Posted by: kubiakl | February 23, 2011

Mo’ Mojotone

Can I just give a quick shout out for Mojotone?  Twice now they have impressed me with their service and speed.  I ordered a wiring kit, chrome knobs, and switch tip for my Tele project.  My order was placed around 9:00 Tuesday morning, and according to the Fedex tracking it should be delivered by Thursday evening.  I paid $15 for the 2-day shipping, which isn’t a bad price for expedited delivery.

So, the Tele project.  I’ve had an old Telecaster body sitting around my apartment for two years and I haven’t done anything with it.  Originally it came from a guy on Craigslist, the ad said it was solid and heavy and it has a nice blonde finish.  I’ve always been a fan of the look of a ’52 Tele:

So it was a good purchase.  I just never got around to everything else – electronics, bridge, control plate, pickguard, neck…

But I finally decided it was time.  My old Strat neck will be used for now, and I ordered everything else from three different suppliers.  The wiring kit and knobs are coming from Mojotone, so I’ll talk about them first.

Mojotone offers a prewired Tele kit – the switch, potentiometers, capacitor, and jack are soldered together on a board for easy installation.  It was a little extra ($25 more than the kit itself) but for the convenience of avoiding soldering mistakes it seemed worth it.  I am far from an expert with an iron and this means alls I have to solder are the pickups.  They also use high quality components – an Oak Grigsby switch, CTS pots, and the Orange Drop .047uf capacitor.  I don’t know much about caps, but apparently Orange Drop caps are well respected.  It also has vintage style cloth covered wire.

The knobs were standard Fender Tele chrome knobs, made for solid shaft potentiometers.  I thought about the pearl top knobs but wanted it to look like a standard Tele – nothing flashy, just a solid guitar that hasn’t changed much since Leo Fender created it 60 years ago.

From Guitar Parts Resource came some basics: the bridge, control plate, and pickguard.  The bridge will be a little more modern – vintage Telecasters have steel bridges with three brass saddles, each holding two strings – but this makes intonation a little harder to adjust.  Wilkinson makes a bridge with three brass saddles that are tilted to compensate:

Seems like a good option.  It was also less expensive than some of the fancier bridges – there’s a Wilkinson with tilt-adjust saddles, and Joe Barden makes some high quality Tele bridges as well.  And of course, there are genuine Fender replacements available.  I chose genuine Fender parts for the control plate and pickguard, and went with a standard 3-ply black/white/black.

Pickups were probably the hardest decision, as well as the most expensive parts.  A set of Fender Texas Special Tele pickups runs around $140 or so, and most of the other well known manufacturers are pretty close.  Since this is my first time trying to wire from scratch I decided not to drop a lot for a set of pickups that I could conceivably screw up.  Some searching eventually led me to Guitar Fetish, a website that carries GFS pickups.  GFS makes a Professional Series ’52 replica with near vintage specs for the output.  A set goes for $70, so that saved me a good bit.  GFS has some good reviews on Harmony Central as well.

Guitar Fetish was also nice to deal with, they shipped today (Wednesday, the order was placed yesterday) and should be here pretty quickly as well.  I also got confirmation emails on the order and shipment.  If you’re looking for inexpensive parts they have a great selection and incredibly low prices.  They also have a blem section with necks and bodies that have minor issues, as well as MANY styles of pickups for reasonable prices.

And now I’m back to playing the waiting game.  The only unknown is Guitar Parts Resource, I didn’t receive a confirmation or a tracking e-mail from them (yet, anyway).  My Mojotone order should be here tomorrow and Guitar Fetish on Friday.  I’ll try to take a few pictures as I go but we’ve already established that I suck at photography.

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