Thoughs on my Tele Plus

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by trumpus, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Hey,

    I've had my '90 Tele Plus for about 6 years now. I purchased it from a local shop in Ithaca, NY when I was in college. This was my first "real" electric guitar (it replaced a crappy Squier Strat).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I used this guitar as my main axe for about 6 months and then happened upon an Ibanez AM-205, and the Tele became my backup. Since then i've acquired a few more guitars, but the Tele is my only solid body.

    I love the classic sound of the Tele (the twangy, trebly, funky stuff) and have never been able to coax those sounds out of this Tele (at least not like a more traditional tele). I've kept it mainly for the sentimental value.

    I've tried to post a few threads asking for input in changing the pickups, but have not really gotten any solid recommendations. I have lately become interested in G&L guitars, and this has sparked a possible interest in selling this one, or at least making some upgrades/improvements so that I can get a different sound out of it.

    Here're my questions:

    1. If i were to sell it, what would you consider a fair price to expect for this guitar. It is a '90 Fender Tele Plus - single blue lace sensor at the neck and two red lace sensors at the bridge with 3 way selector and coil tap for the bridge pickup? It is in great condition. No dings int he finish and just a hint of some belt rash on the back. Maple neck, really smooth guitar.

    2. If I were to keep it, i would probably want to *at least* change the pickups out. Originally, not wanting to alter the guitar (i guess i thought, and still do, that this was a less common model), i left them in, despite the fact that i never really loved the tone (not the typical Tele twang, and REALLY low output from the red LS's at the bridge when the coils are split. I've had it looked at by a tech, supposedly re-wired, but it always sounded the same.

    I want to replace the pickups to give it a more classic Tele twang. Any suggestions? I'm figuring that the 'bucker at the bridge will be hard to replace (size of 2 singles vs. 1 'bucker). Should i change the 2 lace sensors at the bridge to 2 other single coils and keep the tap? What kind of pickups would you recommend? I don't know anything about pickups, so i am looking for pretty specific recommendations...

    3. Finally, are there other alterations that I could do to improve the guitar? New pots? Anything else?

    Thanks,
    Brian
     
  2. gkoelling

    gkoelling Member

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    trumpus,

    It sounds as if you want what this Tele is not. You won't get twang, or much anyway, from Lace Sensors. You also won't get twang from a Tele with a HB in the bridge.

    It sounds like you might already know this but...buy a different Tele. If you're attached to this one, that's fine. Buy a new one that will do what you're looking for tonewise.

    If you can't afford a new one, buy used. Heck, buy a MIM and make it a project. Have fun building your own Tele.

    Good Luck,


    Greg
     
  3. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

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    I had the same guitar, except in a blueburst finish and with a factory-installed trem. Here's a pic of the first mod...

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    Two Rio Grande Tallboy Strat pickups (neck, middle), SD Alnico Pro II humbucker (bridge), 5-way switch, new control plate, routed pickguard for middle pickup.

    Second mod...

    [​IMG]
    Two Kent Armstrong HB-size P-90s, black pickguard with HB rout, 3-way switch.

    FYI, there was a factory "swimming pool" rout underneath the pickguard for both the neck and middle pickups for the first mod. Yours probably has the same thing.
     
  4. EunosFD

    EunosFD Member

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    The thing about the Fender "Plus" lineup that always disappointed me were the stock Lace Sensor pickups. I bought a brand new Deluxe Strat Plus in the early 90's which was a great playing & looking guitar (natural ash with maple board). I only kept for maybe a year as I just couldn't seem to coax any special tones out of it...meaning it didn't really make those great Strat sounds you'd expect from it, but it also didn't really have much character of it's own. It was built like a tank and played smooth as buttah, but that only adds up to so much until the notes start coming out of the speakers. I think they're fantastic guitars and in the used market some great bargains can be had, but I personally think they could get a lot of help by just swaping out the pickups. Now, I guess it's all a matter of personal taste as I also frequent the Fender Forum and there are quite a few owners over there (Strat & Tele Pluses) that like them as they are so I guess it's all a matter of what you're looking for in the guitar. You could simply just swap in some new pickups and see if that will bring out the character you're looking for in the guitar. Or, if you don't want to bother with that then it may be just as simple to sell the guitar or trade it in on one that fits the bill. I ended up trading my Plus in on an SRV Strat the second they were introduced and it worked out a lot better for me personally. Good luck. :)
     
  5. e-z

    e-z Member

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    Sell it to Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead. He plays one, Lace Sensors and all.
     
  6. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    That's what i've heard (i'm not a huge radiohead fan, but when i talk about this guitar to people who know - that's what they say).

    Any suggestions for specific pickups or combinations?

    I friend recommended getting rid of the 'bucker as well, and just put a single coil in each position - if so, which SCs?

    Are fralins good? Kinmans?

    What about if i want a single coil at the neck and a humbucker or p90 at the bridge - any recommendations?

    Brian
     
  7. Scott Cioe

    Scott Cioe Member

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    I like the idea of the modded blue-burst above. Maybe the HB-S-S idea but with the HB sized P-90 in the bridge?
     
  8. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Is it easy to have the body routed for a middle pickup? Where would i go to have that done?

    What about just a humbucker or p90 at the bridge and a single coil at the neck....

