Tele Jr

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by Kabrijj, Jun 18, 2019.

  1. Kabrijj

    Kabrijj Well-Known Member

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    A while back, I had the idea that a Tele Jr build would be a cool idea. You know: like an SG Junior, but shaped like a Tele?

    So... long story short, I did it. Finished setting it up yesterday, and thought I'd share some pics here.

    IMG_20190616_180957.jpg

    Warmoth parts: solid mahogany body, paduak neck w/ figured ziricote fingerboard.
    Fralin Noiseless P-90 pickup.
    Hipshot bridge, Kluson tuners.

    IMG_20190616_181004.jpg

    Red aluminum knobs. Essentially you've got your standard vol & tone controls, plus a bit of trickery w/ the 3-way switch. In the middle it functions like normal. There's an extra cap wired to ground when in the "neck" position, so you can kinda pull off darker jazzier tones. The "bridge" position has another cap, this one wired like a G&L or Reverend's "bass contour" control. Basically instead of attenuating the treble, it attenuates the bass. When played clean, it's a nasally almost out of phase sound. But distorted or even with fuzz it sounds killer! Really helps cut through.

    IMG_20190616_181015.jpg

    IMG_20190616_181038.jpg

    Custom logo on neck plate.

    IMG_20190616_181100.jpg

    IMG_20190616_181145.jpg

    Black/red/black ply pickguard... keeps the red & black aesthetic going, right?

    IMG_20190616_181157.jpg

    IMG_20190616_181206.jpg

    IMG_20190616_181219.jpg

    Never had any experience with Ziricote before. It feels pretty similar to rosewood, maybe a little slicker. It sure looks like rosewood from a distance, but up close it reveals some pretty neat grain patterns.

    IMG_20190616_181232.jpg

    This was a fun project, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I knew I wanted to utilize the 3-way switch somehow, and while I expect this guitar will live in the middle position most of the time, the other 2 options are kinda neat.

    Finishing: it's a fun hobby I've been getting into lately. If I had the skills and (perhaps more importantly) the tools & space to build from scratch I definitely would. Someday, for sure! I've definitely got a TON of respect for those of you who post in this forum who do.

    But finishing has been a monumental pain in the @$$ which while doing it I question why I'm subjecting myself to it... but when it's all said & done, the results are rewarding and I find myself itching for another. This one isn't perfect, but I learned a fair bit -- knowledge to use for the next one, for sure.
     
  2. DanB

    DanB Active Member

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    that is one beautiful guitar, I really like the color on the finish, I don't think I have ever seen that tone before on a guitar.
     
  3. DanB

    DanB Active Member

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    that is one beautiful guitar, I really like the color on the finish, I don't think I have ever seen that tone before on a guitar.
     
  4. DrBGood

    DrBGood Well-Known Member

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    Nice touches and attention to detail. Pretty unique too.
     
  5. papagayo

    papagayo Well-Known Member

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    Cool Tele, I like it, well done!
     
  6. PixMix

    PixMix Well-Known Member

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    Very well done! Great work!
     
  7. Kabrijj

    Kabrijj Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all!

    It was a fun one, and I definitely learned a few things in the process.

    Most importantly... this Fralin P90 sounds awesome.

    Also -- while I was shooting for a Gibson "cherry" color, and am happy with the results -- clearly Gibson doesn't use as dark a grain filler as I did :naughty:

    IMG_20190616_183030.jpg

    The color itself though... not too shabby!

    Here's a few progress pics (didn't take too many throughout the process)

    IMG_20190322_211544.jpg

    Raw materials.

    IMG_20190322_205832.jpg

    Mock-up.

    IMG_20190427_171055.jpg
    Put down a few "wash coats" of shellac to protect the body from...

    IMG_20190427_171312.jpg
    Grain filler! I always get a bit nervous, slopping a whole bunch of grain filler on a body... like, "oh man did I just severely mess this up?"

    IMG_20190428_122254.jpg
    But most of it sands off, and that which doesn't makes the grain really pop!

    IMG_20190502_151916.jpg

    A couple coats of sanding sealer, and I'm ready for color. I briefly contemplated going au naturel at this stage, because that's some slick looking mahogany!

    But it's a Tele Jr... gotta be red!

    Sprayed a few coats and red, and was instantly rewarded with some satisfaction in knowing I made a good choice...

    IMG_20190502_185003.jpg

    Then disappointment when I saw the cat hair! :shock:

    You can kinda "roll" out some debris with sandpaper and a light touch, but this was a persistant little bugger. Eventually I got it out, and re-sprayed the red. Problem was, my extra sanding in this area made this area look even better! Guess I should have done a bit more work in the grain filling/sanding stage...

