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Re: Tele pick-ups and balance

4/15/2005 12:17 PM
Steve A.
Re: Tele pick-ups and balance
Andrew C said:  
The tele neck is truly a strange beast. Some like it hot and stratty, other really smooth and cool jazzy. You have to a good idea of what you want to use it for.  
    Really smooth and cool jazzy, of course! ;) Like the moving chords on "Hey, Good Looking" from Roy Buchanan's first album on Polydor...  
Steve Ahola
4/15/2005 8:24 AM

I'm not a great Tele expert (though I could really go mad for that characteristic twang in the middle position such as in The Pretenders "Kid"), but I want to suggest that you consider also how your pickups blend when wound with different impedance. I have verified this on my Les Paul and I can tell you that there is a relation. So with the bridge at 16 k and the neck at 8 k, with both pickups on in parallel mode you'll get a proportion of at least 40%/60%, meaning that you hear much more of the neck pickup.  
I can tell that on my Les Paul with an 8k DiMarzio in the neck and a 16k JB in the bridge position, which can also be switched to parallel mode (dual sound). When I switch to the middle position with the JB in normal humbucker mode, I get a result that is much closer to the neck pickup alone. The opposite happens when I put the JB to parallel mode (8k twice in parallel gives a resulting impedance of 4K). This means that now the JB is twice as strong in the mix and the result is much closer to the JB alone. At this point you understand that you can only partially try to correct this by height adjustment.  
All this doesn't matter however if you put your pickups in serial mode. So the serial mode is not only interesting because it delivers more gain, but also because it may give a quite different mix between the two pickups (at least when you have two pickups with quite different impedance).
5/10/2005 6:09 PM
Carl Gigun
I picked up a new american standard tele around 99 or 2000 that I've never liked the stock pickups in. The neck isn't too bad and it definitely has more ouput than the bridge, but the bridge is way thin and midrangey to me. They're so different I have to turn up the bass to even use the bridge pickup, which removes the option of using both in one tune. I've had the guitar open and there's no metal plate on the bottom of the bridge pickup.  
Here's the weird part, the middle sound is great. I love it. I get compliments on it, I don't want to lose it, so the pickups are still there. It's so clear and sweet and warm, but it makes the guitar a real one trick pony. I'd like to get a much fatter bridge pickup at least. How's the middle sound with these higher ouput pickup sets?  
5/11/2005 12:44 AM
Steve A.

    It's a bit unusual that the neck pickup is louder than the bridge pickup... I assume that you have them adjusted properly. Maybe you can measure the dc resistance with both knobs set to 10 and post it here.  
    Actually I think that a crappy bridge pickup would explain everything... ;) I'd recommend that you get a new set of pickups that are RWRP, and install the Fender Custom Shop 4 way tele switch to give you the thicker series link between the two pickups.  
    I've been very happy with a set of Lindy Fralin Blues Specials in one tele, and the Fender NoCasters in another. I have a set of SD Antiquities in a 3rd tele, but that bridge pickup might be too bright for you. With all 3 sets the middle sound is great so I don't think that will be a problem for you. The SD Broadcaster is another really nice and thick bridge pickup, but I'm not sure what I would recommend as the neck complement.  
    If you will be replacing your pickups you might consider replacing the bridge with a vintage-style 3 barrel "ashtray" bridge... You might want to count the screw holes on your stock bridge and order one that looks like it will fit in with any modifications.  
Steve Ahola  
P.S. To check out the sound of the Fender NoCasters you can try out a 51 Butterscotch Blonde in a music store- this is the one that retails for $1749 and sells for around $1250-$1300. The stock wiring for that guitar might exclude the middle position, but it will give you a good idea what the NoCaster bridge and neck pickups sound like. (The stock bridge pickup is essentially a NoCaster but it is not RWRP so I had to order one especially for my guitar.)
5/11/2005 3:06 AM
Carl Gigun
Yeah the neck pickup is definitely louder, drives the amp more into distortion for the same volume settings etc.  
I went to measure the pickups and my meter battery was dead, first time I've had to change that in a couple years! but I had another so I've got 7.45k neck 7k bridge.  
I had the guitar set up to fender recommendations at first (from mr gearhead pages I guess) but I wasn't happy so at some point I set it up this way: backed neck way off, switched to bridge only and adjusted pickup to get the best tone I could, switched to middle and adjusted neck to get the the blended tone the way I liked it.  
I'll try to get to the store and check out that 51. Tones I'd like to get out of this guitar are the middle clean sound, and overdriven sounds in the vintage-classic rock area, early sixties rock through to Keith Richard's maybe :) but I've got myself talked out of routing the guitar so no neck PAF like keith. I'm not a country, blues, jazz or metal player.
5/11/2005 3:35 PM
Rudy Fanucan
Sounds like your bridge pickup is shorting somewhere. Check the DC resistance again watching to see if the initial reading starts to drop or waver. BTW, Fender Tele neck pickups are quite powerful which is why the're usually low down in the body. Adjusted up too high and they'll be too dark and too loud compared to the bridge units.  
There's quite a lot of nonsense on this forum apart from some genuinely good stuff so good luck weeding that out.
5/11/2005 5:49 PM
Carl Gigun
The neck pickup is much lower than the bridge at this point, and I don't think the neck sounds too bad. Neck pickup cover is just a little raised above the level of the pickguard. I'm confident I've got the pickups adjusted to sound as good as they're going to at this point, much better than the stock fender measurements. They're not too close to the strings or other newbie things, I've had the guitar for 6 years of tweaking now.  
I didn't notice anything funky about the bridge reading when I took it last night, it wobbled from 7K to 6.96 or something depending on how good of a contact I was making with the probes, but that seems normal. The tone pot completely disconnects from the circuit when you turn it all the way up (it clicks) so it's out of the equation. The meter is a good Fluke model I've had for years.  
There's quite a lot of nonsense on this forum apart from some genuinely good stuff so good luck weeding that out.  
haha, I've been hanging out at ampage for even longer than I've had this guitar so I guess I'm qualified :) thanks,  

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