Tele Taste Question........

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Jim Wagner Pickups, Apr 24, 2005.


  1. Jim Wagner Pickups

    Jim Wagner Pickups Member

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    Pretty simple question, I bet I get a WIDE variety of answers.
    What is it you Tele fanatics are looking for in a Tele sound?
     
  2. Mike Hansen

    Mike Hansen Member

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    For me, it's the ability to get lots of tones from an incredibly simple instrument. From twang to blues to fat LP tones, it should be able to do it.

    Whatcha got cookin, Jim? ;)
     
  3. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    From the bridge pup I want to hear air when I play it lightly and grit when I play it hard.
    Big bottom end and clear highs with a lot of harmonic content.

    From the neck I want it to be as different from a Strat as a SC pup can get, warm and smooth, almost acoustic in character.

    I prefer them to be slightly microphonic, if I flick the selector switch or turn the vol knob up to the endstop, I want to hear that coming through the pup.
    I don't think I've *loved* any Tele that didn't have that.
     
  4. Eric Pykala

    Eric Pykala Member

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    I hear the Wagner mental wheels in motion...yippee! Twang. clang and air when turned-down for the bridge. Something better balanced that doesn't sound like a Strat for the neck. Wait, do Teles have a neck pickup...? -Eric
     
  5. Teleman

    Teleman Supporting Member

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    I like a bridge pickup that has that twang but is fat and full without the "icepick" in the ear that give teles a bad rap.
    By fat I mean something that approaches the output of a P90 but is more articulate. As stated in an earlier post "on the bridge pup I want to hear air when I play it lightly and grit when I play it hard. Big bottom end and clear highs with a lot of harmonic content."

    I like the neck pickup to be very articulate also with an acoustic nature that can get "throaty" or easily comp jazz.


    I also prefer them to be slightly microphonic. They must be alive!!
    The favorite teles that I own are all like that.
     
  6. Shemp

    Shemp Member

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    Here's what I wrote about the Harmonic Design pups in my 52 RI;

    "I've had the S90 Bridge/Vintage Plus neck combination in my 52 RI tele for about 4 years now. It's the only reason I haven't sold the guitar. I have a hard time with a tele, we just don'yt bond naturally or something, but everytime I pop a new set of strings on it and plug it in I'm blown away. Powerful, harmonically rich tele tone without the ice pick. All three positions sound great.

    The bridge gets growly and nasty when you play it hard, cleans up and is just plain powerful when you ease up. The neck is loud and smokey, but not muddy. Great for comping or blues soloing and well matched to the bridge output. The middle position is very rich sounding, hum gone, and really pushes my amps."

    Also:

    I hate vintage tele pups. They're much too "treble" oriented for my tastes. I like somthing that sounds "on the edge" without the ice pick and without being sterile and hi fi sounding.

    Someone above mentioned pups that are on the verge of being microphonic. That's a great thing. I know people who take their potted bridge pups and either bake them under a hot lamp or hit them with a hairdryer to melt out some of the wax and get them to the edge.

    I want a bit of dirt and lot of power from my tele.
     
  7. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    The mid-90's Tele Jr's were mind bending instruments. Highly recommended :)
     
  8. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009 Silver Supporting Member

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    Bridge: Thunderous lows and warm treble. Should whistle with ease.

    Neck: Clear, throaty, punchy. I guess as close to a Strat as possible. I couldn't care less about the chrome cover but I'm not too keen on routing a pickup to fit the existing cavity.

    Bridge & Neck: No volume loss, should sound like a piano and dripping with sweetness.
     
  9. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    I like my Tele pickups, particularly the bridge pickup, to be somewhat microphonic. I can do more with a microphonic Tele pickup than I can do with one that doesn't squeal. It allows me to go from country twang to full roar, without ever even bothering to plug in a pedal. Think of the range of tones Roy Buchanan got, during the Polydor years, with nothing but a vintage Tele and a Vibrolux Reverb. The pickups in that 53 Tele were wildly microphonic, and his tone was sublime.
     
  10. jayn

    jayn Member

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    I'd agree with these guys. For the bridge, think a fat 50's kind of tone.

    For the neck, think a slightly fatter/warmer Strat neck pickup tone.

    For the "both" position, I like a smooth, jangly 60's pop tone....nicely balanced between the two pickups.

    The pickups have to respond well to volume and tone knob tweaks. A slightly microphonic bridge is great. I want to hear the "clank" sound when I slap the selector switch into the bridge position at loud volumes.

    For comparison, the pickups Fender put into my '95 Relic Nocaster are superb (the bridge is a Custom Shop Broadcaster model, not sure about the neck, but I assume it's just a cover-reliced '52 reissue). Duncan Antiquities are great bridge pups, but I find the neck pickup to be too dark. I understand that the 50's Hamel Tele pickups are stellar, but I haven't had the pleasure yet.
     
