Extreme Makeover: Fender Classic 50s Tele

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by teleking36, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    So after months and months of pondering, I decided to partake in a relic project for my MIM Classic 50s tele. I've had the guitar for just over two years now, and it has gone through a pretty serious transformation from its stock form. I had replaced the neck with a nice, beefy Musikraft neck with 10" radius, 6105s, and 22 frets; I had it finished in thin nitro by fellow TGPer mrfjones (Scott Anstine - Cleveland Guitars). After the neck was swapped, I replaced the stock bridge pickup with a Lollar Special T and neck pickup with a WCR Crossroads HB. Then came new Glendale "outlaw" saddles, a 5-way superswitch, and RS Superpots.

    After having the tele like this for quite some time, and having been through a ton of gigs with it, I decided to get it back to a more traditional tele setup. This time, I figured I'd try my hand at relic'ing, against the advice of some honorable and respected builders. My only reason for this being that I know I would have the body refinished if the project went south, and I'd take a minimalist approach to it so that I didn't do anything irreversible.

    I sold off the WCR Crossroads and picked up a Don Mare Stelly neck pickup. The Lollar Special remained. Instead of getting crazy with the electronics, I opted for a new control plate harness/assembly from Callaham Guitars, complete with aged knobs and plate. My dad and I spent a sunday gettin' our relic on, and much to my surprise, it didn't come out half bad! I was incredibly apprehensive at first; poly finish, no real experience, short of necessary supplies... but my dad was all worked up about it; he even said to me the night before: "get ready to only own one nice looking guitar (my Teye), because when i'm done with your tele tomorrow, it'll never be the same"

    To make a long story short, I finally put the entire guitar together today. Not only does it feel better, but the new Don Mare neck pickup is amazing!!! The Callaham assembly made everything sound better (especially the Lollar). I'm really happy with the look of it. There are definitely a few things I would change about my approach to the project if I could do it again, but all in all, it was equal parts fun, challenging, and educational. Feedback is appreciated.

    PICS!!!!

    BEFORE

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    AFTER

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  2. benbenben

    benbenben Member

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    Looks amazing! Love the look of beat up teles, vintage, or reliced! That looks sick!
     
  3. NHDave

    NHDave Supporting Member

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    looks nice, you used nice judgement on the relic-ing
    (not a big fan of giant belt sander patches). The bare spots
    on the fretboard should dirty up pretty quickly.
     
  4. todd richman

    todd richman Senior Member

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    Looks really good. I am a sucker for the whiter blonde 50's blackguards and the aging looks top notch.
     
  5. hank

    hank Member

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    Nice guitar and fun project. Your relic job is extra nice. I love the neck 'bucker in the original from an appearance and tone perspective.
     
  6. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the kind words guys! Keep 'em coming! I want both positive and negative feedback. I plan on putting a few 50s teles together this coming spring/summer, but will finish everything in nitro as opposed to dealing with previously finished parts. I will likely use Callaham hardware (huge fan of their stuff) and offer Fender, Lollar, and Don Mare pickups.

    The fingerboard wear is a result of some pictures I saved of an original '56 (actually posted here for sale not too long ago). I used that tele as a template for my own. I originally tried lightly staining the bare spots to 'dirty' it up, but it didn't work as well as I wanted it to. I actually prefer the way it looks right now, but I'm sure with more playing that it will darken up the way I'm envisioning.
     
  7. 3 Mile Stone

    3 Mile Stone Silver Supporting Member

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    I liked it before & after.
     
  8. Jeffj

    Jeffj Supporting Member

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    well...considering what you had to work with (poly), I think you did a nice job. Looks good from here..
     
  9. crifasta

    crifasta Silver Supporting Member

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    Wow. Very convincing - looks great. OK now, do tell...how did you dull the finish on the body? Any tips for poly-relicers?
     
  10. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    I was very nervous about how to approach relic'ing the body, after talking to Dan Strain (Danocaster) about it. He strongly advised I steer clear of relic'ing a poly finish. I valued his suggestion, but figured I would try and do something very minor to avoid any permanent issues.

    All I really did was dull gloss off the body with some steel wool. It took some time, and severly worn fingertips, but it's uniform and matches up well with the neck.
     
  11. GuitaRasmus

    GuitaRasmus Member

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    I'd really like some info on the poly relic as well - that guitar of yours is the first poly relic I've seen that actually looks nice. Great job.
     

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