Fender Telecaster (ToneShaper Hotrod)
Fender Telecaster (ToneShaper Hotrod)
This guitar started life as a Player Tele (Mexico). The Player Tele has an alder body and a maple neck with a 9.5" radius, and 22 Medium Jumbo frets. The truss rod adjusts at the headstock for convenience, so you don't have to remove the neck to adjust the rod like on a vintage-style neck.
It's Pretty Light
We've done three of these guitars (Player Tele, Tidepool). They ranged in weight from 7.25 to 7.8 pounds. This is the 7.25 pounder.
We've completely rewired this guitar from scratch with 4-way series/parallel switching. This wiring provides one additional tonal option without adding complexity to the guitar.
In a Tele with conventional 3-way switching, the two pickups are combined in the middle position and are connected in parallel. This provides a chimy, open sound that Fenders are famous for. But the pickups can also be combined in series, which yields a fatter, warmer tone. It pushes the front of the amp a little harder, providing a little more drive. We wire the guitar like this:
Position 4 - Neck Pickup
Position 3 - Neck + Bridge (Series)
Position 2 - Neck + Bridge (Parallel)
Position 1 - Bridge Pickup
We wire the guitar this way because the positions that are most easy to find (the switch all the way forward, or the switch all the way back) yield the same options that a conventional Tele does with 3-way wiring. So long-time Tele players will feel right at home with this guitar.
And of course we wanted great pickups, and we decided on pickups from the maestro: Lindy Fralin. The Blues Special pickup in the bridge delivers just the right amount of girth without sacrificing that all-important Tele bite. This is a super popular pickup.
The Fralin neck pickup is a 2% overwound pickup. Overwinding the neck can make the pickup dark-sounding, and this is especially problematic on a Tele, where the neck pickup can be dark to begin with. But Lindy is the Magic Man, so have no fear. Check out the YouTube video linked above, this guitar sounds fantastic in all four positions!
Fender has used two styles of bridges on most Teles. The original bridge from 1950 had the lip around its edge that the cover snapped onto, though the cover prevented right-hand muting of the strings, so most players discarded them. This bridge had three saddles.
When the American Standard Tele was introduced in the 1980s, Fender introduced a new bridge that was about 1/2" longer, and had six saddles instead of three like the originals. They also mounted differently, with three mounting holes instead of the vintage bridge's four mounting holes.
Fender still uses both bridges on the various Tele models. However, many of the Mexican guitars have a third variant: A longer bridge that at first blush resembles the American Standard bridge, but mounts with four screws like the original bridge.
This presents a dilemma to the person looking to upgrade the hardware on these guitars, since there aren't many options that have the longer plate, but with the four mounting holes.
The truth is that we prefer the vintage bridge anyway. Call us traditionalists, but there's just something about the shorter original bridge that makes the guitar look more like a Tele to us. It's vintage snobbery, to be sure, but we can't help ourselves. And who makes the best original Tele bridge out there? Callaham does.
Happily, the original-style Callaham bridge screws right onto these Mexican guitars, which provides a substantial quality improvement over the stock bridge. Plus it looks cooler. But there's a part of the original bridge's footprint that doesn't get covered by the replacement, and in some cases the original bridge will have left marks - imprinting - on the top of the guitar and this becomes exposed in this small area when you mount the shorter bridge. The good news is that this is usually very minimal and that's the case with this guitar. If you hold it in reflected light you will see some very minor marking on the top, but if you look at the guitar straight on from a foot away, you don't see them, they're minimal.
Wear & Tear
Some people are very concerned about the smallest ding or dent in a guitar. This is essentially a new guitar, if it has any imperfections then they'll be of the most minor variety. But don't buy this guitar for its pretty face - it's itching to gig. It is our favorite kind of guitar: a not-too-expensive-but-real-deal-kick-ass™ player. So wring it out!
The guitar has the stock Fender tuners. If it had a trem, or if we were building it from scratch, we'd have used locking tuners. But the stock tuners are pretty nice tuners, no need to raise the price more than needed by replacing perfectly good parts.
We know you want a case, but Fender provides none. We're partial to gig bags - good ones are well made and offer plenty of protection, and they're just so much lighter and easier to carry around than hard cases that we strongly prefer them. Fender has several lines of gig bags ranging from the real bottom-feeder stuff to seriously deluxe. We're including one that's mid-line - the FE620 - with this guitar. It's a nice bag: Good protection, doesn't break the bank.
This guitar has been gone over from one end to the other by us, and is dialed. An example of the value we add: Fender shielded all three of the body cavities at the factory, but they only connected the control cavity to ground, rendering the shielding in the two pickup cavities ineffective. We've remedied this.
We've also set up the guitar, and it plays beautifully, as well as anything, as well as any guitar from any company, including PRS, Anderson, Suhr, etc. IT IS READY TO GIG.
Guitar Weight: 7.25 Pounds
Scale Length: 25.5"
Fretboard Radius: 9.5"
Fret Width: .105"
Fret Height: .042"
All components we added to this guitar are new, and carry the warranty from their original manufacturer. The guitar itself was acquired as a new guitar from a Fender dealer and is being re-sold by us. As such, it does not carry a Fender warranty.
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