Building My Own Custom Telecaster Guitar

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I’ve been playing guitar for about five years at this point. I started on a Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster in butterscotch blonde which you can see on the picture. Over the first two of the past five years I’ve changed all parts of it except for the body.

The next guitar was a Ray Gerold Telecaster. Its made in germany and features the Ray Gerold Bourbon DLX noiseless pickups which sound fantastic. While this guitar is a significant upgrade to my fully modified Squier, there were still some things I wanted differently.

Now in the fifth year I finally decided to build a custom Telecaster which features most of my desired features and then build the full version with every single detail. The only things missing in the current project are the Ray Gerold pickups, because they are quite expensive and the body is not a nitro finish. Also the neck is a little thinner than it should be in the final version but all that aside, here are the details for the Fiesta Red Telecaster I have just completed.

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The Neck

Its a maple neck with modern c profile, a 10″ radius and 6105 fret wire. It is made by Warmoth and has a nitro vintage tint finish. It has 21 frets and the build type is vintage/modern which means it has the truss rod adjustment screw on the headstock.

The Body

The body is made by Warmoth as well. The wood is pretty light swamp ash which is painted fiesta red and otherwise just a standard tele body.

The Hardware

The hardware has some vintage and some modern flavors. The bridge is a Callaham Vintage T Model with the Enhanced Vintage Compensated Brass Saddles which I have put on all my three telecasters. I think its one of the best bridges you can have.

The tuners are GOTOH HAP staggered tuners although usually I go for the vintage Kluson ones. The electronics are from a kit which I bought from a german store which just contained all the parts I would’ve bought anyway. You can find the kit here. It also comes with the treble bleed mod.

Another small but important is the audio socket mount which usually is quite horrible on a telecaster. Instead I’m using these socket caps which are mounted with two screws.

Pickups

In this version I have used the DiMarzio AreaT Pickups for neck and bridge position which are noiseless and have a better reputation for sound than the fender ones. The final version of this telecaster will have the Ray Gerold Pickups.

Here is another picture of the guitar which was inspired by the Fender Custom Shop Telecaster of Greg Koch.

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It is quite rare to find a Fiesta Red Telecaster with swamp ash body and a maple neck – so this is why I went full custom and built it myself.

The final guitar is really light weight and plays fantastic. I have to say the neck and body from Warmoth were superb but I wish they’d offer nitro body painting. The AreaT pickups sound very nice but I’m missing the toggle switch from the Ray Gerold ones which I still prefer sound wise but which cost almost four times more than the DiMarzios. I hope this little post inspires you to make your own custom guitar!

3 Responses to Building My Own Custom Telecaster Guitar

  1. Awesome fiesta red telecaster! I’m dreaming of doing just the same with warmoth body and neck!
    Very well done 🙂
    I’m a little worried about tax, custom fees though, i’m in Europe, Belgium

    Cheers

    • I’m from Berlin/Germany. The customs tax is basically you’re regular country VAT. In Germany this is 19%, all in all not cheap but I’m very happy with the result.

  2. Pingback: Current Home Recording Setup | SMYCK

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