45 Fecker “Slimcaster” Tele
YOU’VE already read half the story of this guitar, bound up as it is in that of the very first Fender guitar I ever bought – my 1982 butterscotch 52 reissue Telecaster (No 6). When I decided to restore that old Tele to something approaching its original splendour, it presented me with a problem: What to play for the couple of slide numbers I do at Automatic Slim’s half-dozen or so annual reunion gigs?
Not so much of a a problem, you’d think, given that I do have the odd guitar about the place, including several set up specifically for slide. But this is me we’re talking about! First choice, from a pure playing point of view, would be my blonde Squier 51, but as anyone who has seen me play guitar with ‘Slim will attest, I tend to chuck my guitar about a fair bit and I wasn’t confident the tuning levers on the Squier’s Hipshot bridge would stay where they were supposed to be and not leave me in some peculiar random tuning.
I was used to a Tele, so a Tele I had to be. The neck and body both came from eBay. The neck was from a Squier Cabronita Tele – one of the very nicest sub-£100 necks I’ve ever found anywhere. A tad on the skinny side, maybe, but beautifully finished – not a sharp fret-end in sight. The previous owner had sanded the face of the headstock and put on a really nice 50s Fender decal – in ENTIRELY the wrong place! It had to go. In its place I put a nice custom “Fecker Slimcaster” decal made by my mate, Glen.
I had a couple of gos at finding the right body before I came across the Fender Mexico one you see here. It was clear why it was so relatively cheap. It had originally been white (I think) but the owner had decided to strip it and paint it red, then black, then started to strip it yet again – at which point, I think he must have lost the will to live! I had planned to strip the resulting random, multicoloured finish back to the wood, but the more I looked at it, the more I decided I liked it. So I just blew a few coats of nitro over it and left it at that. I don’t know about you, but I really like the resulting finish. It’s unique and has a certain funky charm.
I bought a set of Wilkinson (that man again) EzLok Kluson lookalike tuners and a nice black-white-black pickguard with a humbucker rout that complimented the body perfectly. The rest of the hardware was all stripped directly from my old Tele and bolted on. If you look at the 6-saddle bridge plate you can still see 35 years’ worth of rust by the saddles!
I’m as happy now with this guitar as I was the day I first put it together – having gigged it with Slim for a couple of years, it does the job quite admirably. Suffice it to say, it’s another keeper!
46. Isaac’s “Micawber Tele
DURING his younger years, my stepson, Isaac, was fairly obsessed with the Rolling Stones, and Keith Richard, in particular – though he was never cut out to perform on stage and never has. (His big brothers, had both been out gigging with me by the time they were 13 or 14. )
But he did teach himself to play guitar, though, and he’s quite a good player in his own discreet way, so during my busiest “building-guitars-from-bits” phase, I decided to try to encourage him by making a Telecaster reminscent of Keith Richards’ “Micawber”.
I had a spare Squier 51 neck left over from the black, modded 51 I’d built a while before (No 26) and married it with an unfinished body from the GFS website. The pickups and some of the hardware came from there, too, while the tuners and bridge were both Wilkinson items.
It turned out quite well, I think, and Isaac was very pleased with it. The best part of 20 years on, he still has it, I think.