Guitar Building: Humbucking Esquire, Part 1

The body you see here is a lightweight single piece of Eastern white pine. It weighs 3.5 to 4 pounds. I had just ordered a small DeWalt router with a plunge base and two small bits with bearings, along with two humbucking pickup templates from Stew-Mac. I ordered two templates because they seem a little thin, and I stuck them together with carpet tape. They have holes for screws, which I used to secure them while running the router.

I have a few Teles with standard single-coil pickups, but always reach for one with humbuckers at a gig. I love single-coil sound but I play in bars, and the noise issues are a pain to deal with. I have an Esquire with a BG1400 from the Duncan custom shop, and it’s great-sounding and dead quiet. So I started thinking about an Esquire with a full-sized humbucker and only a volume knob.

First, I sanded arm and belly cuts. The main tool for the arm cut is a random orbital sander, and I used a drum sander (also from Stew-Mac) chucked into my drill for the belly cut. Once I’d finished both cuts with sandpaper, I placed and screwed down the template, fired up the router and was done in just a few minutes. I made two more cuts for the pickup legs, checked to be sure that the pickup fit, and then mounted the pickup on the bridge plate. It sits right where it should, and looks good with the shell pickguard I want to use.

Time to finish sanding the body, and then getting ready to dye it. See you next time!

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