Building a Keef-ish Tele

Dumpy

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It started off as a Squier Tele. I have a Don Mare bridge pickup already. I am using aluminum knobs. I haven’t decided which neck humbucker to put in.

Pics to come…
 

JazzDrumGuy

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Funny you mention this. I wanted a similar looking tele. I ended buying a Squier Classic vibe 50's Tele by a guy who tinkers. He actually swapped out all the electronics for vintage USA pickups, USA pots, saddles, bridge and he rewired it. He also swapped the 3 way switch with a 4 way switch. So it goes bridge/both/neck and position 4 is both but reverse wound. It was in pristine condition with a soft case for $325 on CList - a steal!

This was maybe 5+ years ago. I tried to add a USA headstock sticker but botched the finish. I have since greatly improved my woodworking & finishing skills, but haven't gotten around to "fixing it." I have been meaning to hit the lovely pine body with an abrasive sponge to knock down the shine and give it mojo. Again, I've back-burnered that idea. I think if it looks old/worn/used (aka relic-ed) and had some good pickups, you should be good. I want to age all parts as they are chrome but.....you guessed it. The fit and finish is amazing, and the tone goes from twang to jazzy to a nice thick Les Paul-type lead. Not like a Strat (my fave guitar), but definitely a hot rodded axe. I don't have pics either....sorry!

I am mid project right now doing a Charlie W. Gretsch 12/16/22 tribute kit. I am almost done w/the shells and I used pre-made amber shellac from Home Depo for a great vintage look which is nearly spot on. If you guitar needs to be refinished, that is a good color vs. the vintage guitar stains from StewMac and others. It is a pain to use, though, drips and dries fast. Not as forgiving as stain, but there is no such color stain unfortunately.

As an aside, I had another Squier sunburst tele that I scored for $100. The guy had put in Bill Lawrence tele pickups so the guitar was basically free.
I wanted to relic it in every way possible - I "aged" the white maple neck to look yellowed, added a "cig burn", a ton of scrapes, dings, dents and marks, a belt buckle rash, aged all the hardware to look nickel, aged all white and black parts, and dyed the pick cover to look light green (aka mint).
If you need any tips on how to do things like that, let me know. It is a crappy player, but it's more of something I will hang on the wall to look like a tele barn find from a Southern swamp bar! Sorry no pics - my buddy is borrowing it, but I will try to get one.
 
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Dumpy

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I ordered a 50s Tele neck (MIM) and an unplated brass bridge for this. I was going to put my Frankenstein pick up in the neck, but will order a PAF style instead. I will post a pic of the project in a sec…

I am also going to make a thinline in EVH Frankie style. That will be a trip!
 

Dumpy

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Pic of progress. Yes- I do my aging with the scratch plate on as that is how age happens on a played guitar.
EBDBDE69-4ECD-4EA7-9458-73A702E1159D.jpeg
 
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Dumpy

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Funny you mention this. I wanted a similar looking tele. I ended buying a Squier Classic vibe 50's Tele by a guy who tinkers. He actually swapped out all the electronics for vintage USA pickups, USA pots, saddles, bridge and he rewired it. He also swapped the 3 way switch with a 4 way switch. So it goes bridge/both/neck and position 4 is both but reverse wound. It was in pristine condition with a soft case for $325 on CList - a steal!

This was maybe 5+ years ago. I tried to add a USA headstock sticker but botched the finish. I have since greatly improved my woodworking & finishing skills, but haven't gotten around to "fixing it." I have been meaning to hit the lovely pine body with an abrasive sponge to knock down the shine and give it mojo. Again, I've back-burnered that idea. I think if it looks old/worn/used (aka relic-ed) and had some good pickups, you should be good. I want to age all parts as they are chrome but.....you guessed it. The fit and finish is amazing, and the tone goes from twang to jazzy to a nice thick Les Paul-type lead. Not like a Strat (my fave guitar), but definitely a hot rodded axe. I don't have pics either....sorry!

I am mid project right now doing a Charlie W. Gretsch 12/16/22 tribute kit. I am almost done w/the shells and I used pre-made amber shellac from Home Depo for a great vintage look which is nearly spot on. If you guitar needs to be refinished, that is a good color vs. the vintage guitar stains from StewMac and others. It is a pain to use, though, drips and dries fast. Not as forgiving as stain, but there is no such color stain unfortunately.

