I will be using a gorgeous Warmoth body that is chambered swamp ash with quilted high grade maple top. It is being routed for Lollar Charlie Christian Telecaster neck pickup and standard bridge that I will be using Jason Lollar’s B.S. Telecaster bridge pickup. These pickups are well matched. These pickups sound a bit like P90s with a lower output. The 4-layer pearl custom pickguard is also from Warmoth.
This will be my second project using a Warmoth body. The body is transparent finished with red dye features tummy, arm and Warmoth’s heel contours. I will be using a genuine Fender American Deluxe Telecaster neck that is tinted maple with rosewood fingerboard, modern “C” shape, 22 medium jumbo frets, compound radius 9.5″-14″ and has pearloid inlays. I will be using all gold hardware that includes genuine Fender/Schaller gold Elite tuners with pearloid buttons. The same tuners Fender uses on many Custom Shop guitars.
Gold Gotoh Modern Telecaster bridge, gold string ferrules, gold vintage style sting retainer, gold Fender control plate and gold with mother-of-pearl dome knobs from Q-Parts will complete the hardware.
Hope to make this one classy Telecaster you can be proud to play jazz on as well as rock, blues and rock. Always loved the Charlie Christian Pickups on a Telecaster and I have seen some Fender Custom Shop Masterbuilt Telecasters with these pickups selling for over $4600. I think when this one is finished it will be just as nice or nicer and will cost nowhere near that price.
The shape of the Charlie Christian pickup makes for some tricky routing and pickguard cutting. Lucky Warmoth has this option for their bodies and pick guards. Lollar also offers some options for route templates and pickguards.
The Lollar Charlie Christian neck pickups are handmade and according Lollar feature big deep tone with round top end and long sustain. They run around 3.2K. Comparable output to an “old vintage” P-90 or Imperial Humbucker. Not just jazz—works well with moderate tube amp distortion. Low resistance coil wound with 38-gauge wire like original Charlie Christians. Nickel plated blade pole piece. Alnico bar magnets.
The Lollar B.S. Tele bridge pickup is a direct fit for standard Telecaster bridges. According to Lollar website has a big, fat and clear, with loads of sustain (you can go out and have a bite!). Comparable output to an Imperial humbucker, with great string definition and dynamics. Matches beautifully with our Charlie Christian for Tele neck pickup. 40 gauge wire with a nickel plated blade pole piece. Ceramic bar magnets. Bridge: 4.4K
From recommendation from Jason Lollar I and going to use a .015 capacitor for this build with 250k CTS 450G pots (note I later swapped to 500K pots). I ordered a Luxe Bumblebee .015 400v capacitor repro from a vendor on eBay. This should give me less high freq rolloff and probably a better useful range on the tone control.
Gold Gotoh Gold Modern Bridge and gold round string retainer has arrived from Stewmac. Bridge looks and feels well made.
I have the gold Fender Telecaster control plate and have mounted the CTS pots and Q-Parts gold with MOP knobs.
Parts have arrived and I have started the assembly.
Warmoth body looks nice and I like the contours for the arm, tummy and neck.
Warmoth neck contour requires at least two of the neck plate screws to be a bit shorter. I ordered the gold neck screws right from Warmoth.
I mounted most of the parts. Still have the wiring to do.
I found that the Gotoh Modern Telecaster Bridge from Stewmac came with two of the springs too short. The bridge is made well, but at the price of the bridge you think they would have at least provided the correct springs. I would have called them to get replacements, but I decided I wanted to swap at the saddles with Graphtech Gold String Savers. I think they will improve the sound and save some strings.
The pickguard from Warmoth was already cut to fit the Jason Lollar Charlie Christian neck pickup and was a great fit.
Pretty disappointed in the size and quality of the gold string ferrules from Warmoth. They are actually a bit large and I had to ream out the holes a bit. The quality was a bit lacking. I am amazed at the fact that Warmoth does not even do a countersink on the holes for the string ferrules for the prices they charge. You would think they would have tested the string ferrules they sell on their own drilled bodies? I made it work, but I was not happy. I will not be buying string ferrules from Warmoth again.
Wiring up the guitar.
Using a 4-way switch. If the guitar is noisy or the extra position does not sound good with these pickups I could always swap to a standard 3-way switch.
Wiring is finished. Waiting on the GraphTech String Saver bridge saddles. Should be here in a few days.
The GraphTech String Saver bridge saddles arrived, but I ran into a bit of an issue with them when I tried to install. The String Saver saddles dimensions were not a great match for the Gotoh Modern Telecaster Bridge. The saddles spacing and length did not match up. The original saddles that came with the bridge were a bit longer and the spacing was not correct for String Savers. Seems the spacing Gotoh uses falls in-between the two different saddle sizes GraphTech offers. GraphTech bases their sizes off of Fender bridges. So the quickest way to solve this was to just use the gold saddles that came with Gotoh Telecaster bridge.
I ended up not liking the noise level and the extra selection with the 4-way switch. So I went with a 3-way which was quieter. Still not crazy for the sound I am getting from the Lollar pickups with the 250K pots I used. Not bright enough. So I ordered CTS 500K pots.
I swapped out the CTS 250K pots with CTS 500K pots wired with a 3-way switch and in my opinion it is quite a bit better sounding. Brighter and more responsive. With the 250K pots it sounded a bit muddy and dull. Might be that this guitar body is chambered and that has influenced the sound. I am happier with the sound now with the 500K pots. This guitar sounds much different than any Telecaster in my collection and that was the goal.
This Tele project is finished. Plays nice and is quite comfortable with all the contours. Weighs in at 7-lbs 10.5-ozs. No doubt it is a great looking Telecaster.
Picked up a nice Fender Tweed case off of eBay.
Tim Lerch Lollar Charlie Christian pickup demos gives you an great idea what these sound like: