Andy Summers was just out of college in Southern California in the early 1970s when one of his guitar students offered to sell him a beat-up 1961 Fender Telecaster® that had obviously been modified by a previous owner.
Summers had already had some modest music business success in the late ’60s Britain. Lately though, he’d stuck mainly to his classical guitar studies, and hadn’t played an electric in quite a while. Strangely, however, something about this particular Telecaster grabbed him. As he put it himself in his 2006 memoir, One Train Later:
When I start to play it, something stirs within me … it shakes me … I find that I can’t stop playing it; this guitar sparks something in me and I have to have it.
Summers bought the guitar for $200, and you and the whole world know the rest. Back in London a few years later, he joined a noisy so-called punk outfit called the Police that rose to become the biggest band in the world, thanks in no small part to the deftly innovative and influential sounds Summers conjured from that beat-up Telecaster.
Hit after hit was recorded and performed on it—“Roxanne,” “So Lonely,” “Walking On the Moon,” the breathtaking “Message In a Bottle,” “Don’t Stand So Close to Me,” “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Every Breath You Take,” “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” “Synchronicity II” and “King of Pain.”
Tonight in between spraying coats on my archtop project, I started my next guitar project (and probably the last for a while). I am making myself a copy, as close as I can of Andy’ Summers’ telecaster.
I dont have any alder on hand so I am using poplar for my body. I first laminated a 3 piece body blank (just because I had a few pieces I wanted to use up, and since the finish will be a 3 colour opaque burst I dont care about the grain appearance) and rough cut it out on the band saw.
Then, I planed it to 1 3/4″ thickness and put it through my thickness sander to clean up the faces. Then after retracing the outline, I sanded the edges on my edge sander and drum sander.
(if you want to see rough wood, being jointed and planed check out my other build threads.. this one will be step by step from here on but I did the blank while I forgot my camera at home).
Let me simply call it Tele, for the sake of consistency. To me Tele is a log compared to Strat. In fact, Telecaster is physically heavier and so is the sound, but could be still bright enough thanks to the pair of single-coils, which at first were the only choice and remains one of the possible pickup settings nowadays. Otherwise Telecaster is available with much more pickup configurations, including humbucking pickups. It actually depends on series which pickup setting you will be able to get the guitar with. American Standard series Telecaster, for instance, is available traditionally with two single-coils and additionally even with three of them.
You should know that Telecaster is one of the first solid body electric guitars ever made and the very first electric guitar that has actually gained interest and success in terms of sale. The fact that it is still being serially produced these days (after more than 60 years) with just a little of change tells us much about its popularity, therefore about its quality. Yes, you may link these two things. However, there still has been no explanation given, what’s this all for, how can the guitar of such a simple shape be worthy of all those nice words and facts. Here it goes. Another nice word that describes it even better: universality. With its ability to produce either a warm, mellow, soft or a sharp, bright and cutting tone Telecaster is more than worthy of it, at least as for those few mortals: Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, Albert Lee, Andy Summers, Albert Collins, James Burton, Frank Black. These are only few guitarists, who played or are still playing strictly Telecaster. Otherwise it’s been played by lots of other guitarists, even by Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix and Pete Townshend.
The guitar has a mini-toggle switch just below the bridge that activates the pre-amp that is installed in the rear cavity of the Tele. It uses a 9v battery and adds a nice instant db boost when activated. The third knob on the guitar is gain, and it has A LOT of gain to this pre-amp. Several people think that it’s the same pre-amp as the Eric Clapton Stratocaster, or the EMG active system, but I have learned it is based on neither. About the closest thing I can equate it to is a MXR Micro-Amp preamp. It does definitely change the tone when activated, but can come in handy for solos for sure. The gain knob is gets almost into “fuzz” gain when dimed out….so it probably wont get much use on “10”.
Who’s would you have one of? Now I’m talkin about looks here. There are soooo many famous Tele players of whom I’d love to have a recreation of their guitar. I would just love to have a Jimmy Page Dragon. A Roy Buchanan Tele would be killer. I’d love to have a copy as well of Prince’s Hofner (or whatever it is) or even Bruce Springsteen’s.
However, the number one and two Telecasters that I would love to have would have to be the mid 60’s (1964?) Telecasters that Fender gave to Don Rich and Buck Owens. Oh My God man!! I think about those two guitars all of the time. The Gold Sparkle one and the Silver Sparkle on are the one’s I’m talking about. I had dreams about those guitars last night.
The Strat that Phil did for me had the following specs:
Heritage Maple stained Alder body
Bird’s eye maple neck with slab rosewood fret board (Clapton style neck shape).
Fender Locking tuning keys
Fender Texas Special Pick ups
Tortoiseshell pick guard
Aged Fender plastic parts
Medium Jumbo fret
Mother of Perl dot inlay
Fender vintage bridge
He’s the best luthier I know. His knowledge and attention to detail is awesome. He also uses a Plek Machine (not sure about the spelling). For those who don’t know it’s a tool that measures and records the dimensions of your neck.
This is my own “inspired-by” guitar. It’s a direct replica of the Fender Andy Summers Tribute Tele except this one costs about $9000 less and doesn’t feature a nitro finish. The body of the guitar is a Squier Classic Vibe Custom and the neck is a Fender Nashville. Pickups are a Fender Vintage 62′ Reissue bridge and a Seymour Duncan 59′ SH-1N for the neck. Bridge is a custom machined Armadillo brass Andy Summers-style bridge. Boost/Overdrive unit in the guitar is actually an Eric Clapton circuit board, but wired to be an OD not a mid-boost. PEDALS USED: MXR Dyna Comp, Jacques Meistersinger Chorus, Ibanez TS-9 overdrive, TC Electronics Nova delay *** special thanks to Jim McNealon for all his assistance on the build and Mr. Andy Summers of the Police for his amazing inspiration.
I purchased this beaut in the summer of 2005. The Tele J5 signature model was a “gotta have” instrument that I needed to round out my arsenal of Teles. The hot pickups, special features and very unusual headstock design piqued my interest as soon as I came across it in the new Fender catalogue. The price of the Fender Custom Shop model with Bigsby was prohibitive, however.
My solution was to order the much more affordable Mexican-made model sans Bigsby and to install a designed-for-Tele Bigsby I had bought earlier on e-Bay. Unfortunately, this Bigsby kit was designed for the standard Tele pup layout, but with the help of friend Jim Ghidoni we did some drastic metal cutting in his hot rod custom shop and adapted stock Tele Bigsby plate to fit over the J-5 bridge pickups. While at it we installed my patented B-bender rod to the headstock.
This is indeed a custom model – I’ve done modifications to this very expensive instrument that would make most guitar aficionados shudder : )
The native format is Sketchup 6.4.1, imported in 3dmax 2013, and converted to formats Cinema4D, 3ds, FBX and Obj. All them tested in 3dmax 2013 with these results:
Formats sketchup and 3dmax (save as 2010), are totaly functional.
Formats Fbx and C4D are functional but don´t export the layers names.
Formats 3ds and Obj need an easy readjust for the textures in the material editor, but they are operative too.
Every archive rar contains the model, textures and a txt with especifications about the textures.
The materials are 10 jpg adapted in the native model (sketchup) and exported with it.
The materials coordinates needn´t be readjusted in 3dmax.
The materials are disposed by layers in Skp and 3dmax formats.
Materials textured in the 3dmax format.
*Model´s images (wireframe, solid, and textured) from Sketchup; captures from 3dmax and Cinema4D; turntable and final renders (VRay 2.3) are made in 3dmax 2013.