Sawtooth Tele Mod Day!

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by daan, May 16, 2018.

  1. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    D82C3678-1896-4CBD-8CD0-EFCF1786C37C.jpeg So I got one of those $55 Sawtooth Teles from Walmart almost a year ago now. (Maybe not THAT long ago, but it’s been a while) I thought it was just fine in stock form, especially for a “couch guitar” that my kids will be able to get at. It definitely needed a set up, and after a while, the input jack started to get weird (had to wiggle it to get sound). That, and I just can’t leave well enough alone, I blew it all apart. To fix it, yeah. That’s it...
    I just took this “after picture” before I started posting this thread... I’ll get more details inna minute.
    fadetoz, cool gouhl, dbrian66 and 3 others like this.
  2. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    I started out leaving the bridge on, and marking the holes with an Awl. I taped the body up to keep from scratching it, and drilled down from the top.
    I got it ...mostly straight, but just as I feared, the bit wandered a bit, and clearly I was leaning over as well. Ugh. I used the larger bit in reverse to score the paint to keep it from chipping, and taped it back up.
    With the ferrules in, it looks... OK. Don’t let me work on your guitars ever, guys!

    So the things I didn’t like about it were, the ugly plastic gasket neck plate. I also realized the bridge was drilled for string through, so I wanted to see if I could convert this from top load. I know it doesn’t make a big difference in sound, I just like string through better. I tried to find someone with a drill press that I could use, but if the 3 I had access to, none of them were “deep enough” to drill where I needed-like if I was moving the bridge to near the end of the body it would work, but not where the holes had to go. I didn’t want to hand drill it, because I didn’t think I could make them straight and or perpendicular...
    dbrian66, Viking, willhowl and 3 others like this.
  3. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    Looks OK from the top, anyway...

    The E and A were so close together that I had to file them to get them to sit down flat. Ugh. Also taping it before doing the bigger holes didn’t help, I got chips in the paint, too. I tried finding the piece to glue it back in, but it turned to dust. No going back now...
    There is a special stepped drill bit over at Stew Mac just for this operation, so you only drill once and get the 2 size holes in one shot, but the last I checked, the one bit cost more than I paid for this guitar... if I was building ones regularly it would be worth it, but not to do just one body. Or something.
  4. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    On to the wiring! I had a Calig set of Tele pups
    There was NOTHING wrong with the stock Sawtooth ones, I just wanted to use this set on this guitar. I kept the stock ones, yknow, in case I have another project come up... :)

    I also wanted to do 4-way switching, so I added extra grounds to these pups. You have to ground the neck pup cover and some say the bridge base. The last one I did, I only did the neck pup cover, and that guitar hummed a lot in Series. So I grounded both of these. 52D5F64D-1E80-4B1B-B172-E6321B052700.jpeg
    I also wanted a bridge ground, so I cut a notch into the edge of the pup route to run the wire that way, instead of drilling a hole into the control cavity. (You guys have seen my drilling skills, I didn’t want to blow a hole thru the back of the guitar...

    I would have used the shielding paint, but I ran out of it... Maybe if it isn’t quiet enough I’ll go back and paint it. Maybe...
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
    dbrian66 and jjudas like this.
  5. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    Wiring... wiring...wiring....
    So this guitar gets grounds from both the pups, the bridge and one between both the pots. It SHOULD be quiet! Oh yeah, CTS 250k pots, Switchcraft 4-way, Orange Drop .047 cap. I had to get a round file to open up the holes on the control plate, so the pot shafts fit through. I could have just gotten a new plate, but that felt like cheating somehow... FF9E8CE1-E75B-450A-BAFD-518DBCBCC1C6.jpeg 5F6DFA51-EBA8-409B-8A93-6CA52A43A4EE.jpeg 7BDA9FAD-715A-4DD3-8451-AF04315F9648.jpeg
    SquierTap, dbrian66, Viking and 3 others like this.
  6. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    Somehow, I always have some parts left over when I build something... :)
    Back view, with crooked ferrules and chrome neck plate.
    Also, I prefer “Elecrosockets” for input jacks. They seem more solid than the usual inputs with a plastic plate. The Sawtooth came with a metal plate, but even with those I’ve had an input work loose and fall back into a guitar. I’ve never had an Electrosocket come loose, though. And yes, I should do something about the screw holes from the old plate...
  7. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    FD661BB0-37AA-41B6-A3F9-D3FBF1622ADA.jpeg 661401D0-01F6-4735-B212-4418A0D6E29C.jpeg
    Well, it’s “done”. For now, anyway... the nut seems kind of cheap, so I may get a Tusq one. I oiled the fretboard while it was apart-man it was DRY when I got it! The frets were fine, no high ones or sharp ends. When I got it, the action was high, so I tweaked the truss rod a bit, and added a little shim (it didn’t have one). It definitely needs a pro set-up, I hosed up the bridge saddle heights taking this apart. Other than that, it just sings now! The series setting sounds mean, and the other settings do Tele sounds perfectly. The neck feels nice and full. It’s definitely a keeper!
    I mean, it was before, too-nothing NEDDED to be replaced, I just like modding... So what is new:
    Calig A5 vintage spec pups
    Switchcraft 4-way switch and output jack
    CTS pots
    Orange Drop cap
    Fender branded string ferrules (they ended up being the same price as no-name Chinese ones, so why not?
    Chrome back plate
    Stock neck/body/tuners/bridge
    So, four teles aught to be enough, right? :) The Sawtooth is by far the lightest. (The Silverburst is heaviest) The SB is the loudest, as far as output, but in Series mode, the Sawtooth totally holds its own against the Dimarzio equipped SB... Very much “modern rock” sounding. (The black one has a Calig A5 bridge/A5 Strat neck pup, but stock (Parallel) wiring so it does everything a Tele should. It’ll rock, but you gotta work a little harder on that one) The wood colored one is an MIM standard, with SD “little 59” pups. Good for “classic rock” type tones, not so good for Tele twang. The Sawtooth could totally replace two of these. Technically the black one is my daughter’s, but I bet as soon as she gets a hold of the Sawtooth, she’s gonna want that one, since it’s a LOT lighter, and plays just as well (and isn’t black! She’s already asked me to repaint it...)
    So instead of the 14 things I was SUPPOSED to do today on my day off, I finally finished my Sawtooth. Hopefully The Mrs doesn’t club me with it...:)
    SquierTap, dbrian66, willhowl and 5 others like this.
  8. Kenneth Mountain

