The Bourbon Tele
..how whiskeybarrels are reborn...
..that great smell of oak and whiskey..
I decided to build my first Telecaster.. But i wanted it to be unique. Not a regular butterscotch or whatever..
The initial idea was to build a regular reclaimed wood or Barncaster. If you don´t know what these are it is basically old wood taken from very old torn down buildings and barns. Barns particularly have thick old support beams that has dried and aged over many decades. Some fine luthiers source these out and build them into telecasters and at the same time, do no intrusion to the way they look. They maintain all wormholes and nail holes and the charred old-age looks.
I came across this Texas luthier Paul Waldrop on Ebay when i decided to look for one. He makes exactly these types of bodies all year around. So i reached out to him to make one for me. I wanted knots and nail holes in plenty full.
It did get as far as the body was finished, shipped, and ended up on my workbench and to the point that i started sanding it smooth.. But then..
As i was preparing it, Paul´s facebook had an interesting post. He had got a hold of a few whiskey oak barrel-tops from a couple of distilleries. I fell in love with the idea of having a body of that with Ink stamps and everything and started to photoshop illustrations. I came to the point of.. well.. screw the reclaimed look.. this is what i will go for.
So i sent him a photo to make me one and i sold of the other body to cover the cost.
There are many Telecaster made with that hillbilly look so i was not inventing some new style here. But i wanted my own. So i started to cook up ideas what parts to fit on it.
To keep the old and reclaimed look, i decided to go with relic parts. But to keep the cost down, i decided to learn and relic the parts myself. And so i did.. The control plate and neck plate are custom designed and aged by myself in later times. If you fancy yourself a set of these, i sell them in various metals over at Etsy
For the neck i instantly thought about the roasted maple necks. Thought they would go great with that body. A Vintera neck was acquired with a lacquered fretboard and a satin back. I decided not to do any relic work on the neck (How do you relic a roasted neck anyway?) It looks "Old" at a glance but i will let time age this beauty.
Looking around for bridges, i bumped into a quite unique Bill Lawrence bridge made out of.. Oh joy... Aged copper. The bridge had a hefty price tag, but to hell with it.. That guitar needed that bridge. I did traded out the regular barrel saddles with Gotoh compensated saddles that i reliced as well.
The guitar quickly fell into place and i knew instantly what i wanted most of the time. It was to be a looker as well as a decent player.
As for the finish, i had no clue. Finishes i had little ideas and skills with, but with plenty of YouTubing, i landed on regular oil finish. No lacquer or nitro top on this. Gloss finish was out of the question.
Oil used was regular Liberon Finishing Oil applied with a rag. I just had two coats on the top to preserve its look more because finishing oil tend to build up more sheen the more layers you apply. but on the Cedar wood at the back i put several more layers. That could have all the sheen it needed.
The Pickups are Q-Pickups bought of Ebay. Decent enough for me, but might go for more high-end Fralins later on it when i feel like experimenting,
It plays like a Tele should play. I installed a 4-way switch in it for more parallel/serial diversity. Its my first and only Tele i have ever built and owned so i am no expert on them since i'm more into Stratocasters. so it hangs mostly on the wall until i will appreciate it more. It does look good on the wall though..
BODY: Waldrop Texas custom Oak whiskey barrel top with Cedar Body.
NECK: Fender Roasted Maple VINTERA Mod 60s Telecaster/Tele Neck, 9.5", C-Shape 21 Medium Jumbo Frets.
WIRING: Emerson Custom 4 Way Wiring Harness
PICKUPS: Q-Pickups Workmate Replica pups
TUNERS: Gotoh SD91 Reliced
BRIDGE: Bill Lawrence USA T2 Black Label Aged Copper Telecaster® Bridge 464 hz Tuned
CONTROL PLATE / NECK PLATE: Made by myself.
ADDITIONAL PARTS: Provided by Axerus.co.uk