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  1. #1

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    Well hello there fellow forumites and lurking luddites, its ol’ Jazzbow beaming to you on the inter-dimentional web factor.

    ‘Where the hell have you been?’ I hear you ask………
    I’ve been a ridin’ on the UK bike scene. Miles of smiles and twanngs for bangs.

    But after all that I have a little project I want to share with you all, something I’ve been meaning to post up for some time.

    It’s more of a technical viewpoint and various findings of products, mostly good.
    Don’t ask for sound clips and videos, I have little patience for faffing about with recorders and all tha’.
    Just trust my opinion and ears, I know a bad twanng when I hear it….

    Anyhoo, on with business.

    Jazz Telecaster

    Why? Why not.
    Lots of good reasons for a well made Telecaster that has been stretched beyond belief here on
    My penny’s worth; excellent tool for solo and band practice.

    Through my tech experience, musical growth and forum activity here I found I preferred the longer 25.5” scale. Factor in a Vintage Vibe humbucker sized Charlie Christian type bladed pickup and a lust for a Telecaster off I went down the rabbit hole.

    My defining criteria for the Jazz Tele Project was cash. I didn’t want to mess around with a neck from here and a body from there and the possibility of reshaping neck pockets and askew routs.
    I looked at Affinity Tele’s. Very nice but the woods were not what I wanted. The Squier Classic Vibe Custom Tele had what I wanted. Alder body, Rosewood fingerboard and importantly the neck pickup rout that is humbucker sized.

    After flailing around on the internet I found this
    Jazz Tele Venture-t-333x500-jpg

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0328-640x478-jpg

    A 2010 date stamp.
    Note the date, November 5th, here in the UK that’s the date the gunpowder plot to blow up Parliament was discovered and thwarted. Lots of back story on that date, research it if you dare.
    This Telecaster is known as Guy (Guido) Fawkes.
    While we ponder this picture notice the fingerboard/neck edge. Veneered as was back in the day. Nice for a low cost new guitar.

    I had a few weeks strumming this guitar and formulating what I was going to change and what to keep.
    Overall this guitar (first Chinese production run) is quality. The woods are nice and the playability is excellent. Not bad for £200!

    The hardware is fine for low key use, I would consider changing the machine heads if you were to gig this rig weekly but other than that it’s spot on.

    So off I went and bought some stuff that needed to change and improve.
    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0307-640x478-jpg


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    Before I delve into the finer details of what I did here I want to discuss my findings on necks.

    There all different.

    Ahem, seriously, the same neck cut on one tree will throw up different grain patterns and therefore they will flex differently.
    Truss rods help don’t they, but if the wood isn’t dried properly or a developed bough/branch will send a wave into the grain pattern.
    The more expensive instruments have the premium cut and all other price points will be made up of what’s left.
    So when trying out a prospective purchase starter guitar take a look at the neck grain pattern.
    Parallel, or near enough is good. Wavy grain as long as it’s uniform and close is okay.

    Jazz Tele Venture-dsc_1187-360x640-jpg
    This one will do. A very tight grain. Nice.

    Jazz Tele Venture-dsc_1159-640x360-jpg
    As a matter of course I like to have a thin shim in the neck pocket and for good reason.

    The thin veneer is just enough to add height to the saddles and therefore the saddle height adjustment screws disappear into the saddles and not annoyingly protruding enough to catch on the palm when muting.
    I guess you can get smaller screws but, nah!

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0330-640x478-jpg
    Here’s a thing I discovered. The layers of clear coat had flashed over onto the neck pocket.
    A bit of a scrape and we’re good to go.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0319-640x478-jpg
    All masked up, nut removed and high spots highlighted with blue sharpie.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0320-640x478-jpg
    20 passes with 600 grit W&D and all is checked for evenness-essesesss.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0321-640x478-jpg
    Frets are buffed over with 0000 grade wire wool and finally all cleaned and buffed with Gorgamite (recommended).

    Jazz Tele Venture-dsc_1189-640x360-jpg

  4. #3

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    Any guitar can drastically improve its playability with a properly set up nut.
    Repeat after me, ‘A proper playable precise performance needs a nailed neck and nut’.
    Internalise this. Demand this. Pay for it and play. Thank me later…..

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0308-640x478-jpg
    So this is the Fender/Squier cost cutting. I’ll take the quality wood for the price I paid if this is all what is wrong.
    Of course this pushes the top E string in from the fretboard edge. Alas my 6’3” frame means I have big hands and splodgy fingertips. I will say for your standard bluesy guitar throws this is okay but for me the first position B7 chord is a struggle for buzz free twanng.

