The $65 Monoprice Indio Tele project - two p/p for six tones

Deaf Eddie

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Mar 17, 2003
Beautiful Idyllwild, CA
Polishing a turd? Probably...

When he was out here last, my grandson (eleven years old) took a shine to my Squier Bullet Tele with my Five-Tone Tele scheme. So, I've been on the lookout for a nice copy (but cheap!) for him, I figure I have plenty of time to spiffy it up for Christmas.

So, a month or so ago I jumped on the Monoprice Tele deal - got one for $65, including s/h. It's not terrible to begin with - except for the neck. Neck is a big C shape, frets are sticking out and need to be leveled, etc - all the normal cheapie guitar issues. But overall, the guitar seems solid, the bridge and tuners are OK for now, and I even think the pickups sound pretty good, if not what you might consider the "classic" Tele tone. Works for me.

An hour or so with some tools and the neck is now great. It's still a big C, but I kinda like it, hope the boy does, too.

I wanted to give him some of the trick switching that the Squier has, but I didn't have a 24-lug superswitch on hand - however, I do have a bunch of p/p pots in the parts bin. I put on the thinking cap and came up with this. It's a little bit an idea I stole from the Bill Lawrence Tele 5-way, and a trick I came up with for my pal Creston Lea.


For starters, I took everything off of the control plate and installed an Oak Grigsby 3-way, two p/p pots, and an Orange Drop .022uF cap

The volume p/p puts the pickups in series, same as the Fender 4-way scheme. The difference here is that I have wired so that the pull overrides the 3-way (as I have drawn up many times for Creston Lea). No matter what you have selected on the 3-way, pull the volume and you get the pickups in series. Sort of like an instant boost. But wait, there's more...

The tone p/p reverses the phase of the neck pickup - PLUS, when you pull for phase reverse, it puts an .01uF cap in series with the pickup, for a bass cut. This is the "half out of phase" idea from the Bill Lawernce 5-way scheme, hoping to get some quack of out of both pickups played parallel. Plus, it also works as a simple bass cut when you select the neck pickup alone.

Does it all work? Well, yes...

The three stock combos (bridge, parallel, neck) sound just fine to my ear, as I said, even with the stock pickups.

The volume p/p for series override works as expected. Good kick in volume but it doesn't seem to get muddy.

The tone p/p for half out of phase is interesting - parallel there's no way it sounds like a Strat, but it adds a little nasally midrange hump to the combo and doesn't get thin like a "full" out of phase combo.

The bass cut on the neck-alone is subtle. With the practice amp on my workbench, you can't really hear a difference, but with a regular "stage" amp, you can hear that it does take some of the woof out of the very bottom of the tone.

The series/half out of phase is something else. It's incredibly thin and bright, almost painful. Doesn't seem to have as much of that nasal honk as I expected, but it does have a bit of a volume drop to it.

I'll live with it for a month, and then decide if I need to change the scheme. So far, I like MOST of it...
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Doctor of Teleocity
Feb 11, 2006
Near Athens GA USA
Interesting electronics ideas.

I'm holding off on mods to mine since I've been pretty happy with it so far, after I took care of those nasty fret ends. The frets on mine were level and didn't require anything other than a polish. Plus, I have a more challenging parts guitar project I'm working on now that's not coming together like I want.

If I do change anything it will be to swap in the Tone Hatch pickups and 4-way switch from the kit Tele I put together a couple of years ago. I've never got along with the neck on that guitar but I like the pickups.