purifyingpepper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Posts
11
Location
Pittsburgh
Hey all! This is my first post here. My apologies if anything is out of line.

Just picked up this Tele on a trade for an SG that wasn't getting played. I wouldn't say it's in rough shape, more like confused shape.

First of all, I don't know what I'm looking at, and neither did the previous owner. As you can see, the body and neck have Fender-stamped metal markers, but there is no serial number as far as I can tell. I found some mention of something similar on a different forum, but the post was so old I couldn't see any of the pictures from it anymore to confirm if it really was the same thing. In that case, the neck and body were genuine parts bought from Fender and stamped in a similar manner. Apparently Fender sold necks and bodies stamped this way sometime pre-2000? To be clear: this guitar plays great, the neck feels excellent and whatever it is, I'm happy with the trade I made. To whatever end, the search for this guy's origin is one of curiosity more than anything.

Second of all, he needs some love. The guitar works as-is, but I think this was a half-arsed project by the looks of things. I tried to capture the anomalies in the pics attached, but allow me to explain. The bridge pickup is not actually secured by those 3 screws in the tailpiece (is that what it's called on a tele?). There are 3 screws in there, as you can see, but they're just kinda...hanging out. You can pull them out. Wrong-sized screws is a theme with this guitar, as you can see in the pic of the control plate. The highest and lowest screws are flathead and seem to fit, the middle two screws are Phillips and do not. They "work", but they're too big. I believe the pickguard is also the wrong size. I tried to capture the warping tension it's forced under in one of the pics, but it's hard to tell. Basically, I think it's too small. It's bent up and bowing in the middle.

Finally: the electronics. I haven't hide time (or bravery) to completely gut this thing in the 48 hours I've had it, but I've got some initial impressions after plugging it in and removing the pickguard. The bridge pickup is not secured, as previously stated. The neck pickup seems to be good to go. Both pups work, as does the volume, tone and switch. However, there is a decent amount of buzz when amped, which I could completely negate by touching my fingers to the control plate. My limited knowledge tells me that may be a grounding issue?

That's the basic rundown of what I know! With the gracious help of you all, here's where I'd like to take this thing:

1) What is it? And then...
2) How do I know what size screws/pickguard/string tree (it's just rusty) I need to get to replace these ones?
3) I have a soldering iron kit, minimal knowledge and a strong will to not pay for a repair if I don't have to. Can I reasonably expect to take a crack at the electronics?

I appreciate anyone who takes the time to read this post! Finally emerging from lurking this forum with something to contribute feels cool.
 

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ChicknPickn

Friend of Leo's
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Joined
Apr 16, 2007
Posts
4,943
Location
Coastal Virginia
I do my own wiring, but sometimes daydream about buying a ready-made harness. Do it at least one time. It’ll make a man outta you.

Of course, you can get hardware at Amazon, but I’ve used Guitar Fetish for many small items. Take a look.

Nice looking guitar. Here’s mine that’s a little like it:

0E29E10C-FBB2-43FD-AFF4-4B8C8050D941.jpeg
 

purifyingpepper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Posts
11
Location
Pittsburgh
I do my own wiring, but sometimes daydream about buying a ready-made harness. Do it at least one time. It’ll make a man outta you.

Of course, you can get hardware at Amazon, but I’ve used Guitar Fetish for many small items. Take a look.

Nice looking guitar. Here’s mine that’s a little like it:

View attachment 1057312
Thanks, that's a beautiful guitar. Anything but a lipstick pickup in the neck completely changes the attitude of a Tele, imo. I really dig the tuxedo look of yours.

RE small parts: I'm not familiar with the variability of that world. My fear was that I'd have to know more about the guitar to find suitable hardware for it. Is that not the case? Is the hardware pretty standardized across models/years?
 

DrBeezus

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 6, 2012
Posts
238
Location
Belmar, NJ
That's a partscaster using replacement neck and body. I remember seeing those medallions on replacement parts in the 90s.

 

Hodgo88

Tele-Holic
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Posts
796
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Eastern Oregon
According to that thread, that dates this as a mid 80s - 90s Genuine Fender Partscaster. That logo looks a little odd to me, but who cares. It's a Tele.

I recently tackled my first harness and it really was no sweat. Got a decent iron and use leaded solder and you'll get there in no time.

Here's a screw size list: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/tele-screw-sizes-list.138790/

I like Philadelphia Luthier Tools or StewMac if you're in the US.

Oh and, if the buzzing goes away when you touch the strings, that sounds like normal 60 cycle hum from the single coils. You could try shielding the cavities while it's gutted, or swapping in noiseless pickups of some sort.
 

Peegoo

Doctor of Teleocity
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Beast of Bourbon
Yep. Fender aftermarket body and neck with what looks like non-Fender parts. Do not let that discourage you because a whole bunch of great music has been made with non-Fender Tele-like beasts.

If a buzzing noise goes away when you touch the strings or any metal hardware, it means the guitar is properly wired and properly grounded; that's how this is supposed to work. Your body acts as an audio filter (capacitance) to drain RF interference to ground.

