Dilemma With ‘53 Esquire Pickup

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by Luca, May 16, 2019.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Even though the original was already rewound you really don’t want to remove the base plate for parts.

    I have two Tele bridge pups Fralin rewound for me and also an earlier than ‘53 champion lap steel pup with base plate added.

    The rewound pickups sound much better than the champion pickup, but my guess is that the champion is wound with 43 awg rather than 42, so at the low 6k reading it is thin sounding.
    History says that by ‘53 Fender was using 42awg so your later champ should sound better than mine.

    I would not assume Fralin remagnetized your original with the rewind unless you were asked and seemed to want that done.

    If the coil is the exact same resistance as it was before you got it rewound, my guess is the difference is that you had a loose coil due to flat work shrinkage or warpage, and dried up lacquer potting if there was any.
    If it was working and you liked the sound, why did you get it rewound?
    If it finally died, you may never get the sound of an almost dead pickup back, where the loose coil isn’t repeatable.

    Did you measure the coil resistance before the rewind and have Fralin match it?

    It might be wound hotter than the old coil, and I’m pretty sure Fralin will remove some windings for no cost if you want more clarity and high end you feel is missing.

    Your calling the missing sound airy is hard to engineer, but we hear the word airy often.
    Could just be the great clarity of a very low wind.
    I find a coil up near 7k of 42awg loses that open clarity I hear better at 6.3-6.7 depending on the guitar.


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  2. Luca

    Luca Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for your insight.
    When the pickup was perfect, it read 6.35k.
    Then it started to sound a little thinner and I measured it again to check it and it was 180k!
    That means there is a point of high resistance caused by corrosion.

    After rewinding, it now reads 6.6k so it’s not too hot on paper.
    It sounds good, don’t get me wrong, but I remember it being wilder and more detailed.
     
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  3. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

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    That is why we like vintage pickups. Some will never understand that and try to ridicule everybody who does.
     
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  4. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    Congrats on acquiring the '52 from the Champion. That is super cool!!!!

    Based on what you've said, here is what I'd do:

    I'd have the work done on the '52 so you can put it in your Esquire. Compare and contrast the 2 pickups. Take lots of recordings so you can listen back to really focus on what you are hearing. If the '52 "wins" the battle I'd send the other one back to Fralin to work on some more.

    Enjoy!!!! It sounds like a really fun journey, to me!
     
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  5. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I love old Fender pickups and the champion might sound great, but I also hear a significant difference going from around 6.3 to around 6.6k.
    Hard to compare since old pickups are all a little different, but the two Fralin rewinds were I think around 6.3 and 6.7k, with a really huge difference to my ear.
    6.3k of 42awg is super bright clear and lively, while 6.7 is fat and tame.
    I have a mystery presumably ‘50s Tele bridge pup with an original coil that measured 6.66k after I repaired a broken bit of winding that has a unique tone I can only call burnished, but there it is not the really open sound of lower wind vintage pickups I’ve owned.

    I had an original coil warped top bobbin 60s Tele bridge pickup that read 6.1k and was the most alive I can recall, but I had to pot it several times before getting rid of the squeal without dulling the tone and response.

    I do find that more wax dulls the tone and feel a bit, and I think the most lively can work as a mic if you yell into the pickup, your voice will come through the amp. I have potted Tele bridge pickups so they worked as a mic yet you could stand in front of a 100w Marshall with no squeal.
    If you can’t get a vocal yell through the amps might help to melt off some wax.
    I’d say it’s also worth having Fralin remove some windings.
    He may scoff at my wax potting claims but it would’ve bad business to ship product with borderline microphonics.


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  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Change your tone cap! Caps influence the output even when the knob is dimed.
    See what you have, if 0.047uF then go to 0.033uF, if 0.022uF then go to 0.011uF. This will let a little more of the highs through.
    You can clip one leg of whatever is in there and use alligator clips to audition other caps before soldering in there.
    I've done this on quite a few guitars of mine and others' guitars. A nickel cap swap is all you need. The pots and controls are a system.

    Then for that extra pickup you need to get the parts and build a guitar around it :)

    .
     
  7. Luca

    Luca Tele-Meister

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    On the Esquire, switch position 1 bypasses the tone control, so I may be wrong but that would take the tone cap out of the equation.
     
  8. CWP0126

    CWP0126 Tele-Meister

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    Hey @telemnemonics, can you elaborate on this a bit? I’ve never heard this term applied to tone before. Sounds interesting, I don’t understand what you mean, love to learn!

    Thanks!
    CWP
     
  9. hamerfan

    hamerfan TDPRI Member

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    You can't hear a .3k of 42awg difference on a pup. A friend of mine bought a 70ies strat some 20 years ago. The pups measured a bit different, so we (young and foolish) decided to swap the lowest reading bridge pup in the neck and the highest reading neck pickup in the bridge. After we had done our brave deed, we were utterly disappointed because no difference in tone! Nada, nothing, niente!
     
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  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I've done the swap in a Strat when a set of pickups had a hotter neck and weaker bridge. Also couldn't really hear a change, but it's hard when taking a guitar apart, then listening to both neck and bridge tones, to really remember exactly how the bridge sounded. My recollection was that the bridge sounded thin and shrill both ways, but I could not recall exactly how thin and shrill the former setup had been.

