See the entire build process here.

Custom built tribute to the pre-CBS 1963 Fender Telecaster Custom. Fender debuted the Telecaster Custom in 1959 in an effort to build a higher-end Telecaster. Adding body binding for the first time, sunburst finish and a rosewood slab neck.

The vintage originals are pretty hard to afford these days. Even if you can find one in great shape and the Fender Custom Shop Reissues run way over $3.5K. More Fender history.

Used a relic sunburst double bound Ash body from MJT Custom Aged Finishes. Aged 3-ply Mint Green pickguard and ordered a custom built-to-order “2 piece (Maple/Rosewood)” neck from Musikraft that will be finished at MJT as well. The body and neck are licensed Fender parts. Most of the hardware was aged from genuine Fender parts.

Fender used Alder for many of the Telecaster Customs starting in 1959. This was the main wood they were using for the Stratocaster that was introduced in 1954. This did change the tone a bit for the Alder Telecasters. Fender made this switch in body wood for a few reasons, mostly due to availability and finding it harder to acquire Ash that was light in weight. Some of the rarer Fender Telecaster Customs were made with Ash which shows a nice grain under the finish. I like the sound of Ash on a Tele and love the look of the grain.

Musikraft neck specs:

  • ORIENTATION: Right Handed
  • HEAD SHAPE: Standard Vintage Tele
  • SCALE LENGTH: 25.5 Standard Fender
  • NUMBER OF FRETS: 21 Fret
  • NUT WIDTH: 1.650
  • HEEL WIDTH: 2-3/16 Standard Fender
  • TUNER HOLE SIZE: 11/32 Vintage Kluson
  • TRUSS ROD TYPE: Dual Acting with Vintage Double Slotted Adjustment Nut at the Heel
  • FB RADIUS: 9-1/2
  • 12TH DOT SPACING: Wide (Vintage Pre 64)
  • NUT SLOT STYLE: 1/8 Standard Fender Flat Bottom
  • SHAFT WOOD: Quarter Sawn Maple
  • FINGER BOARD WOOD: Indian Rosewood
  • FB STYLE: Slab Standard Fender
  • TOP DOTS: Real Aged Clay
  • SIDE DOTS: White 2 mm
  • SIDE DOC LOC: 50/50 Split (Middle of Finger Board Glue Joint) Slab and Veneer
  • FRET WIRE SIZE: 6105 Medium Nickel Silver
  • FINGER BOARD EDGES: Heavy Rolled
  • BACK PROFILE: V-C 88 95
  • MOUNTING HOLES: Drill Holes Standard Fender Pattern
  • NUT INSTALLATION: Install Slotted Bone Nut

Pickups are Kinman noiseless zero-hum 60’s Custom set Telecaster pickups. The are dead quiet with no hum and capture the sound of a classic Fender Telecaster Custom from the 60s. Wired using a 4-way switch to allow for a bit more choice of sounds and a treble bleed circuit so when you lower the volume you do not lose tone.

Switch positions:
Position 1 – Bridge pickup
Position 2 – Bridge + Neck in parallel
Position 3 – Neck Pickup
Position 4 – Bridge + Neck in series (bit like a humbucker)

Old style clay dots similar to the original

A few features that would not be found on an original 1960’s Fender Telecaster Custom:

  • Radius is 9.5 as I like a flatter fretboard (many Telecasters from this era have 7.25 radius)
  • Kinman Zero-Hum 60’s pickups – Having no single coil hum is very nice
  • Cooper sheilding in the pickup cavities for even less noise
  • 4-way switch adding a Neck and Bridge pickup in series position for a fatter sound
  • Volume bleed circuit for no change in tone when turning down the guitar’s volume control
  • Callaham Vintage Compensated Brass saddles for better intonation – still looks and sounds like a vintage Telecaster

Guitar’s weight is a nice light 6-lbs 14.5-ozs.

One line Kluson vintage style tuners

Nice demo for Kinman 60’s Custom Telecaster Zero-hum pickups into a Blackface Deluxe and a JTM-45:

Great tribute to an awesome classic Fender. Here is a picture with some of my other tribute Telecasters.

1950 Broadcaster Tribute, 1953 Telecaster “Nancy” Tribute, 1954 Esquire “Luther” Tribute and 1963 Telecaster Custom Tribute