1/23 Update at Bottom of Original Post: Tele-Explorer Hybrid (pics)


After talking about doing this for over a year I finally pulled the plug on neck and body. The neck came in today and I just got the e-mail that my body has been sent (3 hours away so I should get it relatively soon).




Goncalo Alves/Goncalo Alves Vintage Modern Construction
Standard Thin
1 11/16" Nut Width
GraphTech Standard Nut
Cream Dots
Stainless Steel 6115 Frets (Looking to up my tapping game)

The body is a 3/4 Size Explorer from www.legitguitarkits.com. I had been playing around with the idea of Telecaster hybrids (I loved the series by RSGuitarworks but will never be able to afford one of those) and came across a Hybrid SG of his on eBay. Found his website and there it was, the exact body I was looking for. He says the 3/4 size helps a lot with balance when using a 25.5" scale. I threw caution to the wind and went for it.

My ultimate goal is to create my version of the Gibson E/2 I used to own. I had to sell it to fund college. Now they are also upwards of 3 grand but I prefer a 25.5" scale anyway. Here is a very crude drawing I did of what I'm aiming for.


Swamp Ash Body, that I will be carving contours into like the Gibson E/2 (the shaded parts are the contours).
I will also be carving the neck heel like the Fender Elite series. This is why I went with a Vintage/Modern construction. I plan to fill the extra hole on the neck and drill a new one for the new carve.
The carving has me a tad nervous but the whole point of this guitar was for a project, albeit an expensive one. I've been doing nothing but watching woodworking/guitar crafting videos like the Crimson Guitar series so I think I'm going to be okay.

I originally was thinking of doing a Mini-Humbucker neck but now I've also been playing with the idea of using a Strat Middle and Neck pickup. James is sending me a pickguard for the Mini-Humbucker version, and I may design a new one for the stratocaster pickups and route out a Swimming Pool Cavity for extra options.

I will be doing a Water-Based stain of a beautiful Tangerine color by Minwax. I knew it was fate because Tangerine is a nickname for a character in my favorite movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Oh, and of course Orange is my favorite color anyway.
Then I'll be doing a Sealcoat, Grainfiller, another Sealcoat, then finally working up a bunch of Tru-Oil clear coats.

The other idea I'm playing with, which could be crazy, is to mimic the 5-Layer body the E/2 had with paint stripes. It won't look exactly spot on because the layers widen at certain parts in the contour, but if I can make it work I'll be really happy. I will just need to buy some real nice Vinyl Pin-striping Tape and take my time. The other part of me thinks the pinstriping, with the loud orange finish, and all the Tele Hardware will make it look too busy.

Everything will be a rub-on/wipe on deal due to me living in an apartment. I know it's going to take a long time but I've read up so much on finishes and I think I'd go this way even if I did have spray equipment.

The neck will also get some light Tru-Oil and Birchwood Casey Gun Stock Wax just like my EBMM St. Vincent Signature. I love the feel.


Seymour Duncan Hot Stack Bridge, and Vintage Stack Neck (I'll have to custom shop one in a Mini-Hum Size)
EMG SPC on the Horn Toggle
Babicz Z series full contact bridge (Purely because that version doesn't have the gaudy logo)
Graph Tech Locking Ratio Tuners
Graph Tech String Tree on the B and E.

I might have rambled a bit but I am so excited you guys. This definitely won't be a quick build but I'll post updates as they happen.  :party07:

UPDATE 1/23:

Long story short, after a few kerfuffles with messing about with the body. I, like many others, was so proud that I was too scared to ruin everything when it came to finishing. All of the parts sat on my side table for a month plus while I changed my mind every other day as to my process/what color. I decided I was too invested, and I wanted a professional to help me finish this guitar.

In what was probably a desperate e-mail, I sent a message to MJT Aged Finishes. I figured they do full-on customs with Musikraft/Warmoth necks so they might be able to do the finish work check over my work, and assemble the guitar for me. MJT are the most wonderful people and were amazing every step of the way. Also, a big thank you to Pickguardian for making my custom pickguard.

These are the pics I received this morning from MJT. I'm too excited to wait until I have it in my hands to share.

I'll post some additional pics once I have it.

The final specs ended up being:

Ash Body from www.legitguitarkits.com. (Also, to whom I owe an apology. I think I over-exaggerated the issues I had with holes and such based on my own frustration with a first-time build. Ultimately I got a beautiful body that was exactly the specs I was looking for.)

Finish, Assembly, Saving of the Project done by MJT Aged Finishes. This is their Cinnamon Sunburst.

Emg T Bridge, Emg M-60 Mini humbucker in the neck. Not pictured is an SPC knob that will be a mini chicken head knob where the lower horn toggle is.
All powered by the 24v Mod.

Warmoth Goncalo Alves Neck, Standard thin with SS 6115 fret wire. You'll notice I went with the Fender "Deluxe" contoured heel so you can see where I filled in one of the holes in the last picture.

Fender locking tuners, Gotoh-In Tune Relic bridge, Graph Tech Nut. Nothing really special with the bits and bobs other than being "relic" style. The only bit that I thought might come out iffy is the control plate. I had a Gotoh Relic control plate but the EMG electronics just barely wouldn't fit. So in a rush decision I just took some Abranet/Sandpaper to the included EMG control plate to "brush" the chrome. I'll know more when I see it in person but I think it'll match the brushed chrome mini-humbucker perfectly. I had a similar issue with the input jack cup because the relic one I bought didn't fit the import sizing of the EMG jack. Now they are just extra parts for the next build  :headbanging:

Lessons Learned:

1.) Definitely do a cheaper first build. This is a design I'd been brewing in my brain for a long time. I would have been much less frustrated if I had done a build I was less sentimental about.

