Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

‘69 Telecaster® Thinline reissue tweaks

Discussion in 'Tele-Technical' started by yegbert, Oct 13, 2005.

  1. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 28, 2004
    Maryland (US)
    I recently acquired a ‘69 Telecaster® Thinline reissue, a 2004 in sunburst. It was unmodified when I got it.

    I played it for a couple of weeks before I changed anything. I decided I didn't like the quick taper of the 1M pots and so I replaced them with 250k CTS pots from Guitar Parts Resource. I also replaced the factory cap, having learned through a few posts here that the tolerance on the stock ones is lousy. At first I just stuck with a .047µf, a green chiclet from RadioShack.

    Then I played it some more. I began to notice that the "FENDER" stamped bridge plate seemed enough thinner than the one on my '50s Classic, that the corner was sticking uncomfortably into my palm. I also began to suspect the bridge's tonal qualities. The tone was fairly brittle and the 5th and 6th strings just didn't have much bass. I could hear this effect unamplified as well as amplified. So I ordered one of the "FENDER PAT PEND" stamped plates from MF, I liked the way the stock one sounded on my '50s Classic and one from MF just like it I had put on my '98 Squier Standard.

    Meanwhile I decided to try flattening the stock plate. I removed it, flattened it using a couple of pieces of 2x4 and a hammer, and filed the bottom surface down where it was still a little uneven. I put it back on and it was a noticeable improvement, the bass was better but it still had a bit of harshness and I suspected it could be improved.

    When I got the new "FENDER PAT PEND" bridge plate I put it on. This is a great improvement to my ears.

    I wasn't sure whether I would like the bright bite of the stock staggeredpole A5 bridge pickup. The "FENDER PAT PEND" bridge plate brought out the best in this Tele, and so I think I like those stock pickups. The new bridge plate doesn't have less treble, it has less harshness that makes the treble more pleasant.

    I've now changed the tone cap to a .022µf RS green chiclet, I like that better. I liked the tone either all the way up or down to as far as about 1/5 with the .047; this .022 lets me get about the same tonal range in a wider sweep of the knob. I think it's different in some other subtle way too. The other difference seems like the mids are still being turned down like they were with the larger cap, but the treble doesn't get turned down as much in the same range.

    Fender specs say this Tele comes with a top hat switch, but mine had the barrel and so does the one in the picture on the Fender product page. Anyway, I had never tried a top hat switch and since it seemed likea '60s vibe thing I got one of those and put on there.

    I'm using D'Addario XLS strings, 9-46 nickel plated steel. Or Fender 250s, same guage and type.

    I installed a set of brass StewMac compensated saddles. I switched back and forth between these and the stock stainless steel grooved ones, but then stayed with the StewMacs mainly for the compensation. I hope to get a set of Glendale steel compensated saddles to try on it.

  2. tombm3

    tombm3 Tele-Holic

    Apr 24, 2003
    Glendale Steel

    I love my steel set on my Thinline '69RI. It is a godsend to be able to finally get the intonation spot on. I highly recommend Glendale.

  3. Kingtone

    Kingtone Tele-Holic

    Mar 16, 2003
    Camillus, NY
    69 Thinline

    Welcome to the club brother! These arer great Teles....


  4. frakenstrat

    frakenstrat Tele-Holic

    Mar 26, 2003
    lardtown california
    if you really want to tweak it a little more, pull that rat shack cap out of there and put something nice in there like an orange drop or something.

  5. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 28, 2004
    Maryland (US)
    oh no, the cap can 'o worms!

    A recent thread here had a lengthy discussion on boutique capacitors.

    The Radio Shack caps I'm using have a tolerance of -10%/+10%, which is better than the Fender stock Z-rated ones (-20%/+80%). I hope to get a multimeter one of these days that can measure capacitance so I'll know what I'm getting and putting in my Tele.

    What capacitance value and tolerance do you like in your Teles' tone caps, frakenstrat?

    One day I might try the tip 0le FUZZY suggested, run some wire outside the control plate with some alligator clips to quickly compare several caps.

  6. jdub

    jdub TDPRI Member

    Sep 22, 2005
    Ulster County, NY
    Gotta Love the Thinlines

    Question to yegbert: MIJ or MIM?

    I have a MIJ 69 Thinline RI (also have a MIJ 72 Thinline RI - love that guitar). Bought the 69 used for $300.00 off a friend. Was unwired but he had two bridges and 1 bridge pup and 4 neck pups. I have no idea what type though (pups). I've had the hardest time re-wiring the sucker. Installed a Bigsby B-5 "Fender" insignia tremelo. Had to shim the neck. Still a work in progress. I think my Fralin Stock Tele neck pup isn't working for some reason. Also seriously considering installing a Fishman Tune-O-Matic Powerbridge with Powerchip.

    It's been frustrating as this my first serious foray into guitar mod'ing. But I think well worth it.

  7. yegbert

    yegbert Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 28, 2004
    Maryland (US)
    Re: Gotta Love the Thinlines


    Compare them to these, which are the type that come in the MIM '69 Thinline and the '60s Classic.

    Also, I posted some pics and we discussed those and related pickups in this thread about the neck pickup and in this thread about the two Classic Series bridge pickups. Apparently some will have a handwritten part number and some won't.

  8. frakenstrat

    frakenstrat Tele-Holic

    Mar 26, 2003
    lardtown california
    Re: oh no, the cap can 'o worms!

    that's what i do, measure them. buy a meter now, they are very handy.

    as for the values it really depends on the guitar, the rig, and other factors (strings etc). i mod a lot of guitars and it varies from person to person. but it usually is in the ballpark of .03 to .05 .

    didn't look at the link on the cap discussion. i may be jaded but i can tell the difference, and my customers can too even if i don't tell them i changed the cap.


  9. nic'o'caster

    nic'o'caster Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Apr 10, 2004
    Middle Earth
    Thin tweaks on my mahogany '69RI :
    changed all electronics for Harmonic Design pups, 250k pots, .022µf cap, volume kit (cap and resistor in parallel against treble loss). I shielded the pup cavities too.

    I like the steel resonnance of the bridge. I'll never put brass saddles, but I might consider steel compensated saddles for better intonation !

    Last thing will certainly be Strap locks :oops:

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