Tom's Nation Blue Tele

Everyone who reads my blogs knows I'm not personally a big fan of the Tele and even less of a fan of the Strat but I've pretty much always said if I was in a professional touring band I would modify Teles to do what I need. They are basic and tough as nails which makes them perfect touring guitars if you can get the sounds you want. Over the years I've moded heaps of Teles for friends in bands to tour with. Here's one of the two Teles (and a Strat) I made for Luke from Violent Soho.

So I made this for my friend Tom who is in two of the greatest Australian bands EVER. The Nation Blue are his main band and are amazing. They are what can only be described as a uniquely Australian hardcore band. This is the band I made this guitar for.

When Tom mentioned they were doing a 3 week South American tour with shows pretty much every day, and some in remote places, my first instinct was "how the F#*K is Tom going to keep a guitar going that long?" He's pretty ........... harsh on guitars and most of them don't last a set, let alone a tour. With some of the shows being in remote locations, they won't have access to repair shops along the way so ....................


This was made from old parts I had lying around the workshop. The body was an old E series Fender Japan alder body that was actually still in pretty good condition. I routed it and cleaned it up a little but I really didn't need to do much more to it.

The neck was an older neck I had lying around. It was straight but a little chunky for me and it needed a re-fret badly to make it at all playable. So with new frets, a bone nut and a new set of tuners in it the basics were there.

The pickups were all Seymour Duncan hot rails that I had lying around. Tom was pretty into these at the time so I thought I'd do something a little different with them.

There are three all up and they all have their own volume controls. The bridge ones are put together in a humbucker formation essentially giving four (count 'em) coils in a pickup the size of a humbucker. With a separate volume for each pick up it means that you could run the guitar with just a single hotrail in the bridge or both, or all three.

The neck pick up is installed under the scratchplate for clean looks and because Tom destroys everything he goes near so keeping this one under the plate means it's well protected.

Now, because Tom inevitably breaks every knob off every guitar he owns I came up with an idea of making the knobs "Tom proof"

I fitted the pots to a standard metal Tele control plate and then made that spring loaded under the scratch plate as well. This gave him three volume pots but all were sprung from underneath so they can "push"into the body. That way when they got hit or knocked,the idea was that they just went into the body and sprung back out again.

The bridge is a Tele bridge but I just used the base plate as a tailpiece and a Jazzmaster bridge. This gives the harmonics between the bridge and tailpiece and also gave me an opportunity to run a piezo bridge under the metal plate for shrill metallic string pickup. This piezo has it's own output jack so can be run in stereo with the either pick ups or to a separate amp.

This means the guitar has three (count 'em) output jacks as I always run two output jacks on these moded Teles I make as there's nothing worse than dragging around a guitar on tour with a broken output jack. For the sake of an output jack,the whole guitar stops.

I gave this to Tom on a tour up here just before they went overseas and it served him well for that tour and after. Here's some footage of him using it live.

I like making these things for friends who I think are deserving of my time and Tom definitely falls into this category. He has, as well as being a good friend and supporter of Tym guitars, given me some of the most amazing and inspiring music to come out of the last 10 years. I 'd drop everything and make a whole back line for him if he asked, but he never would. He understands what I do and why I do better than most, and I understand the same about him.

Look at that. I made this in 2007, and I'm pretty sure it's still going ? Well done Tom ................

Back to blog