Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Spare Parts Project

So, one of my hobbies is playing guitar.  Seems like if you are a guitar player, you are always searching for that perfect tone and that perfect playing guitar.  It's a never-ending quest, which makes it a fun hobby.

7926051 Front LargeMy project I've been working on this week has been taking a guitar that started out as a Telecaster Affinity (a cheapie guitar, but made to look like a classic "butterscotch blonde" from the '50s or '60 that is ridiculously exensive in todays dollars).

To keep the price down, they use cheap parts, made overseas, etc.  But not a bad guitar for the price.  I've upgraded virtually everything on this guitar with the exception of the body, which is my next project!

Let The Games Begin...

So, I found a "Fender Baja Players Ash Body" for sale on e-bay.  I was the winning bidder at $125, which is, if the body truly is a good quality ash body as advertised, a steal.  Here's what was delivered to my door yesterday courtesy USPS:

Hmmm... there's a hole in my box!

Knowing that the wood guitar body I'd purchaed on e-bay was inside this box, I quickly figured the hole in the box could be a problem!!  Well, here's the body:

Sure enough:  A Ding!!

Long story short, it wasn't insured so I'm out of luck.  However, I have to give a shout out to the e-bay guy (Dave at DGB-Guitar)... he offered to give me a full refund, compensate me with parts, etc.  He did a great packing job, and none of this was his fault.  Really great, honest guy who I will do business with in the future.

Since I got since a good price on the body, I've elected not to return it.  I sanded the sharp edges and loose paint off the ding.  So, change of plans #1:  I'm now going for that "retro" look of a guitar that's seen a lot of action!  If anyone asks, I'll let them know somebody threw a beer mug and hit the guitar during a brawl when I was playing at a bar out in 29 Palms!

On To The Project (Get to the point already!!)...

The point of the project is to replace a cheap, overseas body, with a genuine Fender ash Tele body.  It should make for a noticeable sonic improvement.  Everything else on the guitar I like:  nice, comfortable neck (more on that later), good quality Semour Duncan pickups, upgraded vintage bridge, etc.  Should be a simple project... unsolder a few wires, unscrew a few screws, and just transfer stuff over to a new body.  Easy, right?

Unlike other blogs that go crazy with stuff like cutting the body from a block of wood, routering out cavities, etc. (http://jerrytele.blogspot.com/), all my parts are already made.  Well, let me just say that few projects are as simple as you think they are going to be!

Carefully removing the "innerds":

Out with the old!

Change of plans #2:  Although the neck pick-up fit in the cavity of the Tele Affinity, it's too wide to fit in the new neck cavity!!  I cut the black pick guard specifically to fit this pick-up, and it's a great sounding pick-up.  I'm bummed I won't be able to use the pick up, or the black pick guard, but I'm not getting the router out!!

Guess I'll go with the white pick guard!

So, checking my spare parts "drawer", I have an old white Tele pick guard off the first Tele I ever bought (American Standard sunburst I still play).  I also have a Semour Duncan neck pickup in the spare parts drawer.  If I'm not happy with either of these, I can always change them out later.  Stay tuned for my next post.  I need to replace the plate-style jack with a cup jack (on order).  Looks like everything else should fit.  May be this project isn't so bad after all!


  1. Very informative and I know nothing about guitars!! Love the blog and the name, I'm fairly certain you can add music along with this blog so when viewers open it and read your music is playing along - Son will be very impressed and will want to hear more about the bar brawl.

  2. Hello Jack-Ass Pete,

    Sitting here with my Auntie in GE, reading your blog........