Jimmy Page “Dragon” Telecaster. Final Specification

…now with the Fender neck it deserves

SPECIFICATION Modification from previous, in red italics

Body

  • Body: 1959-1966 Telecaster replica, by guitarbuild.co.uk
  • Body Tonewood: Swamp Ash – 2 piece, Offset join
  • Body Finish: Hand painted copy of original design, using Casein paint. Gloss, nitrocellulose lacquer clearcoat

Neck

  • Neck: Fender Vintage style MIM Telecaster neck 2016
  • Neck Material: 1 piece maple, with Rosewood fingerboard
  • Tuners: Gotoh(?) 6-in-line, Vintage Kluson style tuners
  • Fretboard: Rosewood
  • Fretboard Radius: 7.25″
  • Neck Finish: Gloss urethane lacquer, (rubbed back @ rear of neck)
  • Number of Frets: 21, Vintage style fretwire
  • Position Inlays: White dot
  • String Nut: Shaped and polished bone
  • Nut Width: 1.650” (42 mm)
  • Scale Length: 25.5″ (64.8 cm)
  • Neck Relief: 0.005″ (0.127mm)
  • Strings – D’Addario, Nickel Wound – EXL110 – .010 .013 .017 .026 .036 .046
  • String Action at 17th Fret: Treble Side – 4/64″ (1.6mm), Bass side – 5/64″ (1.8mm)
  • Neck Plate: Callaham, 4 Bolt, Stainless steel, Stamped – Serial #37201

Electronics

  • Pickup Configuration: S/S
  • Body Shielding: Heavy grade, copper sheet, with conductive adhesive backing
  • Bridge Pickup: Don Mare, “ZepOTone” (Live), Staggered Alnico 5 Poles, 6.6K
  • Neck Pickup: Don Mare, “ZepOTone” (Live), Alnico 5 Poles, Ni/Ag cover, 6.3K
  • Pickup Switching: CRL, Sprung 3-Position Blade – Position 1. Bridge Pickup, Position 2. Neck pickup, (with tone control) Position 3. Neck pickup (with tone preset). (Fender, 1950’s/60’s “Dark Circuit”)
  • Controls: Master Volume, Tone (Positions 1 and 2 only)
  • Pots: Volume – 1 x CTS TVT (“True Vintage Taper”) 250k, Tone – 1 x CTS TVT (“True Vintage Taper”) 250k
  • Tone preset Capacitor: Luxe, 1958-1961 replica, Wax impregnated paper & foil capacitor. (1 x 0.1µF “Phone Book” Capacitor)
  • Tone Capacitor: Luxe, 1958-1961 replica, Wax impregnated paper & foil capacitor. (1 x 0.05µF Tubular Capacitor)
  • Wiring: Cloth covered, 22 gauge

Hardware

  • Hardware: Stainless steel screw set,
  • Bridge: Fender “Pat. Pend.”  Vintage style Telecaster bridge, modified to accept “top” stringing.
  • Saddles: 3 x Fender, “Pure Vintage ’64”, Nickel plated
  • Jack Plate: Fender, Vintage style electrosocket
  • Controls: Chrome plated control plate. 2 x Fender “Pure Vintage” chrome plated, knurled, brass control knobs
  • Switch Tip: Fender, “barrel” type. Black plastic
  • Scratchplate: Custom made replica – Single ply, clear polycarbonate with silver holographic wrap applied to reverse side
  • Strap Buttons: Genuine Fender Vintage style, with black felt washers

Accessories

  • Guitar Strap – Souldier, “Stained Glass” Blue / White – Recycled seatbelt with Vintage fabric – White leather ends – Silver hardware
  • Fender Pro Series Hard Case – Tweed, with orange plush
  • Reclaimed Violin Bow
20200609_143124

I was already really pleased with the way my Dragoncaster worked out. The only thing that let it down, in my eyes, was the fact I couldn’t originally find an authentic Fender neck with a rosewood board to complete it. The CITES import restrictions, at the time, seemed to lead to a bit of a shortage here in the UK, and any second-hand examples that did appear – were rare. The situation changed earlier on this year, and since then – there has been a steady trickle of opportunities leading, ultimately, to the acquisition of this 2016 Fender MIM neck. Just the job.

A little bit of wear – but it fits the bill

The Fender neck was bought in used condition – and, apart for a couple of tiny marks, it needed minimum reconditioning. I managed to pack out a couple of rattling tuner bushings, and swap the string tree for my favoured Vintage disc type. A good soak with Crimson Guitars Fingerboard Restorative – and the dark rosewood fingerboard now has the perfect finish. There isn’t any apparent fret wear. Looks like new, but has a very slight “used” patina.

You just can’t underestimate the effect of a properly shaped and polished nut

As with all my build setups – I now try to make sure the nut is as good as I can possibly make it. The original nut was slightly chipped when I got the neck, so it was always going to be replaced – but this time with a bone example. I took a good while making sure the string slots were correctly shaped and cut to the exact, right depth – before shaping the top of the nut. Providing a slight fallaway towards the headstock. As always – a StewMac “Safe Slot” clamp, helped enormously. A final polish up to 2000 grit, and I’m really pleased with this particular job.

In fact – the combination of new neck and nut helps me drop the neck relief right down to a super-flat 0.005″. Acoustically – the strings sound true and balanced. I normally find the action on Telecasters to be a bit “stiffer” than Stratocasters. Perhaps it’s the top stringing – but this action feels low, slick and slinky.

Take a bow…

It’s always a really satisfying feeling to put the finishing touches to any project – but especially one which has taken a long time to finally come together. I always think that Telecasters sit better, (look better?) in cases with a central neck caul – so to finish off the Dragoncaster in some Vintage style, I match it with a Fender Pro Series case. Tweed, with the standard orange plush. True, these Pro series cases aren’t quite up the quality of G&G cases – but if I ever do come across a more suitable home for the Dragon – I’ll swap it out.

Then – just as I’m finishing things up – I happen to acquire an old violin from an old friend. The violin didn’t have a home, and was likely to get thrown away. It was, apparently, “broken”. The case had been locked shut, with the key lost. I thought I’d offer a home, since I’m a sucker for old instruments and – who knows – maybe, one day, I’ll get round to learning how to fix it, and squeeze out a tune.

The case, like most violin cases, looked suspiciously longer than you’d need for just a violin – so I hoped there might be a violin bow I could “borrow” to coincidentally complete my Dragoncaster project. When I finally picked the lock of the case – I was delighted to find that there were, in fact, two bows in there, (with the violin definitely in need of some restoration).

So one of the bows now accompanies my Dragon Telecaster in it’s case. It’s the finishing touch.

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