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First Build - Walnut Telecaster Custom(sort Of)


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Well, technically my second, but I never finished the first because it was a resounding failure. The neck pocket was messed up beyond reasonable repair because of a boneheaded mistake, so I shelved it and got a new body for cheap off eBay. 1 piece American Walnut, only $150 :D

frontbackwalnut.jpg

The pickups needed to be rerouted deeper and I needed to route the neck pocket to accept the strat neck. I accidentally made the pocket a little loose(the stew-mac template is a bit large), but that ended up being a good thing because the guy who made the body didn't have the neck pocket and string holes square. The sustain isn't Les Paul, but it's still solid despite the pocket being about 1mm loose on the treble side. No harm done :D

Here is the result:

waltelefull.jpg

waltelefront.jpg

walteleback.jpg

Also my first nut cut. I shaped it with a big single-flute file and a dremel tool w/ drum sanding bit, and slotted it with a hack saw to start the slots and spiral tip cleaners to get them to the right depth/shape. Came out better than the ones the hack at my local guitar shop makes.

nut.jpg

Specs:

Walnut Body stained and finished thinly(6 coats) with satin nitro, w/ tummy cut

Maple/Rosewood 1998 MIM strat neck

Mystery 80s Dimarzio 10k Neck pickup

GFS Lil Puncher 10k bridge pickup

Schaller/fender locking tuners

Gotoh Tele Bridge

1M volume, 500k/500k treble/bass cut, 4-way switch(1. Bridge, 2. Neck+Bridge parallel out of phase, 3. Neck, 4. Neck split)

Aged hardware(I felt like it, don't judge)

Honestly, the best guitar I've ever played(including American standard Gibsons and Fenders, nothing custom shop or vintage though). Probably because I was able to cut the nut the way I like it and choose the pickups.

I know the black humbucker mounting ring doesn't match very well. The pickguard I ordered still hasn't shown up after 2 months so I used what I had lying around. I'll probably make an aluminum one soon.

Here's a sound sample, you can hear a little bit of fret buzz because this neck still has the original fret job and needs a reradiusing because it has a slight hump in it:

www.soundcloud.com/xkeegan/new-tele-smell

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Nice work Keegan. I really like the both pickup sounds clean and distorted, to my ears there is a lot going on.

Sorry, i would like to describe more in depth than "A lot going on" but i'm not the best at putting it in words. :D

Chad.

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Looks like a nice build. Walnut is beautiful and I think it smells nice too.

I'm curious why you recut the neck pocket. A Strat neck would leave a couple of gaps in the corners but it should bolt right in. The forward most part of the curve on the Strat heel is exactly the same place along the scale as the same spot on the heel of a Tele neck. If you routed the front of the pocket to match the profile of the Strat neck heel, bad news...you just moved your neck forward about 3/16. It's gonna be tough if not impossible to intonate.

Hopefully I'm getting this wrong from your description.

Peace,

Mark

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Overall you did a nice job with this build. Personally I liked the color of the natural walnut better and would have skipped the stain. I do like the aged look to the hardware though. I like that you used walnut as well, I think it is one of the most underated tone woods around. Now we just have to keep it a secret among the community here so Fender or Gibson don't jump on the bandwagon.

It could be just the pictures, but the third and fourth picture look like this has either a lot of minor orange peal, or else when you sprayed the nitro it raised the grain and made the finish fuzzy.

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If you routed the front of the pocket to match the profile of the Strat neck heel, bad news...you just moved your neck forward about 3/16. It's gonna be tough if not impossible to intonate.

It's intonated just fine. I did measure to make sure I wouldn't be pushing the intonation too far back. The original neck pocket would have put the high e saddle right on the edge of falling off the screw. It's intonated with a strobe tuner in those pictures, within a couple cents, so you can see everything is sitting comfortably around 1/2-2/3s of the screw length.

Overall you did a nice job with this build. Personally I liked the color of the natural walnut better and would have skipped the stain. I do like the aged look to the hardware though. I like that you used walnut as well, I think it is one of the most underated tone woods around. Now we just have to keep it a secret among the community here so Fender or Gibson don't jump on the bandwagon.

It could be just the pictures, but the third and fourth picture look like this has either a lot of minor orange peal, or else when you sprayed the nitro it raised the grain and made the finish fuzzy.

Everyone does natural finishes, they're boring. I like stained wood.

It's probably just the pictures, it doesn't look orange peeled in person. It did however collect a lot of dust when I finished it, so I had to rub it with some steel wool to remove the dust. It could also just be the grain. I didn't grainfill(personal preference).

I think the reason they don't use walnut is the weight. It would make guitars more expensive to make if they had to chamber all of them to reduce the weight. This one is 10lb, heavy but just about where I like it. It is a great wood, though. I see it as a local alternative to the looks and feel of mahogany. It also has a lot more strength and doesn't muddy the sound like mahogany does.

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It's intonated just fine. I did measure to make sure I wouldn't be pushing the intonation too far back. The original neck pocket would have put the high e saddle right on the edge of falling off the screw. It's intonated with a strobe tuner in those pictures, within a couple cents, so you can see everything is sitting comfortably around 1/2-2/3s of the screw length.

Cool. Glad to hear that.

Peace,

Mark

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