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Thread: Tele-Style Guitar Build

  1. #1
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    Tele-Style Guitar Build

    Since the Société de Luthier de SawMillCreek have conveyed upon me a sufficiently substantial measure of their collective knowledge, and since I have used that knowledge to showcase, exhaustively and possibly annoyingly, my application of all I have learned (thank you guys), I will forgo the endless parade of pictorials.

    A friend of ours from Houston is in town on business. He's an avid guitarist and performs often. His favorite guitar is a natural wood body Telecaster. I probably oversold my skills, but he's asked me to build him a custom guitar. He pays for the materials and I get to have fun.

    We've been talking back and forth for weeks, discussing the minutiae, and what came from it was that little was changed from a standard Tele. I'm still working on that... In the area of wood selection though, we agree that different is better.

    For fun (and to help me make this happen), I made him a full scale drawing of his guitar. I told him he can have it plotted full scale and frame it. His response was, "This is amazing! It's going in my office!" So anyway, here's where we start on this project.



    FWIW, I've already shaped the neck, slotted & radiused the fretboard, and now the neck and fretboard are in glue-up.

    I worked almost 8 hours today!!! I need a vacation!

  2. #2
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    Oooooohhhhhh!

    I loves me some Telecaster. I have three ('72 Tele Custom original, not the reissue, '86 G&L ASAT, and '89 G&L ASAT NAMM guitar). I can't wait to see yours. If it were mine, I would put a humbucker in the neck position. I see you're using the new bridge / plate. This will be much easier to play than the original ashtray. I used to cut my right hand every performance until I modified it. Julie, your work ethic is remarkable. To knock out these as quickly as you do is impressive.

    I'd like to build one myself. I'd put a maple top and banding on it.
    Shawn

    "no trees were harmed in the creation of this message, however some electrons were temporarily inconvenienced."

    "I resent having to use my brain to do your thinking"

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Pixley View Post
    Oooooohhhhhh!

    I loves me some Telecaster. I have three ('72 Tele Custom original, not the reissue, '86 G&L ASAT, and '89 G&L ASAT NAMM guitar). I can't wait to see yours. If it were mine, I would put a humbucker in the neck position. I see you're using the new bridge / plate. This will be much easier to play than the original ashtray. I used to cut my right hand every performance until I modified it. Julie, your work ethic is remarkable. To knock out these as quickly as you do is impressive.

    I'd like to build one myself. I'd put a maple top and banding on it.
    I have a build thread kicking around somewhere where I did do a maple top, with a humbucker in the neck. It's a 25" scale length. The body is also modified for better fret access up high. The heel plate is gone in favor of a carved heal and countersunk washers. It looks an awful lot like a tele, but plays much better.

  4. #4
    "Pays for material..."

    It ends there for me. There's always some "benefactor" offering this hollow oppportunity to a budding or hobby luthier. Ususally an up and coming recording artist no doubt.

    I'm no mercenary but I've never worked for free. My time is worth too much to me. For no compensation I can think of endless personal projects that would benefit me more than doing someone else's bidding.

    Why is your time worth nothing to a nameless guitar player? Does He/She perform for nothing? Build it, get paid for it. Simple as that. You can do free work for the rest of you life, why?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Coloccia View Post
    I have a build thread kicking around somewhere where I did do a maple top, with a humbucker in the neck. It's a 25" scale length. The body is also modified for better fret access up high. The heel plate is gone in favor of a carved heal and countersunk washers. It looks an awful lot like a tele, but plays much better.
    I remember the thread now. I loved the heel design and execution. I though it looked well suited to better play above the 15th fret. I'll go back and look through you photobucket images.
    Shawn

    "no trees were harmed in the creation of this message, however some electrons were temporarily inconvenienced."

    "I resent having to use my brain to do your thinking"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Pixley View Post
    Oooooohhhhhh!

    I loves me some Telecaster. I have three ('72 Tele Custom original, not the reissue, '86 G&L ASAT, and '89 G&L ASAT NAMM guitar). I can't wait to see yours. If it were mine, I would put a humbucker in the neck position. I see you're using the new bridge / plate. This will be much easier to play than the original ashtray. I used to cut my right hand every performance until I modified it. Julie, your work ethic is remarkable. To knock out these as quickly as you do is impressive.

    I'd like to build one myself. I'd put a maple top and banding on it.
    Shawn, I'm learning a lot. I wish I knew enough about playing a guitar so I could understand why someone was a _________ person and someone else was a ___________ person (fill in the blanks). But what I have definitely learned is that "Musical Appreciation Disorder" MAD is a condition as unique as the musician. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

    The HB isn't going to happen. KB (our visitor) already has this setup in standard Tele style.

