Your #1 Telecaster

That Cal Webway

Friend of Leo's
Silver Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2012
Posts
4,662
Location
Minot
My only one. (although my Strat is decked and blocked). Days of having 600 guitars are over.

IMG_20210506_114008899~2.jpg
 
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Fiesta Red

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Nov 15, 2010
Posts
8,847
Location
Texas
My first Telecaster is my #1 Tele—in fact, it’s my #1, go-to guitar for performing, jamming and recording, and it’s my #2 instrument for songwriting (I usually write on acoustic guitar). I bought it used c2002/3 from the fantabulous Competition Music in the beautiful Polytechnic neighborhood of Fort Worth. (Poly puts the “hood” in neighborhood…)

It was made in Ensenada in 1995, and started life as a “Tele Special” model. It had a coil-tapped humbucker in the neck position and a semi-complicated 5-way switch, which gave access to the coil-tapped options as well as normal “neck” and “bridge” settings. The 5-way was hard to use on the fly.

E305B61F-6BDE-465A-8E18-82C1D0EB6485.jpeg


The humbucker was also the sonic definition of “meh”…it wasn’t rich or dynamic or good-sounding at all—especially in the coil-tapped position.
I pulled out the humbucker and rewired it as an Esquire, which is how it stayed for about two or three years. I put a sticker of my band’s logo (Screamin Armadillos) on the replacement B/W/B Esquire pickguard.

ACE53AE4-B3A3-4558-8F67-936385705863.jpeg

(^Discussing what my daughter was going to say when she introduced us on-stage)

I found a cheap Mighty Mite P-90 on eBay for $20, and put it in the neck position. I did some experimentation as to where it should be set within the neck (humbucker) routing in the body. I found that it sounded best when positioned as closely to the bridge pickup as it would fit. Too close to the neck, and it sounded boomy.
After that, I gently peeled off the Screamin’ Armadillos sticker (and put it on my Pelican road case), skipped the coffee for a morning (for a steadier hand) and cut the Esquire pickguard with a Dremel tool.



I also put a 4-way Tele switch and a Fender No-Load Tone Pot in it, opening up a few options not found on a normal Telecaster.

A749BCB5-50A8-4B1B-8A30-92D9E3FACB80.jpeg


After a year or two, I tried to figure out how to make the somewhat vanilla-looking guitar look a little more dynamic. I put on a tortoise-shell pickguard (again, skipping the coffee and cutting it with a Dremel tool), which dressed it up a little. I also had a neck plate laser-etched with my band’s logo and the nickname of the guitar, “Big Tex” to further customize it.
I searched for a couple of years for a pinstripe design I liked, and when I found something Billy Gibbons had on one of his Esquires, I had a local pinstriper do something similar…it was a great finishing touch to make it look custom and one of a kind.

8D00D2C0-E553-4A7C-ABD1-10A13140E0DC.jpeg
77292D7D-E097-4638-B515-EC34A500224B.jpeg


The final thing I did was start playing the guitar with the “ashtray” bridge cover in place (Albert Collins Style)—I bought it just for a couple of pictures or just to keep in the case, in case it didn’t feel right…but not only did it work well with my fingerpicking style, it helped protect my right hand. I have eczema, and when it’s flaring up, the skin on my right hand will get shredded by the saddles, the bridge or even the string themselves. With the “ashtray” intact, everything works just right. It makes for another cool visual and helps me physically, too.

PS—I forgot one more thing…I put chrome done knobs on it just a couple of months ago…I like the look and feel better than the stock flat-top chrome one that were on it since it left the factory.
 
