Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

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ZooHead
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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby ZooHead » Sat May 12, 2018 5:24 am

Here's my Tele Fender/Warmoth story. I'm in my 60s but fairly new to Fenders.
I had the distorted view when I was young that bolt on neck guitars weren't
serious musical instruments. After all no Stradivarius had a bolt on neck.

My first Fender, purchased a few years ago, was a Malmsteen Strat.
I couldn't believe a scalloped fretted guitar was such a reasonable price.
The frets where finished perfectly and on a side note, if you want to build
calluses fast, there's nothing like a playing scalloped neck guitar.

Then I went for the new Elite Strat, great in every way except the frets where
sticking out of the edges of the fingerboard slightly, but not enough to return.

I knew I wanted a Tele and when I found the Tuff Dog Tele
I was in love, but at six grand I was not gonna get one.

PS: The Tuff Dog Tele is a set neck guitar, odd for Fender.

I decided to try the Elite Tele next but the edges of the fingerboard
were so rough I thought it was meant for a relic so that was returned.

Then I heard about Warmouth and their Fender licensed bodies and necks,
custom made and with exotic woods. That's all I needed to hear.

But you have to level and dress the frets, so in most cases you're going to need a luthier.
Unless you're nuts like me, then you'll get the neck jig from StewMac and try to DYI.

Note: Warmoth puts color over clear, so beware if your wet sanding.

I ended up selling the jig to my luthier, now I just bring the neck
on another body and he does his thing while I assemble the rest.

Five Teles in all and one flamed koa Strat.

Full circle: Warmoth made their version of the Tuff Dog Tele called
the Working Man's Tele an I was just barley able to get one.
And it's of course a bolt on so it's more fender like than Fender's

Tele number one: One piece quilt, one piece swamp ash body, Chambered for weight relief.
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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby Omsong » Sat May 12, 2018 1:51 pm

Oh man, that's nice!
Ichi on Jobutsu (Enlightenment in one tone.)

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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby ZooHead » Sat May 12, 2018 3:47 pm

Thanks, I had no Idea how nice it would turn out, and it plays so good.

I have three more, all different.

Here's number two in progress. Spalted maple slab body, black binding.
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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon May 14, 2018 11:48 am

ZooHead wrote:Here's my Tele Fender/Warmoth story. I'm in my 60s but fairly new to Fenders.
I had the distorted view when I was young that bolt on neck guitars weren't
serious musical instruments. After all no Stradivarius had a bolt on neck.


It's interesting that you bring that up.
Tl;dr
I think this mythology of bolt necks being the most inferior versus the other couple of neck attachment methods grew up mostly among Les Paul lovers, and Gibson in particular, during the seventies and eighties as cheap Asian guitars that were imitations of their American counterparts started flooding the American market. Many of these Les Paul copies had bolt necks as a method of saving money on construction methods... So, of course, in the mind of a Gibson head... Less expensive must mean inferior. (My first electric guitar was one of these Japanese copies.)

I think Gibson had a lot to do with the creation of this idea back in the eighties as a means of combat and survival versus the flood of imitations saturating a market they once (some would probably say rightfully) dominated, as most of these Instruments were traceable back to something (whether semi hollow, or classic single cut, or sg style double cut stubby) that Gibby had originated. They were trying to say, "purchase at your own risk."

Worthy of note is that this newly flooded market drove even some legit Gibson competitors completely out of business. These companies like Aria, Westbury/univox/Matsumoku, Greco, etc were specifically what killed the original Swedish Hagstrom... By 1982, to try and compete and stay afloat, (they were quite small versus the American behemoths) they were looking to move some of their production out to Asia (where the entry level "Ultra Swede" was prototyped but never entered production... At least not until the company was refounded in the early 2000's). Nothing worked, their costs were too expensive in this new market of cheap Asian copies (same happened in the auto market) and they had to fold completely.

