Birth of a Tele – Part 3

I took the plunge last night and tackled the hard part, getting the bridge and neck mounted in proper alignment. I say I tackled it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I accomplished it. But I did get them attached to the body, and while I was at it, I also attached the pickguard, control plate and  strap pins.

The body I’m using came with the through holes for the strings already drilled, but not the mounting holes for the bridge. It was also drilled for the neck, but the neck itself was not drilled. So the big challenge was to get the bridge and the neck lined up with each other and then screwed to the body while still in alignment.

The way I went about that was by putting on the two E strings, snugging them up a bit, and then checking that the strings were correctly located on the neck without being too far to either side. Once I was confident that I had them lined up correctly, I used an awl to mark the holes for the bridge. Then I drilled the holes and screwed the bridge down, and used the  now attached bridge to line up the neck so I could mark where the holes needed to be in that. Once I had those holes marked, I drilled the 4 holes in the back of the neck and screwed the neck onto the body.

Now that I had the neck and bridge attached, I decided to go ahead and mount the pickguard and control plate to get them lined up properly too. I ended up with a slight gap between the pickguard and the end of the neck, but that’s probably due to the way the control plate fit. And since the control plate has to cover the access hole, there’s really no leeway for moving it around much. No matter though, the slight gap doesn’t bother me, and if I decide it shows too much, I’ll take it off and paint the small strip of wood that shows black. No one will ever see it.

It still needs a nut and a jack plate, and it still needs to be wired up, so there is plenty to do before I can fire it up and see how it sounds. In the meantime, here’s what she looks like right now.

Birth of a Tele – Part 2

The neck for my new Tele just arrived. It seems to be a perfect fit to the body. I took a couple of pictures with the neck and body just pressed together to see how they look. I also did a quick mock-up just to check the fit of the parts before I mount anything.

The first step will be to mount the tuners on the neck, since I will need to put on the two E strings to check the alignment of the neck and bridge before I drill the mounting holes. This step is critical because if the alignment is off, the guitar could end up being unplayable. I’ll need to enlarge (I really wanted to write “embiggen”) the holes for the tuners so they’ll be big enough for the tuner bushings. Once the tuners are on, I’ll put on the two E strings, line things up, and make the holes for the bridge and neck.

For the time being, here’s what I have. Click on the pics to see them bigger.

I’ll be back when the real fun starts.

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!