Mystery-caster; a new project begins


A week and a half ago I took delivery of the timber for a new commission. The client wanted a Telecaster with very similar specification to Laurie, and I readily said yes.

The full specification has not yet been finalised, but what we currently have is a blackguard era Tele, with:

  • Two piece swamp ash body;
  • Quarter sawn maple neck (plain, with no figure);
  • Plain maple fretboard;
  • Dyed black sycamour veneer between neck and fretboard (as I did on Laurie);
  • Black tahiti pearl fretboard makers;
  • The same Gotoh bridge and Spertzal tuners I used for Laurie; and
  • Period appropriate translucent butterscotch blonde (again as with Laurie).

I’ve also managed to source a wonderful vintage-spec bakelite scratch plate just like the 50’s Telecasters used.

David Dyke (my usual timber supplier) really knocked it out of the park with this one. I had explained that this build is for a special client, and what they delivered is one of the nicest neck blanks I’ve ever seen – straight-grained maple with no discernable figure and a beautiful even colour. The swamp ash and fretboard are similarly high quality, and the trick with this build is going to be removing myself from the equation and letting the beautiful timber speak for itself.


The swamp ash came as a single 40″ long piece, so this morning I broke it down into two shorter lengths so that it can stabilise for a month or so before I start work on the build in earnest. I marked out the kerf on the face and edge of the timber using my marking knife, and then with a wide chisel cut a shallow v shaped trench into the knife kerf. This guides the saw and keeps the first few strokes nice and straight. I really should buy a cross cut hand saw for this work, but my 16″ Bad Axe tenon saw (filed hybrid) does a very good job on this work. This saw really is unstoppable, and is a real workhorse in my shop.


Work will continue on the parlour guitar while I left the swamp ash stabilise, and thereafter I’ll be working on the parlour guitar and mystery-caster concurrently. So stay tuned for in-progress posts on both guitars.

5 thoughts on “Mystery-caster; a new project begins

    • Thanks Randall! This is the second Tele-type I’ve built, and if you click on the “telecaster” tag on the right hand side of the page you’ll see the latter half of my first Telecaster build (I only started writing this blog halfway through the build process). I’m looking forward to getting stuck into this build!

  1. Really looking forward to seeing this build evolve – an electric guitar is on my to-do list (truth be told as a Luddite it’s the electrical bits that scare me the most!). Lovely wood too – David Dyke is the best source for Luthiery wood – just don’t go to visit in person – far too much temptation!

    • Thanks Sue! My focus is very much on acoustic guitars, but I had a lot of fun building my first tele, and when the client asked me to build one for them I jumped at the chance.

      David Dyke is fantastic, though I only ever deal with them over the phone – it’s not the most accessible place from where we are (and like you say, the temptation would be a significant risk factor).

  2. Pingback: Mysterycaster – | Over the Wireless

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