Which brings me back around to bolt neck guitars. Hagstrom (the original 59-82 Swedish hand made company) didn't skimp on production methods, materials, they featured their own expensive (vs status quo/like designs from other companies) proprietary bridges, pickups, truss rods, neck designs, and featured set neck guitars in their line up almost from the start... And yet, for two of their first spinoffs of Gibson classics, they choose a bolt neck design... This is for their Viking (semi hollow 335 type), and the standard scale Swede (like an original Les Paul Custom with an ebony board and a hog body and top). This included the first synth guitar in history, the Swede Patch 2000, made in conjunction with Ampeg.

I honestly think much of the success of this company with these two guitars especially is 1) due to the durability and great build quality and innovation, 2) due to how good they sounded, obviously. The Swedes are great engineers, obviously, and the reality matches the legend and the stereotype... You look at these old obscure gems and you see that there are no accidents or cut corners on these guitars.. so everything was chosen for a reason.

The Les paul and the 335 have a tendency towards huge warmth, lots of bottom end, and not a gigantic degree of penetrating presence, especially as the sixties moved into the seventies and the original PAFs were replaced by the increasing muddiness of the Gibson pup line. They're not the most ideal for live performance.

And yet those two Gibson influenced guitars from the Swedes had a lot more clarity and penetration than the originals. Interestingly, when they took the LP style guitar into new territory by creating the 25.5" Fender scale Super with coil splitters.. with all the implied extra brightness of single coil and the twang of the long scale... This guitar was built as a set neck to warm it up slightly.

I use these guitars as a case in point because I own a couple of the vintage items with bolt neck (Viking, and the HIIN OT, sort of like an SG), and they both have the original PAF style pickups and they both really sound incredible, and have more bite and penetration versus the Gibson equivalent.

All a very roundabout was of saying I agree with you that the idea of bolt neck going onto inferior guitars is a misnomer. If a guitar is inferior, then it's inferior because it's overall a crap guitar. If a guitar is a bolt neck joint, on a guitar that you're used to seeing built with a set neck, that bolt neck may mean you have a real gem on your hands (and probably available for a sweet price because of the stereotype). All those great seventies guitars from Mark Kiesels initial run, were bolt necks, including the semi hollow and the LP style CM and DC guitars, which sound fantastic.

Final factoid: in a luthiery association study of sustain across all three neck joints, bolt neck was found to be the longest sustaining, set neck, second longest sustaining, and thru necks came in last. It should be noted also that the differences were in fractions of time so insignificant it was impossible to detect the differences in length of sustain by the human ear. Where it's mostly, likely detectable is in the character of the note, it's dynamics and the shape of its attack and bloom/decay. Bolt necks are by far much more punchy, percussive guitars in my experience, and--Hagstrom is obviously not the only company to break the stereotype with LP and 335 style guitars--while the original set neck guitars are awe inspiring in their sound.. great examples of the classic Gibsons are absolutely fantastic--it's great to have some superior examples of these present, lively but warm guitars.

/Meaningless rant.
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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon May 14, 2018 12:47 pm

Should probably also note that in the case of Hagstrom in particular, the reincarnated hag uses set neck on those specific models now, and afaic they don't sound as good as the originals. Partially the pickups but partially the lack of punch and dynamic clarity.
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https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby ElfDude » Mon May 14, 2018 1:45 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:
ZooHead wrote:
Final factoid: in a luthiery association study of sustain across all three neck joints, bolt neck was found to be the longest sustaining, set neck, second longest sustaining, and thru necks came in last. It should be noted also that the differences were in fractions of time so insignificant it was impossible to detect the differences in length of sustain by the human ear. Where it's mostly, likely detectable is in the character of the note, it's dynamics and the shape of its attack and bloom/decay. Bolt necks are by far much more punchy, percussive guitars in my experience,

...

/Meaningless rant.


After 40 years of playing, and having to "un-learn" so many things I was lead to believe about guitars while in my youth, I concur whole-heartedly! 8)
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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby spudmunkey » Mon May 14, 2018 1:58 pm

Is "bolt-ons have less sustain" the "Columbus set out to prove the earth was round" of the guitar world?

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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby ElfDude » Mon May 14, 2018 2:11 pm

spudmunkey wrote:Is "bolt-ons have less sustain" the "Columbus set out to prove the earth was round" of the guitar world?


