My 1st tele, part 4 – Mod’s and poll

Which combo do you prefer?

  • Blue mahogany neck with Indian Laurel fretboard, and black pickguard

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Blue mahogany neck with Indian Laurel fretboard, and white pickguard

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Blue mahogany neck with Indian Laurel fretboard, and parchment pickguard

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Well-Known Member
May 5, 2020
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Last year I bought a cheap tele build kit to get experience on guitar building, modifications, setup, and maintenance, but of course also to get another nice guitar. The kit came with mahogany body, mahogany neck with Indian Laurel fretboard, and all components.

First version was butterscotch blond (BSB) body, and satin clear neck. The guitar was easy to setup properly, and played really well. However, the mahogany body didn’t look good through the translucent BSB, with 3 or 4 pieces asymmetrically joined. Also the mahogany neck looked really strange with just clear coat (although I like the 14” fretboard). No disaster since the idea was to get experience, so I started a rebuild once I had got some playing time with the guitar.

Wanted a solid colour to cover the mahogany, and chose Daphne blue (from Sanded down completely and redid the grain filling (that failed first time). Worked fine now, but I have no idea what I did wrong first time. Sprayed white primer before the blue, followed by gloss clear coat. I will get a car polisher (or similar) so I can get a high gloss finish, but will do that later.

Found a maple tele neck (9,5”) on sale. Finished the maple neck with some amber covered with satin clear coat. I also finished the mahogany neck, with the same paint as the body.

I wanted to test a P-90 pickup, since I didn’t have any guitar with that. Some of the stuff I got:
  • Wilkinson P-90 pickup
  • Chrome-plated nickel/silver cover for the P-90 (from
  • Chrome -plated control plate with slanted switch slot, for CTS pots (from
  • Chrome-plated switch knob
  • Chrome-plated bridge cover
  • Chrome-plated Wilkinson EZ-Lok tuners (2 string holes in each post)
Made the P-90 adapted pickguard (PG) myself, since there seems to be variation in shape for tele PG’s. Bought some extra material, in different colours, to be able to do test runs. Now I got three different PG’s: black, white, and parchment.

Got a P-90 routing template from StewMac. It’s of course possible to make a template yourself, but these clear acrylic templates come with centre lines for proper placement (quite handy). Besides routing for the P-90 in the neck position, I also had to take away some material in the control cavity for the switch when it’s mounted in a slanted slot. Found a medium-sized, compressor-driven spray gun, that works well for guitar finishing, so I can mix paint myself.

The reborn tele weighs 3502 g (7 lbs 11.5 oz). Everything fitted together surprisingly well, except one thing with the maple neck. The end (towards the body) was not cut square to the centre line of the neck. Once that was sorted out it only needed some levelling and recrowning of the frets. No problem to make a proper setup when I put it all together. I have a slotted ruler (from StewMac) to check the neck relief. I think it’s worth the money, since it makes it so much easier.

There is a push/pull (DPDT) tone pot, wired for serial/parallel pickups. I need a new volume pot, though. It doesn’t work properly any longer. Maybe the solder-desolder-resolder was too much. The unplugged tone is very nice with the maple neck (better than the mahogany neck). The guitar is also really nice to play, and stays well in tune immediately from the start. I need to replace the volume pot so I can plug in and check out the P-90.

The idea behind all chrome parts is to mimic a Daphne blue Cadillac ’58. The parchment PG also resembles the fabric in a convertible soft-top.

With two different necks and three different PG’s I can have different looks for each day Monday through Saturday. On Sunday I can put on the bridge cover (so she’s properly dressed). There is also a picture of the first BSB version.

Tele1-4a.JPG Tele1-4b.JPG Tele1-4c.JPG Tele1-4d.JPG Tele1-4e.JPG Tele1-4f.JPG Tele1-4g.JPG Tele1-4h.JPG Tele1-4i.JPG Tele1-4j.JPG

Links to the previous episodes:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3