Palm Pedal Telecaster completed Feb/2006
This latest project was originally conceived and started by my good friend Scott Murphy. He started with an unfinished Warmoth Tele body, a Mustang bridge, Tele style (Bigsby) pickup plate and a Bigsby Palm Pedal. After Scott offered to pass it on to me I decided to finish the body with a quick trip to Home Depot. Fender's little know custom color "Patio table red" is also know as Minwax Sedona Red 222. After a few coats and a poly spray finish the guitar was ready for assembly. A lefty American Fender Telecaster neck, some O.C.Duff pickups Tele pickups and a little tweaking and the guitar is essentially complete. The usual Schaller tuners, strap locks and an unconventional Les Paul jack plate complete the hardware requirements . The Bigsby Palm Pedal allows the B and/or G string to be bent up a half or whole step. Essentially a Clarence White concept without the routing, The Bigsby Palm Pedal gives the common man bender capabilities. In it's current state the palm pedals are a bit intrusive for palm muting fans like me. I suspect a Dremel tool and some careful trim are in the future. Pictures to follow.
Cool Original Bigsby Palm Pedal hardware and a nice Home Depot finish!
Tele ferrule holes plugged and stained with the rest of the body.
Telecaster Bass6 Guitar Completed Sept/2006
Not leaving well enough alone with Old Blue below I decided I wanted a more traditional looking Bass6 to play with Jet Weston and his Atomic Ranch hands. I was so pleased with the Minwax Sedona Red finish on my Palm Pedal Tele that I decided to go to Home Depot once again. First I bought a Mighty Mite left handed Telecaster body on Ebay. After a number of coats of Minwax Golden Pecan 245 stain, a few coats of Minwax poly spray and some light steel wool working, the body was completed. I quickly pilfered most of the parts from the blue Bass6 (scroll down), added a single ply black Tele pickguard and the result was this beautiful traditional looking Bass6 Telecaster. One comment on Mighty Mite. I was skeptical of the Mighty Mite body but I must say I was impressed when the body arrived. The grain was very nice and the Fender and Warmoth parts fit nicely. The neck pocket was nice and tight but not too tight, the jack cup fit nicely in the jack hole and all the pickup and string holes were nicely aligned. This Bass6 has Fender American 52 Reissue Tele pickups, Fender Neck plate and Fender Tuners. See below for more details about the neck etc.
One more note on Bass6 Strings. Because the string ends are much larger than guitar strings I opted to leave out string ferrules. This way the ends aren't sticking out of the body. Bass6 ends will not fit into standard Tele ferrules.
More history on the Bass6
The idea for a lefty baritone Telecaster began with an inexpensive Telecaster style body I bought on eBay for $125. It was already painted this cool blue. The seller on eBay is Customwoods and they have some nice guitar necks and bodies on there from time to time. The quality and paint was really great and the price was even better. The neck is a Warmoth baritone conversion neck. The idea here is that the neck will bolt onto any standard tele body and scale to 28 5/8". They have done all the math and so a standard bridge will compensate just fine with the new longer neck. The tuners were from one of my American standard Strats. Most of the other parts are Fender including the neckplate, control plate, knobs, switch etc. The bridge and neck pickup plate are from www.stewmac.com. The pickups are American '52 reissue pickups and they sound really good. After playing this as a Baritone guitar a new friend and band leader Jet Weston recommended using Fender VI strings and tuning down to low E. This turned a guitar of limited use into the perfect tick tack bass instrument. The fact that finding a true Fender VI in lefty is highly unlikely makes this cool Bass 6 Telecaster even more fun!
Unfortunately, unlike when I ordered my StereoCaster neck, Warmoth is no longer allowed to apply decals of any kind where the Fender logo would be on a Fender licensed neck. This is lame and I don't think anyone would mistake this cute hula gal for a Fender logo. The strings tree below have been changed to chrome and the nut to Tusq but the hula gal remains.
Bass 6 Modified! Feb/2006! Fender VI strings beef this guitar right up. Actually down...
All the way down to low E like on a P-Bass.
Original Baritone incarnation completed Nov/2003 with Fender Subsonic strings tuned to low B.