:lol:
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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby ZooHead » Mon May 14, 2018 4:59 pm

Great info Dr. T, love to hear guitar history because I wasn't paying attention while living through it.
I have to take full responsibility for my youthful prejudice, as I had that notion from the beginning.
But it did play right into Gibson's hands.

I remember Hagstrom, did they have the Kings Neck or am I confused.

The first guitar I had came from Lafayette Electronics, they where Radio Shacks competition back then.
No name that I recall, four Pups, green dragon burst paint job. It sucked but I loved it.

I wanted to be a drummer originally, bought a Mattel plastic snare drum and drove my family crazy.
My folks insisted I join the school band If I wanted to keep it up, knowing full well I would quit.

So I became interested in the guitar, forced to take lessons, first time was a snooze fest.
Quit and came back to try again, forced to take lessons again, almost the same outcome
until I asked the instructor to just teach me some cool riffs, and his eyes lit up and I was on my way.

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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby Doctor Turn » Mon May 14, 2018 6:11 pm

ZooHead wrote:Great info Dr. T, love to hear guitar history because I wasn't paying attention while living through it.

Thanks all!

ZooHead wrote:I remember Hagstrom, did they have the Kings Neck or am I confused.

You're not confused at all.. those "king's neck" stickers were on the early 60's H1-III's 24.75" bolts and the 24.75 Corvette/Impala set neck/single coil guitars from the 60's. The necks are like playing a yardstick, they're so thin.. they got away with it because of the extremely tough I-beam assembly that the truss rod fit into, which allowed these super thin necks to remain super sturdy and yet like wafers, decades before Ibanez.
Image

The builder from Hermannson Amplification tests and demos all of his custom amps using a bolt neck vintage Swede (actually as you can see he has two). Shows how tight and focused these guitars are versus the rounder LP traditional sound... guitar straight into a modded plexi style Marshall:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kh6t6zTV0H0

Speaking of bolt neck guitars, a trip to my father down in Florida 3 weeks from now just got put off until the fall... so I''m going to go to Sam Ash tomorrow, and see if I can talk myself down from an American Pro and go with a new 60's Baja Tele in Sonic Blue.. almost half the price and almost as good (and a little more versatile).
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1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
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...and other gear.

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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby ZooHead » Tue May 15, 2018 5:18 am

I had a buddy with a hagstrom, and all I remember is how crazy thin the neck was, and how bad he played it.

That vid sounded huge, but I just kept staring at his socks.

Two different mics on the cab probably helps some but wow.

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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby UnexplodedCow » Tue May 15, 2018 12:56 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:Final factoid: in a luthiery association study of sustain across all three neck joints, bolt neck was found to be the longest sustaining, set neck, second longest sustaining, and thru necks came in last. It should be noted also that the differences were in fractions of time so insignificant it was impossible to detect the differences in length of sustain by the human ear. Where it's mostly, likely detectable is in the character of the note, it's dynamics and the shape of its attack and bloom/decay. Bolt necks are by far much more punchy, percussive guitars in my experience, and--Hagstrom is obviously not the only company to break the stereotype with LP and 335 style guitars--while the original set neck guitars are awe inspiring in their sound.. great examples of the classic Gibsons are absolutely fantastic--it's great to have some superior examples of these present, lively but warm guitars.

/Meaningless rant.


I had read that study, but some of the details I don't remember.

Obviously, in trying to normalize things, the same type/shape of headstock, and as similar as possible of materials should be used, with only the neck joint being dissimilar. Also, scale length would need to be the same in order to ignore any potential effects on sustain (longer scale will sustain longer, due to increased mass/inertia).

I have had some bolt-ons that were OK on sustain, and would increase audible sustain by changing to machine screws with inserts, ultimately increasing clamping force between body and neck.

I'm no scientist in the matter, but as far as consistency, and own guitars with each neck joint type. They all play fine, and about the only bothersome part to bolt-ons are the neck heels, and is why I gravitate to neck-thru.
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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby Omsong » Tue May 15, 2018 1:24 pm

I hear that those Baja necks are baseball bats.
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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby Doctor Turn » Tue May 15, 2018 2:38 pm

Omsong wrote:I hear that those Baja necks are baseball bats.

