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de-twanging a tele?

RebelRebel

Member
Messages
174
Is there a way to take the "tele" out of a tele.

I'm more of a gibson guy..but wouldn't mind picking up a nice tele..I like the look of them..and now that a decent gibson is priced completely out of reach, I think a tele might be in order. I'm in love with my VOS single cut LP Special, I wonder how close I could get with a tele.


Every tele I've tried lately had this top end I didn't like. The bridge pick up is just too spiky...but the neck pick up tones are always nice.

What causes the tele to sound like a tele.

I'm thinking brass sadles would help..a non ferrous bridge...a p90-ish bridge pick up. Pine body....but still try to use a maple board.

Is it possible to do this and still stay close to the aesthetics of a 52 tele..the black guard one.

If I can't do it on a Fender...what about a parts caster.

I realize they are two totally different guitars....how close can I get and apple to sound like an orange.
 
Messages
1,228
hey man after for many years trying to de-twang tele's....I now say don't do it...a tele without the twang is just a boring plank of wood. Just picked up a road worn 50's tele and the stock pickups in that do have plenty of twang but without the ice-pick highs. also back down the tone control and you naturally lose some twang...

you can't make a tele sound like a les paul....you can't make a tele sound like a strat....even with pickup swaps they are their own beast.....they are tools for different jobs.....let it be...let it be.
 

cottoneyedjoe

Member
Messages
2,340
Put a humbucker in the neck, or grind the back out and put a humbucker in there.

However, after you do this, it really won't be a tele.

Remember, its like my Mama always said:

"Honey, you can take the girl out of the trailer park. But you CAN NEVER take the trailer park out of the girl..."


What causes a tele to sound like a tele? There are no real angles in the neck and body. The modular construction, along with the combination of the wood makes, for a snappy combo.

Plus, there are little droplets of loved sealed into every tele to give the ultimate twangability. It is like the goo inside of a twinky. It's just born in there.....
 
Messages
7,602
Plus, there are little droplets of loved sealed into every tele to give the ultimate twangability. It is like the goo inside of a twinky. It's just born in there.....
:rotflmao

My question is, what would be the point? Just play something else if you don't want the twang.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
Don't be afraid to roll the tone knob way off.....works for me. But I digress a bit. My Tele has handwound pickups, a brass saddle, nut and bridge plate, with a Mahogany neck. It's still very twangy unless I roll off the tone knob though. But I wouldn't want to loose that twang.
 

mep

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
872
Use the tone control and roll off the treble when using the bridge pickup. I have recently started playing a tele and find it one of the most versatile electric guitar around. But I have to use the volume and the tone controls more on it than on other guitars.
 

fazendeiro

Member
Messages
1,103
Teles are a big fad right now, people think they look cool. They want the look, but they want it to sound like a Les Paul.
 

daddyo

Guest
Messages
11,797
Is there a way to take the "tele" out of a tele.

I'm more of a gibson guy..but wouldn't mind picking up a nice tele..I like the look of them..and now that a decent gibson is priced completely out of reach, I think a tele might be in order. I'm in love with my VOS single cut LP Special, I wonder how close I could get with a tele.


Every tele I've tried lately had this top end I didn't like. The bridge pick up is just too spiky...but the neck pick up tones are always nice.

What causes the tele to sound like a tele.

I'm thinking brass sadles would help..a non ferrous bridge...a p90-ish bridge pick up. Pine body....but still try to use a maple board.

Is it possible to do this and still stay close to the aesthetics of a 52 tele..the black guard one.

If I can't do it on a Fender...what about a parts caster.

I realize they are two totally different guitars....how close can I get and apple to sound like an orange.
Why imitate a guitar you aleady have and love? Spend the money on an amp or effects.
 

Teleman

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,870
Put brass saddles on it and a Rio Grande Muy Grande in the bridge.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
Teles are a big fad right now, people think they look cool. They want the look, but they want it to sound like a Les Paul.

Disagree..... I hate the way it hangs on me, it doesn't play as easy as my other guitars and I don't think they look all that cool. It's the sound i'm after when I strap one on and how it forces me to play the hell out of it. Just sayin.......no fad here.
 

rob2001

Member
Messages
16,929
Use the tone control and roll off the treble when using the bridge pickup. I have recently started playing a tele and find it one of the most versatile electric guitar around. But I have to use the volume and the tone controls more on it than on other guitars.

Yep, I forgot to mention the volume knob too. Rolling that off just a bit will knock some high end off. I do find that I like a boost pedal of some sort when i'm going for smoother LP-ish tones.
 

fazendeiro

Member
Messages
1,103
Disagree..... I hate the way it hangs on me, it doesn't play as easy as my other guitars and I don't think they look all that cool. It's the sound i'm after when I strap one on and how it forces me to play the hell out of it. Just sayin.......no fad here.
Well thanks for clearing that up.
 

Rob Sharer

Muso-Luthier
Messages
2,822
Now, lads, let's not discourage the OP. There are plenty of non-standard Teles out there, even original Fender products (John 5 Tele, anyone?). I'll offer a couple of standard suggestions:

1) First place to start is the bridge. In its twangiest form, i.e. straight up vintage-style, the Tele sound comes largely from the microphonic effect of the thin steel bridgeplate, essentially a resonant diaphragm suspended over the pickup rout; its vibrations contribute a picky, tweaky edge to the attack (have a listen to "Moby Dick"), not to mention a steely, ringy overtone. To eliminate this effect, go with a thick brass bridgeplate.

