The FenderTelecaster Lover's Modification Site!

Jeff Levenson

Southfield, Michigan, USA

Jeff LevensonHi everyone, I'm Jeff Levenson and I've been playing guitar on and off since I was 5. I'm a freelance graphic artist, luthier, guitar modder... you name it!

I spend most of my free time restoring, reworking and modifying guitars to custom orders, relics, or replicas of famous guitars. I enjoy it and I've been told I do a good job at it, which is a plus.

My only Telecaster at the moment is my 1967 Tele, which I lovingly restored to some sense of it's former glory.

Here's the story behind it:

The Tele is my '67, stamped Aug '67. I actually traded a cheaper Rocky strat for it that I painted up. When I got it, it had <gulp>:

  • EMG active pickups in it
  • a plain white single layer pickguard(correct hole layout, I think it was a custom guard, I still have it)
  • changed bridge to 70's FENDER six saddle
  • wiring and electronics all changed
  • tuners were 6 in line Schallers.

Luckily, it's neck was OK, frets were replaced with medium jumbos by a pro at one point so they were good and the body, which was originally natural, was resprayed in the 70's with black nitro. It still had the original neckplate too, whew!

Jeff Levenson'TeleSince the finish was already broken in, was nitro, and had settled into the grain nicely, I left it alone except for buffing it back out. It's a nice thin coat on it too.

The tuners got removed, as well as all the offending parts. I bought a set of double line Kluson Deluxe tuners(correct for mine, it has the indents on the back of the headstock for the originals). Because of the fact that the '67 has the thicker headstock, the tuners were sitting a little shorter, but I was told this was the norm for that set up, and I still had plently of space for windings.

I left the neck alone; it was a nitro finished, broken in already and had a NICE feel to it.

I found a real vintage bridge from a '66 Tele with no hardware on it for $60. I bought a set of replacement threaded saddles from Stew Mac for it.

I know, it would have originally had a w/b/w pickguard, but I like the m/b/m combo, especially against the black so I got one from Stew Mac. Theirs are nice, because the mint is subtle, unlike some of the Fender ones I've seen that look a bit TOO mint.

I had a set of pickups from a MIJ rosewood tele my buddy Doug had in it for a time being, but then replaced those with a set of SD Antiquity IIs. I made a completely new wiring harness with cloth pushback wire, CTS solid shaft pots, vintage NOS paper in oil caps(I know.... but I HATE ceramic disc caps, the molded ones sound SO much better).

Once I got all the bits and pieces on there, I plugged a few stray holes in the headstock (I STILL can't figure out what the ones on the back of the headstock were), then went to aging the new hardware to match the age on the rest of the original stuff. I lightly aged the pots, and aged the wire a bit, but nothing got a heavy relic at all.

It's an odd duck Tele, because it was all nitro originally, has the pre-black FENDER TELECASTER logo, had double line Klusons instead of the "F" ones, had threaded saddles (a lot of this was confirmed by the guy I got it from, because he was the one who removed it all and got rid of it), ash body, rosewood veneer fretboard, etc., etc., yet it's a fairly late one to have this, as I've seen some earlier than mine with the '68 features. Not that I'm complaining!

It's a great player and it was a bit of work to get it back to some assemblance of it's former glory, but it was worth it!

Jeff Levenson'Tele 

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