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This One is Mine

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by RifleSlinger, Apr 29, 2017.

  1. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    225
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho
    I’d like to present to you my new tele. She weighs in at 6.7 lbs. It took me 14 months to scrimp and save to put her together and get her done. I did everything but attach the neck, cut the nut nut, level, dress, and crown the frets, and do the initial setup, oh yeah, and make the parts.

    IMG_9771.jpg

    IMG_9783.jpg

    Here are the particulars:


    Rutters ash body, 3.6 lbs
    Musikraft 1 piece neck
    25.5” scale
    1.650 nut width
    Compound radius 7.25-9.5
    3/32” side dots
    Narrow spaced 12th fret dots
    Medium jumbo stainless frets
    52 U profile- 0.98”-0.98”
    Lightly roasted​
    Fender bridge with my birthday stamped as the serial number
    Rutters Hardware:
    Jack cup “Rutterscup”
    Ferrules
    Tuner bushings
    Control plate
    53 dome knobs
    String tree
    Compensated brass saddles​
    Fossil Walrus Ivory nut
    Gotoh 15:1 tuners
    Klein pickups
    Epic Esquire bridge
    Scooped Midrange neck with extra cover ground wire​
    Fender Bakelite pickguard
    Mojotone strap buttons and neck plate (I cheaped out on those)
    Mojotone 250k vintage taper volume pot
    CTS 250k push/put tone pot (I modified it to be a no-load pot)
    CRL 3-way
    Fender switch tip
    .33 Orange drop tone cap
    Stewmac treble bleed
    Sherwin Williams LOVOC nitro lacquer on body (I mixed the pigment for the blonde)
    Hand mixed shellac (dewaxed) finish on neck, applied via French polish with walnut oil used as a
    lubricant


    The luthier that I had set it up is known for spherical fret ends. I had him do those on this guitar. They are known to cost some fret real estate, but my neck came with frets that had quite a bit to work with and I thought it would be fine. They look cool, but I wouldn’t choose that again, due to it limiting the lateral real estate on the fretboard.


    IMG_9774.jpg

    I got a free case and I made my own strap from 1.25” rifle sling webbing (rifle slings are a side business of mine).


    She sounds about like this:





    I apologize but I used this heretical setup to play through.


    IMG_9770.jpg


    Getting a “blackfacey” amp of some kind is now my TOP PRIORITY
     
    DonM, awasson, brookdalebill and 3 others like this.
  2. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    225
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho
    The backstory:


    I started playing in about 1990, and in the 90’s I had a Squier strat (looked like Blackie until I added a Kahler and switched all the pickups), a Gibson Les Paul Classic, an 80’s Gibson Flying V, a random Washburn, a BC Rich Mockingbird (I played metal), and finally a Fender American Standard Strat (sunburst with maple fretboard). The Les Paul and the American Strat were my keepers, until I sold them when I got tired of guitar and needed cash for other hobbies. When I got my first real job in 2005 (late bloomer), I already had 3 kids with a 4th on the way (I have five now) and a stay at home wife. I really, really wanted a Fender Nocaster, but it was just a no-go.


    I quit playing in the late 2000’s or so. I started again in late 2015. I had an acoustic but no electric and no amp (I had a really cool 50 watt JCM 800, but sold it). A friend lent me the guitar equivalent of an 80’s Camaro with a 6-cylinder engine, this Kramer:


    IMG_9801.JPG

    Those Quad Rail humbuckers are, uh, really special.
     
  3. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    225
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho
    The good and bad:


    Good:

    She’s light and comfy
    She sounds snappy, loud, and articulate acoustically.
    This guitar is very responsive. The attack seems very immediate.
    If I bend a note while playing a simultaneous non-bent note, the unbent note with hold pitch (one aspect of “tuning stability”)
    The pickups sound pretty much exactly like I want them to, although at times I wish I’d gotten more of a 60’s style bridge pickup.
    The volume and tone knobs are very usable. This is the first guitar I remember ever using the tone knob with.
    The Rutters compensated saddles intonate reasonably well
    The neck plays pretty consistently over the entire fretboard
    I think the guitar will work for pretty much any kind of music I want to play.
    I love the slotted posts of the tuners. This is my first time with them.
    The French polished neck feels wonderful.


    Bad:


    The initial setup had the action extremely low. Part of it was that the neck had a backbow with no truss rod tension when I brought it to him (he showed me). The neck had .003” to .004” of relief, and the action at the low E was .045”, and .025” at the high E (that’s low action). I could not bend the high E a full step without it fretting out. I raised the action so I can bend, but my goal was to have no buzzing at all unless I picked the string hard enough to send it out of tune, but it still buzzes a little if I pick it normally. I tried raising the action even higher, but it didn’t eliminate the buzzing, which is pretty uniform all up and down the neck, but it was starting to feel crazy high and was still buzzing. I think I need more neck relief, but I think I have all I’m going to get with 10’s. I bought a set of 11’s to see if that will help give me a little more bow.


