Reader Guitar of the Month: Theseus Tele

After a lefty player finally experienced a Tele for the first time, he turned it into his dream tone machine.

Name: Alex Poterack
Hometown: Providence, Rhode Island
Guitar: Theseus Tele

When you're left-handed, you don't get to play a ton of different guitars. That's how I managed to play for 15 years without really experiencing a Tele. I used a rather large Amazon gift card I got for my 27th birthday to buy a Squier Classic Vibe Tele on a whim.

Name: Alex Poterack

When it came, I was skeptical. It was insanely heavy, the tuners were clunky, and its thin strings sounded dull. When I plugged it into a cranked-up amp, however, it roared with that dirty-yet-defined Keith Richards tone that I'd been trying and failing to get forever. I knew the Tele bridge pickup sound was IT for me.

Still, there were things I didn't like about the guitar. Like many players, I found the stock neck pickup basically useless. I replaced it with a Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro humbucker, and a new switching system based around a 4-way switch and two push-pull pots, which I used as a phase switch and a bass cut. This worked wonderfully, vastly increasing the versatility. Emboldened by this success, I went crazy with upgrades, replacing the bridge, tuners, body, and neck. For those keeping score at home, I replaced literally everything except the bridge pickup, and in doing so made my number one guitar, which, in my mind, is perfect. The Warmoth body is as light as they come, and the Musikraft neck came with a slightly thicker profile than I ordered, but is the most comfortable neck I've ever played. I've had the guitar in its final form for a couple years now, and it's still the one I play 90 percent of the time in my rock band, Wild Accusations. I even bought a new bridge pickup and reassembled the old parts into an Esquire (pictured below, on the right).

Theseus is the mythical founder-hero of Athens. A classic philosophical thought experiment considers a ship of his preserved as a museum in a harbor. Whenever a piece of it wears out, it's replaced. Eventually, every part has been replaced. Is it still the same ship? I don't have a strong opinion on that, but I do know that my Tele, "Theseus," is the most killer guitar I've ever had, and likely ever will.

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[Updated 9/22/21]

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