A Tele-ish idea I've been thinking about...



Don't focus on the finish (it's ever-changing, but I did think the nice blue looked appropriately 50's-like with those chicken knobs...like an old transistor radio or something).

Wondering what this guitar would sound like:

- Hollow Tele (with the tummy and forearm contours, which I've grown to appreciate here lately, looking at some guitars here and the gallery)
- Tom Anderson-inspired "bridge pickup in a hole"
- P90 neck (I've seen quite a few Teles with this)
- The biggest deviation, apart from the hollow, contoured body, would be the bridge/string anchoring...using that new "string through body/recessed Tune-O-Matic" offering from Warmoth

Any ideas from those of you into electronics, wood, hardware and pickups how this might sound? Or if it's workable? Definitely not a "Tele purist" type of deal, I realize that. And much of it is for appearances as anything...just something a bit different. Take the Telecaster and smack it around a bit and see what comes of it...


Any reason, from a technical/logistical, standpoint (particularly that bridge/Tele pickup arrangement) this couldn't work? I realize doing away with the standard Tele bridge (vintage or modern) might play a role in altering the sound? Or the feel, certainly. But that's okay.

Has anyone here tried something like this...I see humbuckers placed into Tele bridges lots of times, but I've not seen a Tune-O-Matic type of bridge (and through-body anchoring) paired with a Tele pickup.

I'm making four large concessions, things that I've never considered on a Tele style guitar: contoured body, rear-routing, no pickguard and no binding...all a real departure for me. Technically a second pickup would be in that list as well, as I've always been a big Esquire fan. I'll admit that the P90 is there as much for aesthetics/balance and "breaking up the large expanse of blue" as it would be for tonal options. Not ashamed to admit that...


Of course, the chickenhead knobs are there (always)...

Anyway, just an idea I've been doodling and playing with the past 4-5 days. Not saying it's first on the project list, but possibly something down the road. I like the look, and idea, of it the more I look at it. As I mentioned in another thread, sometimes when you're "rolling your own", you've got the opportunity to do something different, and not build a "by the book" Tele or other guitar (not that there's anything wrong wtih that, of course). But I do like the idea of taking something familiar, and if Warmoth is going to offer all the routing, body, bridge and pickup options, why not take advantage of that if you felt like it? This would be one of those situations...

Curious to hear some input (sound, mechanics, appearance, etc.).


And click here for a "three variety" shot, in some alternate colors.
It's completely workable... Are you intending to do the neck/peghead finished the same as the body, or are you looking for a raw or more traditional maple style neck? Definitely go mahogany for the hollow body if you're doing a finish like that that won't show the wood; would go that way with the neck if it's to be finished to match....
I figured just a traditional maple/rosewood neck and regular peghead (not painted). I've never been much into painted pegheads. I know they work, and look cool, in some instances. But sometimes just that maple, traditional peghead helps anchor it, especially if there's some weirdness (sparkles, loud pickguards, silly chicken-head knobs, etc.) going on down at the body.


That's just one of those personal things of mine...all the nuttiness confined to the body, while the neck is old-school and traditional.

Mahogany for the body? For a certain tone?

I was concerned with the spacing of the Tune-O-Matic bridge and Tele pickup...combining components from traditionally Gibson and Fender approaches, respectively, I was unsure if the strings would match, and ride over, the polepieces properly? But looking at some specs, it seems it will. That was my biggest concern or worry...combining those two elements.
Hmm. I'm just not into the look of a tele bridge pickup sitting out naked like that, without the big metal bridge plate.
Yeah, it's unusual. I never was either, but then I started visiting that Anderson Guitars website and looking at their gallery, and that's how they seem to do their Tele-style guitars. They use more of a Strat bridge, and so the bridge pickup just sits there on its own. Unlike Anderson, I like that particular look without a pickguard because the pickguard, with that notch still there, seems to accentuate that something is "off" or missing.


It's grown on me, just because it's a departure from the usual, expected way. But I can understand people not digging it...it does look odd when you've seen it the other way for half a century!
I like your idea, the guitar looks beautiful.

If there is no maple top on the body, I would choose korina instead of mahogany for the body + neck with Pau Ferro fretboard. For traditional tele sound, swamp ash is the first choice. Either you end up with one or two tele pickups, try the Kinmans. They just have the tone.

The color on my screen looks lite green, not blue but keep it anyway :icon_thumright:
Mahogany when cut "thin" for hollow bodies like an ES335 or Thinline, or hollowed chambered bodies is very resonant, will add a lot of natural sustain in this case.

Wouldn't worry about the bridge/PU spacing; this isn't being built to sound like a "stock" Tele, what were you going to use for a bridge PU?

I'm on my 2nd build with Tele/P90s - depending on your sound try a Rio Grande JazzBar or BluesBar in that neck PU route; JazzBar is mellower. more vintage P90 sound, BluesBar higher output screamer.

I'm finishing all the final lacquer coats on my Tele Thinline Special, should have pics and a soundclip featuring that BluesBar up by the start of the week....
Hey Kostas, I'm considering the Kinman broadcaster pups. They're damn expensive though... are they really worth $240+ for a set??
Thanks for all the cool info and input. I've only really dealt with alder before, and never investigated, or considered, others in situations like this.

Kostas, yeah it's somewhere in that "sonic seafoam" (hey, that's a pretty cool-sounding name) realm, an aqua-ish color, with a bit of blue and green, I guess. I kept nudging that Hues slider in Photoshop over, little by little...


