Birth of a Tele – Part 1

Now that I’m officially “retired,” I thought it was a good time to start a new hobby. Well, maybe not entirely new, but something I haven’t done for a long time. So I’ve decided to build a (actually, another) Telecaster guitar. It’s not that I need another Tele, but since when does “need” have anything to do with it!

This all started rather innocently when I was going through some drawers looking for something (now I don’t even remember what I was looking for) when I came across a Tele bridge and control plate. And then a few days later, I stumbled across a set of Tele Kinman pickups I had forgotten that I even had. What can I say, it was kismet! I almost had no choice but to put those parts to good use in a new Tele. After all, who am I to tempt fate!

Here are the parts I was able to find in drawers and closets that I had completely forgotten about.


To get the ball rolling, I needed a body. I have a couple of old Tele bodies in my closet, but the reason they’re in the closet and not part of complete guitars is that they both weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of one ton. Because of old age and a bad back, I needed something much lighter. So I bought an unfinished paulownia body from GFS and gave it a quick finish with Tru Oil. I didn’t want a glossy factory-type finish, but something more like an old barn door. To get that, I just sanded the body lightly to smooth it out a little and then rubbed on several coats of the Tru Oil. This body weighs 1.2kg, or just a tad more than 2.6 lbs.

Here’s the body the way I received it.



And here it is with the Tru Oil finish. It’s actually a little darker than it appears in the pictures.



And here it is with the parts just sitting on top to see how they fit. I can’t attach the bridge until I have the neck so I can be sure the alignment is correct before I drill any holes. That’ll be the next step.


The neck is due to arrive in a week or so. This is what it looks like. It’s a Musikraft neck with a roasted birdseye maple fingerboard. Sure looks good in the pic!



When it gets here, I’ll move on to Part 2. Stay tuned!