NGD Lock down mod project a MIM Telecaster transformed

Discussion in 'THE Gretsch Discussion Forum' started by rze99, Jul 9, 2020.

  1. rze99

    rze99 Gretschie

    Aug 8, 2017
    London, England
    A few months a go I did a trawl of London guitar shops and played a load. One guitar that really impressed me a lot was the Suhr Alt T with Thornbuckers (really bright PAF style tones). Played really well and especially the clear Pete Thorn signature humbuckers were focused and chimey, not muffly and middy. The Alt T is obviously a £2+k guitar. But I thought about making something like it wiht those Thornbuckers.

    I used this 2016 pre-owned MIM Standard I bought cheaply as a basic mod vehicle base. Here's what I did.

    Neck: polished frets; rolled and sanded the fretboard edges; re-cut and reshaped the nut; sanded and smoothed the rosewood board with fine wire wool, ebonised and oiled it for a dark look consistent with the gloss black body; sanded down the gloss to a natural wood feel; sanded to raw wood the heel of the neck and pocket for maximum contact.

    Body: filled and repainted a chunk missing out of the paintwork;changed the pickguard to a dark redbrown tort.

    Pickups: replaced the Fender split coil humbuckers (which were actually pretty usable in single coil mode with the tone pot rolled back but too middy and rawk-hot for me in humbie mode). Replaced with Suhr Thornbuckers in raw nickel finish 53mm spacing on the bridge and 50mm on the neck. Kept the pots switch and all the hardware it was OK. Suhr use Seymour Duncan colour scheme which is different to Fenders.

    Bridge: Replaced the bent steel saddles Strat one. It didn't rattle, but lacked solidity. Fitted a Callaham replacement with brass Tele saddles including replacement short screws. The difference is striking: definition, sustain and improved low end.

    Pickups and bridge were nearly £300 - more than I'd normally put into a cheapy, but I really wanted the Thornbuckers and the bridge difference is night and day different.

    The result is a Tele with humbuckers that retains some of the the bright Tele snap and attack. It's a little like a bright SG in terms of where it sits in the mix and plays. It has a bit of old school PAF quack. With a really low action big frets and 9.5 radius means it's a good one for widdle and earnie lead stuff.

    Quick sound clips using Yamaha THR direct. Same simple riff, bridge, middle, neck first clean-ish then a bit crunchy.



    Here's how it looked before...

    View attachment 738952
    capnhiho, loudnlousy, ffooky and 14 others like this.
  2. Sean McILwaine

    Sean McILwaine Synchromatic

    Dec 26, 2012
    London UK
    Look like a good job. No before attachment?
    rze99 likes this.
  3. section2

    section2 Country Gent

    Dec 21, 2016
    Wow! Nice work.
    rze99 likes this.
  4. JC higgy

    JC higgy Friend of Fred

    Jun 6, 2008
    Belfast Norn Iron
  5. rze99

    rze99 Gretschie

    Aug 8, 2017
    London, England
    Oops here's the "before" pic

  6. G5422T

    G5422T Country Gent

    May 24, 2012
    Nice job. Enjoy it!
  7. Dana Rudd

    Dana Rudd Gretschie

    Nov 26, 2019
    Greybull, WY
    Congrats nice looking Tele. Enjoy.
  8. Waxhead

    Waxhead Country Gent

    Aug 30, 2014
    Looks good :)
    And what value pots are in yours now?
    Did you swap out the 250k Fender pots for 500k?

    I did similar to you on 2018 MIM Fender Deluxe.
    Mine got Seymour Duncan Hot Rodded Combo pups that I split coil, bone nut, Fender locking tuners, a new pickguard and 500k CTS electrics.

    Last edited: Jul 10, 2020
    rze99 likes this.
  9. new6659

    new6659 Country Gent

    Nice one! How did you go about ebonizing the fingerboard? I'd love to know.
  10. rze99

    rze99 Gretschie

    Aug 8, 2017
    London, England
    That really looks the biz - lovely job. well done :)

    The MIM STandard HH comes wiht 500k pots and I kept them. Seem perfect for the PAF types in all positions.
  11. rze99

    rze99 Gretschie

    Aug 8, 2017
    London, England
    Happy to. Done this a few times over the years.

    I used mostly fine wire wool grades for the fretboard prep to make it clean and super smooth. It’s then a very dry and consistent surface receptive to stain.

    Then used ebony leather stain applied with a fine art brush. I use Dylon Shoe leather dye. You can mix the colours so an ebony and dark brown blend works really well if you don’t want ebony look black, just darker.

    Fine Wire wool gently in between a couple of thorough coats for adherence of next coat.

    Then very, very light application of tru oil to seal in the the stain. If you don’t do this part playing hard wears away the stain. Don’t get it on the frets.

    Leave some hours between each application of liquid to let fully dry through. And 24 hours for Tru oil.

    Then 0000 wire wool to take the shine off the Tru oil with rough cotton cloth.

    finally, I used bore oil, and yet more rubbing. You then get that years of use light sheen on the board.

    Words of warning:

    It's very time consuming you need accuracy and patience. The stain is tough to get rid of in the wrong place. I use a fine art brush to avoid the board and side dots.

    Use fine disposable Medical gloves. If you get a bit on the maple neck use water and fine wire to remove. Yes you’ll remove a bit of gloss too.

    Do it in bright daylight to ensure you don’t miss bits.

    I have had offers from folks on forums to pay me to do it for them but it’s far too time consuming and laborious a job to get paid for. It takes ages. I just do this for me and anyone I build a partscaster for (mates) if they want. take your time listen to music and have a beer (once you've applied the stain!).

  12. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Gretschified

    Oct 18, 2015
    Glad that you found something that you like without paying an arm or a leg. Looks like a job well done.
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