Thinline Telecaster Mark 1


This is a thinline tele build with a few custom modifications; you'll find out about those as we go along! I'm starting from a blueprint by Terry Downs

The plans are drawn up...
...And the keel is layed down!
As it happens, this is the way I built my first guitar; it's not the right way to do it, or even a particularly good way to do it. But whereas then I did it for want of knowing any other way, now I'm doing it for a reason. More on that in a day or two. Also, these aren't jigs; yes, it's a plywood guitar. That's not the right way to do it either, and again, there's a reason. Two, actually. First, I haven't built a guitar from the ground up for a while, so I want to keep the materials cost down in case it goes pear-shaped. Second, because I'm curious to see how the tone stacks up against (1) a real tele, and (2) a sister project with a solid maple core a la a 335.



You can now see the first departure from a stock tele: The neck joint is going to be an Ibanez-style all access joint instead of the traditional Fender block.

Routing day. I went freehand for this part; it got the job done, but it's untidy. Won't do that again! The upper half is routed to a shallower depth; I need that wood to be available for removal from the other side because (in the second departure from a stock tele) I'm giving it a belly scoop. These are the kind of accomodations you think of when you're a little overweight; a Les Paul or 335 just doesn't sit that comfortably on my any more.
Time for some glueing! You can see one reason why this "sandwich" approach to building is suboptimal: It's going to take a lot of routing and sanding to level the two pieces out to a smooth edge. Note that the inside edge has been cleaned up a lot; since it'll be hidden, no need to get too granular, but it ought to be reasonably tidy.
You can see the uneven cut on the f hole route in this pic, even after some sanding, but some careful file work will take care of that.
Well, there's the first rookie mistake of the project. When I clamed down the sides, I forgot to clamp the core! There are a couple of ways to approach fixing this, but for the time being, I'm going to table this issue and work on tidying the sides.


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