I realised recently that I hadn’t written about anything I actually own in a while. Not that I write a lot about anything, but the majority of articles are always “Oooh, this would be nice!” Actually, most of my articles will always be like that because there’s always going to be more that I like than I own. In a way, this article will become that kind of article as well. Why? Well I have a Fender Squire Telecaster SSH (white), but I’m considering modifying it slightly. Let me explain how and why.
I purchased my Fender Squire Telecaster SSH back in 2006—The SSH stands for Single, Single, Humbucker in case you’re wondering. I’d become a fan of the Telecaster after watching John 5 blaze away on many of his Telecasters (especially his signature model with the three-a-side headstock). The more I looked at the guitar, the more I realised that this guitar shape isn’t suited just to country guitar players. Then when I saw Jim Root’s Telecaster … Well, need I say more?
I knew I wanted a Telecaster that was a little bit out of the ordinary. When I discovered the SSH, I fell in love. Initially I fell in love with the white body and the maple neck—I’ve always loved that combination. Then I loved the fact that this guitar had the three pickup configuration that the Fender Stratocaster has. At this stage I didn’t own a Fender Stratocaster. More on that one other day. I knew I had to have it. So I ordered it from a local guitar store. After a couple of weeks it arrived. I was over the moon (which is a good thing).
The strings were a bit high, but initially I was OK with that. I was playing a fair amount of clean toned music on it and as most of that action was closer to the nut, it made little difference to me. In case I haven’t mentioned it already (or in case you haven’t heard me say it), I’m not what I’d call a technically proficient guitarist. I play for fun and fun I have. I actually tried to play some slide guitar on the SSH and that worked out perfectly (as perfectly as my slide playing went at least).
Over the years though, I wanted to get more out of the guitar. I wanted to play more styles on this guitar. It’s too beautiful to limit to just clean chorded guitar playing. So I took the guitar to an expert to have it setup properly. Sadly I was informed that the neck had a broken truss rod. When I say broken, I mean adjusting it appeared to do nothing. There was a fear that trying any harder could break something in the neck (if not the neck itself). Disheartened, I took the guitar home and only used it when I felt like playing some clean, slow chord based guitar. This style it continued to handle perfectly.
Years later, I thought I’d give it one more try. I took it to another guitar store to have someone else look at it. The guy I took it to this time was once making guitars with Chris Kinman (guitars, not the pickups). I figured he’d know what he was doing. Sadly, the neck was confirmed to be busted. Which leads me to today.
I love this guitar too much to just give up on it. I also love it too much to just throw a Chinese neck from eBay on it (making me a brand snob perhaps). I’m also too abnormal to try and find an exact replica neck. No, this is perhaps my chance to modify the Telecaster while still keeping it somewhat Fenderish (that’s a real word). So I’m considering buying a Fender Squier neck (with tuning pegs) from a Jim Root Squier Telecaster. This would mean a change away from the all maple neck too. In a way I’m OK with that because it gives me a chance to even out the black/white ration. “How?” you may ask yourself. Well, to make sure the black hardware on the headstock (and the rosewood fretboard) would match the rest of the current guitar, I am considering replacing the bridge and control panel with new black hardware. All that black and white … Perfect for me.
What I’d keep is obviously the body and more importantly the Duncan Designed pickups. I haven’t mentioned them yet, but I do like them quite a bit. For now. Perhaps one day I’ll replace the bridge pickup with something like a Seymour Duncan Hotrails. That’s possible. If I go ahead with any of this at all. I’m still undecided. I know I love this guitar too much to just give up on it.
What would you do?
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