    Comparing Esquire pickups in two guitars however, I hear a lot of difference in that range of winding change.
    The closest I've compared was a '69 and a '71 Tele bridge pickup, both rewound by Fralin, with one at about 6.3k and the other at around 6.7k.
    That's a bigger difference than the OP made, but it was to my ear pretty drastic in terms of an Esquire being either super bright or being nice and fat.
    If I wanted the same sound as the 6.3k wind and swapped in a 6.6k wind I'd hear a different sound.

    The two guitars were swamp ash bodies or about the same weight, identical hardware, no tone controls, RW necks, and I'd already swapped different pickups in and out of each guitar so I knew they were very close sounding basic bones to audition pickup tones in.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The guitar that pickup went in has a vintage neck with some seasonal back bow and no tension on the truss rod.
    Havn't decided between dressing the frets of heating the neck to get more relief, so I have not played it in over a year.
    Tried it today for a few minutes but the strings are rusty, so a poor audition.

    (BTW, it's the pickup in my avatar, taken after I repaired the start end of the coil with a little jumper you can just make out on the left side lead)

    Burnished was the best word I came up with when i was playing it back then, and my guess is that it may be an A3 mag early '50s pickup.
    Hard to say though, I have two A3 pickusp for comparison but they are both in the 7.4- 7.8k range IIRC so they sound darker and more wooly, which I associate with A3.

    Many years ago I had a set of rewound early '50s Strat pickups that must have been A3 as well, judging by the sound and overall appearance.
    They were barely over 6k at the bridge, yet sounded fat and sweet without the thin bright tone of a typical A5 Strat bridge pup wound that low.

    I was running a '67 Plexi 100 then though, which was just a great amp for a Strat, very sweet creamy sound, not like the later Plexi and metal panel brighter more grinding sound.
     
  12. preactor

    preactor Tele-Meister

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    Why don't you try the champion pickup in another guitar before you change something out on a classic?
     
  13. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

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    After reading the whole thread, I think the best thing to do is make contact with Fralin and tell him all this. He is one of the best, if not the best winder in the business. I’ll bet he’ll solve your problem for you.
     
  14. Luca

    Luca Tele-Meister

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    Ok guys,

    I went ahead and did the work by myself.
    Transplanted the original metal baseplate on the Champion pickup, re-shaped the bottom side of the bobbin, drilled new holes, and tinkered here and there a few times to align everything with the bridge.

    I used some hot glue to secure the baseplate in order to avoid squealing, with a hairdryer it will melt if necessary, so everything is reversible and no original guitar parts had to be modded.
    There are gaps between bobbin and plate, but completely filling them would have required the use of a lot of glue, or foam strips.
    Let’s see if it squeals or not, I like the idea of having the pickup as alive as possible so I didn’t seal heavily for now.

    Good thing is that I can always go back to the previous configuration without impacting on originality.

    Oh, I measured the pickup again, now it reads 6.16k.
    On paper, it will be pure blackguard tone, but who knows...

    I will wire it over the weekend, I don’t know what to expect, but it’s been exciting.

    Thanks for following the journey!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  15. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

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    Are you sure that back bow is not from oversized frets?
     
  16. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

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    I also fix the baseplate very loosely to the pickup bottom. Just a couple of drops of wax in between and then I heat the plate with a hair dryer so that the wax melts in place. I like the baseplate to be on the verge of feedback :)
     
  17. geos

    geos TDPRI Member

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    the orig solder joints are toast so you got nothing to loose ....try'em both; see which one you like! there's nothing to the job getting 'em in & out. have some fun no worries!
     
  18. Muku

    Muku Tele-Meister

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    My friend is in a medium sized band that has been touring and gigging for 30 years. He has $100K worth of classic vintage guitars. His 59 Esquire is the most amazing of all of his 6 guitars. It cuts like no other guitar. Such a biting lush tone. I hope the 52 makes the grade.

    Esquires (and bright tele bridge, tones for rock and roll need a lot of volume. Need some air moving speakers to get the ice pick into actually one of my favorite tones that Leo designed. Maybe test your Esquire loud in a band to help you decide? Unless the original airy sound for non ROCK is what you are after.

    Let us know. I am going to build a partcaster since I can't afford the 10K my friend wants for that diminutive looking but glorious brute on stage.
     
  19. Strat62

    Strat62 Friend of Leo's

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    A lap steel pup is what Keith Richards has in "Micawber". I'd save that for a Micawber build, with the 59 LP bucker backwards in the bridge position.
     
  20. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Holic

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    though I have to admit that I always think vintage stuff sounds better, I probably wouldn't separate the coil and plate you already have and put another vintage coil on it seeking "a tiny bit of air and sparkle" which is probably really in your mind anyway. And who's to say what the new pickup will really sound like in there. On the other hand as everyone has said, If it really isn't a tiny bit of air and sparkle which you are missing and you just don't like the new pickup, have it rewound again, maybe have it potted more lightly, and or have the lap steel pup mounted on another base and try it in there as well.

    Please :rolleyes::rolleyes: ... "is it true that you remember that? I think it must be." .. The person from Porlock"
     
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