Vintage Telecaster Assembly
Erik with Sunland Guitars here!
Recently a customer had me assembly a custom telecaster for him. He bought all the parts, hardware, body and neck and wanted me to put it all together and setup the final product. Watch this quick video to see how it went!
His original intention was to do it all himself, but after purchasing all the items and realizing the extensive amount of parts, tools, and techniques he needed to acquire he felt it was best to pay me to do it.
If we've met, you know I love to teach and show people how to perform maintenance and setups on guitars and I usually do push people to try it themselves, but I want to go over a few issues that came up while I assembled this guitar.
The wiring harness (pre-wired pots, switch, and output jack) ended up not fitting the plate my customer purchased. As you can see from the video, the wires connecting the two pots were too short so I couldn't put the pot shaft through the hole. If this happens it's no big deal, just remove the wires and add longer ones. You need basic soldering skills to complete this task and this is why it's a good idea to have extra wire.
No bridge ground. Another simple fix! Drill a hole underneath the bridge plate to leave an exposed wire that is ground to the top of a pot. Simple soldering skills and extra wire needed again.
The pickguard screw holes needed to be countersunk. Countersinking holes is an often overlooked task when building and assembling guitars. You don't necessarily need to countersink the holes if you have the right screws but most guitar screws need this to make sure they sit snug and flat against the pickguard. Need a countersink bit.
The bridge didn't have back side holes so we needed to go through the body. We didn't realize this until later so we ended up needing to order the back plate where the string ends are held. Drilling string-through holes can be messy and I recommend using a drill press so you go straight through. It is very annoying having string holes that don't line up when you go to string and re-string the guitar.
Here's the big one: The bridge was a 1/4" too far to the bass side. When I started to position the neck in the neck pocket, I realized the strings were hanging off the bass side of the neck and it was too far to try pushing the saddles over to compensate. The pre-drilled holes in the body from the manufacturer were simply too far over. To resolve this issue, you need to fill the original holes with wood, drill new holes and finish the setup from there.
Other issues to look out for:
Buzzy frets! This neck did not end up needing a fret level but I often see kit guitars and custom assembled project necks needing it. Go check out my other blog posts on how to fix fret buzz for a complete How To. The second video goes over everything you need to complete a professional fret level.
Here's links to all the resources we used to assemble this guitar:
Seymour Duncan https://www.seymourduncan.com/
Pistols Crown Guitars https://pistolscrownguitars.com/
920D Custom https://920dcustom.com/