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Spec'ing a Blackguard Tele (purchase or build)

Gasp100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24,097
Since playing my friends Blackguard Tribute (for like 3 minutes unplugged) I'm now infatuated with buying/building a similar guitar. Is swamp ash mandatory for the body? or would Alder get me close, or should that be saved for my second Tele ;) (60's style, bound)
Also, how exactly fat is a "baseball bat" neck? I guess I should really start to measure this type of stuff so I know exactly what I want, but right now I want fat maple, but not so fat that it's uncomfortable to play.
Musikraft has an entire new line dedicated towards Blackguard styles which sound pretty cool, but the neck I spec'd came out around $500 and change... ouch!

https://www.musikraft.com/store.php?pg1-cid73.html

I had a Musikraft neck on my Tinman Tele (quartersawn maple, pretty large, Indian Rosewood fretboard) and it was very nice. If I were to "assemble" I would most likely use them, they seem pretty cool.
 

wingwalker

Fuzzy Guitars
Messages
6,783
Contact Scott at Cleveland Guitars.

I got a Broadcaster style guitar from him in 2008 and I'm still just blown away by this guitar!

I say swamp ash is a MUCST for a 50's style Tele, on the neck...they varied a LOT just like all aspects of those guitars. I ordered mine with a BIG FAT profile.

Mine is correct in every way, right down to a flat head truss rod nut that Scott had custom milled out of stainless steel. It was easily worth every penny and the wait.

If you're really interested in getting the specs right The Blackguard Book will be your friend for getting specs from each year 1950 to 1954, but it's nto a cheep book.

Anyway, best of luck! If I can help feel free to drop me a PM.

Here are a few pics of my Cleveland to add to the GAS!








 
Last edited:

Robertito

Member
Messages
990
I had several alder Teles before getting one of ash; in my opinion, ash is the sound, and alder won't get you there.

"Baseball bat" type necks generally run about 1" in depth for their length.
 

Gasp100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24,097
Contact Scott at Cleveland Guitars.

I got a Broadcaster style guitar from him in 2008 and I'm still just blown away by this guitar!

I say swamp ash is a MUCST for a 50's style Tele, on the neck...they varied a LOT just like all aspects of those guitars. I ordered mine with a BIG FAT profile.

Mine is correct in every way, right down to a flat head truss rod nut that Scott had custom milled out of stainless steel. It was easily worth every penny and the wait.

If you're really interested in getting the specs right The Blackguard Book will be your friend for getting specs from each year 1950 to 1954, but it's nto a cheep book.

Anyway, best of luck! If I can help feel free to drop me a PM.

Here are a few pics of my Cleveland to add to the GAS!








[/QUOTE]

Beautiful! What are the standard finishes for the Blackguards? Is that Butterscoth or Butterscotch Blonde? How about Mary Kay, was that an "official" finish color back then lol? I had a Pinecaster that I believe was a light Mary Kay finish and was gorgeous, offsite with the super dark Rosewood fretboard. I don't need to be super traditional, but as I read through the specs of Nocaster's and such they just seem to exemplify what I consider perfect Tele attributes. I'm not alone in that regard.
My friend has the Blackguard book, I'm sure he would let me page through to zero in on a model. His is based after a particular serial #, can't remember which one.
 

Spider-Man

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,768
IMO, you definitely want a lightweight swamp ash body for a blackguard build. Save the Alder for a 60's build with a RW fretboard.

I have seen a lot of big Tele necks that measure 1" for their length which is pretty big. For comparison, I had a PRS SC245 with the Wide Fat neck that measured 0.875" at the first fret to 0.9765" at the 12th, and a Gibson Historic R7 that was the same.
 

wingwalker

Fuzzy Guitars
Messages
6,783
Thanks!

If you read through (and look at the pics!) in the Blackguard Book you'll see that the colours varied A LOT not only from year to year but from day to day!

Mine came out great and is pretty correct to a lot of the Blackguards but if I had it to do again I'd go lighter...no real reason just taste and Scott had nothing to do with that...he got exactally what I asked for!

Mary Kay was not a real Blackguard colour but it does still look pretty cool...a 56 or 57 could have been had in Mary Kay but those woudl have had a white guard and a few slightly different specs from a Blackguard.

