School me on using a Tele


The TONE control.

No offense to all that have suggesting to change components etc. I couldn't stand Tele's - I'd played hum buckers for 15 years straight. Then it occurred to me to turn the tone control down on one... Now I have a Tele and its maybe the ultimate single guitar design in my mind. I had a custom Tele made, part of it was a push pull tone, when pulled out only affects the bridge.

Use the tone control, pretty much end of discussion IMHO.


I would ditch the TBX control and swap it for a standard 250k pot. Also make sure your volume pot is 250k as well. The darkening effect of 250k pots is essential on a tele IMHO. With the pot swap you may even like your stock pickups.
I had a Tele with the no load tone control and I was never able to use the tone bypassed. I agree that having that 250k pot is necessary.

fuzz guy

Lots of good suggestions so far, especially using the guitar's knobs, and if the ones on your guitar don't do what you need you can change the wiring and components to suit.
Another option not yet mentioned is to adjust the pickup height. On many guitars I have the bridge pickup close to the strings, with the treble side a bit more so. On my Tele I have it much lower and slanted the other way so it's further from the high strings. Works well for me.


The tone control is the key to Tele use. I generally mine down pretty low because I don't like the ice pick sound and prefer a mellower sound.


I really like tex-mex (Fender) pickups. The bridge is plenty gnarly for faux-humbucker tones, while still being plenty twangy when you dime the controls. The neck actually out-strats most strats I’ve tried. Really useable pickups that dial back beautifully.


Silver Supporting Member
OK all you pros out there. How can I use a Tele at a fairly decent volume without tearing someone's head off when playing on the high strings? I'm using a '93 MIA Tele with the TBX tone control, a Fender Blues Deluxe, Assorted pedals including a Boss Compressor and a Boss Delay. Playing mostly Classic Country and some Southern Rock. The low strings have a nice snappy Tele sound but the high end strings tend to cut thru and sounds really tinny at times. Lower volumes, not as much. What do I need to put in the chain to help dial in a better sound?
You mentioned that you're using a Fender Blues Deluxe, these amps along with a lot of other dual 6l6 Fender amps can sound kind of hard and abrupt on the high strings in particular. This may sound odd but try turning the tone controls on the amp way down, start with them off and slowly try moving them up in small increments, you may wind up with your bass and treble on 1 or 2 and mids at 3, don't let the numbers throw you, just follow your ears.
I would also try the 2nd (lower) input, both of these methods will allow you to turn up the amp a bit more and should give you more cohesion between your low strings and high strings.

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