    So I bought myself a Tusq Fender style nut, but first the old one must be hacked out! (nut but, lol)

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0317-640x478-jpg
    Yikes! Goodbye caution hello anarchy!!!!!

    It’s the only way out……..

    Junior hacksaw down the centre of the nut by 3/4 and then using pliers collapse the outside edge of the nut in on itself.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0318-640x478-jpg
    Taa Dahh!

    Note the blue nylon paracord lashing the guitar in place.
    Also the nut slot is flat bottomed. More often this slot is curved to the same radii as the fingerboard. Be aware that the replacement nut has to fit appropriately.
    The Tusq has a unique design where there is a nub in the centre of the radiused nut that assists on a flat nut slot.
    If it was a radiused slot you could cut the nub out.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0336-640x478-jpg
    Here’s the finished Tusq.

    Yes, I admit I switched off into remote mode and curved the back edge like an acoustic nut. D’oh.

    I got the Tusq for an easy ‘in’. The string slots were pre-grooved but the spread was only a shade better than what was on before. Bugger. < SIGH! >

    A new nut cut (don’t type that too fast….)

    Jazzbow has walked the halls of JayGeeDotBeeEeee for many years offering opinion and help on all things fixable.
    A lot of the old sweats here will know of Jazzbows nut werk.
    Trawling through charity/thrift shops hunting for old cutlery with bone handles.
    Also Ladies skirts and blouses, but that’s for the other forum….

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0559-640x478-jpg
    Finish that nut, finished.

    Note that I managed a hair under 1mm extra spread on the top E compared with the Tusq nut. Nice.

    The string spread is right on the cusp of dropping off the fingerboard edge. I have to warm up to this guitar before dancing. Occasionally miss foot and fall on me arse but hey ho.
    Last edited by jazzbow; 05-06-2019 at 04:31 PM.

  5. #4

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    The original pickups were fine, okay sound, not outstanding or special.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0304-478x640-jpg
    Oooo, what big cavities you have!
    All the better for big pickups.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0331-640x478-jpg
    Yes, I know. There was that black shielded paint in there. Idle hands…….

    So the soldering.
    What to do?

    Jazz Tele Venture-dsc_1072-640x360-jpg
    I first decided to do the 5 way switch conversion. Neat soldering eh!

    I had the following selections;
    1. Neck pickup
    2. Both pickups in parallel (the usual Tele rounded twanng)
    3. Bridge pickup
    4. Both pickups 1/2 out of phase
    5. Neck pickup with a tone cut

    The tone cut neck sounded great though an overdriven amp.

    Here’s the wiring diagram for those whom are interested. This is from Bill Lawrence.

    Jazz Tele Venture-bltele5waywithhalfoutofphase-jpg

    I fell out of love with this set up. The quick flick to bridge for the widdly widdly stuff would invariably go past onto the other selections for an anti-climax.

    So after some research I went for this;

    Jazz Tele Venture-tele_4ws-jpg

    The VV CC pickup can sound quiet when you try to balance the string output but the series selection (humbucker mode) really brings the boost you need. The PIO cap combo makes for an excellent transition.

    Jazz Tele Venture-dsc_1174_3-640x360-jpg
    The orange drop cap on the tone control just sounded wooly to these jaded old ears so I searched around and found some Paper in Oil caps, thank you very much. Including postage £5 for 2. No snake oil but a better sweep.

    Now the Vintage Vibe CC type pickup is special, if you haven’t tried one yet then why you waitin’?
    The thing with this pickup is that you can swap out the magnets. I purchased this with Alnico 5’s and 2’s.
    The 5’s have more click where the 2’s sound more rounded. I love the tonality of the 2’s.

    Jazz Tele Venture-duncs-2-png
    But the original bridge pickup just isn’t in the same league as the VV CC. It had to go.
    Seymour Duncan 2’s for the bridge. Money spent and pickup installed I was very happy.
    No ice pick highs just a lovely rounded tone.
    Duncan does does Duncan dunnit. Nice.
    Last edited by jazzbow; 05-06-2019 at 05:08 PM.

  6. #5

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    Pickguards! I can write a book on bleedin’ pickguards….
    I’ll spare you all with the abridged readers digest version.

    Original Squier pickguard follows the original ‘62 version. 5 hole.
    I wanted black pickguard with a humbucker cut. I can have any manufactured one except for 5 hole.

    Standard 5 hole purchased and one evening;

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0313-640x478-jpg

    Jazz Tele Venture-tele-custom-2-640x478-jpg

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0316-640x478-jpg
    Job done!

    Here’s a neat trick..

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0566-jpg
    Top hat selector switch, stuck on some 180 grit W&D, cut to size and a nice grippy surface for when you need it.
    Last edited by jazzbow; 05-06-2019 at 05:17 PM.

