The FenderTelecaster Lover's Modification Site!

Brian Mikami

Beautiful Hawaii, USA

Brian Mikami's Tele-GibI'm Brian Mikami, and I live in beautiful Hawaii. Been playing guitar since the early 70's...remember when high schools used to have live bands playing for dances every weekend? Those were the days. Rock and roll is still in my 'old' blood, rekindled by my son's garage band. After 'hanging up' almost 14 years, I got back into it a year ago. I now teach their guitarist and sit in once in a, what fun to play again!

I had a used Thineline Ash Tele in the last 70's. It was a great guitar...but, I got the Les Paul bug when I heard the Allman Brothers. Got a old Gold Top (soap bars P-90s) and traded up for a black LP Custom. I had that one the longest. Sold the LP and my black face Deluxe Reverb for $800.00 over 10 years ago...needed down payment bones for our new house...sigh. Got a deal on a Jimmy Vaughn Strat a year ago...great guitar. Just did a kustom paint and Dually Lace install. A few months ago, I found out (after joining the Seymour Duncan forum) that Seymour made a custom Tele for Jeff Beck. I read the facinating story and saw pictures of the Tele-Gib. Jeff used this on Blow by Blow's, "Cause we ended as lovers" I was floored. All these years, I thought it was the Chocolate Lester. No wonder my album said 'dedicated to Roy Buchanan'...Mr Tele (who Seymour introduced Jeff to).

Brian Mikami's TeleI played this song with my Les (when I was still in a band) and got close to the tone (so I thought). Now, I was on a mission to make a Tele-Gib. Found a Tele on Ebay, heavy Ash body, Tex-Mex pups and MityMite neck. Played it for a week, waiting for parts to arrive. Tore it apart. Jeff's Tele is a late 50's and pretty worn. I got some clear pics and copied the worn spots. Relic'd the body with scratches and dings, fake cracking with razor blade and wood colors. A friend sent me a vintage Fender bridge already cut in half. All chrome parts were worn down with a wire wheel and sandpaper, dipped in acid or Ferrous Chloride. The neck was not vintage enough. Wierd truss hole and broken screws in the headstock from the trees. I ended up veneering a piece of Maple over the headstock, and drill out the tuning peg holes. I left the truss hole covered for the vintage look (I adjusted the neck first)...I'll drill a hole if I ever need to adjust the truss rod. I wanted to do a relic neck (although Seymour put a new Maple top on Jeff's axe) so I made the fake worn spots with a Dremel and wood color. Shot yellow and brown toner with a 'oil flat ' clear lacquer. Looks nice and dull with a smooth lacquer it, Routed the pup holes with a RotoZip...that tool is awesome and perfect for this job. Easier and safer than a router.

The same pickups (Jazz neck and JB bridge) are used. I got 2 Zebras as SD cannot legally make a double creme. (Like Jeff's PAF bridge) I'm stoked. The sound/tone, feel, weight (it's pretty heavy like a Lester) and looks are just what I wanted. I plan to

Brian Mikami's Tele-Gib LP switchplate 

Well, I stole this idea from those kool Tele's at Girlbrand Guitars and I really dig it now. I love my Duncan Jazz neck and JB they have names!

do a few mods to this Franken-Tele like a LP toggle on the upper horn (Just like a real LP) and 4 knobs in a row on the control plate...if I do, you'll see it here first!

January, 2003: Finally got around to taking new pics of the latest mods (see top of page for a shot with the new control panel). It has a few more tones with the middle position now...and the switch is much easier to use. I have the 'no-load' tone pot that has a wide open ("11") feel. Also, I now have a killer Jimmie Vaughan Strat neck, smooth as butta finish and awesome soft V shape.

Brian Mikami's Tele-Gib pups 


Summer, 2003..."GOLDIE"
Goldie started out as a project with the only direction as a 'metalflake' paint job, because I Brian Mikami's 'Goldie'was doing one for Wattage. I decided on gold, but wanted to do a 'solid' back and sides to mimic my newly aquired 'lawsuit' Les Paul goldtop. I chose some left over Schwinn Coppertone kandy (a 60's color), as it's a goldish copper. Did the silverflakes on top only, and shot a very light coppertone over it. Looked 'gold-tone'. I went heavy coppertone on the sides and back giving a brownish-copper look. I wanted to separate the top flakes from the solid kandy sides, so I ran a 1/8" white pinstripe tape just below the top. Everything is burried under heavy clear coats and buffed out.

I already had the Seymour Duncan Lil59 bridge pup selected to drop in that shiny chrome bridge. My decision for the neck pup was ultimately a killer CC Rider pup from VintageVibe Guitars, set in the matching B&W pickguard, this thing is a work of art! Having a dislike for the stock Tele 3-way slider, I made a custom plate for use with a LP 3-way like my Tele-Gib has. Dipped in triple chrome and dolled up with 2 deep amber Gibby speed knobs... Holy Crap!

Spring-Summer 2004
Goldie's had a few changes made: the knobs and switchtip have been replaced by a set of mechanical wizard/genius Mark Johnston's custom-designed "piston" knobs/tip.

Brian Mikami's 'Goldie' 

Brian Mikami's 'Goldie' 


Here's the latest mod: a StewMac vintage Tele body, repainted Schwinn Kool Green, nitro clear coat, finish checked and relic'd. Bill Lawrence pup, Mark Johnston kustom wiggle stick and flat top SS knobs. Kool!

Brian Mikami's Schwinn Kool Green Tele mod 

Brian Mikami's Schwinn Kool Green Tele mod 

home | profiles & modifications | tips & tricks | discussion | links | contact us