I’m still sanding away on the Tele slowly during the Christmas season but I took a picture for the website, and thought it might be worth viewing here. The two “mini me” Teles in the foreground are test slabs I use for the lights. Yes, I could use square boards, but this is more fun. The right side is a lightly sanded pine piece, the left is unsanded but coated and cured with a thin layer of surf board curing resin. Then I aged it into the sunburst pattern by cutting out a mini tele out of paper, then suspending it half way between the lights and the guitar, that made it so it wouldn’t have a hard line. This was my first attempt, and as far as first attempts go, I thought it was a success as it proved the concept was valid. It also shows how aging the wood with the lights doesnt’ turn it grey, like you see outside in the rain, but a golden brown that makes the grain pop in spectacular fashion. And this was done through the finish, not before. This looks so much better than that fake orangey stain they put on guitars, there just is no comparison. Best of all, doing it is easy, you just flip the light switch on and walk away for a day or three.
I did make one change on the spec. The fancy new Fender neck just looked completely out of character for this built, plus I’m not willing to modify it. This means I needed a sacrificial neck that I wouldn’t mind sanding down, aging out, then refinishing. So I went shopping on Craigslist and found a fairly clean Squier 51, which is the little brother of the Fender Pawnshop 51, a guitar I already own. A quick drive north of town to the parking lot of Hardees and $100 later, I have a neck. The guitar ended up sounding AMAZING, I almost hate to part this one out, but duty calls, and the body with pickups but without a neck will fetch $100 on eBay pretty easily, so I do the work, and I have a free neck. Hard to walk away from that. The neck is pretty white, no aging or tinting of any kind (the photo makes it look darker than it is because everything in the shot is light yellow…). I’m going to use some stripper to get it down to bare wood, then age it hard with some Universal UV 32w lamps, the same as the pine body. They will age differently, but want both to looks old without using that fake stain junk.
Basically, we are still at level Prototype 1.5. I’ve also ordered a different pickup, a Fender 1962 Custom Shop reissue, which should have a more authentic sound. Like all projects, this one has a few bends and twists, but at the end of the day, I think we are going to have a better end product than what I started with.