As an aside, I had another Squier sunburst tele that I scored for $100. The guy had put in Bill Lawrence tele pickups so the guitar was basically free.
I wanted to relic it in every way possible - I "aged" the white maple neck to look yellowed, added a "cig burn", a ton of scrapes, dings, dents and marks, a belt buckle rash, aged all the hardware to look nickel, aged all white and black parts, and dyed the pick cover to look light green (aka mint).
If you need any tips on how to do things like that, let me know. It is a crappy player, but it's more of something I will hang on the wall to look like a tele barn find from a Southern swamp bar! Sorry no pics - my buddy is borrowing it, but I will try to get one.
Just ordered a Duncan/Lover pickup and couldn’t justify the cost of relic’ing. How did you relic your nickel plated parts?
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I just used an abrasive sponge to take down the chrome shine. Some chrome parts looled great. On others the chrome was so thin I got down to the pot metal and it was not great looking but worked. The dollar store has green sponges - like 4 for a $1.

The guitar looks great so far! I love the checking finish.....
 

Dumpy

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I just used an abrasive sponge to take down the chrome shine. Some chrome parts looled great. On others the chrome was so thin I got down to the pot metal and it was not great looking but worked. The dollar store has green sponges - like 4 for a $1.

The guitar looks great so far! I love the checking finish.....
Thanks for the tip!

Checking is one of those things that are 50/50 on looking good. So many times, the canned air method gives it weird finish checking. Sharp blades are the only way to fly for that.
 

JazzDrumGuy

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I used razor blades. Don't know the air method. Of course with the hard poly finish, I could only do so much.
 

Dumpy

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I used razor blades. Don't know the air method. Of course with the hard poly finish, I could only do so much.
Yeah- some people use a heat gun and canned, compressed air (which Blows out super cold) to make a sudden temperature change. It’s only on the surface, making weird cracks. Poly does check, it just takes more to do it.
 

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Armadillo guitars brass “Andy Summers” bridge plate; actually a great copy of the Westone Keef used. It’s also sold as a “Keefer” bridge. Also, a brass neck plate and the neck installed. There are a lot of brass parts on here, including the Electrosocket replacement and the string ferrules. I bought a set of Sperzel tuners that will be here soon enough. Last pic shows old Gotoh bridge, which was replaced with the Armadillo.
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Dumpy

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You won't regret! Nice choice, I'm sure you will like it...I do!
I prefer Duncans in general, though I am always weak in the knees for DiMarzio Super Distortion and Tone Zone in the right builds. This Lover is not potted, so I can’t play big amps with it LOL
 

underratedcowbell

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I prefer Duncans in general, though I am always weak in the knees for DiMarzio Super Distortion and Tone Zone in the right builds. This Lover is not potted, so I can’t play big amps with it LOL
Sure you can. I have a set on a Epi Casino and on the neck position of a Fender Jazzmaster and I play both guitars with my Hot Rod Deluxe and Vox AC30 amps pretty loud...I mean ear bleeding loud! Sometimes you do get a nasty feedback and the amps can scream like a banshee, but is all part of the game isn't it? :)
Btw: I love feedback
 

Dumpy

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Sure you can. I have a set on a Epi Casino and on the neck position of a Fender Jazzmaster and I play both guitars with my Hot Rod Deluxe and Vox AC30 amps pretty loud...I mean ear bleeding loud! Sometimes you do get a nasty feedback and the amps can scream like a banshee, but is all part of the game isn't it? :)
Btw: I love feedback
The Reverb listing says “no amps over 50 watts” for that pick up. I play though a tubed Champ or a mini tubed Marshall. I also have a pedal that perfectly mimics the Ampeg that Keef played in the 70s.

Now in metal mode, I like glorious feedback. But I sold my old Soldano. That’s okay. I love the sound of a dimed Marshall. That is a glorious sound! Maybe when I grow up, I’ll have a 1970s Marshall half stack.

Maybe play my Keefer through a buddy’s Plexi to see how much howl I can squeeze out!
 

underratedcowbell

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Maybe play my Keefer through a buddy’s Plexi to see how much howl I can squeeze out!
You can squeeze a lot! I used to play a Twin Reverb for cleans and a Marshall 1959 SLP with a 4x12 cabinet for dirty sounds pretty loud and I still could control feedback. The volume knob on the guitar is pretty efficient for that!
 


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