• Stewart Turner

Deepset 3 Build Story

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

Using the remaining part of the walnut kitchen worktop offcut for the third build.

I fancied having a go at a classic telecaster style, but with a phase flip on the volume push/pull pot. I thought it would be nice to see how hard it is to make a tele style with no pickguard. I’m not very fond of pickguards on guitars that are made of nice bits of wood. I had a Parker single coil pickup already for the neck position, and thought I would add an Irongear pickup on the bridge. Wilkinson would be the bridge of choice, partly because they’re great quality, partly because they have the right holes to allow for stringing through the front, and partly because they look great! I thought it would be nice to avoid any cavities or holes on the back of this guitar and have a perfect smooth finish.

I’ve bought the extra capacitor and resistor to do a ‘greasebucket mod’ on the tone control. Why not, it’ll be interesting to see what it sounds like…

Routing and sanding is pretty straightforward except for the fact that it was raining for a lot of the time. I did a lot of the routing in my garage. Big mistake, dust everywhere. My workshop is my back garden for the messy jobs, I must remember to be patient for the good weather.

Once the body was shaped nicely and cavities routed, I sanded very smooth, damped to raise the grain, re-sanded, 3 coats of sanding sealant with sanding between, and several coats of Osmo PolyX. This time, I gave the final coat a buff soon after application, resulting in a satin finish that I may adopt for everything in future. It’s looking amazing.

I had a good idea about how to do the headstock...

Cutting the headstock shape for Deepset 2 was a fiddly nightmare of a job. I looked for YouTube videos and didn't find a lot of guidance. The most useful one had a template which they stuck to the headstock with strong double-sided tape. It didn't seem very satisfactory to me, I couldn't imagine the tape staying very solid, and imagined it being a pig of a job to separate without causing mess or damage.

So I though why can't I make a template and screw it to the headstock where the guide holes for the tuners would be? I added guide holes for all the tuners as a bonus and drilled out a recess in the end ones so the router could glide over them. Worked a treat!

As usual the nut was way too high. For Deepset 1 and Deepset 2 I removed the nut and sanded the underside by hand until it was low enough. It worked well but was very time-consuming. This time I set up my belt sander on the workbench (garden table) with fine grade paper and did it carefully on that. It was very quick and worked very well. I was surprised by the smell though, the hot bone dust STINKS! It’s like the smell of burning hair – nasty! Quick though, so I’ll definitely do that in future.

It’s not really necessary but I used sanding sealant on the neck after sanding it all smooth, resanded and applied some trusty Osmo PolyX with the headstock decal applied between the first couple of coats. I bonded, levelled and polished the frets.

Back to the body...

I shielded the cavities with copper tape - I much prefer it to the paint, undeniably shiny! Then it's putting all the hardware together and starting to take shape.

Wiring all soldered, nice and neat! It's pretty simple for this build, or so I thought.

I finished and strung it up. Not set up yet, but sounding good. The problem is that it goes silent when I flip the phase switch (via the push/pull volume pot) so there's an issue to investigate there.

Mulling over the problem with the phase flip, I realised what had happened. Without really thinking about it I wired it to flip the polarity of the two wires from the bridge pickup, but there's a difference with these pickups from the humbuckers in Deepset 1 and Deepset 2. They are internally grounded, so the black wire is already grounded to the bridge rather than being just two ends of the coil as with humbuckers. It means the when I flip the phase I'm grounding the output, hence the silence.

Fixing it wasn't hard, I just needed to separate the ground wire on the back of the neck pickup and ground it separately. Put it all together, a full set-up later, and voila! Sounding sweet and ready to go!

I couldn't resist taking a couple of shots with all three build together. They make a nice collection, but two of them have to be sold, I'll be listing them soon...

There are some quality promo pictures here if you're interested. It'll be going up for sale very soon, get in touch if you would like to be notified when it goes up - the price will be lower than you expect!

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