    The saddles are really prone to sitar-ing, mostly on the B and G strings. I don’t know if it varies from guitar to guitar, because I don’t read of that complaint often with these saddles. I sanded them once so far and it helped, but the B started up again pretty soon after. I think that straight compensated saddles may be more prone to cause the sitar effect. I’m considering switching to Rutters non-compensated Broadcaster steel saddles.


    The fret ends done spherically cause me to have to play carefully. Also, I like to be able to bend the B string down to raise the pitch a half step, but I can’t quite get there.


    The 15:1 ratio tuners are ridiculous. I actually thought I was getting 16:1, but I feel like even that would be too coarse. The low E is a little tough to get just right. At least they look cool.


    I have a little bit of a hard time dialing in the low E, tuning wise. I don’t know if it’s the nut, my stringing technique, that string being susceptible to sounding out of tune if it’s played dynamically, or what. It’s not been that big of a deal.


    My finishing skills SUCK. I had it in my mind to do everything I had to do in order to end up with a guitar that was nicer than a NOS Nocaster. Lord knows I tried. I did a total of four finish attempts. Epic fail. More on that later.
     
  4. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    225
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho
    Here is the body and neck as I received them. The body took a long time, like three months or something. The neck was faster than I expected. I got them within a week or so of each other. That was weird.


    IMG_9595.jpg IMG_9596.jpg


    I sanded the body, shellaced it to seal it, then grain filled. I tinted the grain filler to pop the grain. That was my major failure point. I used an oil soluble aniline dye in English Mohagany in Old Masters oil soluble grain filler. I used too much dye. I filled the front first, and at that point the dye was not fully integrated. By the time I did the back it was getting to look more like barbecue. So what ended up undoing me was that by the time I would start getting to the clear nitro the dye would start bleeding through. For some reason it never really did that during the blonde coats. It looked like ketchup or barbecue sauce on certain parts of the grain.

    IMG_9772.jpg IMG_9780.jpg


    At attempt four I decided just to live with it. After letting the finish sit a month and wet sanding, I finally did get the finish to a point where I could see myself in it. Not much to see there. Since then it has settled into the grain a bit and has some fine scratches from handling it. No big deal. That’s what it does.


    I would have saved money, time, energy, sanity, and the feeling of failure by sending it to someone like Colt W. Knight to have it done. Lesson learned.


    The neck was not as much of an abysmal failure. I saved a hundred bucks by not getting a blackguard neck. I did my own Tadeo taper, which was fun, easy, and turned out really nicely. It’s a friendly place for behind the nut bends, but I didn’t melt it so much that it lost the overall structured look of the original cut.

    IMG_9610.jpg

    IMG_9790.jpg

    IMG_9789.jpg


    I also moved the contour of the neck at the heel, slightly closer, so I don’t have the unnecessary knife edge in my hand when I get to the 16th fret and beyond. I got this idea of the thread discussing this area of Micawber. That went great too. I had to re-fill that part of the skunk stripe, and used CA glue, which was uneventful and easy.

    IMG_9786.jpg

    I gently broke the sharp edges on the headstock just for good measure. It’s not really noticeable, but it keeps the guitar more comfortable to use.


    Lastly, after getting the guitar back from the guy who assembled it and set it up, I rolled the fretboard edges. He had told me to order the neck with unrolled fretboard edges so he could do it during the fret end treatment. I think he must have thought that the couple coats of shellac I put on there was a finish and didn’t want to mess it up, but I had an easy time rolling the edges, and I’m glad it worked out that way.


    My French polish skills are weak, but the parts of the neck that see a lot of contact through playing really get shined up. The fretboard looks kind of spotty and uneven, because it’s difficult to polish, but I’m hoping that will get that worn in look anyway.



    Choosing pickups had me up at night, awake in bed. I had no solid frame of reference, never having owned a Tele. The descriptors are maddening because they have to objective meaning the context they are used. I ended up with the Klein Esquire because I heard a lot of clips of the Epic 52 that I liked. The 52 and the Esquire have almost identical specs. For some reason on the day I had money to order the bridge pickup I put the Esquire in the cart.


    I took the guitar in for assembly with the bridge pickup wired straight to the jack. Holy CRAP! That’s a potent experience. Laying into the guitar causes the HIGHS to really come out, but the dynamics in tone are unbelievable. I’m sure I lost some of that with all the circuitry.


    It took another few months to get a neck pickup, just due to money. I pestered the folks at Klein so much that I’d realized I had become one of “those” customers, not from anything they did or said, but I own a side business and some customers just need a lot of special attention. I was neurotic about getting the right tone. I couldn’t be more happy with the scooped mid range neck pickup. If anything, it has a bit more high end than I need, but it has the same sweet spot in the tone knob as the bridge pickup, so I think it works out perfect.


