Teles and weight in relation to tone

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
Talking ash/maple teles here. And i'm wondering if the tone of my classic 50's is due to the weight or just the variation of it's particular wood. It's quite heavy at i would say 8 Lbs, and the tone seems rather subdued in the high end unlike you's expect from a tele. I've tried several saddles including 3 brass sets and one steel and a few different pickups. Right now it has a nocaster set. Seems too soft in the high end for a tele unlike others i've had which have all caused me to fight a overly bright tone. Not this one. I suppose i should be happy about that, but i feel it needs more cut and it's not a matter of pickups, pots or treble bleeds so please lets not go there. It's the guitar, the wood. All i wanna know is if anyone who's had a lot of experience with many ash\maple vintage style teles has noted this kind of tone with heavier ones?
 

scguitar

Member
Messages
5
My 2002 American Standard weigh’s in a 9 LBS and always sounds great, it has become my number 1 guitar... I don’t know if the weight has anything to do with its tone thou.
 

dporto

Member
Messages
760
"but i feel it needs more cut and it's not a matter of pickups, pots or treble bleeds so please lets not go there. It's the guitar, the wood."

Uh huh... :nuts
 

EADGBE

Senior Member
Messages
12,338
Aren't ash/maple guitars usually bright sounding? What amp(s) are you using?
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
Aren't ash/maple guitars usually bright sounding? What amp(s) are you using?
I have a couple, but thats not it. I have lots of guitars to compare and the tele should be more bright and cutting than it is relative to other guitars. No matter the map or setting, unless i have a clean sound or close to clean, strumming a open G that normally would sound every note clearly is more like mush. Other teles i've had were the total opposite. I'm just looking for opinions as to whether the weight might be responsible. I've never noticed heavy guitars sounding less clear, but then again i have a lot less experience with teles.
 

gvonpaul

Member
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570
My Ash Tele weighs in at almost nine pounds, heavier than my Les Paul. It's always been plenty bright for my tastes, and I really like bright.
 

dazco

Member
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15,049
My Ash Tele weighs in at almost nine pounds, heavier than my Les Paul. It's always been plenty bright for my tastes, and I really like bright.
Yeah, i figure it's just the wood. I've had dull sounding bodies and necks in the past and i was hoping it was the weight instead because you can buy from many places online that cite weight. But i think i'm just going to have to look locally and compare mine with whatever i find. really don't want to go to a USA 52 but i think that may be my only option, as the MIM 50's are not near as common on CL. In all other respects i'm really happy with it so this is unfortunate. On the other hand i may just live with it. It's not horrible by any stretch. In fact it would probably be perfect for those who like darker teles.
 

phazersonstun

Member
Messages
3,123
I've overcome darker sounding wood on a couple of Teles by just swapping the volume pot out from 250k to 500k or even 1Meg. Quick, easy, effective, cheap & reversable to try out.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
I've overcome darker sounding wood on a couple of Teles by just swapping the volume pot out from 250k to 500k or even 1Meg. Quick, easy, effective, cheap & reversable to try out.
I did try that early on, but while it got a bit brighter it still didn't gain any clarity as i described and the top became harsh. I don't think the issue is not being bright enough, it's more like a huge abundance of lows and low mids. By the time i add enough top to overcome that i'd end up with scooped tone and extreme highs that would be way harsh. Like i said, it's the wood. I tried that, i have no tone control hooked up, i tried 3 different pickups and now have the pretty much universally loved nocasters, 4 different saddles including steel. Theres just nothing left to be suspect but the body and neck.
 

oldtelefart

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4,660
Not all pieces of ash and maple are equal. Some are resonant and consistent, some have dull response at certain freqs, some are just dead.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
Not all pieces of ash and maple are equal. Some are resonant and consistent, some have dull response at certain freqs, some are just dead.
I agree 100%, and thats likely whats going on here. I once had a strat that sounded so bad it was nearly unusable from the day it was brand new till i had swapped and tried everything imaginable. Sold it dirt cheap so as to not have a guilty conscience. That was a very rare and extreme case.
 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,740
Continue to isolate the problem. You've made a good start by trying other amps, changing your EQ settings, and changing the bridge pickup.