Chances are a previous owner loosened the bridge pickup screws so far that they unthreaded. Remove the strings and remove the bridge plate. Reinstalling them properly is impossible without removing the bridge plate. Once you get a look in there you'll see how they are installed. Some Teles have rubber tubes on the pickup screws and some have springs; these keep the pickup tight in the bridge plate as the screws are adjusted for proper distance between the pickup and the strings. Look here:



Anything but a lipstick pickup in the neck completely changes the attitude of a Tele, imo.

The Telecaster's neck pickup is not a lipstick. That is a misnomer because it's got that shiny metal cover and from 50 feet away looks like a lipstick pickup as used on the guitars made by Danelectro (also branded Silvertone for Sears and Airline for Monkey Ward). The Tele neck pickup and the Dano lipstick are quite different in design and tone.

What-is-a-Lipstick-Pickup.jpg
 

purifyingpepper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Posts
11
Location
Pittsburgh
That's a partscaster using replacement neck and body. I remember seeing those medallions on replacement parts in the 90s.

Thanks for the link! It's amazing you managed to find pics of the this thing on a different site from someone who didn't pull the trigger! The user saying that the medallions look crudely installed isn't wrong, they really are, but the neck on this thing feels like it was definitely made with quality in mind.
 

purifyingpepper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Posts
11
Location
Pittsburgh
Yep. Fender aftermarket body and neck with what looks like non-Fender parts. Do not let that discourage you because a whole bunch of great music has been made with non-Fender Tele-like beasts.

If a buzzing noise goes away when you touch the strings or any metal hardware, it means the guitar is properly wired and properly grounded; that's how this is supposed to work. Your body acts as an audio filter (capacitance) to drain RF interference to ground.

Chances are a previous owner loosened the bridge pickup screws so far that they unthreaded. Remove the strings and remove the bridge plate. Reinstalling them properly is impossible without removing the bridge plate. Once you get a look in there you'll see how they are installed. Some Teles have rubber tubes on the pickup screws and some have springs; these keep the pickup tight in the bridge plate as the screws are adjusted for proper distance between the pickup and the strings. Look here:





The Telecaster's neck pickup is not a lipstick. That is a misnomer because it's got that shiny metal cover and from 50 feet away looks like a lipstick pickup as used on the guitars made by Danelectro (also branded Silvertone for Sears and Airline for Monkey Ward). The Tele neck pickup and the Dano lipstick are quite different in design and tone.

What-is-a-Lipstick-Pickup.jpg

Thanks for the wiring info, and the clarification on the pickup nomenclature! Because the buzz was so significant I assumed there must be a wiring issue, but this is the first older, song coil guitar I've had my hands on. Is a significant hum normal?
 

purifyingpepper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Posts
11
Location
Pittsburgh
According to that thread, that dates this as a mid 80s - 90s Genuine Fender Partscaster. That logo looks a little odd to me, but who cares. It's a Tele.

I recently tackled my first harness and it really was no sweat. Got a decent iron and use leaded solder and you'll get there in no time.

Here's a screw size list: https://www.tdpri.com/threads/tele-screw-sizes-list.138790/

I like Philadelphia Luthier Tools or StewMac if you're in the US.

Oh and, if the buzzing goes away when you touch the strings, that sounds like normal 60 cycle hum from the single coils. You could try shielding the cavities while it's gutted, or swapping in noiseless pickups of some sort.
Thanks so much for that list, that's a big help. I'll look into shielding the cavities. The whole world of DIY electronics is new to me but it's something I'd like to tackle myself if I can.
 

Hodgo88

Tele-Holic
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Feb 10, 2021
Posts
796
Location
Eastern Oregon
Is a significant hum normal?
Yes, but stomping on your tuner or rolling off the volume when you're not playing is an easy enough fix. Eliminating single coil hum entirely is kind of a rabbit hole because most solutions either can't address it completely or end up altering the tone in an undesirable manner.

On the plus side, now you can see where humbuckers get the name - they "buck" (get rid of) single coil hum!
 

purifyingpepper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Posts
11
Location
Pittsburgh
Yes, but stomping on your tuner or rolling off the volume when you're not playing is an easy enough fix. Eliminating single coil hum entirely is kind of a rabbit hole because most solutions either can't address it completely or end up altering the tone in an undesirable manner.

On the plus side, now you can see where humbuckers get the name - they "buck" (get rid of) single coil hum!
Wow, that just connected some dots for me haha. I neved really questioned why they were called humbuckers, makes a lotta sense!
 

purifyingpepper

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 1, 2022
Posts
11
Location
Pittsburgh
If the hum is going away when you touch the strings, that means it is not properly grounded. That hum is different from 60 cycle hum from single coils.
That was my thought. I'm no expert, but it struck me that significant hum that completely goes away when you touch the control plate may just be a wiring issue. I'll know more when I have a chance to take it apart!
 

Mongo Park

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Nov 28, 2010
Posts
1,439
Location
Winnipeg
As other said a ground issue. I think when you take it apart the bridge plate is not grounded. And the wires are all to long inside. A proper ground without ground loops and wires only as long as needed goes a long way to a tele that only makes the sounds you want it to.
 




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