2) Next, check the saddles. Tele-style barrel saddles, whether brass or steel, contribute further to the twang. For the next step away from this, try a six-saddle bridge, American Standard type for example. Some of these have very thick bridge plates, so you'll accomplish step 1 as well. For the ultimate in smoother-sounding saddles, get graphite or Tusq saddles, which will further reduce the twang.

3) Pickups would be next. Several suggestions have been given here, but a unified concept would be to go with anything that's less likely to be microphonic itself. Full-size humbuckers, especially in combination with the above steps, will take you so far away from Tele-land that your guitar will be unrecognizable as a Tele, sight unseen. Maybe try some of the more P90-like offerings, like what I use in my own twang-reduced Tele: Kinman Broadcasters.

Other than that, different neck/fingerboard woods might help, or perhaps changing the capacitor. Good luck!

Rob
 

Austinrocks

Member
Messages
7,020
Is there a way to take the "tele" out of a tele.

I'm more of a gibson guy..but wouldn't mind picking up a nice tele..I like the look of them..and now that a decent gibson is priced completely out of reach, I think a tele might be in order. I'm in love with my VOS single cut LP Special, I wonder how close I could get with a tele.


Every tele I've tried lately had this top end I didn't like. The bridge pick up is just too spiky...but the neck pick up tones are always nice.

What causes the tele to sound like a tele.

I'm thinking brass sadles would help..a non ferrous bridge...a p90-ish bridge pick up. Pine body....but still try to use a maple board.

Is it possible to do this and still stay close to the aesthetics of a 52 tele..the black guard one.

If I can't do it on a Fender...what about a parts caster.

I realize they are two totally different guitars....how close can I get and apple to sound like an orange.
sound like me played a p-90 55-77 LP special for years and it was my favorite guitar, have LP special with humbuckers but they are split coils so I can get the single coil tones, not exactly the P-90 tones, but I can darken the pups with the tone control. The humbuckers Rio Grande Texas BBQs, put them on my LP custom and they are amazing, but that guitar has an ebony neck, the LPspecial has a rose wood neck, and the humbuckers are muddy when driven, the single coils are just amazing, just need to be RWRP, so they are noise cancelling, have a local pup builder while ask him for a set soon. Have his pups in my sheraton II and they so perfect, single and humbucker.

One thing you can do on a pup is lower it, tends to remove that bright, brittle tone, still does not make it a P-90 but they certainly sound their best,


I had a tele for a few year, my Jap strat has 21 frets, drove me nuts, LPs have 22, so got a tele to get the 22 frets, never really bonded with that guitar, traded it for a fat strat with humbucker in the bridge, replaced the pups and split the coil in that humbucker, its definitly my favorite guitar, but my LP special is a very close second, thanking of changing pups,

not sure if I added to the thread or not.
 

KRosser

Member
Messages
14,081
Is there a way to take the "tele" out of a tele.

I'm more of a gibson guy..but wouldn't mind picking up a nice tele..I like the look of them..and now that a decent gibson is priced completely out of reach, I think a tele might be in order. I'm in love with my VOS single cut LP Special, I wonder how close I could get with a tele.


Every tele I've tried lately had this top end I didn't like. The bridge pick up is just too spiky...but the neck pick up tones are always nice.

What causes the tele to sound like a tele.

I'm thinking brass sadles would help..a non ferrous bridge...a p90-ish bridge pick up. Pine body....but still try to use a maple board.

Is it possible to do this and still stay close to the aesthetics of a 52 tele..the black guard one.

If I can't do it on a Fender...what about a parts caster.

I realize they are two totally different guitars....how close can I get and apple to sound like an orange.
You should be aware that brass saddles with ferrous bridges are what Tele playes insist on to get twang.

The heavier non-ferrous American bridges would be a good start - then I'd suggest puttinga stacked humbucker in the bridge, such as the Seymour Duncan Little '59 or JB for Tele, if those are your taste. There are lots of other overwound Tele bridge pickups - if you want to go 'boutique-ier' the Harmonic Design Super 90 or Lindy Fralin Steel Pole attempt fo a more P-90-ish tone and response.

Also - check the wiring. Sometimes Fender used to use 500K pots in their guitars to increase the brightness. You may want to switch to 250K on those if so and have your tech look at the caps, etc. and replace them to those that will filter out less mids and lows

Many Tele players feel the ideal twang comes from pine or swamp ash - there are many made with alder or basswood you might want to check out for a slightly different tone, or try one of the semi-hollow mahogany thinlines - both the mahogany and semi-hollow qualities will take you further out of twang-land....
 

RebelRebel

Member
Messages
174
I had a long response typed out before the board went down.

Thanks for the tips guys.


I was wondering if slapping a lefty bridge plate on a righty would take away some of the top end.


A couple years ago..I had a nice 60th anni model..RW board, sunburst...didn't bond with the tone, so I sold it instead of tweaking it. I liked the feel and playability, jsut wasn't exactly what I needed.
 

gkoelling

Member
Messages
17,206
Teles are a big fad right now, people think they look cool. They want the look, but they want it to sound like a Les Paul.
Your brush paints with real big strokes there!

Tele's have been a "big fad" for over 50 years, they look cool and the majority who play them buy them because they sound like a ........TELE!
 




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