Good tone will not come to those who are sitting and waiting for it. You need to put effort in finding it yourself. It can be valuable to hear other peoples opinions and shared experience, but self-experienced practice is even more important for your learning process. In both business and music learning is about experimenting and failing. It is about speeding up time to failure and find the instruments and tone that is right for you while there still is time and motivation.
Yesterday was a happy day for us in both theory and practice. The latest Tonequest report arrived in our mail box together with a complete Telecaster hardware & pickguard kit from Callaham Guitars. Coincidentally the wife is out on a trip to Stockholm this weekend. What are we going to do with all the spare time?? You’ve guessed the answer. Assembling a new guitar, read Tonequest and drink cold beer while we listen to music, the meaning of life itself.
The guitar you see here is an aged surf green telecaster with a nitro-painted and reliced ash body from MJT Guitars. We usually like lighter reliced bodies and not the trashed ones. The neck is a quartersawn maple piece from Warmoth with stainless steel frets and a slighlty thicker neck profile than the regular “standard thin”. You need some wood to get sustain and good tone. This particular Telecaster shall serve as a rythm telecaster, so we went for the ss6230 frets which are a bit smaller than the regular 6105. Lower frets means low action and fast chords requiring minimum strength and left hand effort. To reduce friction against the neck wood, we used very light sand paper to wear and smoothen the neck wood between the frets. The pickups are Lindy Fralin’s Blues Specials. Lindy Fralin is our favorite pickup builder. You will always get clarity and balance in his pickups. When you hit a chord you can easily hear the note from each individual string. No muddy tone even at cranked levels. The Callaham hardware and electronics are high quality products that both sound and feel correct. The bridge and saddles are important for sustain. We had to add a treble bleed kit with a 120K resistor and 0.002µF capacitor to prevent treble loss when reducing the volume. Guitar setup was done in approx one hour involving adjustment of truss rod tension, string action, intonation and filing, sanding and greasing the nut. We also drilled each tuner a couple hundred rounds to lower the internal friction. A good setup will make the guitar more playable and it shall not feel like new.
The latest issue of The Tonequest report features a very interesting article about the evolution of the Stratocaster during the years. We highly recommend The Tonequest Report (http://www.tonequest.com/) for our fenderguru.com friends.