Monday, April 4, 2011

Building a Partscaster

I've been wanting to build an early-50's Telecaster replica for quite a while, you know, since dinosaurs roamed the earth. I even had an unfinished body sitting around in my basement for a couple years, then I decided to work out (rim shot please). No really, I had a Tele body waiting for paint and waiting for me to take the plunge by getting off the couch.

After sealing, sanding and painting in the warmer months last year (yeah, I know, I'm really slow about these things), I finally began amassing and adding the hardware needed. My finishing job however, left a lot to be desired. The surface of the body, in places, has the texture of Tommy Lee Jones' face. After painting it, I could really see the spots that could have used more sanding before I had painted. From now on I'm calling it "reliced," which is guitar-speak for antiqued.

Initially, I decided to use some of the hardware and neck from my 2000 American Telecaster, mostly to see if the routs and the body were correct. Turns out they were a little off, but not so much as to make the body unusable. I forged ahead into unknown territory.

Once I got the strings on, and did a few minor adjustments, I had to admit, and my wife can verify this, it was the worst playing guitar I'd ever owned. Really.

Ok, with a few more neck and bridge adjustments, it started to play a bit better. Then came the real test. Plugging it in.

My 8-year old son had been making jokes, imagining that when I did plug it in, all we would hear was something akin to an old man trying to clear his clogged nasal passages on a humid July evening. But miracles do occur, and when we fired up the Super Champ, we actually heard a guitar; no loud humming, buzzing or rude noises anyone's aunt would be offended by. It sounded like a Tele, and a good one at that.

On a more technical note, I have an SD Broadcaster pickup in the bridge position and a Custom Shop Texas Special in the neck position. Next step is to find a period correct neck and some domed knobs and I'll be good to go!

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