Advice on a Telecaster tone circuit: want more treble/punch

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by mindwave_21, Jul 30, 2006.

  1. mindwave_21

    mindwave_21 Member

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    Sounds like a weird request, eh? Who would want a brighter tele :messedup?
    I just bought a custom shop Tele from Subway Guitars (maple neck, probably ash or alder body), and I love it...mostly. It's got a p-90 in the neck, and a hot rails type HB in the bridge. I've been promised about 2 weeks fiddle with it and see if I'd like to modify it somehow in their shop.
    My immediate reaction upon bringing it home and plugging it in to my Traynor YCV40 was that the guitar was too dark and muddy for a tele. The bridge PUP lacked the punch in the upper register I was expecting from a Tele, and the p-90 in the neck was slightly too round and muddy sounding. I called Fatdog and asked what could be done, and he offered to replace the hotrails in the bridge with a single coil.
    So I've been thinking. This may be a good idea, and it may not. It would solve the bridge PUP's problem, but I'd still be left with a p-90 that is just a little too round sounding for my taste. Also, the stark contrast between a warm, round neck PUP and the almost shrill bridge PUP may be too Jekyll & Hyde for my taste. Somthing like the shrill/muddy issue with some AERODYNE Teles.

    I was wondering if there was a cap in the tone circuit that would allow for a brighter sounding guitar overall. I basically want the tele to have more of a snappy character with the already abundant sonic power in a p-90 and a hotrails HB. I'd love the neck to be a bit brighter and responsive and the bridge to have more of that distinctive tele clarity in the upper register.

    Any suggestions, schematics, diagrams, and ensuing explanations would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. stephenT

    stephenT Silver Supporting Member

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    toss the pickups and go for lower output single coils would be my suggestion. your current PUs have too much juice to get a decent tele sound.

    maybe a 50's style p90 from Lollar and a tele bridge PU (Alnico3 or 5) to match the output of the P90.
     
  3. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    Tone caps have a negligible effect on sound unless you turn the tone pot down. Look at pot values instead: if they are 250k, replace with 500k or even 1M if necessary and see if that does it.
     
  4. atomheartmother

    atomheartmother Senior Member

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    +1

    Also, I'd ditch the Hotrail and if you must have a single sized humbucker, put a Little 59 in. It's not as hot and dark and has more of a Tele tone to it. Personally, I'd stick with standard Tele single coils.
     
  5. mindwave_21

    mindwave_21 Member

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    Thanks. Probably will go with a SC in the bridge position and get the treble bleed cap for Volume put in. After all, I did buy a tele for a tele sound. I might also ask to switch out one of the pots (one is a push/pull, which might be a pain to replace) for a higher value. Are the pots wired in series? That is, can I compensate for one of the pots by raising the resistance value of the other? I guess that means instead of 2 500K's, 1 250K and 1 1M (I realize this doesn't add up, just giving an example).


    Strangely enough, I don't play country at all. I just want some of that clarity for indie rock/psychedelic/jam. I think I have Coldplay and Deathcab cleans in my head as the reference sound. Also wanted an exact opposite of my Heritage H535.
     
  6. has-sound

    has-sound Member

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    I would go with 500k volume pots and maybe a coil switch or series-parallel switch for the bridge pup. That way you will have the HB if you need it but could still "thin it out" if you like.

    -Stan
     
  7. fabiomayo

    fabiomayo Member

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    I'm having about the same feelings with my P90 neck.
    I'm yet to change the pots and experiment, but here's
    a reply I got from Jason Lollar:



     
  8. stucker

    stucker Member

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    Single coil pickups define the true Tele sound. The lower the output, the brighter and twangier the tone. Even a higher output single coil (like a Fralin Blues Special) will sound much clearer and chimey than the Hotrails HB.
     
  9. urlkonig

    urlkonig Supporting Member

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    +1 what Stucker said.

    I've got Lindy's Blues Specials in one of my teles, and a set of standard vintage Fralins in the other, for even spankier sounds. Plenty of twang from both sets, but to my ears, anything stronger than the blues specials and it just doesn't sound like a tele anymore. I had a Rio Grande "big bottom" set some years back that was considerably hotter; They sounded great in their own way, but just didn't sound anything like a Tele ought to.
     
  10. rmconner80

    rmconner80 Cantankerous Luddite Silver Supporting Member

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    You need a flatpole tele pickup with baseplate wound between 7K and 8K. Forget the rail pickup! The Fralin BS is a nice choice. I totally dig the SD Broadcaster. Can't go wrong with a Lollar either.

    I'd ditch the P90, but that's just because I believe the stock tele is probably one of the greatest guitars ever!

    If you want to thin the P90, you can run a small cap in series with it. Try a 4700pF and go up or down from there. This will roll off a lot of bass. But ultimately, why stick with a P90 if you are just trying to make it sound like a Fender single coil?

    A popular choice is an old Gibson mini humbucker. You could try the Lollar Charlie Christian pickup, or go for a DeArmond 2K or a TV Jones Filtertron or Hi-Lo. Lotsa choices, all a better "fit" for the output level/tone of the flatpole bridge pickup than a P90. And I say that as pretty big P90 fan.
     
  11. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    They are in parallel, but yes, you can do what you said: The overall load is (P1 x P2) / (P1 + P2), so 2 500k is equivalent to 250k, 1 250k and 1 1M is equivalent to 200k, close enough and significantly higher than the 125k load of 2 250k.
     
  12. Teleman

    Teleman Supporting Member

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    Get the "buckers & P90 out and the SC's in!" if you want tele tone.
    Another key component in the tele tone chain is the tele bridge.
     

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