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Help! What would you do to this tele?

squeally dan

Member
Messages
5,745
Can my tele be resurrected? I loved this guitar but we have fallen out of love. I bought it about 14 years ago. At some point, I wanted more beef out of the neck position and my tech talked me in to replacing the single coil with a humbucker. I think it is some type of Gibson humbucker, but that was over 10 years ago and I'm not sure. The bridge pickup became microphonic and he replaced it. I think it was some type of Seymour Duncan pickup, but again, I don't know which model. Also, he had trouble getting the intonation right, so eventually he replaced the 3 saddle bridge with a 6 saddle. Anyway, all these years later the guitar sounds dead. For a long time it was my number one. I thought about selling it but I weould rather try t omake it sound good again. I still have the original bridge and at least one of the pickups. THe pickups had become microphonic and would squell real bad.

Here are my questions? Can it be made to sound good, or have my ears just changed? Did I kill it's mojo by having it fooled with too much.Should I go back to a compensated 3 saddle bridge? If so, what kind? Should I go back to a single coil in the neck? THe humbucker sounds a bit muddy to me. Would you sell or fix? Any other suggestions?

Can anyone tell me the year by using the serial number?

In general, I'm also wondering, do you guys find that making changes can make a guitar better or is kinda like trying to polish a turd?

Pics:




 

lmdcrown

Member
Messages
24
your Tele looks great!
It is a 1978.
Only thing...... .... in MHO it would look and probably sound better with brass saddles.
As for the pups, the options these days (post-1978) are endless.
I would "KEEP and FIX"
Good luck:JAM
 

Jellecaster

Member
Messages
184
I suppose it depends upon what kind of music you play - but if it were mine, I'd swap that horrible bridge (sorry) for a Glendale Blackguard with Redd Volkeart saddles. I would also swap the pups for Duncans.

If you want real Tele Twang, go with the Duncan Vintage 54 lead and Vintage Rhythm in the neck. If you want a little less twang but still killer tone, go with a set of Five-Two's.

For heavier tone you could try a set of Hot Rails, but those really aren't my cup o' tea - I play country.
 

gh730873

Member
Messages
57
I'm not a Tele expert and will defer to the REAL guru's out there, but according to the serial its a 1978. S for seventy and the 1st digit is a 8, so....78. There are plenty of pickup combo's out there that would sound really cool in that guitar. Maybe a fralin p-92 in the neck (p-90 sound that fits a humbucker hole) and maybe a suhr in the bridge.

just my .02
 

squeally dan

Member
Messages
5,745
I'm wondering if I should go back to two singles or keep some type of humbucker for added variety? The fralin p-90 has me intrigured. P-90 tone in a humbucker format? I've nevre had a guitar with p90s but always hear about them.

I play in a wedding/funk band and am starting to explore some solo jazz stuff but still new to that. Mostly playing funk & disco covers. However, I do love country and have done that gig in the past.
 

GreenKnight18

Member
Messages
2,209
I'd add this old chestnut: how does it sound unplugged?

If it sounds relatively loud and lively unplugged... then I would keep it and find better pick ups and hardware. Maybe try some 'new' teles to compare. If it doesn't then I'd sell it and use the money to find a tele that sounds better.
 

jamesego

Member
Messages
12
A humbucker in the neck position is a cool setup on a Tele. I would start with replacing the bridge with the original, give it a good setup and see if that brings it back to life. Then, if you can't deal with "close-enough" intonation, look into compensated saddles. If you still aren't feeling at that point, look into new pickups, but consider keeping a humbucker in the neck.
 

dukeh62

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,416
i'd add this old chestnut: How does it sound unplugged?

If it sounds relatively loud and lively unplugged... Then i would keep it and find better pick ups and hardware. Maybe try some 'new' teles to compare. If it doesn't then i'd sell it and use the money to find a tele that sounds better.
+100
 

Polynitro

Member
Messages
23,616
Thats a nice looking tele. The damage is done and humbucker neck Teles are sweet so Id just get a vintage bridge and maybe replace the pickups with a Lollar bridge and matching paf style neck....Id probably get a new tech too.
 

Mike9

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,956
I'd also consider a Joe Barden bridge - nice thick plate with a shaved lip and excellent saddles.
 
Messages
226
I'd add this old chestnut: how does it sound unplugged?

If it sounds relatively loud and lively unplugged... then I would keep it and find better pick ups and hardware. Maybe try some 'new' teles to compare. If it doesn't then I'd sell it and use the money to find a tele that sounds better.
Agreed. This is how I always audition electric guitars - unplugged. Some of the inexperienced kids that work at guitar center give me weird looks when I don't want to plug it in (I usually ask to audition it in the acoustic guitar room too), but if an electric sounds and plays good unplugged, it is a good guitar - if not, it is not and plugging into an amp or changing pickups and hardware isn't going to make it any better.

First, put a fresh set of strings on it. Has it been setup recently? If not, have it set up properly. Then play it unplugged and see if it is even and resonant. If so, then keep it and experiment with some pickups and bridges.