    IMG_20190503_194243.jpg

    So I opted to spend a little extra time and try to get this body really flat. Which meant taking off all (or most, anyway) of the color. Ultimately I'm glad I did, but probably could have just spent that extra time & elbow grease on sanding back the sealer coats before the first round of color.

    IMG_20190525_190420-01.jpg

    Finally, a shot of the real purpose of a broom closet. :cheers:
     
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  8. syscokid

    syscokid Well-Known Member

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    Your custom Tele looks great. Congrats on a job well done... :cheers:.

    I noticed you flipped the control layout. I tried that on my Tele/Esquire kit-build (... from PGK) for awhile. But recently flipped it back to its "normal" layout, because I kept hitting and accidently moving the volume control with my spastic strumming hand.

    With that combination of wood and Fralin Noiseless P90, does it still sound like a traditional Tele?

    Have you weighed it yet?
     
  9. Kabrijj

    Kabrijj Well-Known Member

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    Thanks! I am pretty stoked on it.

    Weight is about 7.8 lbs, if I recall. Lighter than I thought it would be.

    It's not what I'd call traditional, no... probably a bit more treble and "snap" than an SG Jr -- I assume due to the scale length? I haven't really played 'em back to back to compare; it's a good idea! But it definitely does get a bit more of the Tele "spank" than I thought it might. Still, I'd say it's a good bit closer to the SG than a traditional Tele. This Fralin definitely has a good thing going, to be sure!

    As far as the control panel... I tell ya, I've done that to ALL my Teles! I once upon a time had a Fender FSR Butterscotch where the panel was "reversed," and loved it. That Tele is long gone, but I liked having the volume closer, so I've flipped 'em all since.

    That has kinda always been the appeal of Fender type instruments to me, especially lately: they're so modular and easy to swap out pieces... almost like a kid's toy (Mr. Potatohead comes to mind, but that's not the greatest comparison). If you don't like something about a guitar, even a small aspect, you can swap it out with something else and sometimes it feels like a totally new guitar. I've kept many a guitar longer than I otherwise would have simply because I put a new pickguard on it... Kinda gives it new life in my eyes -- a guitar I wasn't totally wild about can become cooler or more desirable pretty simply.
     
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  10. Johnny Bagadonuts

    Johnny Bagadonuts New Member

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    Great project!:dude: I've been thinking of something very similar, except with a wraparound bridge and a dog ear P90. Does the Fralin sound like a real P90? If it eliminates the hum and captures 90% of the P90 vibe, I would be more than happy.
     
  11. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I had a Tele in the past and could not get along with the control layout so I had a custom plate fabricated with the hole for the Volume pot moved away from the switch. In addition, I installed a Super Distortion at the bridge location as I was not interested in a traditional Tele sound and wanted something a little different.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  12. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    I have a Lindy Fralin hum-cancelling P-90 in my Les Paul Junior DC and could not be any happier. It’s more P-90 than P-90.

    [​IMG]

    I also have Kinman zero-hum P-90’s in my SG Classics. There’s no reason in my mind to tolerate P-90’s or single coils with 60 cycle hum in 2019 when we have other options available.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
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  13. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    There is a single reason I can think of: the price. I don't think I am ever going to spend 380€ on a pair of pickups at least not as long as I am not playing live, where hum might be a serious issue.
     
  14. cerebral gasket

    cerebral gasket Well-Known Member

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    No need for a pair.
    A Junior only has one pickup and on Specials or Classics, only the bridge position gets replaced.
     
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  15. Worblehat

    Worblehat Well-Known Member

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    But I like a P90 in the neck position for clean tones ;)
     
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  16. Kabrijj

    Kabrijj Well-Known Member

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    How do you like the Kinman? I thought about going that route, but I know & like Fralin pickups from past experience... plus they offer a 52mm string spread, which was ideal here.

    I'm not super opposed to 60-cycle hum in general... just something one deals with when using single coils. On the other hand I usually gravity towards humbucker guitars! But I've also never been super impressed by, for example, Fender's Noiseless pickups. To my ears, they always lacked a bit of soul (for lack of a better word). This Fralin though... I'm digging it a lot!

    Heh, wait til you see what I'm working on now...
    IMG_20190630_155541.jpg
    Gonna have a P90 in the neck and an SP43 in the bridge (both from Fralin; the SP43 is a big fat single coil that supposedly has a P90 flavor -- looking forward to hearing it for myself!). Still got a long way to go, but even slow progress is still progress!

    I like Teles from a building perspective. Less curves to sand I'm sure is a big part of it, but the simplicity in general (no moving pieces like a vibrato bridge)...

    If I had a bigger workspace I'd love to build an SG but right now, I just don't have the space. Bolt on neck guitars are a bit easier to manage in that aspect, too ;)
     
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