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NGD: My first Tele, and my first guitar assembly

Discussion in 'Guitars' started by BlueX, Oct 14, 2021.

  1. BlueX

    BlueX Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    I’ve understood from good guitarists, including members here on MF, that Tele is a necessary axe in the arsenal. For some time I’ve been looking to close this gap and wipe that shameful NTO stamp off my profile. My idea was to get an inexpensive guitar, where I could change pup’s, wiring, etc., without destroying significant value (haven’t done this before).
    - Checked out some used ones, but there was always something: strange mod’s, broken parts, or ridiculous asking price (for a used ordinary mass-produced guitar).
    - Tested a new Fender Player for about $ 850, but that was a big disappointment: switch knob came off immediately, tone control knob scratched against the metal plate, and the whole instrument felt like a $ 150 beginner guitar.​

    Maybe build one instead (sorry Fender)? Googled for info, and found threads here on MF. Members suggested e.g. StewMac, Warmoth, and Allparts, and I also found recommendations on Precision Guitar Kits (if someone is interested). Note that I cannot make any recommendations, yet!

    StewMac happened to have 25% off on their cheapest Tele kit, down to $ 160. I haven’t built, or assembled, any guitar before. So why not start with this one, as a learning project. If I fail completely I’ve only lost $ 160 (plus paint and VAT) and at least gained some knowledge in the process. I ordered this kit, and here it is: mahogany body and neck, pre-fretted Indian Laurel fretboard, pre-installed truss rod, and some of the electronics already soldered. Otherwise unfinished and unassembled, but complete with all parts (including strings, and one extra set for set-up).

    The kit shipped to Sweden in 6 working days (plus weekend). Standard freight would have been about $ 95, but StewMac’s $ 34/year membership gives free international shipping.

    StewMac doesn’t ship the finishing set overseas (flammable content), so I’m currently trying to source paint, etc. There is a Swedish supplier (Gitarrdelar.se) of nitrocellulose guitar paint, but they don’t offer the Butterscotch Blond that I want. Instead, I found Northwest Guitars in the UK that offers the right colours. I’m currently figuring out which products I need for finishing: e.g. grain filler, sanding sealer, primer, paint, and top coat (not primer for translucent colour, though).

    First step in the process is to decide shape of headstock. The part has extra material, to be trimmed down to a normal Tele head, dragon head, or whatever you want.

    Now I’m finally a Tele Owner, and there are only some working hours before I also can play it. I will add more text and pictures during the building process, for anyone who is interested in doing the same thing. If I’m successful, this will probably not be my last build project. Then I will look at the more expensive kits.
    StewMac Tele kit.JPG

    Some inspirational videos (if Tele’s good enough for these guys, it’s good enough for me):





     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2021
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  2. PelliX

    PelliX Well-Known Member

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    Congrats on your first Tele! I still have and play mine - wouldn't part with it for the world!

    The kit looks decent, though I'd perhaps already swap out the 'import' switch and what appear to be small (alpha?) pots. I like the ashtray bridge and screw-in jack plate. Black pickguard. Nice.

    But a mahogany neck? Traditionally a Tele has an ash or alder body, for the most part, but the neck has always been maple :shrug:

    Let us know how it works out! :thumb:
     
  3. Eric'45

    Eric'45 Active Member

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    Congrats on joining the Tele Club!
    a Mexico Tele was my first real Electric and I still love Teles in all Variations, even though I play more Metal these days:metal:
    Really cool you have gone the Route of assembling a Kit- it takes a bit of confidence, but you build up kind of a special bond to that Instrument you have made with your own Hands.
    I am myself in the process of a Tele Build- look how my Body Turned out:
    telbody.jpg
    That's a Swamp Ash Body from Rockinger I bought unfinished. I am a Carpenter,so that was professionally Dyed and later Spray Painted with Semi- Gloss PUR Lacquer. I'm struggling a bit right now, since I thought it wouldn't fit if a Carpenter just buys a Neck:facepalm:.
    We'll see, maybe in the End when all attempts fail, I buy a ready- made Neck:rofl:

    Good luck on your own Build!
     
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  4. Beltalowda

    Beltalowda Active Member

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    I have always loved playing guitar, but that love grew even more when I started playing Teles.

    Congrats and looking forward to seeing the finished project!
     
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  5. PelliX

    PelliX Well-Known Member

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    Why did you obscure the neck pocket?
     
  6. Sapient

    Sapient   Platinum Supporting Member

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    That's quite nippular, OP. I like it. Good luck!
     