Hey, here's a supremely goofy question: do they make P-90s (the covers, at least) in anything besides black and cream? That's all I'm seeming to find at the usual places (Rio Grande, Seymour Duncan, etc.). Was hoping for pure white. I realize it's not a huge, important concern at this point in the game, but I was online, kinda roughly pricing things out and looking around at some stuff. I was just curious...surely someone does?
jackthehack said:
Mahogany when cut "thin" for hollow bodies like an ES335

Small point of order - the GibsonES series is maple laminate, not mahogany.  The laminate core wood is "usually" poplar.  The center block, over the years has been maple, and mahogany, and "chromite" (aka balsa, but only in the 135/137 series to my knowledge).  Some ES guitars (333, 335, 345, 355) have mahogany necks.  The but.. they've also been made with maple.  All Lucille 345/355's have maple necks.
nathan a said:
Hey Kostas, I'm considering the Kinman broadcaster pups. They're damn expensive though... are they really worth $240+ for a set??
I have not played any Tele Kinmans. I have experience from the Blues set (I have it in my strat) and the Hank Marvin. They are outstanding pickups and as far as I hear of the (raw) samples in the site, the Broadcaster set nails the tele tone. I trust this man a lot, his pickups are my favorite single coils.
I'm not a fan of the open tele bridge PU. I'd either have a hun there of have a proper tele bridge (which I prefer to LPs bridge) Maybe have a strat rout there so it doesn't look open
The new GE Smith Telecaster looks alot like that.  Check out what he says on YouTube about attaching the pickup to the body.  I am tempted to try it since I agree with what he is saying about the Champ Lap Guitar pickups.  I have one and it is the best sounding single coil pickup I have heard.  I am really want to use it on a tele and this bridge would allow me to attach it like it is on the lap guitar.

That bridge pickup out in the open like that reminds me of an old man with no front teeth. Or someone with one of those upper lip isses.

Sorry for the crude comparisons.
Now that bridge arrangement is just plain dumb, and dumb for all the wrong reasons too.  Different to have a gimmick.  Begone with that EVIL concept, begone I say!~~
This might give an insight into what's possible to do with a Tele. The body is a TOP routed Hollow not Thinline body. The hollow ones have the beergut and armpit contours. It's mahogany with a canary top but I agree with Jack for tone go with all mahogany, as you're covering up anyway with sparkly stuff.


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Wow, that's a very cool pic, willyk. Contours, tremolo, humbuckers! Quite a departure, but it's really nice. Is that your guitar? Did you make that?

Yeah, I was looking at the hollows (not the Thinline), because of the contours and all. I try to keep all that stuff straight. I like how they can make those do that (hollow and contoured).

CB, thanks for your charming input. LOL. But I'll probably conveniently overlook it, if/when the time ever comes..."dumb, dumb for all the wrong reasons, different to have a gimmick", etc.


In some cases "different to have a gimmick" has resulted in some really neat ideas or products. It's certainly not unheard of in the tech, automotive, fashion, culinary and, yes, instrument-making industries. I said, in the opening post, this isn't a Tele purist type of idea (it shares the general body shape, but that's about it)...if I can change the body edges, hollow it out, leave off the pickguard, alter the control layout, think about non-traditional pickups, etc., then I can damn sure consider doing something different besides the traditional Tele bridge. It's already quite a departure (and not trying to be a replica Telecaster)...why would I get precious about a piece of metal when nothing else on the thing is adhering to traditional Tele standards?


That's my thinking, anyway. I love the Telecaster, don't get me wrong (it's the guitar of all my heroes, and it's all I've really ever owned and played for 26 years, minus a couple of Danos and a Gretsch Jet). But I've got no problem turning one completely on its head, and using the classic body shape as a jumping off point for something novel. Doesn't cost a dime, at this point, to ask "what if" a bit.

I do wonder why Anderson does his Tele-style guitars the way he does (uses a Strat-style bridge and "floats" the bridge pickup, alone and by itself)? Is it strictly visual, and for something "different and gimmicky"? Or for other, more practical, legit reasons (sound, cost-cutting, production, weight, etc.)? I don't know, I've never heard. I assume it's one side or the other (or maybe a bit of both). Between him and G.E. Smith, I feel I'm in pretty good company! I'm obviously not the first (or only) person to consider that look/approach (I'd never noticed that on Smith's guitar before...that's interesting, his bridge cut off like that; I'm curious about his reasons as well). Maybe I can search and find an interview where he talks about it...
Check out the galleries (both unofficial and W) You'll find quite a few departures from the 'normal' tele metalwork. Including stoptail/tuno's from Jack and CB as well as the whammy-bar thing from yours truly. I'm probably as "out there" as anybody when it comes to pushing the envelope. I built a strat with an F hole, hell I even crossed a Tele with a Jazzmaster but I gotta say I'm with JR and CB with that G E Smith machine. For me it looks butt ugly and I can't see the point as it's not a different bridge merely a cut down back plate. But hey, if you like it do it. That's why we're all here. We build our own guitars the way WE want because WE can. :rock-on:
I think the issue with the on-its-own bridge pup seeming 'dumb' has nothing to do with aesthetics. Sure a lot of people think it's ugly (myself included, sorry, but who cares what we think).

The more important issue, and the origin of the "dumb" comment (I'm assuming), is that it doesn't seem as functional. I personally like to be able to adjust the height of my pickup easily. But what do I know
i think the thing that makes me say "WTF" the most about those two telecasters, (besides the fact that the bridge pickups are hanging alone out there like dogs balls) is the fact that they have gotten rid of the traditional tele bridge, but used a pickguard which is cut to fit around the traditional tele bridge....

But i like your sparkly design, id probs use a humbucker in the bridge, but thats just me. like willy and nathan said, its not about what we think.  :icon_thumright: