Will Ray's Bottom Feeder: Fender “Bluesbird” Telecaster
When you find a guitar that’s been modified exactly how you like, buy it.
Every now and then I see a guitar that's been modified just the way I would do it, only better. This guitar was selling on eBay a few months ago. The seller was very up front about the fact that it actually was a Squier Affinity body and neck that he'd modified. For starters, the body has a handsome blonde butterscotch finish topped off with a cool-looking tortoiseshell pickguard. The neck pickup is an Epiphone P-90 measuring around 9k, and at the bridge is a hot Fender Mexican ceramic Tele pickup measuring 10k. The 3-way switch puts both pickups in hum-cancelling mode in the middle position, so this guy obviously knew his stuff. The seller also upgraded the capacitor with an orange drop .022 µF epoxy cap for smoother tone response. To top it off, he stuck a Fender Telecaster decal on the headstock (something I don't recommend), with plenty of layers of clear-coat finish to make it look really good.
No question about it—this guy was a true guitar nut, like me. He called it a Custom Shack P-90 Tele. The builder is known for taking parts from various guitars and making very affordable Frankenstein masterpieces. Anyway, the auction was coming to an end with the price around $120 when I put in a snipe bid of $225. I really didn't think there would be much interest, but 27 different bids came in and I won it for $199.99 plus $25 shipping. I was happy because I really wanted it bad, and I still saved a few bucks from where my maximum bid was.
The 3-way switch puts both pickups in hum-cancelling mode in the middle position, so the previous owner obviously
knew his stuff.
When it arrived, it played perfectly for me right out of the box. It was also very light: 6.3 pounds, which was a real plus. The intonation was spot-on and everything was well adjusted—both pickup heights, action, and neck relief. The two pickups were both well balanced in terms of tone and output. Bottom Feeder tip #287: Sometimes you find a guitar that has been modified in such a way that keeps you from having to go through the trouble yourself. It saves you time, energy, and probably money, too. When that happens, just buy it. Don't go through life with any regrets.
A Fender Telecaster decal was applied to the headstock, with plenty of layers of clear-coat finish to make it look convincing.
Funny, but this Telecaster kind of reminds me of a guitar that my friend Tim Page from Buffalo Brothers Guitars designed years ago for G&L called the Bluesboy. It sported a Telecaster style body, bridge, and pickup, but with a more Gibson-ish humbucker in the neck position for more warmth. Tim understood that some players like the melding of Gibson and Fender aspects into a single guitar. I call this one my little Fender Bluesbird because it, too, is a monster that eats the blues for breakfast. So is it a keeper? Yep. For now. She's a sweet little guitar.