  11. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    Well, I think there are two opportunities. Since the demise of Joe Barden, there is an opportunity to reproduce that kind of Hi-Fi tele pickup. I have a set in an American Thinline and it kills, then there is the regular Tele pickup. NJobody likes the icepick bridge but everyone seemes to like a full, phat tele tone in the bridge....if this helps at all.
     
  12. drjoel

    drjoel Silver Supporting Member

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    "having a rave-up with the yardbirds"
     
  13. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    I agree with some of what's been said here. The bridge pickup's gotta twang and have some bite, but don't want it to take your eardrums out or make your fillings hurt. But relative to what some of the other guys are saying, I think I like a brighter neck pickup. The biggest problem I have with just about every vintage (50s) Tele I've played is that the neck pickup is too dull and muddy. I don't know if some consider this 'warm' or 'smokey' maybe..or maybe not...but I DO NOT like dull, muddy neck picukps in Teles (or any other guitar). I want some real clarity from the neck pickup. Really, the closer it sounds to my "ideal" hollow, scooped strat neck pickup sound, the better, AFAIC. I'll use the tone knob to take some edge off, if need be. But you gotta start with a sound that's clear as a bell.
     
  14. Mark C

    Mark C Member

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    The first two Roy Buchanan albums.
     
  15. Jim Wagner Pickups

    Jim Wagner Pickups Member

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    Well, I've built more of them than I care to admit, but everyone seems to enjoy them. I don't build them currently, just don't have the time. I see some guys like them slightly microphonic. I've had one guy recently tell me one I built for him as a favor was kinda like that. I told him what to do about it, and haven't heard back.
    Basically, I wind the bridge a little hotter than my SR bridge. In fact, several people have told me that when they back the volume off the SR a little, you'd swear there was a P90 there. The neck will blow yer minds. I have a good trick for that one......
    Anyhow, if any of this makes sense to you guys, I may start making them later this year. I'm doing a lot of re-design in my shop procedure-wise, and will try to see if I can squeeze them in. At any rate, as usual, the first guys to try them will be AxeHouse and GearPage guys.
    I think GuitarsfromMars will be the 1st official victim. He also wants the RB sound like Mark C does, and heckles me constantly about it.
    By the way, i certainly am very thankful to you guys who have answered this thread. I've said it once, and I'll say it again. I don't do this by myself. It's all you forum guys who help me out as well pointing me in directions you'd like to see things go.
    Once I get an idea as to what I want something to sound like, the rest is easy. I've wound so much, for so damn long, and have re-wound so many other types of pickups, that I can usually make a pretty well educated guess as to what it takes to do it. It helps a lot to have such detailed answers like you guys have provided. Don't stop !!! lol
    Stay tuned........:p :cool:
     
  16. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    I think one thing that I like is for the two positions to blend well.
    Often I either get crunch and hardly any twang in the mid.
    But when I get twang and crunch, oft the bridge setting is much louder then my neck.
    On the neck I like it growly with a bite. On the bridge good twang and clang a very clean clear sound.
    And mixed, you get a crunch with a twang sound on it.
     
  17. Pedro58

    Pedro58 Supporting Member

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    I hate to highjack this thread, but are you going to do something with p90's, too?
    :D
     
  18. John Phillips

    John Phillips Member

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    I like...

    Bridge: heavy crunch and grind. I don't really want this as a 'twangy' sound, more gritty and aggressive. Big clear bass, complex mids, and the bite should be in the upper mids not the treble. IMO a good Tele bridge pickup is fatter and a lot less truly bright than a lot of people seem to associate with the guitar.

    Neck: clear and deep, similar to a Strat neck but fuller and less glassy. Many Tele neck pickups can be both too dull and lacking in true deep bass at the same time. I also like to have the neck pickup around 25% quieter than the bridge, so you can almost use the pickup selector as a channel switch.

    If you get both of those right, the middle position is brighter than either alone, about the same volume as the neck, but more open and airy sounding, and slightly acoustic.

    I use the middle position for jangly rhythm, the neck for full rhythm or clear lead, and the bridge for crunch or heavy lead.


    (Actually I like all guitars to be like that, but the among the 'traditional' types the Tele suits it best since the pickups are quite differently-voiced as well - I like the same thing on a two-humbucker guitar too, I want a 'vintage' pickup in the neck and a 'modern' one in the bridge.)
     
  19. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    Bless you, laddy - other than Jim Collins, I thought I was alone. ;)
     
  20. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    Whoa!
    So, what gives you this combination? Sign me up!
     

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