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  7. Eric'45

    Eric'45 Active Member

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    Because it was lying around in our Workshop, I had written my whole real Name and Signature here:D and didn't want to share that with the whole Internet, that's all
     
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  8. fitz288

    fitz288 Well-Known Yinzer Silver Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the Tele world.
    Looking forward to some build pics.
     
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  9. GregM

    GregM Well-Known Member

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    Happy new build day and grats on the tele!
     
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  10. fitz288

    fitz288 Well-Known Yinzer Silver Supporting Member

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    My first build was a Tele kit from Muslady that I got on ebay for $95.
    (I'm in the process of rerouting it for P-90s & converting to a deluxe style 2V/2T)
    It also had a blank slab headstock that I had to cut to shape.
    There are a lot of different sizes and shapes used by Fender over the years on different model variations.
    I found this site that you can download full scale pdf templates.
    Fender Telecaster Guitar Templates | Electric Herald
    Good luck on the build!
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2021
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  11. BlueX

    BlueX Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the congrats and good luck wishes (I do need them)!

    I will think about the components while finishing body and neck (that will take some time). The wood selection is odd, and in no way traditional. I guess they can source mahogany cheaper than ash, alder, or maple.

    The red body with the white pickguard looks really nice! I can understand your situation with the neck, have a similar tendency myself sometimes.

    This was spot on, thanks! I think I will go with a '50-ies style headstock.
     
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  12. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom >>> Moderator <<< Staff Member

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    The nice thing about picking up something like this, is that you can do whatever you want, w/o much, if any guilt...

    A few years back, I saw a guy, who had a bunch of Tele bodies for sale. He had about a dozen. They were assembly line rejects from Fender Corona. He also had a few from the Ensenada plant (MX)...

    I picked out what I thought would be the best choice bodies from the US models. I got 2 US standards & 1 '52 RI...

    The 1st thing I did, was got out a router & routed it for double humbuckers & rounded the edges like a Strat...

    I'd bet that no one would ever do that w/ a Gibson Les Paul... :)...

    Make it into whatever you want. You can't do any wrong, as long as you're happy, when it's all said & done. Sometimes learning is the best thing, even if this iteration doesn't do it for you. It will set you in the right direction though. Just ask Dirty Steve...

    Although, he started on a premium body/neck...
     
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  13. StrummerJoe

    StrummerJoe Well-Known Member

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    You'd be surprised how many got their start with a kit. The first can be a painful learning experience. I highly recommend seeking out some tutorials on youtube.

    Best of luck! I look forward to seeing the results.
     
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  14. StrummerJoe

    StrummerJoe Well-Known Member

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    How many vintage P90 equipped LP's were destroyed by someone routing and in installing HB's back in the day?

    That said, I don't think anyone is doing that THESE days.
     
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  15. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom >>> Moderator <<< Staff Member

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    *improved

    fixed that for you... :)...
     
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  16. BlueX

    BlueX Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks, again, for your supportive comments!

    Have you got any pictures of this guitar? Would be interesting to see.
     
  17. Kinkless Tetrode

    Kinkless Tetrode Well-Known Member

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  18. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom >>> Moderator <<< Staff Member

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    not a great pic, but, this was one of them....

    PAUL6581 copy.jpg

    The 1st one, the thought I had was to make a JMP looking one.

    this is it's sister:

    PAUL6537 copy.jpg

    The hardware is the same, because, on the bottom one, I installed checkered grillcloth & a 6" Marshall emblem. (I can't find any pictures). The pickguard has a piece of black elephant tolex on it...

    So, I pulled this one apart, & threw the parts on the top one, to play as-is. I didn't end up w/ gold hardware, nor black pickguard, well, actually, I did a black mirror pickguard & control plate. I don't have any images right off, but, these show the rounded edges on the 2 US models...

    Here's images I took of the 3 bodies, before any work...

    3teles.png
     
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  19. Dogs of Doom

    Dogs of Doom >>> Moderator <<< Staff Member

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    I found a picture, of the mock up - my original design to make the bottom one:

    marshalltelemockup.png

    although, it's not true, to how it came out. I just photoshopped some grill (out of scale) into the area.
     
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  20. PelliX

    PelliX Well-Known Member

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    I'm honestly contemplating Marshall knobs in one of my Tele's now... I like the design. I'd like a Marshall style Facelift for a guitar, certainly. Cool stuff, Dogs!
     
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