Building a Telecaster Dream Machine – Part 2

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Guitars

After the Walk of Life pickups – a  reproduction of the Schecter F520T / F521T sound – are availabable now, I can continue with the next steps of my Dream Machine Tele project (see part 1 here). I meanwhile found a vintage Schecter brass Tele bridge some weeks ago, so – with my own highly-ploshed brass Tele pickguards  – I have nearly all essential parts for one guitar together now.

This is the body which I found on ebay some weeks ago. It is one-piece mahogany, not sure which (Honduras, Khaya,...) but it seems nice anyway. Here I put in the two pickups for a picture.
This is the body which I found on ebay some weeks ago. It is one-piece mahogany, not sure which (Honduras, Khaya,…) but it seems nice anyway. Here I put in the two pickups for a picture.

 

Here I installed the brass pickguard. I used the Schecter-style version with only 5 screws, and the pickup is attached to the pickguard (instead of directly to the body just like in a Fender)
Here I installed the brass pickguard. I used the Schecter-style version with only 5 screws, and the pickup is attached to the pickguard (instead of directly to the body just like in a Fender)
The face plate is black on this old Schecter neck. The plastic nut and the silver butterfly stringholder do not seem to be original and must be replaced with brass parts (which I don't have yet). One problem are the tuner holes which are too big for Kluson-style tuners (they are correct for Schaller tuners)
The face plate is black on this old Schecter neck. The plastic nut and the silver butterfly stringholder do not seem to be original and must be replaced with brass parts (which I don’t have yet). One problem are the tuner holes which are too big for Kluson-style tuners (they are correct for Schaller tuners)

Original would be Kluson Deluxe tuners but I will install a set of Japanese gold-plated Kluson-style tuners. These work fine, and originals are hard to get and more expensive. Schaller tuners are no option for me as I love the Kluson way to put the end of a string into the tuner and bend it into the tuner slot.

Here is my solution: I wrapped the tuner ferrules with self-adhesive copper foil until they fit nicely into the oversozed holes. 3 to 4 inches were enough.
Here is my solution: I wrapped the tuner ferrules with self-adhesive copper foil until they fit nicely into the oversized holes. 3 to 4 inches were enough.

 

Nice, problem solved.
Nice, problem solved.
Tuners installed
Tuners installed

 

To be continued soon…

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No Vintage Guitars with Brazilian Rosewood at the Frankfurt Music Fair

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Vintage guitars

I reported about the increasing problems concerning guitars with Brazilian rosewood (used e.g. for fingerboards on vintage Fender or Gibson guitars) last year (see here). As a consequence of this, Germany’s biggest vintage guitar  show last November was cancelled, as the CITES restriction does not allow to display a guitar with parts of Brazilian rosewood in public without a special licence.

With this short blog post I just want you to inform that in fact at this year’s Frankfurt Music Fair (the biggest trade fair for musical instruments worldwide) no vintage guitars were displayed at all for this reason. Last year there was a special display area with lots of vintage Fenders and Gibsons (see this blog post), like Strats from the 50ies and 60ies, even 50ies “bursts” (Les Pauls from 1958-1960) . The only exception was one booth by No. 1 Guitar Center from Hamburg, Germany, who had some old Fenders – but all with the required papers directly next to each guitar.

Last year you could see lots of vintage guitars-  not this year
Last year you could see lots of vintage guitars at the Frankfurt Music Fair – not this year

This shows that the  EU law is really repected meanwhile. It is almost impossible to sell or even display a vintage guitar with the protected Brazilian rosewood – unless you have the proper papers for it. And as this is an EU-wide law (to be correct, even a world-wide law), it will soon be similar in all other European countries soon (German authorities are often said to be more correct than others so no wonder they made the start).

I also phoned the authorities office for my town to inquire how to get such CITES papers. I will keep you updated after getting these, hopefully soon.

 

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Walk of Life Pickups available now – Reviving the legendary Schecter F520T / F521T Tele Pickups

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Guitar in general, Guitars, Mark Knopfler gear

Mark started to play Schecter Dream Machine Telecasters as early as 1980. When he got four Dream Machine Strats (two red, one sunburst – which was soon stolen and replaced with another one, and one in blue) at Rudy’s Music Stop in New York that year, he also got a black Schecter Telecaster, black finish, black pickguard, black hardware, contrasted to a white binding and a birds-eye maple neck. This was the guitar he recorded Solid Rock of the Making Movies album with. On stage on the following On Location tour (1980/81), he used it not only for Solid Rock but also for Telegraph Road (the album version was recorded in 1982 with the sunburst Schecter Strat).

About 1984 he got a second Dream Machine Tele, the red one of Walk of Life (which he still has and uses regularly on stage).

The red Schecter Tele in 1984 - used extensively on the Cal album or on Walk of Life a year later
The red Schecter Tele in 1984 – used extensively on the Cal album or on Walk of Life a year later

Both of these Schecter Dream Machine Teles were equipped with the tapped Schecter pickups F520T (bridge) and F521T (neck). These were similar to the F500T pickups for Stratocaster. After reviving these for the loaded Schecter-style Strat pickguards (available on this site), it was logical for me to have a look at the Tele pickups as well. In fact I was able to investigate several original Schecter pickups from different years. Terence Reis of The Straits for example has these in a guitar which is said to be from the same run as Mark’s Tele (thank you for your help again, Terence). I found some minor differences between different years, and I took the ones from the 80ies as the basis of these reproductions.

Walk of Life pickups
Walk of Life pickups

The pickups are again manufactured by Harry Haeussel (of Haeussel Pickups) exclusively for mk-guitar.com. Harry already makes the F500T clones for us, and the high quality of his pickups in general is beyond question.

Unlike the Dream Machine Strats, Schecter Teles did not have mini switches for switching the pickups from tapped to full to off. They had the standard pickup selector switch, and each of the two potis was a push-pull poti that switches the pickup to the full coil when being pulled. For this reason you don’t need a special control plate, you can put these pickups in any Telecaster.

bridge-1-small

neck-1-small

Like the F500T, the F520T / F521T have the bigger 6.5mm (1/4″) alnico pole pieces (they must not be confused with the Schecter Monstertone pickups which have a ceramic bar magnet). These fat magnets create a unique sound with more bass and a more mellow, less harsh tone than the smaller standard pole pieces. And they have the same copper-shielding foil around the coil that is a big part of that magic look.

With these pickups Mark recorded the famous Walk of Life rhythm picking on the Brothers in Arms album (pickup position bridge & neck).  When you pull one (or both) of the potis you get a much fuller, fatter sound, ideal for rock stuff – Solid Rock.

Available for the neck position, for the bridge position, or as a set (bridge & neck) – exclusively on mk-guitar.com.

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