    Brian
     
  9. Alister

    Alister Supporting Member

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    I don't know anything about the Tele 'plus's, but I have a Strat plus among several other Strats, and like the lace sensors just fine for a 'cutting' sound (just as I like the traditional single coils for other purposes).
    But the point I'd like to throw in -- not disagreeing with anybody else above at all -- is that your choice of AMPs is just as or more important than any stragegies about swapping pups. Lace sensors really 'hit' a tweed hard, for example, really bark, if you want that. Also like the sensors through the TopHat series of amps, and so on.
    Now, you may not share that taste, but the point, again, is that you have to consider the whole chain-of-sound. You may wind up selling/trading/moding that Tele, but the same dynamic applies.
     
  10. jpervin

    jpervin Supporting Member

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    Look under the pickguard. If your Tele is like mine was, it's already routed from the factory, so you wouldn't have to mess with routing the body. You'd just have to have your pickguard routed for a middle pickup. Just find someone who's good with a bandsaw or jigsaw.

    A humbucker or HB-size P-90 (bridge) and a single coil (neck) would work, too. Be aware that the neck Lace Sensor is the size of a Strat pickup, which is larger than a Tele neck pickup, and your neck pickup rout in the pickguard will reflect that.
     
  11. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    If I want to go with a standard Sidgnel coil at the neck and bridge (like the Kinman Blues set - I'm assuming I could find a replacement pickguard routed for a standard single coil at the neck, but what do I do about the bridge position? Do I need a new bridge then as well? Would this require drilling the body or would it be something I could just swap out?

    Brian
     
  12. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    That's a cool guitar. I always wanted one. Fun stuff. Not a traditional tele, but that's okay too.

    If it was ME, I'd put a Fralin Vintage Hot strat in the neck, and try one of his new P90 spaced buckers in the bridge. Give you some nice tones that way I'm sure.
     
  13. gtraddict

    gtraddict Member

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    I know what you are going through about not getting the right tones with the pickup setup and lace sensors. I had two Strat Plus's, one a deluxe, I really could not get a "Fender" sound from them. I believe Fender overthought the Plus series out and tried to stray from thier sound.
    I read you thought about a G&L, I have had 8 and kept 7. You might be able to get something in the $500 range pretty easily on ebay and what not. And if you want a Tribute for a lot less they are awesome guitars I have an ASAT Classic Semi Hollow that as soon as I got it I got rid of my '69 reissue. The only issue on it is the high eye on the nut was cut a bit too low. But the woodgrain and sound is better than a lot of Fenders. http://s17.photobucket.com/albums/b79/gtr_addict/?sc=3
     
  14. SFW

    SFW Member

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    If you want that traditional "Tele tone" I'd recomend a new bridge/ pickguard and a set of Rio Grande Vintage Tall Boys for Tele.
     
  15. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the advice! I have some investigation ahead of me, i guess.

    So is it true then, that if i want to put a single coil at the bridge position, i need to get a new bridge assembly? I'm assuming I need something like this:

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    Right now mine looks like this:

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    If i decide, insstead to go with a humbucker-sized p90, could i swap out my hardtail bridge for one of these:

    [​IMG]

    Thanks!

    Brian
     
  16. lazaruslong

    lazaruslong Member

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    I've always liked the look of those tele's, especially the blueburst but can never find one to play...

    In terms of your tele, if you really dont want it i would suggest selling it and getting one you REALLY want instead of modding the hell out of it. The 3 tone burst ones like yours are the most coveted and i often see them for for around a 1000 on ebay (thank you Mr. Greenwood). With that much cash you can get a really decent new one, or a fantastic used one, or throw in some extra to grab your 'perfect' one :). If you dont like the tone and are not that attatched to the guitar why not get one with fantastic tone and a good feel?
     
  17. trumpus

    trumpus Supporting Member

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    Well, i AM kind of attached to it (my first real electric) and i love the feel of the guitar. Love the neck - nice maple with a skunk stripe. Nice and light. If i could easily swap out pickups and improve the tone - then great!

    If not, i'm definately still looking at G&L ASATs...

    Brian
     
  18. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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    How about a bridge Filtertron, like a TVJones TV'Tron in HB format? That's certainly twangy enough.
     
  19. biffhardon

    biffhardon Member

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    Fralin split-singles. They're humbucker-size but they're single coils. The "Twangmaster" would be the way to go for traditional tele... well, twang. Plus, they're noise-free and you wouldn't need to replace that hardtail bridge, so no loss in resale value. http://www.fralinpickups.com/humbuckers.asp#p92
     
  20. Taller

    Taller Silver Supporting Member

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    Anywhere is everywhere and nowhere is nothing.
    I had a blue one with the trem that I bought new in Feb. of '91.
    At the time, through the rig I was using and the music I was making [pschedelic heavy rock], I got wonderful tones.

    Considered non-booteek and totally unacceptable by today's standards ;) , I was driving a few stomp boxes into a PRS Harmonic Generator head/cab, with an Alesis Quadraverb in the effects loop.
    Not a tube in sight and it sounded great [again, for what I was doing]!

    I believe the Lace Sensors were developed at a time when rack systems were the way to go, and traditional pickups introduced too much noise into a heavily processed signal.

    I sold the guitar when I got back to tube amps and a few stomp boxes and found that the Lace Sensors weren't giving me the 'traditional' tone I was seeking.
     

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