  7. #6

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    Tele bridges, there’s a whole lot of science behind them. Check out Bill Lawrence on the Telecaster forum discussing the different electrical doo dads frequency farkle metal that affect bridge pickups. All very interesting but Jazzbow didn’t have the time or regular gigging calendar to warrant this foray.

    But there are a few things you can do to help diminish unwanted howls, clunks and screeching.

    Tele bridges are punched and drawn sheet metal. Are they completely flat? Nah, highly unlikely.
    If its only contacting the body at the screw holes there could be a small gap under there that will probably vibrate at certain volumes and frequencies. Some fixes are two additional screws at the very end where the bridge meets the scratchplate.

    I have considered this but have not done. Instead I’ve done this;

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0325-640x478-jpg
    Blue sharpie on the bridge base to the contact points.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0326-640x478-jpg
    400 grit W&D on flat perspex until the whole base is clear of ink.

    Jazz Tele Venture-bridgy-png
    There you see the different levels of metal. Chrome only remains in localised areas.
    Rubber grommets on the height adjustment screws. Lots of trial and error to get the right length.

    But oh woe, intonation and Tele saddles. There’s a conversation piece akin to sticking needles into your eyes!

    There’s lots of modern help out there for a 70 year old twannger that just can’t reach the top without a wobble or two.
    So I placed the whole guitar on a stair lift, it’s been a god send for my 80 year old parents but alas no improvement to playing in tune up the neck.

    So again onto the WuhWuhWuh for help.

    First was these..

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0344-640x478-jpg
    Um, can’t remember who makes them.
    They’re great for plain G string sets, but that D/G saddle can’t be flipped for wound G.
    So I bought a second saddle set to get the right aspect for correct intonation for flatwounds.

    All fitted up with Thomastic flats and correct intonation there was a dead spot and overtone on the G. Thinking it was the string I paid for another set of strings. The sharp angle of the saddle cut through the flat wrap of the G string. I suspect the acute angle may have compressed the wrap of the first set which led to the weird playability of the G string.
    Now I had two sets of Thomastic flats minus the G strings and a set of correct intonated saddles that wreck Thomastics.
    So ever the optimist I put on a set of Picato 13’s. Yup, there it is, G string dead with overtone. < SIGH! >

    More searches and stair lift shenanigans I found Kluson Harmonic Telecaster Saddles.

    Jazz Tele Venture-dsc_1163-640x360-jpg
    Perfect (or near as yer gonna get).
    Slanted and flippable for plain and wound G.

    Jazz Tele Venture-dsc_1160-640x360-jpg

    Now for some flatwounds. Chrome 12’s. Nice.
    Last edited by jazzbow; 05-06-2019 at 05:29 PM.

  8. #7

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    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0607-478x640-jpg

    So there you are, complete with ashtray cover.
    Made it. Played it. Rate it.

    Including the purchase price and all the little bits I believe no more than £300 was spent (strings not included).
    Playing it is as smooth and as easy going as a stair lift ride with genuine feeling of glee in your heart.
    The tonality is comfy as a plush cushion, the knitting needle highs have been rounded off and the tone control covers everything with a nice warm blanket like feeling.

    But throw on some pure nickel roundwound strings with a wound G and it kicks down the doors and slashes the curtains of suburban sheltered housing before nestling down with a nice cup of tea and some custard creams when the neck pickup and tone control is rolled out.

    Jazz Tele Venture-img_0342-640x478-jpg
    It’s just a damn fine guitar.
    Last edited by jazzbow; 05-07-2019 at 03:37 AM.

  9. #8

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    A Jazzbow Tele thread! Very cool. Nice to see you back, Jazzbow!

  10. #9

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    jazz tele huh... coulda skipped straight to the flatwounds..and with a little (set-up) tweaking, gotten a pretty good jazz tone...

    but i like that you took the long way around! always

    "once around the park & home james"



  11. #10

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    Nice Tele! Cool project exceptionally well executed.

  12. #11

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    Great project! Looks great and I imagine plays and sounds even better!
    I love your attention to detail.

    I put that same neck on my Fender Modern Player Thinline P90 (that I acquired as a body only)..... so now my Fender has a Squier logo, haha. No shame in that, very nice neck. I thought mine played fine with the original nut and fret dress but now you tempt me to address those to see if it can play even better...... ;-)

  13. #12

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    I do dig a P-90 in a tele neck position...

    Jazz Tele Venture-cab-t90s-jpg

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9
    I do dig a P-90 in a tele neck position...

    Jazz Tele Venture-cab-t90s-jpg
    Yup, me too!

    (But I would like to try a CC as well!)