Rounding over the Telecaster body edge

Some fairly heavy rain and a 220 mile round trip to deliver a birthday surprise for my dear old Mum meant there wasn’t too much progress today.

I did get chance to research the correct roundover for a Telecaster body. The early 1950s models had a 1/8″ roundover, whereas in the 60s, in a move to make the body more comfortable, Fender switched to either 3/16″ or 1/4″ roundover. Since the only roundover cutter I had was a 1/4″, I was going to be following the 1960s design – necessity being the mother of invention and all that. And here’s a picture of the body with the front and back edges rounded over and lightly sanded.

The ever vigilant Steve “Eagle Eye” Benford noticed that I hadn’t routed the bridge pickup to the correct shape, so I’ll be correcting that tomorrow, as well as a lot more sanding. If you zoom into the picture above, you’ll see where I’ve marked, in pencil, the correct rout shape.

I want to have the bridge, scratchplate and neck to have been delivered before I rout the neck pocket because it is vital that they’re all in the right position relative to each other, and some of these pattern parts have a habit of wandering away from the original sizes.

All of the parts are on order now and I’ve decided to go with a red tortoiseshell scratchplate after stumbling over this picture. Aside from the rosewood fingerboard and gloss finish (mine will be maple and oil satin finish respectively) this gives a good impression of my aim for this guitar.

I did make one key decision last night. This guitar is going to veer away from the standard Telecaster design in one key respect: the neck is going to be glued rather than bolted in. When building the RockMangle I had feared that this would be the most difficult step but I found that not to be the case. The advantage it gives, in my experience, is a much better sustain and, more importantly, the freedom to be able to carve down the neck heel to a more comfortable shape. I can understand why, in the interests of manufacturing expediency, Fender didn’t do this, but I have no such constraints, and it is one of the things I dislike most about my (otherwise much loved) 70s Tele.

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