Do ALL old tele neck pickups suck?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by bizzwriter, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. bizzwriter

    bizzwriter Member

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    I've got a friend with a really nice '56 tele -- awesome bridge pickup, but the neck pickup sucks. Sounds like someone turned the tone control all the way down, then threw a blanket over the amp. If all old tele neck pickups sound like this, then I can see why so many guys like esquires. Is there such as thing as a GOOD old tele neck pickup???
     
  2. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    Why would you think all pickups sound the same? Listen to recordings of vintage Teles and you'll hear great neck pickups.
     
  3. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    Does this 56 have the correct wiring for a 56? If so, when the switch is in the position pointing toward the neck you get the "deep rythmn" tone -- a capacitor is sending all the highs to ground. Many folks convert this wiring to a modern version, which eliminates that sound, in lieu of giving you neck, neck+bridge, and bridge sounds, each with a functioning tone control.
     
  4. RockStarNick

    RockStarNick Supporting Member

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    Jim is right.

    Isnt the old 50s wiring:

    1. Bridge
    2. Neck
    3. Neck with tone circuit

    so that there isn't an option of an in-between combined pickup sound?

    If that's the case, then yeah, that sound would probably suck. :eek:
     
  5. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    I was thinking vintage wiring too but even if, you still get neck only position which doesn't 'suck' by any means.
     
  6. bizzwriter

    bizzwriter Member

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    Ah -- I didn't realize the wiring was different. The setting where the pickup distinctly sucks is the one where the switch is in #3 above. The guitar is all original, bone stock -- perhaps there's a bad capacitor or something???
     
  7. bizzwriter

    bizzwriter Member

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    Yes, bone stock. This "deep rhythm" position is where it's really bad.
     
  8. Dave Wakely

    Dave Wakely Member

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    No, that positions sounds awful on any vintage Tele I've ever tried. Not sure quite what the thinking was, but I can't imagine why 'amp stuffed with socks and pillows' would ever catch on.
     
  9. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    It was meant to sound like a bass.
     
  10. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    Teles were wired that way, stock, for quite a few years. One must look at this with the ears of a different time, before the birth of rock and roll. The deep rhythm tone, while somewhat less useful, today, was not a bad simulator of some jazz tones. My single pickup T-clone is wired with vintage Esquire wiring, which features a "deep rhythm" tone, albeit with the bridge pickup (since it is the only pickup). I find quite a few uses for this "deep rhythm" tone.
     
  11. digthosetubes

    digthosetubes Senior Member

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    I like the neck pickup in my Nocaster. Some people would say it's a little wooly sounding. I find it gorgeous. Maybe not the pickup for certain live situations. But that doesn't mean the sound isn't gorgeous. The blender wiring supplied with the CS Nocasters, simulating the original wiring available for a couple of years back then, allows you to blend the bridge and neck pickups. An ideal tone circuit for my use.

    That takes care of two fo the three selector positions. The last position is the dark circuit -- which I find very useful for recordings. I wouldn't change the wiring.
     
  12. treeofpain

    treeofpain Member

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    I have a real 52, and I don't use the 3rd position, but I don't want to rewire it. I love the #2 position (neck only). And of course, the bridge is a real screamer. I don't miss the middle tele position (both pickups on).
     
  13. bizzwriter

    bizzwriter Member

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    Yeah -- my friend will never rewire his, although it might end up sounding better, because that will reduce the $$$ value on the collector's market.
     
  14. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    Rewiring it really isn't necessary. It is true that the stock wiring of that guitar will not give you both pickups in parallel, but it is usually very easy to balance the switch in that "in between" position. That is the same thing vintage Strat players used to do, before Strats started coming with five-way switches.
     
  15. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    So what does the neck pickup sound like? What did you think the #2 position was?
     
  16. DonM

    DonM Member

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    yes! -- I hope more guys learn that the middle of the 3-way is neck pup clear/clean - no dark circuit

    Now - as far as some being socked over and muddy - its very likely that anything past 6.5k will get muddy - now the masked over - blanketed thing - can be the Lacquer potting was like a Resin desktop paper weight - totally full up to the top of the cover when upside down .. that really blankets the tone too..

    Next: was random specs -- from as low a 4.5's to 8.5's are measured -

    the very best are the 5.9ks to 6.4ks
     
  17. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    YES. I had a beautiful sounding neck pickup on my '51 Tele, for whatever reason, it was not muffled but very clear & transparent sounding. The resistance was a little over 5k so it was also pretty quiet but it sounded beautiful. I did have that guitar wired modern style.
     
  18. Polynitro

    Polynitro Member

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    I always thought the vintage Tele specs were the same for each pickup or maybe the neck a tad more winds, I think my 52RI measured 7.3K bridge and 7.6K neck...I was suprised when I received a Novak neck pickup and hooked it up to my ohm meter and it read 'only' 6K...That is 6K of pure awsomeness though!
     
  19. cmatthes

    cmatthes Member

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    My favorite Tele neck pickup was in a killer 1962 Esquire I owned.




    ;)
     
  20. playon

    playon Supporting Member

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    Vintage pickups, both Fender and Gibson, were all over the map due to them being wound by hand.
     

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