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  Project File:
Ian McLagan's "Franken-Tele"
This is a funky guitar belonging to rock and
roll legend Ian McLagan. I am a big fan of his
work with The Small Faces and The Faces so I was
really honored that he brought me this guitar
to work on. Then he proceeded to tell me the
amazing story behind it.
"Mac" bought this Fender Telecaster, new, in 1965.
Getting a one-owner '65 Tele is reason enough to
write about, but read on...
The Tele originally had a blonde finish, but at some
point, Mac stripped it. Then, his Small Faces cohort,
Steve Marriott, gave him a Strat neck to put on
it. Not just any neck - it's a 1954 neck! The heel
is dated "6-54". We're talking first year, holy grail
territory, folks!!! So Steve's neck is now on it, but
the saga doesn't end there.
Mac decides to go to see The Who perform one night, and would ya believe it, Pete Townsend smashes one of his Gibson SG's on stage? Okay, no surprise there, but a hunk of wood from that ill-fated SG lands right at Mac's feet and it has a pickup in it, so he keeps it.
Now he figures he would like to put Pete's pickup in the neck position of his Tele but he doesn't know how, so another buddy, Peter Frampton, volunteers to "show him the way" and do the work for him! Thus, the story of three legendary guitarists' playing a role in creating the "Franken-Tele" for another true legend, Ian McLagan.
Mac loved telling the history of this guitar and I loved hearing it. The fact that this guitar sat on my workbench after all of those rock icons had their hands on it blew me away!
Now on to the job.
Mac only asked me to do setup and output jack replacement on it. Nothing exciting. I found the neck was back-bowed. Not horribly, but it was there. Under string tension it comes up straight as an arrow. So, as it is a prized 1954 Stratocaster neck, and an expensive job to fix, we decided to leave it alone.
The guitar set up beautifully. The action was sweet with only a hint of buzzing but Mac said he doesn't mind a little buzz if the action is good, and this turned out real good.
Amped up, the guitar sounds great. Both pickups sound awesome. The bridge pickup has the classic twang and thwack and Pete Townsend's abandoned SG pickup is big, warm, and gutsy.
The only drawback is the SG pickup is considerably louder than the bridge pickup but I couldn't lower it any further because of the way it was originally installed.
Get this...the tabs where the pickup height screws thread through were cut off, and the pickup was glued to a piece of wood and shoved in the cavity.
Moral of the story: Peter Frampton should stick to playing guitars rather than working on them! 




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