2.) Don't be afraid to try things. Shaping the heel. Filling and drilling new holes for my neck. All nerve-wracking but ultimately I gained the most confidence from being able to do these things.

3.) There is a wealth of help everywhere. This forum, old internet searches, youtube videos. Or if you're like me and get too worried there's always someone (Like the angels at MJT) that you can resort to.

I need another guitar like a hole in the head...but...I mean now I have all these extra parts, tools, and stains to use...

*Showcase Time*


  • IMG_0528.JPG
    223.1 KB · Views: 21
  • IMG_0529.JPG
    226.5 KB · Views: 10
  • IMG_0530.JPG
    191.6 KB · Views: 10
Welcome to the forum. That's a beautiful neck. I look forward to seeing your progress.
I used that stain on a mahogany body! It looks great, and I bet you’ll love it.
Welcome! Sounds like an interesting project, I like orange guitars too. BTW, I used that same bridge on my Tele, originally chose it for the same reason. I wanted mine engraved, and the Z Series gave me a nice clean canvas. As it turns out, I love the thing, and probably wouldn't build another Tele with anything else!  :icon_thumright:
Update! The body came in today!


The neck pocket is very snug, almost a little too snug but that should be an easy enough fix. Now that I have this thing in my hands I think I've changed my mind on the body bevels as it really doesn't need them. I might just cut a bit of a bevel where the neck meets the body for upper fret access.

I will of course still be doing the neck hell. The neck holes don't match up with the ones on the neck so i'd imagine some dowel/wood filler magic will need to be worked there.

Overall I couldn't be happier. I'm just waiting on the bridge to get here so I can start making outlines for the pickguard. I'm tempted to go out and buy a different bridge now so I can get started but I'll stay patient.
Subscribed! Super interesting idea. I'll be following along to see how it turns out.
That's looking pretty good, better than I thought it would. I might end up thinking it looks better with a tele headstock than the original explorer headstock.
I imagine James Hetfield having one of these when he’s 70. Looks like a comfy ride to tone town.
Sorry for the slow progress guys. I've been patiently waiting on parts to come in.


The first picture shows the test stain with the Minwax "Tangerine". Apparently they changed it and it is now "Fiery Orange" but it looks exactly the same from the pictures. However, as much as I love the color orange, I don't think I completely love it on this wood and matched with the coloring on the neck. My next thought is to try a Transparent White or ... I have an odd idea to go with a Transparent Shell Pink kind of deal. Either of those with a White or Mint pickguard could look great.

With that in mind, I changed my mind on the parts. Once I realized Orange wasn't going to work, I was ordering parts online and got an impulse that going with all aged parts would look cool. So I ordered Gotoh's whole line of aged tele parts! The only piece I didn't go with was the neck plate, as mine will be a Fender Elite curved neck plate that I will have to age myself. I also found a set of aged fender locking tuners (I couldn't find any other locking tuners that were aged, I trust myself with a flat neck plate but not tuners themselves haha) that are coming in.

Next is what progress has been done. One picture is with the original (not fitting) pickguard the guy that cut the body sent me, and the other (also not fitting because I partially traced the old one) is my version cut out in some posterboard. I definitely like my version a lot better. I'll just have to re-cut with the bridge and control plate, and I do want to play with the curved part to get it just right. The ultimate goal is to send the tracing and the body (to ensure perfect fit) to pickguardian once it's all finished.



You'll also see the bridge pickup route doesn't line up with the bridge. With that in mind, I have been consulting a local luthier who will be helping me out a little. I've realized 600 worth of wood is not where to try your first build. He'll be helping me out as far as redrilling the neck holes, making sure all the alignments are okay, carving the wood, and the final set up when we get to that part and I don't do it right haha.

Thanks for following along guys! I'm really excited.
Yeah, I like your version of the PG much better! And that''s definitely a cool color, have you considered a white pearl guard?
The white bass in my avatar pic is Minwax’s “marshmallow” trans white.
My entry in the recent GOM is Minwax “coral reef.” I’ve tried several of their colors and these are my two favorites.
Cool project, surprisingly I like how the tele headstock works good with the exp body. But the tele layout on the body just doesn't work for me..
UPDATE: Sorry it's been so long guys.

My local luthier has had a lot going on with his primary job working at two post offices. With that I've taken on doing some stuff myself and have come across disappointment after disappointment with the body I purchased.

Everything seemed manageable until I realized 1.) The bridge holes are off, and 2.) Even the angle of the neck pocket is off (The Low E is way too close to the edge of the fretboard.)

So frustrated enough, I'm scrapping this body and going with a TBD different body. I'm definitely going with a Warmoth option to avoid anything like this again. I'm not a huge fan of the Nomad, and I think the "downsized" explorer was the only reason this aesthetic worked so I don't want to try another company I know does an explorer.

Currently, I'm thinking of doing the Switchback but need to decide if the Telecaster controls will look right on it.
Good to see you still at it.

I don't think there's a 'right' or 'wrong' about what kind of controls you put on it. No matter what you do, some will like it and some won't. The only important consideration is what you like. You have to use it and if it does what you want, that's what counts.
Well..... if the body isn't completely finished yet, the fixes are fairly simple.  I mean... plug the holes, make new ones, even if they intersect the "plugs", it'll all be good in the end, and hidden.  You can most likely reuse the string up side of the body, just alter the string holes a little bit to line up as needed when you relocate the bridge. 

That's not a good way to start with the body, but... not the end of the world