New Warmoth Tele: Part III The Assembly

While waiting for the pickguard to arrive from Canada I decided to knock out some detail work. Shielding can be a controversial topic, but I recommend doing it and I much prefer using copper foil over some of the conductive paint products I’ve tried in the past. This is the cleanest job I’ve ever done. Tracing and cutting out pieces the exact size of the pickup routes worked really well. During my last build I also learned that it’s not a good idea to shield the route for the input jack. Skipping that also sped up the process.

The last step in an oil finish is to apply some wax; however, if you do it too soon and the oil hasn’t cured it will “cloud up” the finish. A good way to know if the oil has cured is if you can still smell the oil. I let the body sit in front of this fan for 3 or 4 days/nights to try and accelerate this process. I actually have no idea if it helped at all, but it seems like moving air over it would be a step in the right direction. In the end it took over a month for this body to cure properly.
WOW! The pickguard is definitely the coolest part of the guitar. I was a little nervous it might not line up w/ the pickup routes on the body. Luckily, it was basically perfect and good to go. The bevel on the pickguard was slightly rough, but passing some 0000 steel wool over it fixed the issue instantly.
I didn’t capture a picture of it, but I also connected the pickup routes w/ an additional strip of copper foil. I wanted to make sure all of the foil on the body was properly connected w/ out the pickguard being installed. I realize this may be unnecessary but it seemed like that could reduce points of failure. It was easy to ensure it was working by using my multi-meter.
A straightedge is very helpful for lining up tuners. Doing this without one is an OCD inducing process and I don’t recommend it. I love these Gotoh mini locking tuners and how streamlined they are. No clunky wheels on this guitar.
Remember with a contoured heel, you have to ensure that the screws are not too long.
Apparently I made this heel more aggressive than the Warmoth one. I used shorter stainless screws from Home Depot after seeing the ones they sent were too long.
These Electro Socket-style jacks are the best, but they don’t seat completely on a standard 7/8th route.
What I’ve done successfully on four of these warmoths is to take some 100 grit sandpaper and widen edge of the route a little bit. It doesn’t take a whole lot, but this will really make a difference in how sturdy the socket seats.
When I was finished, I noticed that the lighter wood color was showing around the jack. No problem. I just put a tiny amount of tung oil on a rag and it instantly darkened up the freshly sanded wood to perfectly match.
That may not be 100% perfect, but close enough compared to w/o the additional sanding.
Our dog inspected the string ferrules.
With the hard parts out of the way installing the electronics was a breeze. Since the control plate was still intact I really just needed to solder the pickup leads and input jack. I alway recommend testing pickups w/ a tuning fork rather than tapping them with a screwdriver. You won’t mar your pickup covers and it’s much more effective for testing tone pots. I kept the traditional Nashville-style 5-way wiring which is just like a strat except the middle position connects the neck+bridge pickups. This has been my favorite wiring for a few years now and I also use it on my strat. I also use all stainless steel screws. All of the screws in this photo are from my 15 year old tele, and they still look new. The neck screws were too long and I did have to drill out the routes a little more so the pickguard would install properly. It did hurt a little to do that on top of my shielding work.
…and there’s the heel joint bolted up. I think it looks pretty good and it feels amazing when playing high on the neck. Totally worth the additional work.

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