Hey, Folks! My heavily modified Tele started out life as a 1988 American standard Tele...now the only original parts
left are the body, straplocks, and control plate!
- USA custom guitars fatback neck (with a very subtle V to the back) with a flamed maple fingerboard, black mother-of-pearl position markers, and white MOP side
markers. 6105 frets, and Gotoh Kluson tuners. Amber tint and nitro finish done by Ed Picard of Downtown Lutherie, Northampton MA. (a truly gifted luthier/tech!)
- Vintique conversion bridge ( 6-saddle Am. Std to 3-saddle brass-saddle traditional): This, along with the beefier neck, has had the most positive effect on the acoustic improvement of the instrument. The longer
saddle-adjustment screws and springs give this guitar a "chime" that I've never heard in any other Telecaster. It's a very "musical"
guitar when played acoustically or electrically.
- Vintique dome-top knobs: The best. Period.
- Electrosocket jack-cup: Perhaps the only faux-pas in Leo's original design was the jack cup. Totally impractical, it is, IMHO, a disaster waiting to (eventually) happen! The
electrosocket is milled from aircraft aluminum and attaches firmly into the body with 2 wood screws. It's cup-shape "guides" the plug into the jack. Cheapest
upgrade you'll make!
- Joe Barden "Gatton" pickups ( neck and bridge): Lots has been written about them...they will make you get your chops together, but they will also project more info than
any other pickup I've tried. Unforgiving, but very rewarding!
- Rio Grande "Halfbreed" middle pickup: Gives me Strat-like "quack" when I want it, but, being a bit more powerful
than their "vintage" pickup, can be used on it's own for a more traditional (but meaty) sound. I really like this pickup.
- Switching: Regular CRL 3-way pickup selector, 3-way mini-toggle, and 250meg CTS pots with .22mf capacitor and "treble bleed" on volume pot, to preserve highs when
lowering volume. Here's the layout...
- 3-way mini-toggle down: Bardens only, in regular Tele layout ( bridge; bridge + neck; neck)
- mini -toggle middle:brings Rio Grande into circuit...
(bridge + middle; all three on; neck + middle)
- mini-toggle up: Rio Grande (middle) alone.
This has been, for me, the best marriage
of extreme versatility and ease of use (read:live applications!) I've ever tried. The range of tones available is simply amazing. Ed Picard came up with this
format, and I've been sold ever since.
Ed also cut and mounted a bleached bone nut that is an absolute work of art. I can't stress strongly enough the
importance of a properly cut, finished, and mounted nut on the playability of any guitar. It is crucial. The nuts that Ed makes
(from scratch, I should add) have a "jewel" like precision to them.
Last of all, the control plate is reversed. Why Leo never did this, I can't imagine! Everything is right there
when you need it. Give it as try!
I've used this Guitar on rock gigs, Jazz gigs (Fabulous Jazz sounds!), country gigs, studio sessions, even with an
orchestra...and I'm still knocked out! If Fender ever made a signature model for me( fat chance!), this would be it!