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planning first build - a few questions

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Tpoirier, Oct 6, 2020.

  1. Tpoirier

    Tpoirier TDPRI Member

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    I've been slowly formulating a plan for my first build and am planning a tele style. I have some nice spalted maple I am going to use for the top and have been thinking about a burnt pine body. Some questions I have:

    1 - I want to get a very traditional tele sound. What's a good, relatively inexpensive set of pickups for a traditional tele twang? I'm not a working musician, it doesn't have to sound perfect - this is as much about building a guitar as it is having a good guitar to play.

    2 - I'm considering adding a third pickup, probably a P90. Would the routing for a 3rd pickup detrimentally affect the tele sound?

    3 - I have access to old redwood beams from a barn. I couldn't even hazard a guess how redwood would impact the guitar. My gut is telling me it's not dense enough. Thoughts?

    4 - As an amateur woodworker with a good selection of tools who's never attempted anything like it - should I attempt to make my own neck or not?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. mefgames

    mefgames Friend of Leo's Double Platinum Supporter

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    1. Keystones
    2. DON'T !!!
    3. Redwood is sometimes a bit too soft, IMO
    4. Neck building can be tricky, but very rewarding. Jigs are a big help, especially for the truss rod slot.I use a 2 way truss rod. I find it much easier than the original. Test build from scrap first. If you have an oscillating sander, it will make it easier.
     
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  3. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    1 - You'll get lots of comments. Everyone will recommend their favorite pups. They are correct
    2 - the route won't hurt. Its a bit more trouble to wire
    3 - Redwood will make a fine body. So will pine
    4 - Neck building is harder than body building but dozens of people do it every day. Nice thing about a tele is that you can change it if you don't like it

    5 - get Melvyn Hiscock's book. He is due out with a new one this winter but lots of guitars have been built from the present one.
     
  4. Billy3

    Billy3 Tele-Meister

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    How much you want to spend on the pups? As for the P90s as a third? Maybe, but you'll start getting into different waters. Could be cool. You can use pretty much any wood for body. Lots of options and opinions there... I haven't built a neck so can't help you there, but I know it's not for rookiies. Wait. Everyone has to build their first one at some point! Wish I had the right tools to try. Any ways the coolest thing about the Tele is you can almost always fix whatever you don't like! Happy building!!!
     
  5. RickyRicardo

    RickyRicardo Friend of Leo's

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    If this is your first build then I wouldn't recommend throwing a P90 in there. As mentioned that would complicate things and it's definitely not a traditional Tele sound. For the first Tele that I built I went with Fender Original Vintage pickups and they are nice. Lots of great pickups out there though. Redwood seems pretty soft. Lots of pine used around here.

    For your first build keep it simple. You'll end up making plenty more.
     
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  6. epizootics

    epizootics Tele-Meister

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    I'll second everything Freeman said. Regarding the neck, you can make it with 'standard' dimensions, ie. 'dimensions that match at least one other aftermarket neck'. This way, if you don't like the one you built, you can always replace it with a ready-made one. Neck's aren't necessarily hard to build but they take some extra tooling - at least a radius sanding block, a fretting jig of sorts, a fret saw and a hammer to bang your frets in, and then a few fret levelling tools (a long straight beam with sandpaper attached to it and a fret crowning file are the bare minimum) . You can get a pre-radiused and pre-slotted fretboard, though.

    Don't be afraid to mess stuff up in the process (you will...we all do...) and you'll be fine :)

    Do whatever you like with pickups, there's no right or wrong way, just the way you chose. I'd recommend you look at local pickup makers, every decent winder should be able to make a great set of Tele pickups and a P90. As long as you get a decent bridge, it'll sound like a Telecaster!
     
  7. John Nicholas

    John Nicholas Friend of Leo's

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    My suggestion to you would be to start with reading the Ron Kirn booklets, sorry I don't have the link to them handy, but if you search the site for them, they are here. Well worth the read and it will help guide you on the path and give you idea and tips to start out.

    Personally I would suggest that you purchase a decent neck instead of building one. Why? Because you will be able to finish your build much faster and have a complete guitar.

    If you like building and want to continue, then on the second one you could start building your own neck. Building the neck really does take some skill, but it's more some of the specialized tools and experience that is the barrier.

    As to your questions about what pickups to use or whether or not to add a P90, these are personal decisions, asking on a forum would give you other people's opinions (which are all right for them!) but it won't be yours.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
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  8. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

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    John and Freeman both have valid points on the neck question. John's point about the tools is spot on though. There are ways around some of the tools via buying pre-made parts such are a pre-slotted and radiused fret board but those are pricey if you screw up or just decide building a neck isn't for you.

    I absolutely love red wood. It's awesome for tops. I have 1 body from another member on here and it's pretty solid. I think you should slice it up and check it out. I also love Spruce which is considered a softer hard wood and it make great guitars. I would say the same of redwood.

    I would start with the standard Tele layout first, then add the P90 later. The standard Tele set up is fairly straight forward wiring and such, adding the 3rd pickup presumably with a 5 way switch is a little less so. It's not something I would add to the plate for my first build. Unless of course electronics is something you excel at, I do not ;)

    If your building a Tele, I'd say start with Fender on the pickups. Get a set of used ones off fleebay. You'll need the guitar to be playable first, then you can start analyzing the sound. It's fair to say we all have our favorite brand and type and none of that will matter to your ears ;)

    I'll second Freeman's suggestion, Melvyn Hiscock's book is great. The challenge build threads here on TDPRI are also a great source of "How do I . . " there are so many creative takes on how to do just about everything in guitar building in those threads. It should be called Guitar Building Hacks.

