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Telecaster® DIY Guitar Kits

Telecasters® are synonymous with the birth of electric guitars. In fact the humble 'Tele®' (first known as the 'Broadcaster®' was the first commercial electric guitar out of the Fender® stables and its enduring legacy is a testament to its unique tone and design. As a result Telecaster® DIY Guitar Kits are popular with kit guitar builders.

Building a Telecaster® Kit Guitar

The Telecaster® is a real no-frills affair, with more of a focus on tone and simple design which in my opinion make them the simplest kit guitar in terms of construction and wiring. In fact, if you are unsure which popular guitar shape to do your first build with I personally recommend the TE. Not only are they arguably the easiest kit guitar to assemble but as previously mentioned are versatile allowing you to play a number of genres.

Guitar Kit World TE style DIY Guitar Kits

Build your own Telecaster® style guitar using our DIY TE guitar kits. Featured TE style DIY Guitar Kits:

The assembly of the neck and body are straightforward as the neck is typically bolt-on so it won't require you pay careful attention to scale length. Finishing is also straightforward as Telecasters® don't typically have any binding to mask and are one of those kit guitars that look great oiled or stained in comparison to a solid color finish.

The wiring is often much simpler than wiring an LP or SG® as the tone and volume pots are pre-mounted and relatively straightforward as seen in the video below.

The 'Tele®' Sound

Chris Cornell with Telecaster

Mostly heard in country and blues the Telecaster® is actually more versatile than most people give credit for. The only genre it hasn't really made a huge impact in is heavier rock and metal which are not typically the domain of single-coil pickup guitars in any case.

There are always exceptions however and TE style guitars have been used by guitarists as diverse as Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello.

Telecasters® can divide opinion with many guitarists loving the unique twangy tone while others find the tone too abrasive. Probably the most recognizable player is Keith Richards by virtue of being in one of the biggest bands of all time. If you are looking for a good example of the classic Telecaster® tone check out the clip below.

Telecaster® Kit Guitar Features

  • Solid-body most often made from Basswood or Alder
  • Bolt-on 22 fret neck
  • Dual single-coil pickups (In most cases)
  • Three-way pickup selector switch
  • 1 X tone, 1 X volume control

Telecaster Neck Pickup

The Telecaster® Body

The Standard Telecaster® shape features a single-cutaway, solid body design. The body itself is flat (non-contoured in most cases) with the control panel sitting to the rear of the guitar beneath the bridge pickup.

There are variations on the design of the bridge which is often a flat metal plate featuring either vintage style triple brass saddles or the standard six-saddle design. The neck pickup is also worth mentioning and is more or less a standard single-coil pickup mounted under a chrome cover giving it a distinctive look. Despite what many people believe this is not what is commonly referred to as a lipstick pickup which is more commonly seen on Danelectro electric guitars.

Types of Telecaster® Guitar Kits

Telecaster Guitar Kits are simple to assemble

There are a number of variations. I'll list these below and point out the specifics of each:

Thinline:

The Thinline is a semi-hollow body electric guitar with an 'F' hole featured above the bridge pickup. There are two main variations on the Thinline with a single-coil version and a version that utilizes Humbucking pickups and featuring a solid body. Most people refer to these as the Super Tele.

Deluxe:

Similar to the Thinline with humbuckers. The major difference being a larger headstock.

Custom:

The major visual (and tone) difference here is the addition of a humbucking pickup in the neck position.

There are also lesser-known variations such as the J5, the Tele® Jr which is not terribly common and the modern Telecaster® which comes in either standard or Thinline and features three pickups, two single-coil and a humbucker in the neck position.

In almost all cases Telecaster® kit guitars will either come as standard or as a semi-hollow body.


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