I carved the headstock and stripped off the original finish. Refinished everything and added some burned areas at the back of the headstock for a lived-in vibe. Upgraded the scratch guard, and rewired the control plate so I could flip it around – one of my favorite tele mods. These days, I have it set-up as a 5-string open G tuned tele rocker ala Keith Richards.
Hardware from Spain. A new Paulownia body finished in tung oil. Tele neck with a carved headstock. Got that twang.
This heavy beast of an alder body guitar started as a rescued New York Pro telecaster.
The jack needed to be re-soldered and the neck was starting to crack. I drove two lag pins into the heel to secure the neck integrity. You can see one of the pin covers in a photo below. I took the logo off, too.
It holds tune and intonates well for a 3-saddle tele.
The action is very low – this was a well designed and solidly built inexpensive guitar.
I intended to replace the neck with a tele neck. Instead I traded the guitar for a Nuno Bettencourt shredder I intend to mod.
These old guitars were built by Tiesco and sold by Sears. The pickups are collectible and traded. The rest not so much.
I replaced the tuners, straightened and leveled the neck and fretboard, and used electrolysis to get the rust off the bridge components.
The finish on the body was impregnable. I concocted a paint-over scheme that turned out pretty well. But not easy.
Nice vintage sound. Everything works and plays. But these were never great guitars so nostalgia has to count for something.
This kit had to be wrestled into submission. I wrote to the vendor to complain to no avail. All the parts seemed cheap.
The basswood body did not want to take on color or reveal the grain. I gave it two coats of stain, and two coats of tinted Danish oil. Finally, I broke out my torch and set it on fire.
The fire worked. Since it now had a distressed look, I added some construction staples and did a few things to give the patina it needed.
The cavities were lined with copper and grounded together to make a Farraday cage.
I donated it to Goodwill. It sold for $177. There’s a message in there somewhere – I wonder what it is.
This project started as a solid but hideous Hohner Professional ST 59 strat copy. A straight, adjustable one-piece Canadian rock maple neck, minimal fret wear, and a solid maple body. The paint job and pickguard were truly awful.
Very flat fret radius at 20″. New Graph Tech nut. Frets leveled, crowned, and polished. The solid maple body now has a fresh look. New pickguard and pickups. New floating 2-point bridge. Set-up for new #10 strings, low action, and good intonation. It plays and sounds great.
This started as a discarded POS. My goal was to make it playable and presentable and learn a lot along the way about rebuilding guitars.
I refinished the neck and headstock leaving it to look a bit aged. The tuners were replaced and the nut upgraded to a real bone nut.
The frets were badly worn and should have been replaced. Instead, I wanted to work on the frets myself, so I leveled, crowned, and polished them. I oiled and rubbed out the fretboard to make it all look good.
The body and all the components needed a good cleaning and buffing. It has some nicks and scratches that help give it a cool patina. The tremolo claw was tight against the cavity so it needed to be reset and adjusted for the new #9 strings.
After setup, the neck was straight, the action low, and intonation good. It plays great with a fast satin-finish neck. Tremendous tone and sustain that is surprising. I reach for this guitar to play often over my more expensive guitar.
Although I learned what I wanted by working on the frets, the next time I will just re-fret a guitar this worn. And I will remember to polish the frets before I put the strings on! The headstock tuner holes are 9mm, so that limited the replacement tuner selection somewhat. If doing a project like this in the future I would ream the holes to 10mm and have more tuner choices to work with. This kind of project doesn’t need to be 100% vintage correct.
I decided to relic it a bit shown in the second photo. It really looks good. Now it needs to find a good home with the new string trees and aged tremolo bar installed.