The only real standard finish on the Blackguards was the Butterscotch blond...depending on how dark or light the finish was the day it was being sprayed and depending on how many smokey bars the guitar has seen since it was sprayed, etc all lead to the loads of shades we have today.
 

wingwalker

Fuzzy Guitars
Messages
6,783
Yeah, just like everything about them the Blackguard necks are all over the map...

I landed on a 1 inch deep neck with almost no taper (it's one inch all the way down)...it's big but with a 1.65 nut width it's easy enough to get around on and the truth is I really prefer it to almost any of my other guitars!

The neck on my Broadcaster is a bit deeper than my R8 Les Paul but it is also a hair narrower at the nut.
 

Spider-Man

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,768
Beautiful! What are the standard finishes for the Blackguards? Is that Butterscoth or Butterscotch Blonde?
I don't know what the difference between "Butterscotch" and "Butterscotch Blonde" is. Might be the same.

How about Mary Kay, was that an "official" finish color back then lol?
I'd have to get out my Telecaster book to look up the details, but off the top of my head....

Black Guards were all "Butterscotch". Over the years, the finish became more white and then Fender switched to the white pickguard in the mid 50's (1955?). So, the white guard instruments have a transparent white-ish finish that is similar to the "Mary Kay" finish.

And the finish was never officially called "Mary Kay" back in the day. I think it was just called Blonde. The Mary Kay name applies to Blonde Strats with gold Hardware as featured in a Fender Add with Mary Kay playing one.
 

shark_bite

Member
Messages
5,189
I'd look into the Allparts TMO-FAT neck. Pickups by Don Mare. Get a good ash body (USACG perhaps) and good hardware.

I was kind of in the same boat, although I started with the Alder/RW build and then decided I wanted a blackguard style so I traded for a 52RI. I may actually prefer that one though.
 

Gasp100

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
24,097
I'd look into the Allparts TMO-FAT neck. Pickups by Don Mare. Get a good ash body (USACG perhaps) and good hardware.

I was kind of in the same boat, although I started with the Alder/RW build and then decided I wanted a blackguard style so I traded for a 52RI. I may actually prefer that one though.
How is the neck carve on the AVRI 52RI? Are they all over the place or pretty consistently chunky? I do think I would dig something a tad less than 1" with a nice taper. That AllParts-TMO-FAT is the exact neck I played and it's what I'm looking for, but I guess when I add up all of the parts (not including the time, finishing, etc...) it might just be easier to buy something like the AVRI 52RI. I really dig that Hot Rod Tele that looks similar, but has the minibucker in the neck.
 

shark_bite

Member
Messages
5,189
How is the neck carve on the AVRI 52RI? Are they all over the place or pretty consistently chunky? I do think I would dig something a tad less than 1" with a nice taper. That AllParts-TMO-FAT is the exact neck I played and it's what I'm looking for, but I guess when I add up all of the parts (not including the time, finishing, etc...) it might just be easier to buy something like the AVRI 52RI. I really dig that Hot Rod Tele that looks similar, but has the minibucker in the neck.
I guess I haven't really played a ton of them, so I'm not totally sure, but I've got a good beefy one on my AVRI. It's a light guitar with a big neck - seemingly that's a desirable combination. Not quite Nocaster-sized, but solid all the way.

The finish is kind of thick though. I prefer the neck on the VHR 52RI, but I don't really like the idea of putting a minibucker in a Blackguard (it seems impure).

The best thing out there would probably be a Thin Skin, if you can find one. Best of all worlds. That or a parts deal. But you might consider looking up superlead in the mfgr's forum, because his prices are great and his work is impeccable. I'd bet he could probably do a really sweet blackguard for you too.
 

DANOCASTER

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,296
I don't know what the difference between "Butterscotch" and "Butterscotch Blonde" is. Might be the same.

these are all just "nicknames" really

Fender called it blonde. They initially were painted pretty light - but the lacquer very quickly started "orange-ing" ( my term - LOL ) to a butterscotch looking caramel color

after a few years - Leo changed the way he was doing them and they STAYED more true to their orig hue

if you look at the Blackguard book at some the cleanest examples - they are still pretty light. Slap a white guard on there and it'd look about like '55. The most beat ones are VERY orange

and there are colors in between. They are all over the map.