    KB has enjoyed watching his Tele's birth. I've been involving him in the process as best I can and he seems almost mesmerized by the transition from blocky looking pieces of wood into something that actually looks like a guitar. Since this is the first time I've had a "customer", I've taken this as an opportunity to get as much feedback on the build from the "client" as I can. And I've been working like a dog. It's been like having a real job again! (not so sure this was ever my goal...)





    After I was done roughing out the neck, I handed it to KB and said, "From now til tomorrow, keep this with you and find all the flaws. Run your hands up and down, side to side and every way in between. ANYTHING that bothers you, mark it up on the neck or make a note of it. Tomorrow I'll shape it some more and then let your hands do the walking again."

    At first he just raved. Then he played with the neck some more. We set up Brian's old Tele body with the new neck and before long the problems started to emerge. As he gently broke the news to me, I smiled. This was exactly what I wanted - critical feedback - and I knew (or hoped) we could, together, make this neck actually custom.

    How cool is that?

  7. #7
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    Julie, that is very cool. When I look at the picture of the back of the neck, I think you may want to smooth the transition from the neck to the headstock.
    Shawn

    "no trees were harmed in the creation of this message, however some electrons were temporarily inconvenienced."

    "I resent having to use my brain to do your thinking"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn Pixley View Post
    I think you may want to smooth the transition from the neck to the headstock.
    I've had KB working on that most of the morning. It's been quite a while since I had an apprentice to boss around. I've been the taskmaster, making him go back and fix all the bumps and dips my hand can detect. But I think it's paid off. He now says the neck feels perfect.

    Last night we were talking and he mentioned he already has 11 guitars. So I asked him how his wife feels about adding another to the collection. He said she plays the flute and has a collection herself, "and I never say anything about her flutes." I guess that means case closed. After that, my SO, Brian and KB were jamming. I've never had so much live music in this house. My daughter plays the flute but it was never as loud as last night. The musicians have taken over!

  9. #9
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    Our visitor flew back home today. He was still excited about the neck so I have a feeling he'll like the finished product.


    After he left I did the belly cut. It's a little harder to stay motivated working alone again. I put the headphones on and tried to lose myself in the music.



  10. #10
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    Julie,you got it wrong: It's Le Socitie du Guitars e se Derivees du Sawmill Creek.

    I speak less french than anything else!! Your Tele is looking good. I like your plan too.I'd like to have a full size plan like yours. I might get inspired to build a Tele.
    Last edited by george wilson; 05-03-2014 at 10:24 PM.

  11. #11
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    How about "Die Gesellschaft der Geigenbauer von Sagewerke Bach?"

    Julie, i like your drawing as well. You might consider framed prints for your clients....
    Shawn

    "no trees were harmed in the creation of this message, however some electrons were temporarily inconvenienced."

    "I resent having to use my brain to do your thinking"

  12. #12
    Years ago when I made guitars on a regular basis I hand drafted all of my models in full scale. Those drawings impress me more than the guitars when I stumble across then and look them over. I think of all of the erasing and re-work. Sketch Up made this a thing of the distant past. I like fench curves, battens and pencils.

  13. #13
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    When I drew up the plans for my house, it was pencil, eraser, T-square and ruler. I had this kids' drafting table and I had a month to draw up the plans, submit them to the building apartment and get them approved or the contract for buying the property would be voided.

    If anyone wants to download the plans...

    Tele-Style with Hot Rod dual truss rod - http://www.julimorcreations.com/Plan...ull-Std_TR.pdf

    Tele-Style with standard truss rod - http://www.julimorcreations.com/Plan...Full-HR_TR.pdf

    I really enjoy design so I'm going to keep making build plans and posting them. I've got a lot of work done, I just don't have the drawings polished up.

  14. #14
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    Drilling the thru-holes for the strings and the holes for the ferrules accurately had me stumped. My cruddy little drill press only has a 4" throat. I tried to rig up the mortiser but I'd need long bits that I wasn't sure would hold true through to the other side. If we ever manage to actually move to warmer climates, I had planned to try to sell some of the tools in the shop to whoever bought the house and buy new stuff for the new place. Regardless how selling tools went, I was definitely going to buy a real drill press.

    Yesterday I did. Now I can stop trying to play MacGyver with the drill press.

    I saw a very simple way to drill for the ferrules accurately:


  15. #15
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    I'm strictly old school myself. I drew up the plans for my new 30'x40' 2 story shop by hand. It was added onto the original 16' x 22' single car garage. Fortunately,the original garage was set way back from the front of the house. I was able to add on to it without the front edge of the new building getting out ahead of the house,which is against code. The well kept me from making the building any longer than 40'. The building had to be something like 20' from the well. Actually,I was extremely lucky that these perimeters were in the right places to allow me to add the large building on.

    My biggest problem was keeping the contractors actually USING the drawings that I took weeks to make. Poor supervision on the part of the contractor kept problems popping up. But,in the end,I made them do the job right.

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