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JDB2

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jan 24, 2017
Posts
1,046
Location
Arizona
My first Telecaster is my #1 Tele—in fact, it’s my #1, go-to guitar for performing, jamming and recording, and it’s my #2 instrument for songwriting (I usually write on acoustic guitar). I bought it used c2002/3 from the fantabulous Competition Music in the beautiful Polytechnic neighborhood of Fort Worth. (Poly puts the “hood” in neighborhood…)

It was made in Ensenada in 1995, and started life as a “Tele Special” model. It had a coil-tapped humbucker in the neck position and a semi-complicated 5-way switch, which gave access to the coil-tapped options as well as normal “neck” and “bridge” settings. The 5-way was hard to use on the fly.

View attachment 986032

The humbucker was also the sonic definition of “meh”…it wasn’t rich or dynamic or good-sounding at all—especially in the coil-tapped position.
I pulled out the humbucker and rewired it as an Esquire, which is how it stayed for about two or three years. I put a sticker of my band’s logo (Screamin Armadillos) on the replacement B/W/B Esquire pickguard.

View attachment 986033
(^Discussing what my daughter was going to say when she introduced us on-stage)

I found a cheap Mighty Mite P-90 on eBay for $20, and put it in the neck position. I did some experimentation as to where it should be set within the neck (humbucker) routing in the body. I found that it sounded best when positioned as closely to the bridge pickup as it would fit. Too close to the neck, and it sounded boomy.
After that, I gently peeled off the Screamin’ Armadillos sticker (and put it on my Pelican road case), skipped the coffee for a morning (for a steadier hand) and cut the Esquire pickguard with a Dremel tool.



I also put a 4-way Tele switch and a Fender No-Load Tone Pot in it, opening up a few options not found on a normal Telecaster.

View attachment 986035

After a year or two, I tried to figure out how to make the somewhat vanilla-looking guitar look a little more dynamic. I put on a tortoise-shell pickguard (again, skipping the coffee and cutting it with a Dremel tool), which dressed it up a little. I also had a neck plate laser-etched with my band’s logo and the nickname of the guitar, “Big Tex” to further customize it.
I searched for a couple of years for a pinstripe design I liked, and when I found something Billy Gibbons had on one of his Esquires, I had a local pinstriper do something similar…it was a great finishing touch to make it look custom and one of a kind.

View attachment 986036 View attachment 986037

The final thing I did was start playing the guitar with the “ashtray” bridge cover in place (Albert Collins Style)—I bought it just for a couple of pictures or just to keep in the case, in case it didn’t feel right…but not only did it work well with my fingerpicking style, it helped protect my right hand. I have eczema, and when it’s flaring up, the skin on my right hand will get shredded by the saddles, the bridge or even the string themselves. With the “ashtray” intact, everything works just right. It makes for another cool visual and helps me physically, too.

PS—I forgot one more thing…I put chrome done knobs on it just a couple of months ago…I like the look and feel better than the stock flat-top chrome one that were on it since it left the factory.

Really enjoyed watching the evolution through those photos . . .
 

regularslinky

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Jul 22, 2004
Posts
1,880
Location
NEPA USA
2014 Rick Kelly T-style. What makes it my #1: it's light weight, just a hair over 6lbs. It has my all time favorite neck, Rick's Fatback profile. It feels and sounds better than any other guitar I've owned. It puts me - sort of - in the company of other Kellycaster players like Marc Ribot, Bill Frisell, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, etc. And it was handmade from old wood by nice people in a cool little shop in the coolest place on earth, Greenwich Village, NYC.

I changed the pickguard to parchment because I think it looks better than the original black. I reversed the control plate and switched out the Fralin neck pickup for a DiMarzio Twang King. For what I play, the stratty TK is better than the original Fralin stock neck pickup. The bridge pickup is the original Fralin stock pickup. This guitar can do anything.
Kelly IMG_4925.jpg
 

mimmo

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Posts
5,032
Age
46
Location
Paris France - Rome Italy
My first Telecaster is my #1 Tele—in fact, it’s my #1, go-to guitar for performing, jamming and recording, and it’s my #2 instrument for songwriting (I usually write on acoustic guitar). I bought it used c2002/3 from the fantabulous Competition Music in the beautiful Polytechnic neighborhood of Fort Worth. (Poly puts the “hood” in neighborhood…)

It was made in Ensenada in 1995, and started life as a “Tele Special” model. It had a coil-tapped humbucker in the neck position and a semi-complicated 5-way switch, which gave access to the coil-tapped options as well as normal “neck” and “bridge” settings. The 5-way was hard to use on the fly.