If you want it to be a little more hopped up, I would suggest either a Fralin P-92 or a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat in the neck (both humbucker sized P-90s), and a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound Tele in the bridge. If you want more traditional, go with a Fralin vintage Tele in the bridge, and either a Fralin Twangbucker (humbucker-sized split single coil) in the neck, or buy yourself a new pickguard and put a Fralin vintage Tele in the neck as well.

New bridge might be in order - for something really different, check out the Fishman piezo bridges. They have direct Tele replacment bridges that have a piezo pickup built in so you can get acoustic sounds out of it as well.

If you want to get really tweaky, put in CTS pots and maybe have the frets dressed, unless they are still in good shape.
 

fazendeiro

Member
Messages
1,103
It's been modded to death. I'd get back to basics; Duncan/Mare/VanZandt/whatever vintage pickups (sc in bridge and neck), plain old Fender bridge, maybe Glendale saddles (3 barrel). It wouldn't matter to me if it's resonant or not, it'll sound like a Tele.

Let it be a Telecaster as it was originally intended.
 

stoob0t

Member
Messages
466
First thing i'd do is replace the bridge with it's original one, get 3 compensated brass/steel saddles. Steel saddle for the E & A, then brass for D & G and B & E. That should bring back some jangle and brightness to it.

Speak to Don Mare about new pickups, i would definitely keep a humbucker in the neck position - makes for wonderful tone with both pickups combined, maybe try something quite low output if you're finding your current one a bit muddy.

Going back to the 3 saddle bridge and putting some new saddles on there would definitely be my first move - after that, i'd start to look at pickup options.

The serial number on the headstock would put it Mid 1978, probably May/June.
 

squeally dan

Member
Messages
5,745
It's been modded to death. I'd get back to basics; Duncan/Mare/VanZandt/whatever vintage pickups (sc in bridge and neck), plain old Fender bridge, maybe Glendale saddles (3 barrel). It wouldn't matter to me if it's resonant or not, it'll sound like a Tele.

Let it be a Telecaster as it was originally intended.
Thats sorta what I'm having a hard time with. It originally had a single coil and I griped about needing some mor ebeef for solos. My tech then put in one of the single coil size humbuckers. Still wanted more beef, so we then went with the full size humbucker. IF I had it to do over I wouldn't have had him cut a space for the bigger pickup but I loved it when he first put it in. I also think I liked the original sc that became microphonic but I really can't remember back that far.
 

rcrecelius

Member
Messages
28
Thats sorta what I'm having a hard time with. It originally had a single coil and I griped about needing some mor ebeef for solos. My tech then put in one of the single coil size humbuckers. Still wanted more beef, so we then went with the full size humbucker. IF I had it to do over I wouldn't have had him cut a space for the bigger pickup but I loved it when he first put it in. I also think I liked the original sc that became microphonic but I really can't remember back that far.
If you liked the original bridge pup and still have it you might look into having someone "pot" it to eliminate the squealing.
 

ballbuffer

Member
Messages
23
Great looking guitar, but if you're on a quest for more TONE, I might suggest taking off the neck and replacing it with an endangered Koa-wood Warmoth neck (through-body style), retrofit with a Gibson-style 3x3 headstock. You might then want to replace the "wings" with tungsten-plated, hollowed-out "tone-chambers." A re-finish might also be in order to maximze TONE output, and for that you could use tung-oil on the neck and Simonize on the body. For pickup mods, you could track down a 1955 PAF for the neck position and then take the 3 coils of a DiMarzio Trembucker and wire them up like this:
- middle coil set as a traditional single coil :bow
- outer coils set in a hum-augmenting lead/rhythm coil-tapped (push/pull) configuration :JAM

I've heard that you can email SD and have Seymour Duncan's nephew, Dennis, personally de-wire then rewire them, lacing every third half-inch of the wire with parrafin wax to prevent those nasty hi-gain-induced squeals. Talk about boutique! You can also contact Sonitrol, Inc. (out of New Jersey), and have the axe rigged so that each PU configuration is essentially password-protected via a selector switch located on the lower bout, near the neck heel. Adding some PRS-stlye inlays (except instead of a dragon, you might want to go with a sorcerer & wizard motif) might also get you closer to where you want to be. :drink

I've also heard of guys taking the body and running it through a sawdusting plane, & then taking the resulting dust and filling in those tungsten tone chambers, for dampening purposes. It might also be good to upgrade the jacks to airline-grade aluminum, for max. structural integrity. :drool
 
R

roomservice

I suppose it depends upon what kind of music you play - but if it were mine, I'd swap that horrible bridge (sorry) for a Glendale Blackguard with Redd Volkeart saddles. I would also swap the pups for Duncans.

If you want real Tele Twang, go with the Duncan Vintage 54 lead and Vintage Rhythm in the neck. If you want a little less twang but still killer tone, go with a set of Five-Two's.

For heavier tone you could try a set of Hot Rails, but those really aren't my cup o' tea - I play country.
Agree with the above and would also throw in a thumbs up for an SD Hot Rails if you play stuff a bit heavier then Jellecaster - I put one in my bridge and it does the business nicely.
 

stoob0t

Member
Messages
466
If you liked the original bridge pickup, i'd definitely looking at getting that repaired rather than chasing your tail trying to find a pickup that sounds the same as the microphonic one you already have. If all that's wrong with it is that it's microphonic it should just be a potting job to get it back to health.
 




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