Tele: 4-way switching vs. hum in the neck

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by rorschah, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    So my beloved MIM Tele is currently set up totally traditional, weak neck pickup and all. It's a fabulous, deep, resonant-bodied guit.

    I picked up and have been playing around with a Squier Tele Custom, and I've been finding the neck humbucker useful for a lot of things - deep jazzy sound. Also good for room-filling rhythm in the blues duo I've been playing in, with a piano. It's definitely an inferior guitar.

    I'd really like to be able to get those big deep warm sounds out of the MIM Tele. But I dig the middle position on the traditional setup, too. I was thinking about 4-way switching.

    Question: does 4-way switching give you a similar warm, big, room-filling sound as the neck hum? Or is it more, er, like a hot single coil sound? I'm more interested in the warm cleans than pure overdriving output.

    Neck humb or 4-way? Can't decide.

    Thanks!

    -thi
     
  2. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    A little wire clipping and some jumper leads and YOU can decide.
     
  3. smiert spionam

    smiert spionam Member

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    I don't think it's going to get you there. It's not a hot single coil sound exactly -- really, imagine a humbucker-ish version of the in-between setting. It's brighter than the sound of the neck single coil alone. It's bigger, louder, and denser, but still with a lot of brightness. I like it, but I don't think you'll find it a viable alternative to a fatter neck pickup.
     
  4. axpro

    axpro Member

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    Hmm, Depends on the pickups....

    With alnico II SD pickups (nice and fat) and a rosewood board... and with the neck pickup RW/RP my buddies Tele sounds oretty cool, but even then, not exactly HBlike in the 4rth position...

    What about a mini HB?
     
  5. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    +1, give the series mode a try and see what you think. It's very easy: Simply remove the neck pu ground wire (blue or black, I think) from its current position (back of the vol. pot normally), solder it to where the hot wire from the bridge pu (yellow) is connected on the switch and select the neck position. Just bear in mind that it'll be a bit noisier than the proper mod, since you're not grounding the neck pu cover properly, but the tone will be exactly the same.
     
  6. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I wouldn't describe it as brighter than the neck single coil at all... I would say it's fatter and more midrangy than either pickup alone, and really quite like a humbucker in many ways. It may depend on what pickups you use though - if the neck pickup is a lot weaker than the bridge (many do seem to be) you may not get the full benefit.

    I've found it works best with a higher-quality pickup set, preferably with one pickup RW/RP so you get hum cancellation in both the parallel and (more importantly, since otherwise the noise is actually doubled) in the series position. My favorites so far have been the Duncan Antiquity IIs - not the standard Antiquities - which are slightly hotter, RW/RP and more heavily potted.


    It's also possible to fit a splittable neck humbucker and either a four- or five-way switch, which would still let you have the two-single-coils sound. There's a wiring scheme with a standard five-way switch which gives you: neck hum/neck single/neck hum + bridge/neck single + bridge/bridge.

    (The middle position is with the bridge pickup connected to the coil junction of the humbucker in a sort of series/parallel arrangement, but you still hear both pickups.)

    But obviously you would need the guitar routed out for the humbucker, so I'd think carefully before doing that... it can change the inherent tone of the guitar, in unpredictable ways - I did this to a friend's Tokai and it drastically improved the resonance and tone, noticeably even when unplugged. So if yours sounds great now, I'd think hard before modifying the body.
     
  7. rorschah

    rorschah Member

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    No need for a rout; my beloved is an unusually magical MIM that I picked out of a row of 12 of 'em one snowy Boston day; it's routed for a hum from the get-go.

    Hmm.. . I tend not to like split humbuckers in most situations, but maybe a split hum would come close to the weak tele-neck vibe.

    Would you say the series mode is, er, p90-ish in its fatness and middiness?

    A buddy has a Van Zandt True Vintage neck; maybe I'll pop that in and give it a try. Hopefully it'll be strong as the SD '54 I have in the bridge. The SD '54 neck I have in there is definitely a weak little thing.

    Thanks for all the info, guys?

    -thi
     
  8. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    Go to www.fralinpickups.com then Info Resources then pictures of interest. You will find an Am. Std. Tele that I put 4-way switching into with Fralin P-92/Blues Special. It's just MAGIC!
     
  9. rhys

    rhys Supporting Member

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    nice setup. for the fourth combo tone, does the P-92 split or does it go in series with the bridge?
     
  10. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    Series with the bridge and it is wonderful! I prefer it to the parallel tone. It's much fatter, richer, thicker and louder. Of course the P-92 sounds great by it's self as does the Blues Special bridge. The BS sounds fat, thick and not thin at all, but still retains that Tele Twang. In comparison to my Tele with a Lollar Special-T in the bridge, I think I prefer the Fralin, but both are excellent pups. I'm sure the PigTail bridge also adds to the equasion but I don't know how much as I did everything at one time. This is my favorite Tele at the moment because of it wide range of great tones.
    :BluesBros
     

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