Nashville Tele Done


Master Member

Been finished for a couple of days, I'm still tweaking the setup here and there. OOOOh, this is a nice guitar.
Neck: Showcase Maple / Brazilian tele (light flame maple, reg price), clapton contour and 6150 frets. Schaller locking tuners. "Pro" construction, raw maple neck (shhh, don't tell). Earvana compensating nut.
Body: Custom order one-piece swamp ash with all three contours, done by me in oil stain and pure Behlen Tung oil.
GFS "Alnico II Pro" strat pickups in neck / middle, SD lil59 tele in bridge.  Standard 5-way switching, master volume and tone on concentric 500k pots, orange drop cap .047.  I messed around with getting a 'blend volume' to get all three pickups together but decided I didn't care that much for the sound and the setup was counterintuitive, so the lower control is just dead weight until I figure out something creative.



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Reports: I LOVE the way this plays.  This is the best guitar I've ever owned hands down, better than my 80's les paul custom which I'll always remember. The Clapton back took five minutes, then I didn't notice it anymore but I have a lot less hand fatigue.  Raw maple is awesome to play on (kids don't try this at home, you've been warned by the big W).
I'm a fan of the Earvana now, it was easier to install than I feared and I definitely think that, when you listen close, the open chords do play noticably more in tune.  It's hard to compare, of course, since this guitar has never had any other nut on it, but my tuner can easily tell it's better intonated across the fretboard and my wife even said it "sounds good" unplugged.  She has a really good ear.



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Love these GFS pickups.  $60 a set, and I have an extra bridge pup now. I'm getting, not a strat sound necessarily, but an awesome single coil sound. Great stuff clean and dirty. Also love the lil 59 tele bridge pup.
One thing I notice is that this tone control 'does more' than any tone control I've ever had.  I don't know if its the 500k pot, the high-end fancy capacitor or its value (sprague orange drop .047), but when I turn the tone all the way down it's like somebody put the amp in a couple of sleeping bags.  At about 6 -7, I get an AWESOME bluesy tone I've never had from single coils before on my own guitars. I may swap out the cap for a .22 which I also have, just to hear the difference. I'm normally the kind of guy who just sets everything at 10, but I'll really use this tone control for sure.

Will post a demo of the pups when I get a chance.


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Yowza! More pics, bud!

I'm slowly coming to love my EC neck, too. I've got those "Vienna Sausage" fingers, too.

that's one sweet tele dude! great job! I guess you got the neck pickup routing sorted out. What did you finnaly do with that? Also, you planning on doing a ghost transplant from your strat now?

That body is HOT. What stain did you use? I'll be doing a swamp ash + behlen tung oil tele in a few weeks.
1.  Yeah, the clapton neck is great.  It feels a little different at first, but becomes real natural and comfy.  Seems to support my hand without slowing me down, if that makes sense.
2.  The piezo is on hold for a while, I've got a lot of job-stuff coming up, so need to lay off guitar tweaking for a bit.  And, since I've decided I can't live without the tone control, I would need to rout out the body for a battery cavity somewhere and I'm real reluctant to do that.  I would have to use my power hand drill.
3.  Neck pickup issue (it's routed for a humbucker, and a SC doesn't quite fit) was solved with a little careful drilling.  You can see in this picture how much I had to drill. No clear pickguards for this girl.
4.  Minwax 'golden pecan'.  I did three coats of stain, some clear grain filling, sanding, then more stain, then tung oil.  In fact, I applied the tung oil coats too thickly and it started to get weird, waxy, and gooey.  I was too impatient to sand it all off and start over, so I just sanded back the top till it got normal-looking, then did 4 thin coats of tung oil.  The back looks kind of plain and not as nice as the top.  If I were a more patient person, the guitar would look even better.
5.  I can get the strat sounds I need (positions 1,2, and 3) and plenty of rock out of the lil 59, and the comfort of a strat with this cool, organic-type tele look. That was the plan and that was the outcome!  Sweet!

Thanks for the kind words, and thanks especially to CB and jackthehack, the twin gods of the W board, for all the new and existing advice on finishing.


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For the lower tone control, may I humbly suggest a Deaf Eddie Chromacaster Switch.


I have installed in two of my strats and really like it.

Oh... very nice tele build, man.
Thanks, and about the 'chromacaster', I'm not someone who likes out of phase or super exotic switching combos.  It would probably never even occur to me to try all 29.7 combos that thing had, just give me a few great sounds and I'm golden. That's why I took out the bridge blend thing, because I didn't think the sound was all that cool. I'll probly just put in a bridge tone control and be done with it, unless I do get a wild hair up the arse and put in the whole piezo thing.

As for the Valvetronix, I'm loving that amp.  It's not even in the same league as the other modeling thingees.  Whether it's a perfect copy of all 11 amps or not isn't that important to me, just as long as it sounds great on a few settings. I usually just keep it on 'boutique clean' or 'UK 70's' (marshall stack) with a little chorus, reverb, and a distortion pedal. Sometimes I go to the bassman + tremolo for some Creedence-type sounds.  An unbelievable bargain in small amps.
I keep waffling whether I want to build with a swamp ash or mahogany body.  It goes to mahogany until I see something like this!  It's a beaut!
Jwheeler said:
I keep waffling whether I want to build with a swamp ash or mahogany body.  It goes to mahogany until I see something like this!  It's a beaut!

A waffle finish on swamp ash!.......delicious :icon_jokercolor:
That's a really nice-looking guitar! I'm finding myself coming around to the idea of a Tele with forearm and tummy cuts. They always look nice on those Tom Anderson Tele-style guitars, so the idea doesn't seem as odd and "out there" to me as it once did. Your pics only add to it and make me think it's the way to go on a custom build (why have a standard "slab" Tele like everyone else, when you can get something a bit more contoured, swoopy and comfortable, and truly call it "yours"?).

Nice work!