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First Project... Any Comments Or Suggestions...

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Hi All,

total newbie when it comes to refinishing and rebuilding guitars so i'm just asking for advice or comments before I suddenly make some huge error...

Bored with strats/lespauls, I've gone and got myself an eBay Tele. It's (originally) a Squier Master Series thinline tele - HH, Semi-hollow, Bound laminate top with a set (yes, set) maple neck. Plays/Played pretty well, but sounded weak and the yellow varnish job was a bit disgusting.


Enter a handheld mouse sander and a large bag to put everything non-wooden in.

I'm planning on the following:

Sand all the finish off and then ebonize the back, sides and neck. The top I'll prime and spray silver (think gretsch silverjet, only minus the silver flakes and plastic). Body finished in gloss lacquer, neck in satin.

Hardware replaced with sperzel locking tuners, and a new standard tele style bridge but with a humbucker sized hole. I've seen some cheap, some not-so-cheap, but what's the best thing to do? Buy a cheap one and replace the saddles, or go straight for a Gotoh bridge? The routing for the humbucker is already in place, however the problem here is that the original bridge seems unique to the guitar, and trying to get a standard tele bridge to fit it may casue serious problems with string straightness etc - any advice on refitting a new bridge would be appreciated since this is the first time i've tried anything like this.

Electronics replaced with a Kent Armstrong P90 in the neck and (it was going to be a KA motherbucker, but for fear of turning into a muse/manson wannabe) a DiMarzio D-Sonic in the bridge - flipped so that it's more geared towards standard tuning. If I can coil-tap this one too, then I will. Kind of debating whether or not the D-Sonic is a good idea, or go for a SD Custom Custom (SH-11)

I usually play a Strat through a Fender HR DeVille, usually with an old Marshall Guv'nor or EHX Big Muff. This guitar (the tele) will be something that I can detune and thrash about with, but ideally have a bit of veresatility to accomodate crunchier sounds...

Any comments, thoughts or advice please shout!



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It sounds like a good project and you seems to have the working order down. Maybe the hand held sander isn’t tough enough to take care of the finish. You might try a chemical stripper. Will save you hours of dusty work.

Why replacing the bridge? Is it busted or something? Some more info is required to help you. If you are going to detune a lot you might want to have a look at the trilogy bridge:


I was thinking the Strat version and the original HB mounting (I guess that it is mounted to the pick guard).

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I did buy some chemical strpper, but have been hesitant using it on the grounds that the neck is glued on, the top is laminate, and the binding is also glued. I've done the back and 30% of the sides with the handheld sander, and it seems to do a half decent job so far - certainly is useful for the curves and angles on the body, plus the pre-contoured attatchements seem to be similar contour to the neck, so should make that a bit easier.

I'd only de/re-tune to drop d if in standard tuning, or put some 11s or 12s on it and drop another tone from that (down to C), so I think the Trilogy is a bit excessive for my requirements at the moment. Thanks for the tip though, and will certainly bear that in mind for 'future' features - this is going to be a bit of a project guitar so I'm sure things will change in time...

I'm replacing the bridge on the grounds that the original squier one is not really of the same build quality as that of (say) an american counterpart - ie stainless steel or titanium saddles, large steel baseplate etc. I know that replacing all the parts is not going to make a squier sound like a custom built usa guitar (that's why i already own a usa guitar...), but at the same time i'd like to maximise the tone possible from the guitar - hence replacing the bridge.

Plus for vanity points (yes i really am that shallow...), a large chrome tele bridge just looks so much nicer than the hard-tail strat version...


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