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Blender pot for Strat?


 
11/7/2005 5:46 PM
Mark Abbott
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Blender pot for Strat?
I'm wondering what you guys have experienced in regard to tones from Strats?  
 
(I use Kinman vintage wound noiseless pickups.)  
 
I have tried simply switching the neck pickup on so I could get the neck/bridge combination, but to my surprise I found it only sounded different when I used more treble then I normally would with my amp, though in most cases it sounded quite similar to the middle pickup on it's own.  
 
I didn't really like the sound of all three pickups on at the same time either, it sounded a little too Steely Dan for me (one mans food etc.)  
 
What I would like is to be able to pull is a convincing vintage-like Tele tone (when both of the Tele's pickups are being used.) I recall that the Tele I used many years ago had this really funky tone when both pickups were used, in it's own way it was the sort of thing that happens when using the middle/bridge combination on a Strat.  
 
To get to the point after much waffling, will the blender pot give me this sort of outcome, or does it simply add a bit more bass to the bridge pickup?  
 
Thanks for your patience, and your assistance.  
 
Yours Sincerely  
 
Mark Abbott.
 
11/8/2005 3:13 AM
Chris/CMW amps
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Hi Mark  
 
Sometimes I do use the N+B option in my Strats for a funkier tone, all 3 at the same time does sound kinda acoustic but you'll loose some definition imho.  
A Tele bridge pu is a total different PU, the angle and position do also differ compared to a Strat bridge PU.  
My last StratCircuit does have a no load master tone control and an own made no load 500k pot as blender (for adding/mixing the N pu); pretty ok but still no Tele :)  
 
Hope some other can tell about their experiences too,  
 
Chris
 
11/9/2005 7:28 AM
Mark Hammer
The sad truth is that not even Teles sound like Teles sometimes. It's not just the use of neck+bridge, but what the neck and bridge pickups ARE, as well as what they are sitting on. As noted, the most obvious difference is the bridge used in Tele's vs other guitars.  
 
My most recent experiences go in the completely opposite direction. I plunked a home-wound middle pickup on my Turser Tele and tried to make it sound more like a Strat. As I've mentioned here before, the simplest route to that was to use a 5-way switch and simply swap the middle and bridge leads. This yields the standard Tele combinations for positions 1-3, the middle+bridge cluck for #4 and the middle pickup for #5. The Turser comes with a 3-barrel bridge, but trust me, there is no Danny Gatton voodoo in it...at all. The bridge pickup is a pretty shabby ceramic magnet job, so I wound myself one with some Stew-Mac flatwork (metal base-plate included), and a set of alnico polepieces I had sitting around. I forget how many turns I put on, but it's about 8k DC resistance, even with #41 wire, so its on the hot side. An improvement, but the neck pickup sucks, so still no Tele sparkle magic.  
 
One of the things you need to keep in mind when aiming for Tele tones on a Strat is that Strat neck pickups generally seem to have more high end than a Tele's. I suspect part of this is because of the metal cover, but there are other factors as well. I think the goal to aim for is simply to have N+B as a different tone available to you, and not aim for strictly Tele tone as the objective.
 
11/11/2005 5:39 PM
Mark Abbott
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Dear Mark and Chris  
 
Thanks for your replies. I have played quite a few very ordinary Teles, (always new Teles.) So I know what you are talking about.  
 
I agree with your comments about the instruments bridge. I have found out much to my surprize that even the Strat bridge cover effect the tone of the guitar (in a nice way too.) I have no idea how a Teles metal cover effects the tone of the guitar.  
 
I dare say I will have to try this sort of thing for myself, and I'll report back my findings.  
 
Again thank you for your help.  
 
Yours Sincerely  
 
Mark Abbott.
 
11/11/2005 7:36 PM
Steve A.
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Oops I'm late...
Mark:  
 
    After hawking my "Sup'rStrat" wiring harness here since 1997 (4 new sounds using a normal 5 way switch and a DPDT mode switch), I have finally found a product which is even more versatile: Deaf Eddie's Chromacaster and Fat-o-Caster rotary switches which mount in lieu of the middle pot on a strat.  
 
http://www.deaf-eddie.net/  
 
    Your guitar will look dead stock (no pull pots sticking out like a sore thumb) and you can dial in different tone palettes for different effects. Like the Chromacaster when set down to 5 and 6 has a lot of cool out-of-phase sounds, but is more traditional sounding when set to 7, 8 or 9 (and totally stock when set to 10).  
 
    You get all sorts of cool linkages: N&B in parallel, N&B in series, plus some interesting out-of-phase series linkages which are almost humcancelling. For heavier and thicker sounds he designed the Fat-o-Caster, which is available in several variations.  
 
Steve Ahola  
 
P.S. I agree that all 3 pickups in parallel is not that hot... "super quack" is what I call it! :D I do suspect that EC was using that linkage for Badge and his other early "quackers".
 
11/12/2005 1:28 AM
Mark Abbott
email

Dear Steve  
 
Thanks for the tip, I'll have to look into it.  
 
Yours Sincerely  
 
Mark Abbott
 
11/13/2005 4:51 AM
Borsanova Try out-of-phase for Tele-sounds
Just to agree on what you are looking for:  
When you talk about the Tele-twang in the middle position, I think of sounds like the Pretenders' "Kid" or "Back On The Chain Gang".  
 
I can tell you my experience with simulating this sound on a Strat. I have a Mexico Strat with a stock "Tele-button" for the two missing combinations on a standard Strat. I agree that those two additional sounds aren't so much different. The all-three sound is kinda creamy and I find it quite interesting, but actually I don't use it very often. The bridge-neck combination is certainly not a Tele-sound.  
 
So I decided to put another button in to let me switch the neck pickup out of phase. With this I got 10 sounds and when I tried it out I found that the bridge-neck out-of-phase combination comes really close to the Tele twang. It is still not exactly the "Kid" sound, but for "Back On The Chain Gang" it works really great, I find even better than my Mexico Tele.  
Actually this became my favorite sound on my Strat and I even sold my Tele because I thought that I wouldn't use it anymore.  
 
But then I had to change strings on my Strat and not knowing which strings were originally on, I chose Fender 250s. I was totally disappointed with those because my beautiful Tele-tone was completely gone. Now I've tried Dean Markley, which are a bit better, but still far away from what I had. Next I'll try d'Addario and I hope that they will give me back my tone. They always sound best to my ears.  
So before giving up too soon or before buying expensive new pickups you should try some different strings to see if you can come any closer to what you're looking for.  
 
Two more remarks:  
1. If you put a two-way-two-position Tele switch on your guitar, you can probably use the free side as a humbucker switch. I've described the procedure somewhere on this board.  
 
2. The "Chrome-a-Caster" is indeed the most versatile mod for a Strat that I have seen. I have designed and built a "Bermuda", but that is only a simple and useful mod for copies if you don't care too much about the stock look of your guitar.  
If I should ever hot rod another Fender Stratocaster (maybe American :) ), I guess I'll choose the Chrome-a-caster mod.
 
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