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Old September 2nd, 2013, 08:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pickups and pot values?

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I've been checking out videos on YouTube of old Tiesco guitars and was wondering if anyone makes strat pickups in the 3.5k to 4.5k range? Also wondering about the 100k volume pots and 50k tone pots used on a lot of the cheapo guitars?
Thought I'd get a better response posting this here. By using weaker pickups and the lower value pots can I get closer to the Tiesco sound in a cheapy strat?

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Old September 2nd, 2013, 09:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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What do you consider to be that sound?
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 10:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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More jangly and chimey than a normal Fender. More like a Danelectro maybe? I haven't ever played a Tiesco, but it seems the pickups impart more of an acoustic sound, judging from the Youtube videos.
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 10:28 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You want relatively low inductance pickups without shorts, so the pickups can deliver highs to the amp.. Check out Bill Lawrence's Wilde pickups, especially the microcoiks and twin blade lines.
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 11:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Someone suggested opening the pickups and removing some wire until I get the sound I'm after. How would I do that? Is it advisable to do that?
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 11:48 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Someone suggested opening the pickups and removing some wire until I get the sound I'm after. How would I do that? Is it advisable to do that?
IMHO, no.
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Old September 2nd, 2013, 11:50 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You just need a set of regular or deluxe Wilde Keystones to nail your tone
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 08:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Reduce impedance? Maybe an emitter follower circuit to allow more treble to pass?
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 09:48 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Call one of the pickups winders and describe what you want to hear. I had a early 50's Harmony Stratotone for a long time, one of the solid body Copper one's. The Hershey bar DeArmonds had readings in the 3's. There is a quality of sound that's interesting. I believe I understand where you want to go.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 09:59 AM   #10 (permalink)
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There's probably a builder somewhere who's either making those or could wind you some. Keep asking around.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 12:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Tatercaster View Post

Thought I'd get a better response posting this here. By using weaker pickups and the lower value pots can I get closer to the Tiesco sound in a cheapy strat?
Nothing personal but I think there's a disconnect between the OP's original request and the advice being offered.

A Teisco is a super crappy, super cheap Asian guitar that somehow got a cult following because of contrarian guitar mag nerds like Dan Forte building them up into some kind of tone grail/antidote to the Fender/Gibson duopoly on guitar sound since the 50s. The truth is, these guitars are godawful in every way except funky-cool appearance. The materials and workmanship are abysmal, the necks are barely playable above the 5th fret, and the pickups are the worst part of the equation, usually weak bar magnets under fake pole pieces, not that many windings so very low output, no potting so very microphonic and prone to squeal, and the electronics are always at the lowest possible end of the foodchain, values be damned, whatever was in the bin at the time.

I've worked on a lot of these guitars over the years for myself and friends and I had all the fun and romance beaten out of me from the reality of just how terrible and no-win these guitars really are. There's a reason no serious player shows up with those things at gigs. They are truly lousy guitars, not fun to play at all, prone to failure if you so much as look at them. If you wear a fez when you play and your living room has a lava lamp and/or 60s kitsch decor, fine, a Teisco will fit right in with your lifestyle and outlook. But if you just saw a YouTube clip of a guy playing a Teisco and you thought gee, that sounds interesting, do yourself a favor and forget it. These guitars are not vintage Fenders, or even Danelectros. They're junk, and if you ever do score one, you'll know a whole new level of buyer's remorse.

Yes, Hound Dog Taylor played a Teisco. Yes, he sounded cool. Because he played mostly slide and didnt have to worry about fretting anything above first position, and he played through a cranked Silvertone guitar case amp which is so distorted and groinky that most guitars sound pretty much the same with it. Yes, I've had a few of those as well, and don't anymore because nostalgia and cheap laffs aside, those guitar case amps are lousy and shock hazards besides.

I went through that whole Dan Forte trip many years ago with the funky 60s Japanese Teiscos and the groinky weirdo amps and I came to the conclusion that none of that junk is really usable. Fun art objects for the 60s kitsch lifestyle, sure, but not real player's instruments.

There is no Strat pickup, no matter how cheaply made or poorly designed, that's going to sound anything like an old Teisco. Those guitars had pickups so far off the res from even a junky trashy Strat type pickup that trying to emulate one with the other is pointless. I'm not trying to be a crank here, I'm just trying to save the OP from a lot of fruitless chase and expense. You want a guitar that sounds like a Teisco? Find a Teisco, see if getting that sound is worth the hassle of playing an unplayable guitar, and then release it back onto eBay like the twelve guys who rented it before you.

