Strat middle pickup in a Tele?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Mark C, Mar 10, 2005.


  1. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    I'm putting together another telecaster and have been thinking of throwing a strat pickup in the middle. I'm looking for traditional tele tones with some of the strat's in between sounds thrown in. Anybody played one of these? Pros or cons? How about using a strat pickup in the middle and neck, instead of just a strat pickup in the middle with a tele pickup in the neck?
     
  2. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    Tele bridge/Strat middle/Strat neck is the configuration of my Chapin TBird. It has a mini-switch to allow all 7 combinations. It's incredibly versatile, every position is usable.

    I love stock Teles, but this layout is perfect for just about any gig.
     
  3. mountain blues

    mountain blues Member

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    I have a Fender Nashville Deluxe Tele that I modded with Harmonic Designs Vintage Plus pickups — Tele neck–Strat middle–Tele bridge. I had it custom wired so that I have the traditional 5-way Strat positions as well as a push/pull pot that activates the neck in all positions, so I can get the traditional Tele neck/bridge position. Extremely versatile, no cons, only pros. The Tele positions are excellent, though the HD V+ neck has more of a Strat tone than traditional Tele neck pickups, which I like. The Strat in betweens are excellent, but of course not exactly 'pure Strat'. And the Strat pickup in the middle sounds great by itself.
     
  4. red firebird

    red firebird Guest

    I really like the Strat middle pu but I always hit it with my plectrum, I'm definitely a 2 pu guy!
    Maybe a phase switch would also be an interesting setup if you like to have many different tones.
     
  5. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    I had a parts Tele, once. A very nice guitar that had the two traditional Tele pickups. I had a middle route put in the body (I wield a soldering iron, not a router), and I installed a Strat middle pickup. From that point, the guitar was never the same -- and not for the better.

    I do like a stock Tele neck pickup sound. It is, I think, the perfect dark foil to the bright, twangy sound of a stock Tele bridge pickup. When I mated a Strat pickup, in the middle position, with that nice Tele neck pickup, I got a dark, muddy, useless sound. (Believe me, I know all about pickup height, and what it can do.) The bridge+middle was okay -- not spectacular, but okay.

    I had wired that guitar with a three-way switch and a push/pull tone control. When the tone control was pushed in, the three-way gave me the stock Tele sounds. When it was pulled out, it added the middle pickup to whatever the three-way switch selected.

    Here is the part you might consider voodoo. I never put any stock in this until I heard it. Over on the TDPRI (Tele page), there are a lot of people who claim that if you take two, otherwise equal Teles, and make one an Esquire (bridge pickup only), the Esquire will sound better. Their reasoning is that the extra pickup creates too much magnetic pull on the strings, causing too much damping. I never really believed any of that, but when I added that middle pickup to that Tele, the guitar never sounded the same, again.

    However, if you really want a Strat pickup in the middle, I won't try to talk you out of it, but I will suggest that you put one in the neck, too. A Tele neck+Strat middle really wasn't very good, but you probably already have some idea what a Strat pickup in each of those positions will do.
     
  6. Shades

    Shades Member

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    Jim, I agree about the tele neck pickup combined with a strat mid. With 2 strat pickups it sounds much better. Also there is something to the extra pull issue ....however, if you are careful about the magnets you use for the middle pickup (not a5) this really isn't an issue as long as you you keep the height down. Of course it helps when you are winding a pickup especially for this setup as you can balance the wind to the magnets to allow the proper height and still balnce without the pull isuues.
     
  7. gregc

    gregc Member

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    Gonna agree with Shades here. There is sum'tin to the mag pull issue; hence the magic of the Esquire, LP jr, Firebird I....
    I do have a G&L with MFD Tele pups front & rear, and a MFD Strat pup in the middle. It works well, including the 5 way w/pull tone pot for that classic Nashville 'both Tele pups' for rhythm (nice!)or all 3 pups together (which IMO, is nuttin special)..
    gregc
     
  8. fullerplast

    fullerplast Senior Member

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    It works really well with a pair of Barden strat pickups and a tele bridge pickup. I use a Gibson 3-way and a blend pot to mix in the middle pickup in any position. You end up with all stock tele and strat positions except middle only, plus you gain the all pickup position and the ability to fine tune the quack via the blend pot. Blending in some middle takes some edge of of the bridge only position in a different way than the tone control. Works real well.

    There is a very real difference with an Esquire. The magnetic pull concerns are real, but no more than they are in any strat. It all depends on the magnets and height. It would be interesting to try taking out the middle pickup in some strats to see how dramatically things change......
     
  9. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I did that with a reissue MIJ tele. I did it because i'm a strat player and i can't live w/o the bridge/middle quack. yet for some reason i didn't care for it much on the tele. It just never sounded as good to me. May have been the perticular tele or whatever.....i dunno.
     
  10. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    Well, then, it's good to know I wasn't imagining things when I thought the guitar never sounded the same, again.
     
  11. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    So, maybe a hotter wound alnico II in the middle set lower in the body?
     
  12. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    Actually, the first Strat pickup I put in that guitar was an alnico II pickup. It did not mate, at all well, with the Tele neck pickup. The combination neck+middle was muddy and useless. I tried all manner of pickup heights. (I've always set Strat pickups rather low, to avoid Stratitis.) The guitar would have been better served with two Strat pickups.

    I even put in a set of Barden Tele pickups, with a Barden Strat pickup in the middle. The neck+middle position was still useless.
     
  13. Shades

    Shades Member

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    Actually I like Alnico 3, which despite the implication in the name is actually weaker than Alnico 2. Now I'm talking about in combo with a strat neck pickup (I don't like any strat middle with a tele neck pickup) also If you just use a weaker magnet without winding for it (not "hotter" per se... more like a deeper coil with different wire, which increases thew clarity while keeping the output up) then it just isn't hte same. ie it isn't as simple as plopping in a Low pull, Hot pickup. You have to design for the situation.
     
  14. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    Ok. I think I'll just stick with a stock tele for the moment until I can learn exactly what will work for my needs. Thanks to everyone for the advise.:)
     
  15. Falstaff

    Falstaff Supporting Member

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    To throw my two cents in, I had two strat pus and a tele bridge pu in my Tokai tele and it sounded great. The pickups were Kinmans, though, which *supposedly* have less magnetic pull. Maybe I just got lucky.

    However, that guitar is now an "Esquire" with a Voodoo 60's pickup and it sounds like a chorus of angels.
     
  16. tjs

    tjs Senior Member

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    Jim,

    Have you considered the possibility that the act of routing the guitar for the middle pickup might have had something to do with it as well?
     
  17. Lucidology

    Lucidology Member

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    Robin Rawhide is a great three pickup tele.. It has calibrated pickups, so theres no drop-out as you flick the 5-way switch upward...

    For a little different take alltogether, check out the Valley Arts Bent T... the neck is very Gibson like, but just a little smaller... plus it Mahogany...
     

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