Reader Guitar of the Month: Townshend Tribute
A reader gives a goldtop Schecter PT a new neck, hardware swaps, and two Duncan ’59 humbuckers wired for tonal variety.
Name: Richard Stevens
Location: Pottsdam, New York
Guitar: Schecter PT
Back in the '80s, I owned a U.S.-made, black Schecter PT “Pete Townshend" T-style. It was the one that got away—the one I regretted selling when real life, job, marriage, house, and kids pushed guitar playing out of my life.
The Who Tour 1982 The Final Show
Fast-forward 20 years. I had a little time and very little money to put into playing again. Real-deal PTs had gotten collectible and expensive. Besides, I was remembering fondly a different PT—the goldtop Schecter that Townshend played in the 1982 Toronto "Who's Last" (lol) concert video, and again at Live Aid. Though I'm not a Les Paul guy, I have a soft spot for goldtops, and always thought that was a really classy "Tele." I set out to build myself a tribute to Townshend's goldtop. Production Schecters at the time had flat, shredder-kinda necks that I didn't like, and a generic, lawsuit-proof peghead shape. Yes, I'm a Tele peghead snob—sue me.
So, I found a gold MIK Schecter PT and bought a used maple MIM Standard Telecaster neck. The Schecter had a curved, Strat-shaped neck pocket, so I had a local luthier square it up to Tele-shape with a router and template. I installed a Gotoh Humbucker Tele bridge, matching chrome neck pickup ring, and some aftermarket gold knobs.
Photo by Rudy Stroh Wellington Photography
After experimenting with pickups, I ended up with a Duncan '59 set and two volume controls. The bridge volume pot pulls up to split the bridge pickup to single-coil and to put the two pickups out-of-phase. This setup gives me much of the variety of Jimmy Page wiring, but with just two pots and a single switch.
The goldtop PT splits the difference between my standard Tele and my Gibby-scale Hamer Sunburst. It gives me the bigger humbucker sounds, a decent single-coil tone, with the feel and "snap" of the longer Fender scale length, which I much prefer. It's become my No. 1, and the go-to guitar for my old '80s, new-wavey band's occasional reunion shows (35 years and still going strong, if infrequently).
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