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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Tele clone makeover - should I do it?

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I bought this J&D Tele back when my only guitar was a LP and I wanted something ultra-cheap to play around without the fear of damaging my precious Gibson.


While it's far from being perfect, it's a very nice player and it grew on me pretty fast. I like its looks with the black pickguard, but I wanted to try something different. I found this picture of the gorgeous (and supposedly very expensive) J. Backlund JBD-200 and it really got my imagination going:


It looks so retro-futuristic, like a 60s radio (or in this case a crappy 2010s Chinese rendition thereof):


Anyway, I want to keep the Tele hardware and while the JBD's carved and contoured body looks awesome, I'm afraid I don't think I can pull it off with my current skills. Plus I don't want to refinish it (or have it refinished), so in the end I would go with a simple modification of the pickguard & control plate. I made a crude cardboard and tinfoil mock-up:



I'm still not sure if I prefer the guitar this way though... What do you think?

Old punks never die... They just become surf rockers.

Last edited: Mar 10, 2012 13:45:54

Looks like an easy enough way to turn a rather boring black on black to something exciting.
I think it looks very cool. Go for it!

I like the black on black. One of my favorite guitars is the black on black tele custom II.

There was an amazing example of this, but in the Mocha finish, that I really regret not buying several years ago. Weird how certain guitars can be considerably better than other examples of the same year.

If you want to spice up the guitar, get a Charlie Christian pickup for the next, Lollar makes them, or put a Jag/Jazz trem system in there.


Frankly, I don't think the standard Tele pickguard and control plate are very visually attractive. I like your proposal, but suggest leaving a bit more body showing near the top of the pickguard, similar to the JBD-200.


I like the idea. I think I would make the guard a little smaller, and maybe contour the foils part to match the curves a bit. That would make it a more continuous shape, which would help in my opinion. I like what they did with the controls, but without the contour I would adjust the shape a bit.

Looks like a fun project though, I'd go for it.

How many guitars are enough?

Just one more...

Monument Music

very cool concept. go with it and keep posting.

Yes. I also agree with Ripley 1046 and ras1500's comments. Would also look great in pastel colors and maybe another smaller ellipse on the bottom horn. I admire your determination as I'm sure it's not an easy project but it's well worth doing.

I like Dobner's Pickup on your Pickguard with Ripley's contour. Here is the Tele I'm looking for. Aria.

Thanks a lot for your input, guys. It really helps to have opinions from the people with the best taste in the world - Surf lovers!

You're right, my cardboard mockup is way off, and as it is now it's not very attractive. I was trying to do something just a bit different from the JBD with the new pickguard but it looks pretty clunky that way.

In fact I realise that without the JBD-200's nice carving/contouring the design loses much of its charm. I might eventually buy a Warmoth body and try carving the top, but that will not be for some time (i.e. after I've satisfied more pressing needs, like my Jazzmaster craving Yes ) For now I'm going to try again and see if I can come up with something a bit more elegant for the pickguard, and if I can't, well, I'm like Jake, I still like black on black for a Tele.

Also, there is one thing I didn't take into consideration: if I go ahead with the "simple" revamp option then I'll still have to fill up the 2 screw holes on the lower horn and therefore mess with the finish... Uh-Oh

Old punks never die... They just become surf rockers.

airesound's suggestion of another elliptical plate on the horn would mean you didn't have to fill the holes.

And if you want that 'engine-turned' look, it's pretty easy to acheive with a little work. If you use an aluminum plate, get yourself a dowel maybe 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter, and maybe 6 inches long. Make sure it's smooth on the end. use some carpet tape to stick as circle of maybe 150 grit paper on it. Then put it on the plate and turn it to grind the circular shapes in. If you need to, mark the centers of the circles to that you get an even pattern. That's hwo to do it by hand. You can also make an arbor for a drill or drill press out of various things with the same idea.

Personally, I shape the new control plate somewhat like you have, except that I'd make the bottom symmetrical with the top.

Form follows function. Less is more.

I really like it. I'd go for it!

Here's A mockup I did, just for fun and challange, take from it what you will...


That looks really cool!

How many guitars are enough?

Just one more...

Monument Music

That looks great! I'd put a cutout in the back for a Bigsby, though.

Here's a little featherweight Esquire beauty that is currently being custom-assembled for me - that beautiful bridge pickup, with tone control, is all I need (and it's hand-wound to be "fatter"), and the Trem King will give me the fine surf shimmer.

Last edited: Mar 16, 2012 10:36:40

What an awesome looking esquire! What's with the bridge? Never seen one like that before.

I came. I saw. I left.

It's called a Trem King, and it provides a fine vibrato option for a Tele...

Does it require a body route under it?

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