I don't want to give the impression that I'm an enemy of all old and weird guitar sounds. That acoustic Dearmond looking pickup Lightnin' Hopkins had on his acoustic when he plugged into amps? God, what a sound. In the Les Blank film he plays outside at night at some house party in Houston with a little bitty amp and just Cleveland Chenier on washboard for backup, and it's in my top 10 all-time greatest guitar sounds. God, I wish my guitar could sound like that. But I accept that I play Teles and Strats, and not a funky acoustic with a funky pickup and probably equally funky amp. I accept that even if I could play as well as Lightnin', no mere pickup swap is going to get me that sound.

I know, not what anyone wants to hear. Let me know how those Kleinstones sound.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 12:17 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I remember seeing on eBay some DeArmond gold foil pickups like were on a Harmony Rocket I had. They measured 3.3k, and the Tiesco gold foils I've seen measure 5.6 or so. Would the nickel covers have a huge effect on the tone?
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 12:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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More jangly and chimey than a normal Fender. More like a Danelectro maybe?
Teisco issue aside, Duncan makes a set of Danelectro style Lipstick Tube pickups for strat. You can check them out here. They absolutely have more jangle and chime than a typical Fender pickup.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 12:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Tater, Is this in the ball park of what your talking about tone wise?

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Old September 3rd, 2013, 02:19 PM   #15 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=mrkenny;5260354]Tater, Is this in the ball park of what your talking about? [\QUOTE]

Yeah, kinda. What I've got is a Rogue ST-3 Strat copy that I've rewired with a 1M volume pot and a Tele 3 way switch for neck and bridge Tele tones. There's an on/off switch for the middle. I get six basic sounds out of it, but I can get comparable tones out of either my Tele or Strat. I wanted to do something a bit different with this guitar.

My Rogue has a tone similar to Junior Brown's guitsteel.

I'm kinda liking the lipstick tubes, reminds me of my Dano '59DC I had.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 06:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Someone suggested opening the pickups and removing some wire until I get the sound I'm after. How would I do that? Is it advisable to do that?
Actually, what I think you read was:

DC resistance has no meaningful correlation to sound. There are underwound pickups out there, and you can always unwind standard pickups, but the result is hard to predict since wire size, magnet type and size, the way the pickup is wound, etc. all contribute to a pickup's sound.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 07:00 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Actually, what I think you read was:

DC resistance has no meaningful correlation to sound. There are underwound pickups out there, and you can always unwind standard pickups, but the result is hard to predict since wire size, magnet type and size, the way the pickup is wound, etc. all contribute to a pickup's sound.
DC resistance depends on wire size and length of the wire; number of wraps around the coil. Impedence is the measure of the capacitive and inductive reactances as well as the DC resistance. However, I have no means of measuring the reactance elements, so I have to rely on the DC resistance to guesstimate the output.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 07:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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DC resistance depends on wire size and length of the wire; number of wraps around the coil. Impedence is the measure of the capacitive and inductive reactances as well as the DC resistance. However, I have no means of measuring the reactance elements, so I have to rely on the DC resistance to guesstimate the output.
Yes, except for the last part. DC resistance will, in no way, allow you to guesstimate the output.
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 07:26 PM   #19 (permalink)
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More jangly and chimey than a normal Fender. More like a Danelectro maybe? I haven't ever played a Tiesco, but it seems the pickups impart more of an acoustic sound, judging from the Youtube videos.
I have one. DC resistance is Neck 5.89k, Bridge 5.43k, but I probably have them in the wrong holes. Similar to strat.
The DC resistance is only useful when comparing otherwise identical pickups e.g. alnico strat with alnico strat.

But the pickups are wider and shallower than a strat, ceramic magnet below with pole screws in the middles. More like a narrow P90.

Teisco pickups are actually quite well made. It is their construction that gives them a different sound. There are several Teisco pickup designs, all different sounds.

The weak part on mine was the body, I had to replace that
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Old September 3rd, 2013, 09:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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the pickups are wider and shallower than a strat, ceramic magnet below with pole screws in the middles. More like a narrow P90.

Teisco pickups are actually quite well made. It is their construction that gives them a different sound. There are several Teisco pickup designs, all different sounds.
I've got a Tiesco gold foil pickup (no wire, had to make a bobbin). The bobbin goes around a solid blade with pole screws and 1/4" ceramic bar magnets sitting on both sides of the coil. Maybe 3/8" tall and surface mounted. I would suspect that the magnetic field would be different from that of a Strat pickup, and the nickel covers would suck some of the treble out of the signal, also the lower value volume pots would suck treble.
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