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Can a Strat with a Tele Pickup Sound Like a Tele?

Messages
31
If I put a tele bridge pickup in my strat (despite the engineering challenges involved), can it sound like a tele? The strat has a different bridge, does that change tone significantly? I've also noticed alnico grades seem to have different effects on the strat or tele bridge pickups, so how would alnico grade fit in here? In my next strat build, I'm looking to have a much thicker, fatter, but twangy strat bridge tone. I'm leaning towards the Tonerider Hot Classic as it's alnico III (not too bright, not too spongy). But is it too hot to pull off my intended tele tones (Tom Petty/Mike Campbell, Keith Richards, early Eagles, Jimmy Page, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, etc.)? When combined with the middle, can it still do the Sweet Home Alabama quacky tone? With the neck out-of-phase, can it do BB King, Roy Buchanan, Albert King, Peter Green? All of these questions...some of which really stupid but thank you for your patience.
 
Messages
31
Oh, also my other pickups are Tonerider Alnico II Blues Strat pickups (around 6.1-6.4k). My strat is swamp ash with a maple neck. I'm considering doing an Eric Johnson style thinline. The other issue with the Hot Classic was also output related. At 9-10k, will it overpower my 6k strat pickups?
 

9fingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,000
Duncan Twangbanger is worth a look too (overwound Alnico 2).
Some of Tele bridge tone is from the metal surround of the bridge plate, so a Tele-ish pickup in a Strat can get in the ballpark, but not exactly the same as the Tele.
As any bridge pickup gets "thicker & gnarlier" it will cost you some quack in the # 2 position.
Out of phase single coils get really thin sounding.
It may be difficult to get all your criteria.
 

David B

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,085
It will get you closer, but the Tele bridge contributes a lot of the "Tele sound". The bride/middle combo will change a bit too, probably not as "quacky", but you might be able to improve this with a couple passive parts (resistor, cap) to back off on the hotter/darker bridge when using the combo. There are well known Tele players who don't use a classic tele bridge, so even the bridge's contribution to "Tele sound" is not a given. The main thing is, it will get you closer, so give it a whack. I think Jerry Donahue and a few others along the way have used a tele or tele-like bridge pickup in a strat to get a "best of both worlds" approach.

I have a couple of Tom Anderson guitars that mix Tele and strat pickups, it works pretty well for me, but if you play it back to back with a 52 Tele, then you hear the differences, but that's only stuff the die-hard tele fans could hear, the vast audiences would never be able to tell.
 
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cap10kirk

Member
Messages
8,994
The Tele bridge, along with the pickup being mounted to that big metal plate are a part of the Tele sound. However, you can definitely get close with a Tele pickup in the bridge of a Strat imo. Even just putting a base plate on a Strat bridge pickup can get you closer than you may expect. Or, the Duncan Twangbanger is another option, if you don't want to rout the guitar for a Tele pickup.
 
Messages
31
Why not get a Nashville tele?
You kinda read my mind. My other thought was getting a Nashville with a strat pickup in neck (instead of the tele neck pickup). Unfortunately, I don't get the gimmick of bending down, like on a strat, unless I get a bigsby. Bigsbys are pretty expensive when I can get a top-of-the-line Gotoh/Wilkinson VS100 for $89. Those Wilkinsons are buttery smooth. But what if I put a Wilkinson in a Nashville? Now the wheels are turning...
 

PCalugaru

Senior Member
Messages
1,244
G Smith's signature Tele (copied from the one he's used on countless tracks and live performances ) bridge pup mounted to the body and a half bridge w/ traditional saddles.. This isn't so uncommon.. guys like this set up.

Which I think in tonality is what you would get mounting a Tele pup in a strat. (something close to it at least)

Thing to remember is a standard Tele bridge pup is quite "Hot" compared to a standard strat pup. As you wind a Tele pup hotter it tends to sound like a strat pup.

