This should be a fun project. Working with Tony DeLacugo again on a sparkle finish American Flag over Carved Flames Telecaster. This one is not the standard Telecaster body that Tony has built in the past, but has arm and tummy contours and some weight relief making it even more rare. I wonder what Leo Fender would have thought about this guitar?
It starts out as an Alder body patterned from a vintage ’69 Telecaster. Tony hand carves the flames directly into the wood and did an incredible Stars and Stripe American flag paint job that has a rock hard Polyester clear finish is like polished like glass. The red silver and blue deep candy colors really stand out and look a mile deep. Pictures do not do this body justice.
Tony is shipping the body to me and I will start to collect some high quality parts to assemble another great and unique Telecaster.
UPDATE: Been very busy ordering parts from several vendors. I have the control plate, 3-way switch, 250K CTS 1% tolerance pots, pickup ring, string ferrules, neck plate, bridge, strap locks and pickups all on order.
Still looking for the right neck and tuners.
I am using Don Mare pickups that Don is hand winding. I have them on order.
UPDATE: I have all the parts ordered and waiting on delivery. Found a nicely priced genuine Fender Birds-eye Maple Select neck on eBay that comes with Fender locking tuners. I have used this same neck on two of my other projects, the Walnut Carved Flames Telecaster and the Hot Rod Carved Flames Telecaster. I think these necks are some of the nicest ones Fender builds today. They are pricey, but you get what you pay for.
The American SELECT Fender Telecaster Neck has tinted premium Birdseye maple & black Pearloid inlays, Modern “C” Shape, compound Radius 9.5″-14″ with 22 Medium Jumbo Frets and 1.685″ Width at Nut. Nitrocellulose finish with a satin back and gloss headstock. The fretwork and build quality on these necks is quite great. Especially like the satin back.
I found a nice neck plate on eBay the fits this project. I am going to swap out the Fender locking tuners on the neck I bought with a more upscale chrome set that has pearloid buttons.
I decided I would pay for some nicer premium parts for this project and did not want to skimp on anything. Even though I have some decent parts in stock.
I ordered from Marc Rutters some of his Hot Rodded parts.
- Rutters Bridge extra heavy for sustain and twang
- Angled Selector Switch Control Plate (I plan on a reverse mount)
- 1953 T Knobs which are heavy knurled dome style “old school” Telecaster knobs
- NoCaster Switch Tip just because it looks so cool
I decided to use Glendale “Speedking Tonemaster” 250k Volume and Tone pots. These have the tension eased for very smooth turning pots which have a nice feel and great for volume and tone swells. The other choice was to open up the CTS pots I have and get some of the grease out of them and adjust the tension. Since my Blackguard Project was completed I found I really like the pots smoother. I used Callaham pre-wired control plate on that one.
I have an Electrosocket Anodized Input Jack Cup Plate and Fender string ferrules on order. Just received the Fender CRL 3-way switch and a nice new Fender G&G Tweed case with crushed red velvet interior. Also picked up a Planet Waves guitar strap I thought would look good on this guitar.
I should start seeing the bulk of the parts arrive in a about a week, but the custom wound Don Mare pickups have about 4 to 5 week lead time.
UPDATE: The Carved Flag Telecaster body came today and it looks absolutely amazing. Unfortunately these deep metallic sparkle bodies are very hard to photograph and the pictures do not do them justice. The tummy and arm contour give this body and great look and will make this guitar way more comfortable to play.
Next step is to start the wiring. I have the pots, switch, vintage wire and paper and oil cap. I plan on reverse mounting the control plate so the volume and tone are facing forward and the 3 way switch is in the rear. This will make volume and tone swells way easier.
The Rutters ’53 heavy knurled knobs and “broadcaster” switch tip look awesome. Very nice high quality hardware.
Still have a few weeks before the Don Mare “hand wound” Hayride pickups will arrive. Still waiting on neck, tuners, neck plate, jack plate and chrome pickup ring.
UPDATE: The Fender SELECT neck I ordered arrived. The neck is beautiful, but the profile was a bit thinner that the previous ones I have bought. I decided not to use this neck for this build. I will either use this on a different project or resell it. I ordered another Fender SELECT neck off eBay. These necks are not that easy to find and pretty expensive.
UPDATE: The second Fender SELECT neck and custom neck plate I ordered arrived. So after comparing three necks, the two genuine Fender SELECT necks and a Musikraft neck I had made a while back I decided on which one to use for this project. All three necks are nice, but I ended up liking the original Fender SELECT neck I had purchased from vendor on eBay the best.
I found a nice custom painted neck plate on the Internet that matched the flag motif and colors. Looks pretty good so I am using this one instead of the engraved “custom shop” one I had in stock.
I soldered up the wires on the Switchcraft jack and mounted the electro-socket jack cup into the body. I soldered the ground wire for the bridge.
Still waiting on the pickups from Don Mare. I expect to see them in another couple of weeks. These pickups are hand wound and built to order and Don is running about 4-5 weeks to delivery. Should be last parts I am waiting for.
UPDATE: The hand-wound Hayride set of pickups I ordered from Don Mare have arrived. That was the last part I was waiting for so I was able to wire-up the guitar.
Pickups got mounted to pickup plate and Rutter’s Tele bridge. Mounted them to the guitar.
Completed the control plate wiring and guitar is ready for strings and setup. I did a ‘reverse” mount on the control plate. In this configuration the volume and tone are a bit more accessible then the pickup selector. I think the Rutter’s slant control plate makes this more usable. The wiring is a standard “modern” Telecaster with 3-way switch and volume kit added.
The volume kit is just a small cap and resistor across the volume pot. What this does is make your guitar not lose so many highs when you lower the volume knob on the guitar.
Fender/Schaller locking tuners sure make stringing it up faster and easier. All stung up and ready to play. Used Elixir NANOWEB Light gauge 10-46. Plugged it in to check my wiring and it sounds great. Little more tweaks to the setup needed. Action is a bit high and truss rod will need to be adjusted a little bit to straighten out the neck. It has a slight bit more back bow than I like.
It is very hard to capture the sparkle metal flake finish in pictures as it looks way better in person.
Planet Waves strap looks to be made for this guitar.
The Fender SELECT neck has a compound radius 9.5″-14″ to allow for comfortable open chords and lead lines and bends all the way past the 12th fret. The maple neck has nice figuring in the wood.
No expensive was saved on this project. I used the best premium parts available. I would compare this to any Fender Custom Shop guitar. It came from “my” Custom Shop… my kitchen table!
Yes, it sounds as good as it looks.