Custom Hot Rod Telecaster completed Oct/2004
I bought this beautiful sparkle flamed left handed Telecaster body on eBay. The body, flawlessly made and painted by Tony De Lacugo of TDL Guitars, is said to based on a 1969 Fender Telecaster spec. I decided to copy the chrome theme of the Baritone Tele (below). Again the goal was to show as much body as possible for obvious reasons. This paint job is so deep and absolutely stunning that I didn't want to cover it with a pickguard. I waited for a lefty American Fender Telecaster neck to show up on eBay and when it did I bought it. The neck arrived and was in great shape except for the nut slot which had been filed to deep. A simple swap out to a graph-tech nut and the problem was solved. Most of the hardware is genuine Fender except for the bridge, neck pickup ring and the electrosocket jack which were all purchased from Stewart MacDonald. This Hot Rod needed to be hotter than the standard Telecaster and a little different. I contacted Owen Duff, of O.C.Duff Pickups, for some pickup ideas. Owen made me a great set of Stratocaster pickups for one of my Strats and always has cool ideas for something out of the ordinary. He makes great pickups for all sorts of tones. He set me up with some hand-made custom pickups. Owen used Alnico 3 magnets and wound these bad boys to 7.5K ohms. Lots of mids and nice full sound but also still very twangy and very Tele! The neck pickup is reverse wound/reverse polarity so the middle position is parallel humbucking. Oh and speaking of, a guitar with looks like these needed a little more go! So why not make it a 5 speed? Using a Fender Super 5-way switch I wired in two extra settings. 'Series humbucking', and 'series out of phase'. The 'series humbucking' tone is loud and proud. Nice for solos etc. Fender Mustangs gave the option to do a 'parallel out of phase' which is interesting but very thin and weak. 'Series out of phase' gives this really wild scooped out almost wah-wah like tone. Very useable and interesting and with plenty of output. So now this Tele with the 5-way gives neck, neck/bridge series, neck/bridge parallel, neck/bridge series out of phase, and bridge. Well enough about that. Take a look at these pictures and if you feel inclined be sure to contact Tony or Owen for cool custom ideas for guitars and pickups. OR check eBay since both of the cool custom Cats often sell great products on there. Also for other cool custom Telecaster ideas don't forget to check the TeleModders website.
CLICK HERE for cool wiring diagrams including the Custom Hot Rod Telecaster!
The Amazing StereoCaster completed Nov/1999
Click here to see the StereoCaster, a Cool Custom indeed. So cool it has it's own page.
CLICK HERE for cool wiring diagrams including the Amazing StereoCaster!
The Black Beauty Stratocaster completed Sept/2003
Starting as an '89 American standard Stratocaster this guitar now has an Warmoth 24 3/4" conversion neck. The neck is perfectly made and factory painted front and back using the same (according to Warmoth) factory black paint that Fender uses. The match is perfect.
This neck (made in the USA) is scaled to fit the American standard Strat body perfectly but is a shorter neck length and scale. It actually gives the guitar the same scale and fret distances as a Gibson Les Paul. The result is easier bending and chording with less stretching for difficult chords etc. Additionally this neck uses a compound radius start with a familiar 10" radius at the nut and gradually flattening out to 16" at the 22 fret. This means bending high notes is like butter. No bottoming out when doing extreme note bending. This guitar really plays like a dream and stays in tune beautifully even when bending the whammy bar. Keep reading to see what you get.
Additional cool features include:
Chrome Sperzel locking tuners, Graph tech nut and string trees, Schaller metal control knobs, Schaller strap lock system, black pearloid pickguard and matching back plate, hand-shielded cavity and pickup route using copper and solder, and lastly a matched set of Lace Sensor Chrome dome pickups for super cool Strat sounds.
One more little hot rod feature is that the middle tone control is a push/pull pot that when pulled up gives the ability to use the pickup selector switch to get the two outer pickups (neck-bridge) for some Tele tones or all three pickups in parallel for the sweetest jazz tone. This completes the seven possible parallel tone combos. Or leave the pot down for the basic 5 Fender provides. Cool indeed.
1969 Fender Mustang III (yes I made that name up....) completed Aug 1997
This is my nephew Stephen and his totally custom 1969 Fender Mustang. I bought this guitar in high school as a basket case. The paint on the body and neck had been stripped. The pickguard was not original and had two Fender Thinline humbuckers. It also had a 70's Gibson pickup selector, bridge and Les Paul knobs. Pictured here it is equipped with three single coil sized humbuckers and a mustang style switch for each pickup. Each switch can turn a pickup on/off, tap for single coil, or on as a humbucker. The pickguard was made by Chandler and is based on a Mustang shape but without the chrome control piece. The decal is fake. This guitar is a hotrod for sure as the pickups are super hot. Scroll down to see Stephen holding this guitar as a child. To see my left handed 1969 Fender Competition click here.
Stephen and his guitar before hotrod mods (L) and Stephen and his guitar before hotrod mods and contact lenses (R).
My nephew James holding his cool 1965 Kalamazoo guitar. Kalamazoo guitars were made in the USA by Gibson and named after the Gibson location in Kalamazoo Michigan. This guitar originally had a vibrato setup. Somewhere along the line, as is often the case, someone removed it and put on a wrap around bridge. This is still a great playing guitar though. We are going to replace the pickguard with a pearloid Chandler of the same shape since this one has shrunken and cracked over the years.
Dynamic Duo and their dueling red guitars.
More Cool Customs to come so check back often !!!