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.


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