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  • January 26, 2016 3 min read 3 Comments



    Tommi Rapeli has kindly sent in his latest project pictures. In Tommi’s own words:


    To be honest I really didn’t need another guitar, but tinkering with one

    is so fun to resist. I just had to build something. I have earlier

    experience of building a partscaster tele and modifying an Italia

    Guitars Rimini, but I have no earlier experience in painting and

    finishing except building scale models as a youngster.


    The beautiful shape of the Roadhouse Guitars barn red Jazzcaster caught

    my eye and I thought that roadworn look is something one could achieve

    with resources available for someone living in city flat. So that’s

    where the idea of telemaster originally came from. For the sound I was

    still looking for even better bright and twangy single coil funk stab

    sound despite having a tele and a strat. Hmm, what if I used lipstick

    pick ups? Never had those. And three of them to get those quacky strat 2

    and 4 positions. But I started to think that funk does not go that well

    with barn aesthetics to begin with. Everybody from James brown to Bootsy

    Collins has quite a bit more flare…


    One could buy a finished body from someone like Warmoth, but there’s not

    enough fun building time I wanted. I continued to search for finishing

    method without a need for painting booth and spray equipment. I found

    interesting info + videos about mixing  tru oil with artist oil colors.  And saw some great examples

    of mirror like finish possible with tru oil. Maybe I could do that… Or

    even try to get something weird, if one mixes silver pigment thru out

    the process it might get some of that candy apple red feeling to it…


    Early fifties clean design of telecaster, swooping lines of Jazzmaster

    combined with candy apple red made me thinking of cars, especially 57’

    Corvette as an inspiration. Thats it! I started thinking and refining

    design in Photoshop. Two color body, red top and black back. I contacted

    Guitarbuild about price for custom routing. Price was very reasonable.

    I decided to pull the trigger! What I got was excellent and swift

    service, quick delivery and a body with beautiful workmanship.


    Time to start building! While sanding, I also started ordering other

    parts. Mostly usual stuff, except the cool Texas Custom bridge to fit

    the desired fifties automotive aesthetics. Waiting for the parts started

    to grow long as there was a postal strike in Finland in November. Then

    again I was in no hurry as the selected finishing method was guaranteed

    to be a long process.


    I started sanding with 320 couple of times. Then 600. And again. First

    darker colors and silver pigment to the grain. Then filling them with

    true or sanding slurry. Had some errors I managed to fix, sand thrus

    etc. The dyed Tru Oil layers are very thin. I learned that don’t use the

    same rubber gloves twice if you use silver pigments. It flakes off from

    the gloves when dried and gets stuck on the next layer. I also learned

    that lot’s of layers is needed to get an even finish. And drying time

    for alizarin crimson hue is much longer than any other color. ;)

    Gradually getting smoother and smoother and final sanding with 2500 grit

    body was ready for final finishing on Christmas. It was set aside for

    the Christmas break and finalized it with polishing & waxing when I got

    back in town. I think I managed to get it surprisingly smooth. It only

    took some patience. And even though it does not show that well in the

    images, it actually is a metallic colour with see thru wood grain. So

    success! it is Interesting enough the hardest part was getting a chrome

    colour on the edge of the pick guard I had gotten made in a shop. It

    took five trials and different approaches to get it look like as I

    wanted. No wonder you don’t see them anywhere.


    Electronics are fairly standard except the half way super with and push

    pull volume pot to be able to select telecaster style neck+bridge middle

    position or just middle pick up if desired. I designed a pick guard that

    continued the swoop on the body as far as possible echoing the shape

    found on the side of a fifties Corvette. The same shape is also found on

    the true oil finished headstock as a white plate with the “model” name

    Funcaster. Well, it’s fun, functional, funky and some sort of a caster. ;)


    Let's see how long I can stand the itch to build again yet another guitar!



    -tommi - Helsinki


  custom build

    3 Responses


    May 16, 2016

    Thanks for your kind words! It was my first try at this so there’s more patience than skill at work here. ;) I’ve built another one since in a bit different style also using tru oil as a finish. Even more beautiful wood grain on the top. Hopefully it will be accepted to be displayed here for you to see. Thanks again!

    Albie aka ziggybass
    Albie aka ziggybass

    March 28, 2016

    Well I’m all bass but just had to say how much I loved your work. I resurect old bass here in Malaga Spain. Nice Axe!

    Michael Hastrup Bendsen
    Michael Hastrup Bendsen

    February 10, 2016

    What an awesome job, fantastic paintjob.

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