    Initially I was going to wire two push pull pots and have it switchable for phase and series parallel. I used a small cap and a resistor to do “half out of phase”. I had a lot of trouble with the wiring. I later discovered that I had continuity between the two grounds of the neck pickup, which was causing mayhem. I decided that the out of phase sound wasn’t worth it, and just to simplify things a bit went with only one switch. I don’t think I ever got a chance to hear the series sound out phase, which still has me curious.


    I fought with the wiring to the point of nervous breakdown threshold territory (slight exaggeration), then got some help here, and Klein sent me a replacement while I left the original in the meantime (I had pulled the grounds and had basic, albeit noisy, functionality).


    I chose a .033 tone cap. I tried several types, and three values, .047, .033, and .022. For most of what I play, the .022 would have been adequate, and for most of what I play, the lowest setting on the .033 was too muffled, but it does something special with a lot of distortion, like a woman tone or something. Wide open is a little harsh most of the time. I have two sweet spots, one about a third up and one somewhere between 6 and 8ish.





    I tried a couple treble bleeds. Mojotone makes one and Stewmac makes one. I would have homespun one to try more types out, but when I ordered a .001 cap from Stewmac they sent me a .015. I didn’t feel like going through the trouble of sending it back. The Stewmac one works well. The Mojotone one got tinny. One weird thing that seems to have happened with the Stewmac one is that the threshold for getting any signal at all moved and is now at about 3 or 4 ish.



    The guitar is the best one I’ve ever had, which I think owes to the basic soundness of the original design. The neck is very close to perfect for me, although I wish it were a little bit thicker, with a little less shoulder. It was hard trying to pick one sight unseen with not much to go on, but I did well picking out parts at least. I had imagined something that filled and fit my hand just a little more perfectly. That might be a fat C or D. I’m not sure. The thickness of the neck gives me a lot more leverage for controlling my bends.


    This is going to be a great guitar for me to renew my learning of music. I’m really super excited.


    Thanks for reading if you actually made it this far.
     
  5. cdwillis

    cdwillis Tele-Meister

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    Location:
    Indiana
    Looks great and sounds great too, regardless of the POD amp setup. I'm curious as to why you're getting that sitar sound from the bridge area. Maybe someone else will chime in.

    What was the first song you played on the dirty clip? It sounds so familiar, but I can't play it.
     
    RifleSlinger likes this.
  6. src9000

    src9000 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very nice. And sounds great!
    Congrats!
     
    RifleSlinger likes this.
  7. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

    Age:
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    Location:
    Idaho
    Thanks. I believe that the sitar sound happens in brass saddles when the strings dig themselves a rut. It happens with nuts too.

    The song is something from a metal band I was in in the early 90's in high school. I'm sure it sounds close to something else. There are only so many variations of metal in E :twisted: That riff is an economy picking one. Downstrokes on the high notes on the D string, followed by up and down on the A string, then down again on the D. Repeat ad nauseum...
     
  8. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
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    Thank you! I played a new American Professional today, and I didn't think it was nearly as nice as mine... except the uniformity of the finish :cry:
     
  9. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Looks and sounds really good, congrats.
     
    RifleSlinger likes this.
  10. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    All things come to those who are patient. Sweet guitar. Congratats.
     
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  11. pondcaster

    pondcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice work. Nice playing. Nice tones.

    Nice all the way around. Congrats!
     
    RifleSlinger likes this.
  12. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

    Age:
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    That has been a difficult lesson for me to learn. I probably could have been more patient than I was, but that is a whole 'nother story ;)

    Thanks for the kind words from both of you. Owning a tele has been everything I hoped it would be.
     
  13. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Beautiful guitar!
     
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  14. Lefty Addams

    Lefty Addams Tele-Afflicted

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    That neck looks lovely, satiny as they come, nice!
     
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  15. SolidSteak

    SolidSteak Friend of Leo's

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    That looks really excellent. Love how polished up and finished the neck looks. I had a LP copy with rounded off frets like than but it never seemed to bother my playing, and it looks very detailed. I would think it would only come into play if you're sliding up the fretboard on the E strings and it wobbles off the board?

    Like the saying goes, "There are many like it, but this one is mine." :)
     
    RifleSlinger likes this.
  16. falcon5romeo

    falcon5romeo Tele-Holic

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    That's a very tele-ish tele. Simple and classic. Good job.
     
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  17. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

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    Thank you. The neck finish keeps getting better as I play it. I think that the French polish cures pretty slowly. The playing seems to be making it softer as I go.

    As far as the high E, it's mostly a problem that happens during pulloffs, like in Jerry's Breakdown. I can keep it from happening, but i have to watch my technique. It also limits the amount of down-bending I can do, cutting me short of a half step on the B string, which I like to do while grabbing the G and B and pulling them down. It feels better down, but now I have to do that while bending both upward.
     
  18. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

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    That's exactly what I was going for, a very tele-ish tele. Thank you for that :)
     
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