the "Butterscotch Blonde" vs Butterscotch is from Fender using those names in advertising their reissues and from finish places like ReRanch differentiating between early 50s hues

But Leo just called them all "blonde" although they did get whiter in '55 and progressively more yellow towards the late 50s :aok
 

Spider-Man

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,768
these are all just "nicknames" really

Fender called it blonde. They initially were painted pretty light - but the lacquer very quickly started "orange-ing" ( my term - LOL ) to a butterscotch looking caramel color

after a few years - Leo changed the way he was doing them and they STAYED more true to their orig hue

if you look at the Blackguard book at some the cleanest examples - they are still pretty light. Slap a white guard on there and it'd look about like '55. The most beat ones are VERY orange

and there are colors in between. They are all over the map.

the "Butterscotch Blonde" vs Butterscotch is from Fender using those names in advertising their reissues and from finish places like ReRanch differentiating between early 50s hues

But Leo just called them all "blonde" although they did get whiter in '55 and progressively more yellow towards the late 50s :aok
Thanks for the clarification. That's what I thought, but I was too lazy to type that much....

I don't have the Blackguard book, but after this thread pointed it out to me I just may have to buy it....

My one regret in years of guitar buying selling guitars is that I passed on an early '51 Nocaster in the early 90's. It was all original with the exception that someone had stripped the finish. That guitar was light as a feather and played/sounded fantastic. I didn't have the cash, but I went to the store that had it an played it every other day until it sold a month or two later. I still regret not putting that one on the charge card....
 

wingwalker

Fuzzy Guitars
Messages
6,783
As a side not, the Blackguard Book is an AMAZING book full of great detailed info and pic...a must have fpo any Tele fan IMHO!
 

Curly

Member
Messages
1,400
I agree that if you want really be knowledgeable, the Blackguard Book is a great resource. That, and Duchossoir's book for some added general info and pics will really help your tele knowledge.
 

AJ Love

Senior Member
Messages
4,370
How is the neck carve on the AVRI 52RI? Are they all over the place or pretty consistently chunky? I do think I would dig something a tad less than 1" with a nice taper. That AllParts-TMO-FAT is the exact neck I played and it's what I'm looking for, but I guess when I add up all of the parts (not including the time, finishing, etc...) it might just be easier to buy something like the AVRI 52RI. I really dig that Hot Rod Tele that looks similar, but has the minibucker in the neck.
'52 RI is closer to .85 , much thinner than a Nocaster or a Lentz...

I had an Allparts TMO Fat on a Partcaster once, the quality was nothing compared to a Lentz or Nocaster neck

If I was looking Telecaster on a budget I think I would go USA Custom over AllParts

The Thin Skins are pretty cool, but considering what they are going for, for $1800 used you can get a Lentz or a Danocaster that (imho) completely scorches a Fender anything that isn't Custom Shop
 

Spider-Man

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,768
...for $1800 used you can get a Lentz or a Danocaster that (imho) completely scorches a Fender anything that isn't Custom Shop
Except Dan isn't currently taking orders which makes it nearly impossible to get one....
 

AJ Love

Senior Member
Messages
4,370
true, Danocasters are hard to find, they sell quickly when they come up for sale used, thats true

I spec'ed out a "Build it Myself Scenario"... once I came up with all the options plus paying a great tech to a killer fret level and set-up, I was real close to the cost of a used Boutique Tele

I've seen Fender Custom Shop Nocasters for $1750-$1800 used. Brand new Ron Kirn's are $1600-$1700. As mentioned you can get used Lentz for $1800...

these are expert builders using very very high quality wood and doing expert set-ups (well, Fender Custom Shop can be a bit hit or miss, set up wise, but usually the wood and materials used are a cut above what you can build "do-it-yourself")
 

shark_bite

Member
Messages
5,189
I haven't seen any of Lentz's traditional Ts go for less than $2k, but then again I haven't been watching very closely. I've only played one, and it was a nice guitar, but I'd never spend that much on one.

Everyone's going to have their own take on this... but for me, you shouldn't need to spend any more than $1500 on a guitar to get something that works real well for you, sounds good, and feels right. You might want to tweak a thing or two here and there, but all told within that budget, especially if you're buying used, there's a lot available.

Again, I'd like to point out the work of superlead. Here's his site: http://mysite.verizon.net/resri4aq/
 




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