines of a Classic 60's MIM Tele, as the Standard Telecasters are not available with rosewood boards and I wanted to stay around $450.00 total investment. So, I snagged a Mighty Mite C neck and a "Fender licensed" natural ash body from two different guitar shops selling through ebay. I got my pups from a kid selling his MIM Standard '07s and I snagged the hardware and electronics from Stew Mac, GFS and the recent Jersey guitar show.

    The neck was a budget consideration on my part, and overall, I'm satisfied. The Mighty Mite was not without it's problems though. The nut was plastic, as advertised, and luckily it pulled right out, to be replaced with a Tusq. The white plastic fret marker dots are a bit lame, but again, I saved a bunch of cash from an Allparts or better.

    The real concern, however, was the fact that the headstock's tuner holes were HUGE. Advertised at 3/8", I figured that vintage Kluson style GFS tuners would work as long as I used the bushings. No such luck. Then I went to the Jersey "Bee Vintage" guitar show and grabbed slightly larger bushings. They were still too loose. Weird. I'm not sure what the actual hole size was, and maybe someone here knows, but I finally just wrapped the largest bushings I could find, from Stew Mac, with plumber's tape and moved on. It's snug and seems okay.

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    Thanks to everyone who shared the idea about using bar soap on the screws. It really helped with the installation of the tuners. That reminds me; when I installed the ferrules I needed to drill larger holes. It was cool that I learned here how to heat the ferrules while they sit on the holes, thereby softening the finish of the guitar so it doesn't chip when you tap 'em in. Very cool idea. It worked like a charm. Also, the electrosocket recommendation was key. I tip my hat to Fuzzy for his ingenuity in making the vintage cup output work, but I don't have the patience. I'm diggin' the electrosocket, even if it is a bit off-centered.

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    I shielded the cavity, using the link posted here by a contributor. It worked pretty well. I attached a piece from each cavity to the pickguard, bridge and control plate, but there's still a slight hum in the first and third switch positions when the guitar is cranked and the treble is up. I'll never know if it would've been noisier had I not shielded it.

    [​IMG]

    More later...
     
  2. ehawley

    ehawley Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice job HR..... looking great...Hope you used "IRISH SPRING";)
    Keep the pics coming...Whats up with the Devils and Rangers...What a start:( !!
    Cheers
    ED
    (Devils fan but I had to mention the Rangers just incase!:lol: )
     
  3. Seanycaster

    Seanycaster Tele-Holic

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    Looks beautiful. Great work.
     
  4. Buckocaster51

    Buckocaster51 Super Moderator Staff Member Ad Free Member

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    It looks like you have put together a guitar that you can be very proud of.

    As you are discovering...it is a lot of fun...and very addicting!

    I wonder if there are METRIC and SAE ferrules? Somebody will know. That could be what gotcha.

    The soldering iron is a good solution. When it comes time to install them on the Emeraldcaster, I know the heat will make the lacquer, flake and KRYLON go away with no problem.

    Two thumbs up!
     
  5. telefunk

    telefunk Tele-Meister

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    I think I heard somewhere that the Japanese bodies use metric size ferrules.
     
  6. Hockey Rocker

    Hockey Rocker Former Member

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    Thanks for the kind words guys. Ed, I spent most of my time building this axe with one eye on the Ranger games. Yikes. The NHL looks tough. No easy wins for anyone anymore.

    So, now that the kids are all home from their friends' and the baby's ready for bed, here's another installment of my effort.

    The bridge selection was a minor fiasco. I had my heart set on a "Fender Patent Pending" vintage plate, advertised at MF for only $8.99. What a deal. It was on backorder in mid-September with a ship date listed as the following day. For three weeks. Yup, every day the ship date changed one day like a page torn from a calendar. Crazy. They just emailed me that the plates are due to arrive in mid-November. Oh well. I went to Stew Mac and selected one with independent saddles, pictured below.

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    One problem: Once installed, it seemed like the high E would hang off the board. I checked, and it was barely on the fingerboard. Nuts! Being a newb, I figured I had done something terribly wrong when I measured twice and drilled once. Nope. It was the factory that machined the bridge plate:

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    Please excuse the shabby photo quality throughout, my Canon Elf is ten-years-old and ready for a replacement, but hopefully you can see that the holes on the bridge are wide to the right. I ended up using three brass compensated saddles from Stew Mac on a generic bridge that lined up correctly.

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    Also, regarding the above photo, those of you who can't look away from train wrecks may have noticed that I did something wrong. I was attempting to set up the control plate as a Volume-Tone-3 Way, but I botched it. It may just have been my ham-handed soldering, but I think I transposed my schematic incorrectly as well. No matter. I downloaded a schematic that I searched out here and started over. Messy, messy. Throughout this belabored soldering process, I was sure to cover the body with cardboard so as not to splatter the clear polyester finish.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Hockey Rocker

    Hockey Rocker Former Member

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    Primitive Pete continues...

    I'm very pleased with the MIM Standard '07 pups. They are very hot, though. Not exactly Mike Bloomfield's 60's sound, but I like them so far. (It hasn't been so far.) They read over ten ohms on the bridge and over eight on the neck. Holy Schnykees!

