Back in 1998 I was considering putting a B5 Bigsby on a Fender Japanese 62 Reissue Custom Telecaster. I had really hoped to find a lefty "F" Bigsby and pickup plate so it would look like a factory installation. If I had to guess I'd say they probably never made these parts in a left handed version. The Telecaster was flawless and a really nice guitar and I couldn't bring myself to mess with it. I decided it would be better to have a Telecaster body made purposefully for the installation of a Bigsby. As this idea started to flourish (or perhaps mutate out of control is more like it) I decided it would be fun to incorporate features of many different guitars in one package.
What you see here is the end result. This "science project gone awry" was a great success and a tonal blast to play, through two amps I might add. The neck and body were made flawlessly by Warmoth Guitars. These guys are great and did everything I asked them to do and they did it perfectly. The body is a chambered out thin-line style Telecaster design. The neck is a 12" radius rosewood fretboard to match the Gibson style tune-o-matic bridge. The neck scale is 25.5" and sits in an angled neck pocket to accommodate the bridge. By the way, all of these requests are standardized "options" for the folks at Warmoth.
Three Gretsch Filtertron pickups, each with a concentric tone/volume, are able to be switch to the left or right or off position via three mustang switches. I had initially installed three mini toggle switches but this just killed the otherwise pseudo-retro styling of this beautiful guitar. I finally got out the Dremel tool, a ruler, and masking tape and went to town. Left and right outputs are compliments of the Rickenbacker Ric-O-Sound jack. Lastly there is an additional master tone/volume control for the (left/mono) output. Play this guitar in stereo through the two amps of your choice and it makes for one really big sounding guitar! actually it is more like two! Bigsby B5, Sperzel tuners, Graph-Tech nut and string trees all work to keep this guitar happily in tune while twanging away.
The final touches were Schaller strap locks and the Cutie decal on the headstock and this guitar was complete. Actually a quick note on the decal. Back in 1999 Warmoth was happy to put anything on the headstock that didn't suggest "Fender". While these necks are licensed by Fender it was in no way supposed to suggest that the neck was made by Fender. I sent them the decal in advance and the Cutie decal was put on before the finish went on. Unfortunately Warmoth will no longer put decals on prior to spraying the neck. This is a drag but it seems Fender is restricting them in this regard. My Baritone Tele has a Cutie as well but I had to put it on and overspray after I received the neck. I don't much care fore paint and wood work. I just don't have the patience for it and will usually mess it up.
These cool mustang switches replaced the 80's style toggle switches I initially installed. Each pickup can be controlled by sliding the respective switch down for" left" output, middle for "off" and up for "right" output. Two amps make for a big wide sound. Lots of completely impractical stereophonic fun !!!
Man that's some serious hardware! Stereo outputs compliments of the Ric-O-Sound jack
Now some pictures of the Cute Retro Gal adorning the headstock. and for all you kids out there, that's a vinyl record she's sitting on.
CLICK HERE for cool wiring diagrams including the Amazing StereoCaster!