Tele tone formula?

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by PlexiBreath, May 24, 2005.


  1. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    So I'm thinking of getting a Tele, or having something close built for me. I'm certain that everything about the design is important for getting that tone, but from an erganomic point of view Telecasters just aren't all that comfortable a guitar for my playing style.

    I'm a Strat Cat and doing volume swells from the conveniently close volume pot of a Strat is a vital part of my playing style, but on a Tele the volume pot is too far away. And no, it's not something I can get used to. I also like the sculpting of the Strat body for comfort, as well as the way the top "horn" holds the strap closer to the 12th fret which makes the guitar hang a little more to the right than a Tele would.

    I understand a lot of the Telecaster's tone comes from the fact that the bridge/pan that also holds the bridge pickup interacts with the bridge pickup. Also a Tele's bridge pickup is a little further from the bridge than a Strat's bridge pickup. It's also apparent that the body shape of a Tele with more wood near the neck pocket, as well as just more wood overall due to none of the wood is removed for all that Strat sculpting and contouring, would contribute to the Telecaster tone.

    What I'm thinking of is a Strat body but with a Tele pan style bridge and Tele pickup. I'd also have a Tele headstock. This is assuming that the most vital tone of a Tele comes from the bridge pickup's interaction with the bridge. I am aware that such a guitar would not sound completely like a Tele due to the body shape, but would sound considerably more like a Tele than a Strat with a typical hardtail bridge and a Tele pu in the Strat bridge pickup position. Another thing I like about Strats is the neck pickup and the "quack" tone position between the neck and middle pickups, so this guitar would be like a Strat in that way as well.

    So, my question to the experienced luthier gods of this forum is, will not having a Tele body, given that the bridge pickup is in a typical Tele pan type bridge, be unable to yeild close to Telecaster tones? Or is it a good idea after all?
     
  2. KRosser

    KRosser Member

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    I don't know if I'm qualified to answer your questions from a luthier's standpoint, but I find this kinda funny - I feel the exact same way as you do except the guitars are reversed. The Tele body/neck/whatever feels more comfortable to me than any other and Strats have always felt a little awkward though I deeply dig the sound. I've often wondered if I could talk someone into putting three strat pickups and a strat trem into a alder-body guitar that's a Tele in every other way...I mean, I know it would "work", but would it sound somewhat strat-ish?

    I can offer this, by way of answering your question - at NAMM several years ago I was demoing some Citron guitars and they had a model with Duncan Antiquity tele p/u's in a stainless steel vintage tele bridge, ash body, maple neck but the body was in no way Tele shaped at all. I though it was one of the nicest sounding "Teles" I've ever played
     
  3. RvChevron

    RvChevron Member

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    Hey, similar to you guys, I wanted a tele, but in Jazzmaster Skin.

    Jazzmaster Skin, Tele Soul

    :cool:

    I personally think the pickups, hardward, type of wood and construction/weight has much more influence than the body shape.
     
  4. decay-o-caster

    decay-o-caster Member

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    Bill Chapin has made a bunch of things that do the cross-over thing. My TBird has a Tele-bridge and Strat middle and neck pups, for example.
     
  5. fatback

    fatback Member

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    Reversing the controls on a tele is one way to get those pinky swells within easy reach. From top; vol, tone, 5-way strat switching
    [​IMG]

    A big +1 for the Vinetto. This funky tele project was definatley influenced by Vince's vision.
     
  6. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    I appreciate everyones replies, nice guitars and recommdations. But still I'm hoping for opinions regarding the guitar I described which would be essentially a Stratocaster with a Telecaster style bridge, bridge pickup and headstock. Mainly, how close would this come to sounding like a Tele? Or does it completely miss that tone?
     
  7. Shades

    Shades Member

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    You can get close, but it doesn't really nail it. Closer is to go with a Tele with an arm carve and belly cut (ala Jeff Beck's Yardbirds era esquire.) The single cut is a fairly major factor in the punch dept IMHO.
     
  8. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    Thanks Bill, that's what I was concerned about.

    It's looking more and more like I should do the Tele with contouring as you describe, my only concern then would be an elegant solution to placing a Strat style volume knob closer to the same location as a volume pot on a Strat, flipping the Tele control plate wont work for me as it still leaves the knob too far away and puts the switch way too far away, also, the chrome knob sticks up too high. I'd imagine a non-standard pickguard will be called for, maybe a variation on the Thinline Tele pickguard shape.
     
  9. Shades

    Shades Member

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    Rear route is one way to go. You could actually use the tele control plate and even do a single volume control rear route. However, even with a strat style using that traditional bridge, that lip will be in the way of smooth swells unless you raise the knob up and the bridges without the lip sound different IMO.
     
  10. PlexiBreath

    PlexiBreath Member

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    Thanks Bill,
    The lip on the bridge interfering with the volume knob did concern me, but I thought I could cleanly grind down the side with the volume knob just far enough back so as not to interfere with use of the volume pot, the re-plate the bridge to tidy things up. The rear route concerns me in that I don't want to route away much wood near the bridge, even with a pickguard I would only want to route the volume pot cavity so the pot just clears the wood. But I like the brainstorm, I feel a solution is near.
     
  11. royd

    royd Member

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    I think the hardtail/tele bridge/tele bridge pickup would get you close enough for rock ' n roll :cool:
    There are companies that make a tele bridge with that section of the lower lip by the volume control already removed (Callahan is one I think) so you don't have to grind it yourself.
     

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