View attachment 986032

The humbucker was also the sonic definition of “meh”…it wasn’t rich or dynamic or good-sounding at all—especially in the coil-tapped position.
I pulled out the humbucker and rewired it as an Esquire, which is how it stayed for about two or three years. I put a sticker of my band’s logo (Screamin Armadillos) on the replacement B/W/B Esquire pickguard.

View attachment 986033
(^Discussing what my daughter was going to say when she introduced us on-stage)

I found a cheap Mighty Mite P-90 on eBay for $20, and put it in the neck position. I did some experimentation as to where it should be set within the neck (humbucker) routing in the body. I found that it sounded best when positioned as closely to the bridge pickup as it would fit. Too close to the neck, and it sounded boomy.
After that, I gently peeled off the Screamin’ Armadillos sticker (and put it on my Pelican road case), skipped the coffee for a morning (for a steadier hand) and cut the Esquire pickguard with a Dremel tool.



I also put a 4-way Tele switch and a Fender No-Load Tone Pot in it, opening up a few options not found on a normal Telecaster.

View attachment 986035

After a year or two, I tried to figure out how to make the somewhat vanilla-looking guitar look a little more dynamic. I put on a tortoise-shell pickguard (again, skipping the coffee and cutting it with a Dremel tool), which dressed it up a little. I also had a neck plate laser-etched with my band’s logo and the nickname of the guitar, “Big Tex” to further customize it.
I searched for a couple of years for a pinstripe design I liked, and when I found something Billy Gibbons had on one of his Esquires, I had a local pinstriper do something similar…it was a great finishing touch to make it look custom and one of a kind.

View attachment 986036 View attachment 986037

The final thing I did was start playing the guitar with the “ashtray” bridge cover in place (Albert Collins Style)—I bought it just for a couple of pictures or just to keep in the case, in case it didn’t feel right…but not only did it work well with my fingerpicking style, it helped protect my right hand. I have eczema, and when it’s flaring up, the skin on my right hand will get shredded by the saddles, the bridge or even the string themselves. With the “ashtray” intact, everything works just right. It makes for another cool visual and helps me physically, too.

PS—I forgot one more thing…I put chrome done knobs on it just a couple of months ago…I like the look and feel better than the stock flat-top chrome one that were on it since it left the factory.

Your tele is something I always like to look at! Very nice guitar and great story.
 

David Barnett

Doctor of Teleocity
Ad Free Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2003
Posts
17,583
Age
65
Location
The Far-Flung Isles of Langerhans
Mine's a '66 blonde/rosewood Tele I've had since 1979 or 1980 - I've had it so long I can't remember what year I acquired it. The late Tim Quertermus refretted it in 2008. It's got a 6-saddle Fender barrel bridge on it at the moment, I've got the original in a drawer. I'd stick it back on but I like the present setup on the guitar too much to fiddle with it.
 

Solaris moon

Tele-Meister
Joined
Nov 12, 2017
Posts
467
Age
48
Location
Fort Wayne
Let’s talk about your #1 Telecaster. What makes it your workhorse? Any upgrades? Please give details and show a pic of available. Thanks!
Sadly I have nothing to offer in the way of a review or story. I sold my beloved first and only real Telecaster - a 1951 NoCaster - not a reissue years ago. I needed the money. It was bone stock but I had to replace the neck as it met with a horrible fate. What a travesty to have that neck destroyed. I still have a sliver of it left. I parted it on on evilbay over 13 years ago. I have no pictures of it in one piece but I have a few of it after I refinished it in Butterscotch Blonde. This was drilled by hand as evidenced by the misaligned ferules. This is how they all were back in the day. The bridge holes for mounting were completely stripped out - I had to remove the screws by hand and fill them with superglue and toothpicks. I've since bought another one but I can't seem to get the finish on the neck the way that I want it and the body is just bare wood. That's how this one was when I bought it. I miss my baby......😥
 

