In pondering what my next project would be I knew I wanted to get back to making a six string. I have a bit of a penchant for Fender’s offset guitars, the Jazzmaster and Jaguar, but I really like the look of La Cabronita style Telecasters – particularly that clean and simple look with a single Filtertron in the bridge position.
When I was in Nashville last May, Clint Searcy gave me a maple neck that he had taken off a First Act. Despite its budget origins it is a very well made and fretted neck. I stripped the original finish from it and found a pleasant, but not extreme, curly figure under the black poly lacquer. The neck is going to make a good starting point but it is a 3+3 headstock which is not very Fender-y – until I remembered the original Snakehead Telecaster, which has recently been reissued for the Telecaster’s 60th anniversary.
For those who haven’t seen one, here is a picture of a La Cabronita;
I did find that a few people have built Jazz shaped Cabrionitas, aka Jazzbronita, like this one;
And finally, for reference, here is a Snakehead Telecaster;
Some of the other details of the build;
- Jazzmaster shaped body, in sapele, with black binding on the front edge and a 1/2″ roundover on the back.
- 25.5″ scale maple neck with maple fretboard and 3+3 “Snakehead” style headstock.
- Chrome hardware.
- Strat hardtail bridge.
- Master volume, master tone, and mini toggle on/on/on pickup selector.
- Rear mounted controls.
- Two FilterTron style pickups – I’m leaning towards a pair of Swing-Os from The Creamery. I love the idea of the single pickup guitars, but as I proved with the Rockmangle, I am unable to live with them. I need a neck pickup just as much as a bridge.
- Danish oil finish.
Some of the design decisions I have yet to make;
- A body as big as the Jazzmaster, made out of a dense timber like sapele, is going to be a real beast. Should I chamber it from the front and top it with a 1/4″ cap, or just man-up?
- Pickguard or naked?
- Keep or replace the currently installed black plastic fret markers and side dots?
- Bolt on or glued neck?