Hey all, my name is Don Hains and I've been playing since around 1980. I have lived in the Northeast US for most of my life, with stints in NYC, Montana and Lousiana. I
now build Brian May style guitars and do fret jobs etc., as well as play in a couple different bands, one of which, Vinny and the Vile Ones, recorded a surf ep called "Go
Nad Go!" in 1998. My only current Tele-and my all time favorite guitar-is based on a 1953 body I bought in 1985 when I was 19. It had no neck, hardware or
pups, just a badly warped, cracked bakelite pickguard which I promptly threw away. This plank has been through a LOT of changes, but here is a rundown of it's history since it's been in
my not-so-gentle care. Stick with the story, it's a lot of fun!
1985: I cannibalised a Squier tele for parts to get it up and
running, using everything but the body and bridge pup. I drilled it for the 8 screw guard, then stuck a Duncan Vintage Tele lead pup in it, and played it like that until...
I picked up a Philip Kubicki neck and tossed the Squier neck. I later found out this was a neck designed for John Fogerty during his heavy use of Kubicki products in the
"Centerfield" era. It's a tiny neck, very slim near the nut, since John was used to 3/4 guitars. It was in a shipment of six tele
necks-and I've heard these were the final six Kubicki produced for the replacement market. This setup served me well until...
1986: I hated the Squier neck pup, so I dug around in my parts box and found a set of gold Dimarzio Firebird
style mini humbuckers, one of which I installed in a new, and very crude chiseled cavity in the neck position..I then painted the pickguard a very striking camoflouge. Don't ask.
For no apparant reason,or at least one I can remember, I stripped the original butterscotch finish and polished the body with Formby's wood oil-a decision which would
haunt me later. This was also the time I decided to correct what I thought was a mistake made at the Fender factory and sanded the lip off at the heel, making it flush with
the neck. Who knew??? I also tossed the Firebird pup at this time and set it up like an Esquire. This lasted a few years.
1989: I had a nice Strat, so the tele was disassembled, put back
together for a very short time sprayed blue with a single humbucker in the lead position, (chisel again...) then stripped yet again and put away in peices in the parts bin.
I took the stripped body, sprayed it clear rattlecan gloss, made a leather pickguard for it ala' Gatemouth Brown and ran it with a single Duncan Hotrail pup for a while. This was a pretty
1991: Sprayed the body green, didn't like it,stripped it again and put it back in the parts bin.
1994: Sprayed it black, didn't like it, stripped it again and back
it went, kicking and screaming, to the parts bin.
Late 1994-present: I decided that the guitar was far too special to sit idle, so I lovingly restored the body over the course of a
ferw months, using wood and filler under the 'guard,and primed it before spraying a few coats of Sunshine Gold with professional equipment. This was when the Formby's Wood Oil I
had applied years earlier started to come out of the grain,causing very tiny pinholes to sprout in my new paint. They're still there,but are so small that they're hard to see
unless you're looking for them. I tried Texas Special pickups,as well as a few others before settling on a set of Rio Grande "Muy Grande" gold sparkle pups.
At this time, it also got a bone nut, new knobs,wiring
and pots,and I pinstriped the new pickguard with gold paint. I also installed the Bigsby around this time,using a stock "patent pending" bridge, (era unknown,but it's OLD!),
and slotting the front lip to allow the strings to pass through. This setup works great,and retains a lot of the sustain and bite of a stock tele.I have always thought the factory Bigsby options,
using the Mustang style bridge,robbed too much of the trademark tele tone. Not so with this setup-I highly recommend it. The saddles are sixties threaded type,to keep the strings in
line while using the Bigsby. It has a Von Dutch "flyin' eyeball" decal on the back to keep the string ferrules from falling out
since they are no longer used.I also put a roller style string tree on the headstock to keep the strings from binding under heavy vibrato usage. I put a 500k tone pot with a couple different
capacitors on it to simulate a wah pedal, and I loosened the internal wiper so it turns easier.
The Kubicki neck suffered some damage and I had to replace a
small section of the fretboard, from the 18th-21st frets. The repair is almost invisible. I am still using the set of Fender Japan vintage slotted tuners from that old Squier, and they work
great. It also has the Squier neckplate. The guitar has been in it's current configuration now for seven years, and gets a ton of attention whenever I bring it out, it gets played a LOT and I
have turned down some rather large sums of money for it. I had Will Ray sign it for me last month and he summed it up pretty well after ripping off a few licks on it when he said "Hey,