It's not the weight. That's a dead end, don't waste your time worrying about the weight. You've tried enough saddles, and I've never seen any saddles make a Tele not-bright. Does it sound right when it is not plugged in or is it dull sounding? I assume you've put on new strings along the way, but if you haven't, try that next.

If it doesn't sound dull acoustically, it's probably electrical.

If it sounds dull, you might have a dead neck. Confirm that by swapping it out for a known good neck from another guitar. A Strat neck will drop right in if you don't have another Tele. While you are doing that, confirm that your neck screws are a clearance fit through the body. They should push through the body without the threads grabbing at all (if they grab, the neck won't pull down tight in the pocket). The holes in the body should be 11/64".

Electrical. You've tried other bridge pickups, so rule out the bridge pickup for now. The spotlight is now on a possible defective tone pot IMO - you would get the performance you described if the actual resistance is too low.

If it was my guitar, I would bypass the control plate entirely and see what results I get. Disconnect the jack, both leads, and the bridge pickup, both leads. Connect the pickup directly to the jack. Use jumpers if you have to, ugly is OK, this is just temporary. You can try it out on the workbench with the control plate laying loose. Let us know how that turns out.

FWIW, if I wanted a bright bridge pickup, I wouldn't use a Nocaster set. Great pickup for a lot of people, nice fat sound, highs are there, but they don't really cut, IMO. Fender OV's would be the easy choice for cut, much brighter.
 

gwr

Member
Messages
542
I had a friend that had a Fender Nashville tele and compared to my 50's road worn was muffled and dull sounding and we attributed it to the fact that the wood was basswood and that guitar was heavy.I had a parts tele with the body made from northern ash and I know it weighed close to 9 lbs but had a great tone and wasn't muddy on the top end so I would say its more wood type than weight but I could be wrong.
 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,740
I did try that early on, but while it got a bit brighter it still didn't gain any clarity as i described and the top became harsh. I don't think the issue is not being bright enough, it's more like a huge abundance of lows and low mids. By the time i add enough top to overcome that i'd end up with scooped tone and extreme highs that would be way harsh. Like i said, it's the wood. I tried that, i have no tone control hooked up, i tried 3 different pickups and now have the pretty much universally loved nocasters, 4 different saddles including steel. Theres just nothing left to be suspect but the body and neck.
OK, you are way ahead of where I thought you were.

How far do you want to go to get what you want out of this guitar? New neck? New body? A Callaham bridge plate is strong (!) in the upper mids, but there's no guarantee it would be the answer.
 

K-Line

Vendor
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8,382
I know you said that the pickups are not suspect but I suspect them. As Rick51 said, how does it sound acoustically? If dull then more than likely the neck, body not as much. I always found that the NoCaster set is not as bright as something like an alnicoV set.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
OK, you are way ahead of where I thought you were.

How far do you want to go to get what you want out of this guitar? New neck? New body? A Callaham bridge plate is strong (!) in the upper mids, but there's no guarantee it would be the answer.
I don't want to go there are all, i was just hoping to see if weight affects a tele in this way. I never knew it to with other guitars but then like i said i'm nowhere near as experienced with teles as say strats.
 

dazco

Member
Messages
15,049
I know you said that the pickups are not suspect but I suspect them. As Rick51 said, how does it sound acoustically? If dull then more than likely the neck, body not as much. I always found that the NoCaster set is not as bright as something like an alnicoV set.
Acoustically it seems ok, but i've never been one to bother comparing acoustically and amped to see how they relate. So i dunno. I tried a A5 low wind in it that was considerably brighter, but it was so harsh i ripped it out before i even had time to see how it sounded in different aspects such as the clarity I described. It was just obnoxious. So maybe you're right, but i wouldn't think a A3 fairly low wind like the nocaster should be so radically different, no? Anyways, I've had other teles that were all so much brighter and clear even with some of the same pickups i've tried in this one, so i still think the wood is the likeliest reason. maybe a higher wind A5....but man, at this point it seems to be a waste of time having already tried so much. No tele should be so dark after all that. I think even if a different set helped it would be more of a bandaid than the total reason. So i think i'm gonna keep my eye open for a '52 and if i can find a price that would make it quick to sell should i decide to, I'll consider going that route without selling my C50's and after i decide if that was it, then sell it. Or sell the '52 if that turns out to be no better.
 






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