Guitar Building: Custom Obeche Tele!
This is the first guitar I put together on commission. The owner just wasn’t going to be able to come in for building sessions, so I agreed to take on the job on my own. We met at Larry Robinson’s booth at the 2016 Fall Philly Guitar Show, and picked out a cool obeche body with arm and belly cuts (by Larry), and then ordered a neck from USA Custom Guitars. He chose vintage-style Kluson tuners, a bone nut, a Gotoh bridge, Duncan Vintage Stack pickups, an Electrosocket for the Switchcraft jack, a matte black WD pickguard, RS pots, and various Fender parts to round it all out.
Obeche sands beautifully, but the edges of holes and routs can get crumbly, so that takes a little extra care. It is VERY soft and dents easily, so I had a few dings to steam out. We decided on a gloss Tru-Oil finish for the body, and that is always tricky. Thin layers and plenty of light sanding between coats gets you there, if you have the patience. The neck finish is satin, because that feels dry and fast, and doesn’t get sticky. The neck is USACG’s asymmetric EB carve, with a 12″ radius and 6105 frets. Very comfortable, and just like the neck I used for my red Bigsby Tele.
If you’ve read any of my previous building posts, you know my process. It’s simple: gather carefully-chosen, high-quality parts, and put them together well. This body is very light, a little over three pounds, and gave me a crisp, lively acoustic response. The guitar sustains very well, and has great Tele tone. Purists may point out that the Duncan Stacks can’t deliver 100% authentic single-coil tone, and they’re right. However, the acoustic tone we got makes that difference insignificant, and there’s no noise to deal with.
And the end result? A great playing and sounding guitar, in the hands of a very happy owner!