They are-- Looking to sit with a 60's Baja, I called Sam Ash, went to both GC's, 30th Street Guitars, Rogue Music, and the only thing available to play in all of Manhattan (not counting the possibility of one sitting used in some pawn shop or tiny used shop way off in outlier-land) was a 50's Baja, and in butterscotch with a (obviously) maple board. The combination of the gloss back and the (blurrrgghh) gloss maple board was completely wretched. Horrid. I don't know how anybody would ever want to play on such a thing-- fingers sticking to both front and back.

This is why I love rosewood for warmer boards and ebony for brighter boards... maple makes me ill because of the gloss on it. On one hand rosewood has that ditchy grain in some cases that "catches" and creates a grind on hard bends, but to me that's infinitely preferable to those sticky maple boards on Fender.

This is the drag of music retailing now--for me to even play one I'd have to have a dealer order one as a result of me paying 100% for it, send it to their store, and then I can play it with full right of refusal. All hope of playing thru a few is gone.

I sat with a 50's at GC like I said. It sounded great--the neck (not counting the maple board) wasn't bad, it was a slightly different shape versus the AmPro.. the AmPro is way more comfy because it's a super dull satin finish, AND the one I want is obviously a rosewood board (or PauFerro if I get a 60's Baja).. so that's one of the things that makes that US made axe so desirable to me.. no stick on both front and back, and the baseball bat shape on the Baja is a little unwieldy versus the "deep C" shape of the AMPro, which is a little more like one of the fatter Gibby 59's you've ever played. The Baja is really like a f&^king hot mainline water pipe shaved flat up top.

I'm debating what to do. If I wait another 2 weeks I can get the American Pro.. which is what I'll probably do, as much as I love that extra switching on the Baja. They're really nice guitars with great pickups (they're custom shop 52's in the bridge and CS58's on the neck, really superb). I haven't totally decided, honestly.

ZooHead: I'm really partial to the Seventies-humbucker era of Hagstroms. By that era you rarely saw those "Kings Neck" stickers, or those single coil guitars with those hair thin necks that had them. It's funny, some of those single coil pups on the HI, HII, and HIII guitars sound like the worst entry level crap to me, and then I've heard and played some of them which were some of the sweetest, most soaring, unique almost operatic singles I ever played (I played a vintage Impala down in Sam Ash on 34th street, thru a Friedman half stack, and it was a frickin epiphany). Those old HI-III guitars are and were big w garage bands, Mudhoney, Nirvana, the Germs, on and on...

But its during the 70's and the new humbucker loaded guitars: Jimmy D'Aquisto jazzbox, the Swede/Super Swede, the bucker upgraded Viking 1N and the HIIN.. these are in another galaxy altogether in terms of sound and overall badassness.

But I'm not going to argue w the Wrecking Crew, Glen Campbell, Frank Zappa, Elvis, Neil Young, and a bazillion others who played the single coil guitars of the late 50's and 60's.
Carvin Weaponry:
1985 DC150K (koa) Stereo, M22N/M22SD w/black hardware.
1985 100 Watt X Amp 2 x 12 combo (XV212) upgraded w/ 2 Vintage 30's
...and other gear.

https://soundcloud.com/the_heavy_clouds

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Re: Telecaster Thread? Tele thread...

Postby Omsong » Tue May 15, 2018 3:12 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:
Omsong wrote:I hear that those Baja necks are baseball bats.

But I'm not going to argue w the Wrecking Crew, Glen Campbell, Frank Zappa, Elvis, Neil Young, and a bazillion others who played the single coil guitars of the late 50's and 60's.


Memories... Back in the late 60's (66-67 ish) a buddy got a single coil Hag in traditional tobacco burst that I just drooled over, and dog eared one of their catalogs dreaming of owning my own. Unfortunately, college was on the horizon and that meant zero money for equipment. By the time I was on my feet a few years later, LPs were on my radar.
Ichi on Jobutsu (Enlightenment in one tone.)

Kiesel
- '17 Fatboy, Deep Lava Flame
Past tense
- '02 Fatboy; '04 CT6M; '07 Fatboy; '11 Bolt+


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