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    The Mighty Mite neck feels nice to me. I like the "satin finish" on something a bit fatter than the Standard MIM. The frets have some meat on 'em, medium-jumbo I suppose. Plus the rosewood fingerboard seems like a decent piece of wood. It looked like the Ebay seller actually dressed the frets, as advertised, because they were flush to the board with slight grime on either side of the frets. I cleaned the board with Gerlitz Honey before I strung it. Drilling the neck was the scary part for me, but it worked out fine.

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    Of all the things that I worried wouldn't fit together, it ended up that it was just the pickguard around the control plate. Lucky me. I marked it with a Sharpie and went at it with a razor and a rounded file. It seemed to work out fine.

    [​IMG]

    I'm happy that the Stew Mac compensated brass saddles intonated so well. Following the set up instructions from the Fender web site has always worked for me, and this time was no exception. The thing really intonates nicely.

    I need to shave down the Tusq bridge a bit now that I've added slight relief and have the neck were it should be. Once that's accomplished I will be finished. I'm not sure whether or not to clear spray the headstock in a few days when the nomenclature dries. That water-slide decal paper for home computer printers works pretty well, but it looks better if you spray over it.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Hockey Rocker

    Hockey Rocker Former Member

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    So, thanks again guys for the help. I'm groovin' on my new guitar.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. ehawley

    ehawley Tele-Afflicted

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    Looks great! I love those Tort guards! Have fun!
    Cheers
    ED
    (10.36...:eek: ..WOW!)
     
  10. Hockey Rocker

    Hockey Rocker Former Member

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    Now that I've been playing this baby for about a week, I've got it adjusted nicely. For that, I have you guys to thank again.

    In the past I haven't had any trouble getting low action, without buzzing or fretting out, on any of my Fenders or Squiers. This partscaster was not behaving in the same manner. After filing the nut to about .015" above the first fret, leveling the frets using a straight edge for accuracy, sanding block for leveling and jeweler's files for dressing, I still had problems with fretting out.

    So, I decided to try shimming the neck. It worked. I used PVC film, basically plastic craft ribbon material, in a thickness of .010" gauge. I cut it the full width of the heel and only to the height of the first pair of bolts. So it ended up as a small rectangle that I could slide into the neck pocket once the strings were really loose and the bolts partially unscrewed. I used this method, loosen strings - loosen bolts - slide in thicker piece of PVC film - tighten bolts - tighten strings - play guitar, until I was up to a .040" gauge thickness. I did this by folding the PVC film (its like a thinner credit card stock) over itself.

    Once I had it shimmed just right, I checked the neck for proper relief again, set the saddle height and intonated the guitar. Nice.

    Now I'm very happy with the axe. Even the slight hum I mentioned earlier is gone. I think that when I first put it together my wife must've had the dining room dimmer on. That always messes me up.

    Anyway, thanks very much for the help. I've got a nice player now that I think looks cool, feels great and sounds TWANGY! All this was accomplished with a little time and effort and no more expense than the cost of a new MIM Standard. I'm glad I went for it. Thanks guys.

    Oh, and I lost the nomenclature. The headstock is now bare again and I kind'a like it that way. I think I'll leave it.
     
  11. fenderix

    fenderix Poster Extraordinaire

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    Congratulations on the nice work, Hockey Rocker! It really looks the part - the tortoise pickguard against the natural finish looks killer.
    How much does it weigh?

    Enjoy! :)
     
  12. ehawley

    ehawley Tele-Afflicted

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    A real beauty!! They always take sum messin' with to play right for you. Great job!:D
    Cheers
    ED
     
  13. CDoGG

    CDoGG Tele-Meister

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    That looks fantastic!
     
  14. magicguitar

    magicguitar Tele-Afflicted

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    Nice job. Very good looking Tele.
     
  15. Hockey Rocker

    Hockey Rocker Former Member

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    Thanks for the compliments guys, I'm glad that some of you like it.

    Fenderix, the guitar weighs in at 8.8 lbs. That makes it the heaviest axe I own. I knew that would be the case coming into the project and I'm happy that it isn't any heavier. The closest guitar in heft for me is my '04 Telecaster MIM Standard that is just about 8 lbs. This seems to be the perfect weight for me as I find myself playing my two Teles and my MIM Deluxe Player's Strat (also ash and under nine pounds) much more than their lighter sisters; two modded Squier '51s and a very light, Korean-made, PRS SE Soapbar II.

    I did notice that the heavier ash bodies were less expensive on Ebay. I also think that most guys pay more for a tighter grain pattern. Mine, being on the lighter side with more grain showing, went somewhere in the middle price wise, according to the seller's history. This partscaster does have a lot of grain showing, but I was cool with that as I figured it would set off the rosewood board and the tortoise guard.
     
  16. blueshawk1

    blueshawk1 Tele-Meister

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    Congrats on the nice build!
    I recently bought all the parts to build my own, haven't had the time (or is it really the not being brave enough yet) to tackle it. Figured it for a good winter project anyway.
    Anyway, congrats again, very nice!
     
  17. Big Tony

    Big Tony Friend of Leo's

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    That's a beautiful Telecaster!

    I love the grain pattern, and the tortoise pickguard. :cool:

    / Tony
     
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