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tfarny

Poster Extraordinaire
Joined
Sep 4, 2008
Posts
5,956
Location
Hudson Valley, NY
Mine is in the pic below, bottom left. Oddly, I don't own ANY of those other instruments anymore.
It's a partscaster I did from Warmoth body and neck for my 40th birthday, 11 years ago. Lollar 50s neck P90 and the bridge pickup is a Duncan JD. The bridge itself is from Hipshot, not sure they still make them. I have never changed any parts on it as everything was just right from the start. The neck is made from Canary wood, unfinished, with a Pao Ferro fingerboard. The body is a carved top thinline, an unusual option. It just...never fails me. It always sounds good, stays in tune, it's comfortable sitting or standing. I kind of dislike how it looks now even though I picked that neck and body specifically and other people seem to think it's cool. But whenever I am in doubt about what guitar to play, I know this one will work just fine.
 

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Bonneville Bruce

Tele-Holic
Joined
Jun 12, 2003
Posts
757
Location
Caldwell, Idaho
Mine is the Gorgeous Surf Green Fender '62 Custom. I jonesed for this for ten years, but couldn't afford the $2,200 retail. I finally found one on Reverb.com from a player Rhode Island at about half of retail. He had extensively customized the instrument with some expensive pickups and other upgrades.

From the seller: "Fender Custom Telecaster. American Made in the USA with Tweed Case. Fender Catalog Number: 01062-857 Just set up with 10.5 D'Addario strings. 4 Way switch with volume knob in the front for swells. Comes with the brass saddles, ashtray cover, and case candy, as seen in the pictures. The bridge pickup is a Lollar "52". The neck pickup is an APC Model T300N - "This is the pickup award winning country artist Brad Paisley uses on his Tele's in the neck position. Full and rich tone, noiseless, highest output of any Tele neck pickups, and responds to your touch." With the APC and Lollar pickups, there's a variety of tones from this guitar."

I played this lovely instrument and loved the way the seller had customized it. It sounded very modern, sweet, full-bodied and set up for a player. But, ... I still jonesed for the stock '62 custom. I purchased the '62 Custom pickups from Fender, and custom ordered a 62 Custom replica wiring harness, switch, caps, etc. from Sigler in Arkansas, and restored it to the stock '62 Custom of my dreams. I am a traditionalist when it comes to my guitars and amps. I liked the '62 Custom because it seems to have been Leo Fender's final statement on the Tele before he sold his company. And, it is in the inimitable and sublime Surf Green hue. (I am the proud owner of seven Fender Surf Green guitars!)

This lovely instrument is a great player and sounds like the heavenly embodiment of the traditional Tele tone machine. My heaven is this pretty little thing through a Blues Jr. amp with everything set at 12 o'clock and loud: guitar, cord, amp, and nothing else.
 

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Engine Swap

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Nov 28, 2014
Posts
2,918
Location
Chicago
After 8 years of being on this forum, I finally have a telecaster. 😎

2 years ago, I picked up a Warmoth roasted maple neck and unfinished alder body. Other projects got in the way, so I only got this together in the last 2 weeks.

I “finished” the body with shellac tinted with Mixol. Topped it with some wipe-on poly for protection.

Tuners are Gotah and the other parts were gathered from various sources. I chose Fender American Original “52” pickups.

Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out. The warmoth neck+body fit perfectly. I really love the Fender AO pickups. I went with a 4-way switch and find the series option is useful. Weighs 7lbs 1oz.

52096548788_5981b68695_k.jpg
 
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