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FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Maple fingerboard. Damaged edges.



Apr 17th, 2019 06:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hi folks, first post in advance (hopefully) of first tele.

I have the opportunity to buy an 83 toploader tele. Now, I know these generate mixed and often unfavourable reviews but this guitar sounds lovely so I'm keen, and it's not at all expensive.

For all that it sounds good though, the edges of the fingerboard are in very poor condition. There is some shrinkage but I know I can get the frets trimmed and feeling good.

The edges themselves though are very rough, and have taken on a dark grey hue.

I'm not bothered about the appearance, but I would like the thing to feel good in my hand, so hoping someone here knows what I could do about this? Are there any quick or not so quick fixes that would avoid a complete stripping and refinish?

Thanks for reading and looking forward to some replies. I'll add a link to some pictures just as soon as I can figure out how.

Contributing Member

Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 17th, 2019 08:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

This stuff is simple to fix.

You cannot change the color of the wood...the maple turns grey or brown, and the color isn't on the wood, it's in the wood. Which means it's there forever.

But have a competent tech smooth up those rough fret ends, have the frets leveled, crowned, and polished, and then have a finish repair done. This involves spraying brushing on clear lacquer over the areas of missing finish, followed by sanding smooth with very fine grits of paper, and then polishing.

It won't look pristine, but with your eyes closed it will feel like a brand new neck.

Welcome to the FDP!

Contributing Member

Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 17th, 2019 09:13 PM   Edit   Profile  

Also, any boo-hoo-hooing you read from so-called tone experts about the drawbacks of top-loaded Telecaster bridges is all hooey. Strings through the body are not "better."

These are the facts:

A good guitar player will make a top-loader sound great.

A not-so-good guitar player will make a string-through sound not so good.

Case in point: Jim Campilongo is a Telecaster freak. The stuff he plays sounds like no other player; he is a true original. He prefers top-loaders, and Fender even issued a JC signature model Tele that's a top-loader.

Get your guitar's frets and neck sorted out by a good tech (along with a setup) and you'll have a fine player of a Telecaster.

Jim plays a lot of dreamy and cartoony stuff, often employing behind-the-nut string bending. But he can really rip when he needs to.

Here he is live. Starts off mellow...go to 29:45 in the vid to hear some wackiness

(This message was last edited by Peegoo at 11:17 PM, Apr 17th, 2019)



Apr 19th, 2019 02:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks for the reply. That's encouraging! There's a few pics here just to confirm I've described the state of it accurately.


The body finish is a bit of a state too. Again, I'm not too bothered, but any thoughts on the merits and cost of a refinish welcome.

Yeah I'm not bothered where the strings go beyond the bridge. I'm primarily an acoustic player (now it DOES make a difference with those) but my other electric is a 77 Les Paul Special - no through body strings there either and it sounds great!

(This message was last edited by SaltyBC at 04:11 AM, Apr 19th, 2019)

Contributing Member

Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Apr 19th, 2019 07:30 AM   Edit   Profile  

That actually looks pretty good!

If that were my Tele, I'd simply sand smooth the ragged finish along the edges of the neck, and follow that by rubbing in some Danish oil or other wiping varnish. Let it soak in for 10 minutes, and wipe it dry with a paper towel. Let it sit overnight to completely dry. Done.

The body--that sort of finish checking is normal for a guitar that's been stored in alternating damp and dry conditions. Unless the finish is flaking off, accept the cracks as age marks and just play the devil out of it.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Apr 19th, 2019 11:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

Fender went through a period where they had adhesion problems of the finish to maple. I had a maple neck B-Bender Tele which was constantly popping off large flakes of finish off the fingerboard.

FDP Forum / Guitar Mods, Repairs, and Projects / Maple fingerboard. Damaged edges.

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