You can go the other way in a Telecaster too...
My No#1 Tele an early 90's AM Blackguard, back in the mid 2000s I had it made into a Nashville. On a five way, posistion 2 (neck and middle in parallel) and posistion 4 (neck and bridge in parallel) because of the reverse polarity I get a nice strat type quack .. Kinda simular to the middle position of a normal Telecaster but less pronounced I believe due to the closer proximity of the pickups in a Nashville set up.
 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,742
Duncan Twangbanger is pretty nice, designed to emulate a Tele bridge on a Strat bobbin so no routing needed. I played with one in a friend's guitar, big improvement over a stock Strat. IMO.

If it was my project, I'd get a used one and try it out. There's one on e-bay now for $45. If it doesn't workout, easy enough to sell it on.
 

Teleman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,901
The short answer is No. A strat will not sound like A Tele by adding a Tele bridge pickup . It will get closer to the tone but the key to the teles spank and twang is the tele bridge where the pickup is mounted to the metal bridge
 

lefort_1

Nuzzled Firmly Betwixt
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
15,855
The simple answer is: Do the pickup AND the bridge.

Routing for a tele bridge pickup is dead-easy AND you have that ash-can bridge-plate to cover up any inexactness.

I've done it with both by hand (gouges) AND with a Dremel ***.
Dead.Simple.

-First, locate the line the old bridge-saddles sat on.
-Set the Tele saddles in the MIDDLE of their adjustment range.
-Locate the Tray so the Tele-saddles sit along the line of the old Strat saddles.
AND so The e-strings line up with the neck/nut ... this is your most critical assessment and placement.

--- Trace in those screw-holes !!!!

-Trace on the Pickup Route outline from the Tray's location.

-I started with hand-gouges, as a Dremel MIGHT run across the top on you if started on flat/lacquered wood
---some folks have the hand strength to prevent this... even tho my hands regularly pull teeth, I still don't trust them with a nice, finshed guitar top ;)

-once I'm down 1/16th to 1/8 inch, break out the Dremel with an end-cutting/cylinder bit

Go to town... it only takes an hour or two... and that's with first-time jitters.



Here's a couple photos of some butcherie I did on an old Harmony H1 lap-steel :added a Tele-bridge pickup.
I did this particular one with just the hand-gouges, to prove that I could.Using a dremel cuts down the time, significantly.









*** A Foredom tool or something like it would probably be better than a Dremel.
I've burned up a number of Dremels, but my Foredom is still going strong.
My DENTAL handpieces would smoke this out in about 10 minutes, tops, but I don't want to risk damaging an 800$ piece of equipment... besides they get all smokey-smelling when I use them on wood...the staff gets PO'd when I abuse the high-quality gear like that... :D
 
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Messages
31
After reading up on GE Smith's signature, I'm intrigued. I might just do a Nashville tele with a Wilkinson trem and mount the pickup straight into the wood. Hmmm...
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,409
After reading up on GE Smith's signature, I'm intrigued. I might just do a Nashville tele with a Wilkinson trem and mount the pickup straight into the wood. Hmmm...
I seem to remember that his bridge pickup is built like a pedal or lap steel pickup that he had when he was a kid.
 

9fingers

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
8,000
Duncan Twangbanger is pretty nice, designed to emulate a Tele bridge on a Strat bobbin so no routing needed. I played with one in a friend's guitar, big improvement over a stock Strat. IMO.

If it was my project, I'd get a used one and try it out. There's one on e-bay now for $45. If it doesn't workout, easy enough to sell it on.
Twangbanger in the bridge with a blender pot is a very useful setup.
 
Messages
23,963
Why not get a Nashville tele?
I've got four of these MIM Nashville Teles, and on one of them, I pulled the pickups and substituted Seymour Duncan SSL-1s in the neck and middle (RWRP towards one another) and I replaced the stock Tex Mex bridge with a Bill and Becky Keystone bridge pickup (which is RWRP towards the Duncan middle pup).

I think it is a great guitar, but I don't have it wired to do N + B. I hotwired it to give me that, to test it, and it was not bad. But I guess not fabulous enough for me to change the switch to add N + B.
 




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