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Scalloped Fender Telecaster

Posted: August 1, 2020

Introduction

Sometime in the past year or so I started listening to a little too much Richie Kotzen. I never really liked the Fender Telecaster guitar, but I really liked the sound he got out of it so I decided to get one. I ended up getting a Mexican Fender Baja Telecaster but unfortunately Fender doesn't sell Telecasters with a scalloped fretboard and the Yngwie Malmsteen influence in me got me to the point where I like playing on scalloped fretboards much more than I like standard neck guitars, so I had to do it myself.

I scalloped 3 other guitars in the past. The first was a really cheap Lotus I aquired for very little money from someone and the second was a really cheap Squier Strat II (the red guitar in the video). Back into 2010 or so I scalloped a Fender Stratocaster While doing the scalloping on that guitar I promised myself I would never ever do this again. I think it took me 3 months to do it and it was not a fun experience. On all those guitars I also redid the electronics (new pickups and potentiometers and such).

So I got the Mexican made Baja Telecaster back in March 2019 but it took me a year to get the nerve up to work on it. I was actually kind of liking how it was playing without the scallops.

Really though I prefer playing on scalloped necks, it's a littler harder to play fast, but it's so much lighter on the fingers (especially when bending strings) so I decided to just do it. This time instead of using files, I only used sand paper. I started out with really gritty stuff and finished it off with fine-grained. It went so much faster and I had way more control over the shape of the wood. I also didn't take the neck off this time. I tape some protective cardboard to the body of the guitar and just sended the fretboard down with the neck on. I finished it with two coats of Minwax Satin Polyurethane just like the Strat. I got it in done in 1 week this time (probably about 7 hours of actual work).

For strings I got DR Strings HiDef Phosphorescent Orange Electric Medium, .010 - .046, NOE-10 from Just Strings. I decided to stay with 10 gauge hoping I could avoid a neck adjustment and to keep the bigger sound of thicker strings.

I didn't change the pickups, at least not yet. I'm kind of eye-balling the DiMarzio Twang King for the neck and maybe the bridge version on the brige. Kind of wish I could hear the difference somewhere. If anyone has good advice on a twangy sounding pickup for the tele, feel free to send me an email.

After finishing this guitar and playing it, in my opinion this plays way better than it ever did.

Video

Here's a video of it: https://youtu.be/M8joRSzcEXo

Pictures

Scalloped Fender Telecaster

Here's a picture of the finished guitar.

Scalloped Fender Telecaster

Here's another picture of the finished guitar more from the side.

Copyright 1997-2020 - Michael Kohn