    Good luck, remember to have fun!
     
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  9. Mike Simpson

    Mike Simpson Doctor of Teleocity

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    If you route the neck pickup position for a P90 you can use either a Tele neck pickup, a mini hum or a P90 in the neck position and all you have to change is the pickguard to match the pickup.

    For a set of standard Tele pickups it's hard to beat Fender Nocasters.
    My favorite pickups are P90's or TV Jones Powertrons.

    Don't over complicate your first build, it probably won't be your last.

    .
     
  10. Meteorman

    Meteorman Tele-Afflicted

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    sure you absolutely should attempt to build your own neck.
    why not ?
    just realize, that if your first neck is a solid player, you're in a small minority.
    guaranteed you'll make another soon anyway....
     
  11. Tpoirier

    Tpoirier TDPRI Member

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    Lots of great thoughts in the answers so far, thanks!

    I do have the Hiscock book, but when I'm researching I like shopping around for lots of opinions and don't just rely on one source. And yes, they're all opinions, that's why I like a lot of them - to see how many agree with each other.

    The 3rd pickup. The wiring doesn't scare me - yes, I'd use a 5-way strat-type switch. Routing the body and hurting the sound is what worries me. I don't play professionally, or even out much. Just mess around at home and play with GarageBand but I do want to play more with twang and I don't have a good P90 in my collection. I thought I might kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

    Pickups - I want to go as cheap as possible without sacrificing a decent sound. As I mentioned above I'm not a working musician and don't need something that cuts through a band/bar setting, but I don't want a lot of hiss and terrible tone either. I'll spend what it takes, but don't want to spend more. And I live in the sticks - we don't have any local pup makers that I'm aware of.

    I realized after I sent this I have a nice birds-eye maple beam I took out of one old garage on the property. It was (if you can believe it) set up in the middle of the span on a garage door because it wasn't designed well enough for the snow load we get. Sounds like a neck to me. Actually, I'd guess there's probably 8-10 necks in it.

    I'll cut up some of the redwood and send it through the planer and see what I end up with. I guess, like what everyone is saying, if I don't like it I can just make another one.

    As for the idea of routing the neck pocket for a P90.... I'm not as crazy about that idea. I won't be using a pickguard, I want to show off as much of the spalting as I can.
     
  12. Freeman Keller

    Freeman Keller Poster Extraordinaire

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    Based on what you have just said I will continue with some comments.

    6 - if you have the Hiscock book then you know he builds a tele style guitar with a Fender style one piece (maple with curved truss rod and skunk stripe). He shows how to make a drilling jig for the angled adjuster. A lot of our forumites build necks like this, you should be able to decide if you want to


    6A - I don't build that kind of neck. I'll link you to a build thread in a moment and give you another option

    7 If you really want a P90 sound consider just putting one in the neck position. It can be easily done without a pick guard - soap bars and dog ears mount differently. Hiscock has the template in the back of his book. Here is a Butz soap bar in the neck of a tele, standard single coil at the neck. Its pine, not burnt

    IMG_3620.JPG

    You can put rings around P90's so you don't need a pick guard - I never put them on my guitars

    8 - Otherwise as far as pickups go, I have built with boutique pickups (Fraulins, Butz) and some pretty generic ones. My personal tele clone and a couple of the barn casters got StewMac's golden age pups - they sound great and were half the cost of the fancy ones. Remember too that pups are easy to change

    9 - While you are thinking about your wood choices and since you plan to put a cap on it, consider weight relief for the body. I have chambered several of my most recent guitars and would never go back to a solid body. Yes it will make a difference in sound, might even be better

    10 - A last comment about your spalted maple cap. You are a wood worker, you know the issues. I would not recommend it to a non wood worker. A spalted cap can look incredible or be a nightmare

    OK, here is a build thread for my personal guitar. Its a chambered mahogany body (which should be close to redwood in characteristics), maple top, two piece neck, no pick guard - a lot of the things you are talking about. I also have far less power tools than it sounds like you do and don't really consider myself a wood worker. The guitar sounds very much like a telecaster

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/a-chambered-tele-ish-sort-of-thing.884657/
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2020
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  13. Tpoirier

    Tpoirier TDPRI Member

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    While I don't know about putting a P90 in the neck position I've looked at the Seymour Duncan P-Rails. With the one pickup I could get single coil, P90, or humbucker. I'd lose the 'true' tele neck pickup, but would retain an option for single coil there. Does anyone have experience with these?
     
  14. burtf51

    burtf51 Tele-Holic

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    2. DON'T!!! my favorite reply, now ya'll carry on
     
  15. Tpoirier

    Tpoirier TDPRI Member

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    An amusing reply, but you DON'T!! say why?
     
  16. mefgames

    mefgames Friend of Leo's Double Platinum Supporter

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    You wanna Strat, buy a Strat !!! IMHO.......
     
  17. mfguitar

    mfguitar Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    You can find cheaper but nothing better at this price.
    https://bootstrappickups.com/collections/t-style

    The beauty of building your own is you can do anything you want. You could always add the P90 later. There is some really great build posts here if you dig through the archives. Best of luck!
     
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  18. Tpoirier

    Tpoirier TDPRI Member

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    I already have a strat, and if I just wanted a tele I'd buy a tele. If I'm going to make it I want it unique and special.
     
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  19. mefgames

    mefgames Friend of Leo's Double Platinum Supporter

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    Well then, here you go.......


    ASHStrat copy.JPG
     
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  20. Tpoirier

    Tpoirier TDPRI Member

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