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The Baritone Tele Chronicles documents the construction of a Baritone Telecaster with Seymour Duncan pickups, a P-90 in the neck and a single coil in the bridge.

What better way to give thanks on Thanksgiving than to kick off a guitar project? The Baritone Tele - another sonic beast from the minds of mad scientist, guitarist and guitar-tech extraordinaire Sam Hubbell and, yours truly, Loren Claypool. Excepting the base unit, details may change as the project develops. This page will be kept up to date.

The base unit for this project is a 1995 Fender Telecaster Special with a humbucker in the neck position and a five-way switch. Per Mr. Hubbell, "All this has got to go." We are literally taking off the neck, the pickups, the electronics, the bridge, the straplocks, you name it, until we get down to just the body. All other hardware will be sold on eBay. So we start with a nice ash-capped poplar body in a tobacco sunburst finish, routed for a humbucker in the neck position and a standard Tele single coil at the bridge.

Next, we add a 28-5/8 inch Scale Baritone Conversion Neck from the good folks at Warmoth. This neck is designed to pop right into a standard Telecaster body without any routing or other modifications. This allows the instrument to be tuned B to B, a fifth below standard guitar tuning. The 24 fret maple neck is configured with a Tele headstock, rosewood fingerboard, abalone inlays, 6130 fretwire, 1 11/16 inch width at the nut, 10 inch to 16 inch compound radius, double expanding truss rod, curved bottom nut slot, Standard Thin back contour and a clear satin finish.

Then, we add some tough pickups from our friends at Seymour Duncan. The bridge pickup will be a STL-3 Quarter-Pound single coil and the neck pickup is a Seymour Duncan Custom P90 Soapbar custom-wound to balance with the QuarterPound. For the tonal coupe-de-grace, a vintage Sprague Orange Drop tone cap acquired from the good folks at Victoria Amps is inserted in the tone path. Oh, my!

The righteous people at Schaller supply the straplocks. The tuners are vintage-style Klusons. One string tree is used. The six saddle chrome bridge assembly is from Allparts and features Fender American Series-style saddles and a chrome-plated brass plate. The guitar includes a Mighty Mite brass 3-way pickup selector switch, one tone and one volume.

And for the finishing touches, we add a El Dorado Hand-Tooled Leather Pickguard. We've also got our eyes open for a nifty cowgirl decal. Why? Because, of course, the cowgirl decal makes your guitar sound better! Finally, we add a custom Claypool headstock logo in Fender script.

That, kids, wraps it up! This instrument provides that classic Tele tone and a bit of that Les Paul Jr tone, walking right down into the bass range. Just saying that brings a smile to my face.