    Kenneth Mountain Squier-Axpert

    Overall a good learning experience ! How did you hear of Calig pickups - never heard of them before ?

    going to need new knobs for those full size pots / solid shafts ? Great Color ! Congrats !
    SquierTap, dbrian66 and Pat V. like this.
  9. jjudas

    jjudas Squier-holic

    Mar 23, 2016
    Metro New Orleans
    I bought the same guitar from Walmart for $57. I replaced the nut with bone, installed new tuners and replaced the bridge with a 3 barrel top loader. I'm happy with it. I say... Do whatever makes you happy!
  10. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities
    I was reading online that “Artec” made a large % of “imported” pickups. Most of what GFS sells, are Artec made. I wanted to see if pups were any cheaper “direct from the source” than thru a reseller like Rock Audio/GFS/ uh... some other site I can’t recall now... Artec sells their stuff branded Calig /Cali Guitar, Giovanni, and I’m sure a couple more. I got a set, and was VERY impressed, especially for the price.

    Oh, I did need different knobs, but I have a box of random stuff like that built up over the years, so I didn’t have to BUY them.
    SquierTap, dbrian66, jjudas and 3 others like this.
  11. Kenneth Mountain

    Kenneth Mountain Squier-Axpert

    Great Info ! ! ! thanks
  12. surf green

    surf green Squier-holic

    Jul 15, 2014
    @daan , you got balls with that drill in your hand, but it's time for an eye appointment Bro. Great mods. I have to add that the Sawtooth tele is a rock solid guitar at double or maybe triple at what we paid to Walmart. Short of the "head stock" shape, the neck width and profile is one of my favorites.
  13. daan

    daan Squier-holic

    Oct 21, 2013
    Twin Cities

    Yeah, there’s a reason I don’t work on my house. You should see me pound nails, it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad... I measured this 7 ways to Sunday, and it would have turned out just fine if I could have used a drill press (or some kind of metal guide block) but then the guitar would still be in my basement in pieces for another year. (I agree, it looks like a drunken monkey drilled it. :( )
    SquierTap, dbrian66, Pat V. and 2 others like this.
  14. willhowl

    willhowl Squier-holic

    Dec 19, 2011
    Houston Texas
    daan......Great post, Great pix, Great heck with the string-thru holes, you Drunken Monkey!!!!!

    Nahhh, it came out well.............Ya' done good, podnah!!!..............willhowl
  15. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Squier-Nut

    Jan 19, 2018
    GA USA
  16. Michael7

    Michael7 Squier-holic

    Here's a direct link for anyone who wants to check out the large range of pickups they offer. Possibly the biggest selection of Artec made pickups in N. America.
    SquierTap and Kenneth Mountain like this.
  17. Dave M

    Dave M Squier-Nut

    Feb 27, 2017
    Mira Loma, CA
    Don't beat your self up too much on the drillin''s hand done ! I got a drill adapter from Sears years connect your drill to it on top . Poor mans drill press ! HPIM1673.JPG Anyway That tele is alot better off work on a few more later....;)
  18. Kenneth Mountain

    Kenneth Mountain Squier-Axpert

    Do they still sell those ?

    Found one ! thanks !
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
    SquierTap and dbrian66 like this.
  19. Dave M

    Dave M Squier-Nut

    Feb 27, 2017
    Mira Loma, CA
    Don't really know...Originally bought it to drill out and tap a broken off bolt on a '66 Cadillac waterpump. It also can be setup to drill at an angle. It doesn't have a part number on it .
  20. Kenneth Mountain

    Kenneth Mountain Squier-Axpert

    Thanks I found one on the bay ! ! ! These can be pretty handy !
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice