Sunday, March 01, 2009


a gear post.........

We recently moved the recording studio. I had to put a lot of stuff in storage and also brought some stuff home. My black
Todd Hanson Tele, built by Phil Maneri at 5th Ave Fretshop in Columbus, OH ended up under the bed for a while.

Black Hanson Tele

While cruising the Dr Z Amp Forum I read some talk about Esquires. The Esquire was the first Fender guitar and it had one pickup (as opposed to the 2 pickup Telecaster). Now this topic got me thinking about the drastic difference in output between the 1 pickup Les Paul Junior and the 2 pickup Les Paul Special.

Jr and Special

Those 2 guitars are virtually identical in construction except for the electronics. The Special is a great guitar but anybody who ever heard the Great Fatsby Leslie West play Mississippi Queen knows the Junior is a fire breathing horse on its hind legs by comparison. So, Since I have 4 other Telecasters I decided to mess with the black one.

I read up on Esquire wiring options which had a bunch of muffling capacitors wired into the switch that would eventually become the pickup selector then I rode over to Rick Kelly's Carmine Street Guitar Shop to check with Rick on which way to go with the switch before I got out the soldering iron an all. Rick builds some Esquire type guitars out of 150 year old pine that came out of some film directors Bowery Loft. Anyway, Rick told me to bail on the switch entirely. "Check mine out. I don't use the switch at all." This made sense to me and turned out it was about 10 times easier wiringwise. Really only one wire to move.

I rode home and opened up the black tele. Removed the neck pickup and moved the one white wire and boom I had a very loud straight to the amp Esquire thing going on.

tele control

This made sense but anybody who's seen an Esquire knows it isn't all about the sound. If you are gonna be honest it is also about the clean aesthetic of having just one pickup. Now since I had bypassed the switch I wanted to take that clean thing to another level too. I'd seen a couple guitars that my friend Creston had made that had custom plates on them. Creston sent me to Callaham, the awesome parts maker who fabricates a lot of the hardware that we use in the Stonetree Guitars. Bill Callaham sent me a custom made plate with no switch holes in less than a week with a set of his bridge saddles and an Esquire pickguard.

So here it is, the 1 pickup, no switch Fender Style Fire Breathing Horse.


Labels: , ,


Blogger Matt Helderman said...

I dig it! 1 pickup, 0 switches...but still lots of tones in between working the volume and the hands. Great stuff

3:17 PM  
Blogger halfpear said...

Amen to all that. Now we just gotta figure out how to eliminate those pesky knobs... hah!

4:24 PM  
Blogger Javi said...

God... that's one beautiful esquire. Always loved that black tele. I have the non-switch plate on one of mines, but usually like to leave it on not for the capped bassy sound, instead I use the front switch position as a mute, the middle for the tone control and the back to bypass the tone.

Here's the switchless one:

3:21 AM  
Blogger roscoe said...

Your switchless plate looks cool Javi. I went with the standard knob placement 'cause that is what I'm used to. I think Callaham was quicker that way too. His stuff is so great.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Javi said...

Thanks, I love Bill's stuff too, but I actually got that blank plate from Guitarfetish. They sell those blank plates so you can drill'em where you want. Not an easy task though, mind you...

11:45 AM  
Blogger J.D. Hughes said...

Very nice , my good Sir.

1:50 PM  
Blogger SimonBar Sinister said...

I remember when you lent me that guitar!!played d.c-east liverpool ,oh.and dover oh with it.thanks again.

10:57 AM  
Blogger Rambo66 said...

Nice and simple like a '57 Chevy!

My first guitar was/is a '65 SG Jr and it kills!

The thing that makes one pickup guitars so great is there isn't the magnetic pull from the neck pickup.

6:18 PM  
Blogger mcpband said...

really cool stuff!

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've been thinking of doing it to my rosewood tele!

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Jol Dantzig said...

I just love the simplicity of the Esquire and this goes one better. I guess you know my feelings about Juniors...


7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cool Cool Cool Eric! Experimenting with guitar pickups, amps, & electronics to find a new sound has always interested me!

Jeff in TX.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Randy E. said...

I'm having a esquire built as we speak ( loosely based on a '54)
that has a textone ( in it....I'm hoping that i'll have a tele/lp jr. fire breathing dragon when I'm done....regardless it'll be funnern'sheeeeit.
peace y'all
The Heights

1:22 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home