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

I just don't get the Tele...please help

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Johntodd, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Johntodd

    Johntodd Tele-Meister

    Jul 6, 2010
    After 12 yeas of Les Paul'ing, and 15 years before that of Ibanez heavy metal types, I must now learn the Tele to play country music.

    I'm struggling. The tone is thin and shrill. My low E sounds great when OD'd and chugged on, but chords and thin, and the the B and hi-E are thin and shrill. Also, I cannot 'hear' the guitar when playing live no matter how loud the amp is. The clean stuff is teh worst - a moderate OD does help smooth it out, makes it easier to hear, and takes away a little shrillness.

    But my humbuckers! Oh man! Fat, full, and LOUD. I realize that Tele single coils must sound different from a Les Paul, but this is getting ridiculous. I can't make sense of the Tele.

    My Tele is an Xavier XV820. It plays like a dream! Just doesn't sound too good. I was thinking of replacing the pups with a calibrated set of Lil Punchers, with coil-tap push/pulls wired in.

    Help! I'm sinking here....

    PS Thanks!

  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    May 2, 2003
    If you don't like the sound of a tele, you don't like the sound of a tele.

    The specific guitar you mention though is an offshore cheapie. Not that Xavieres can't sound good but for sure you've got some (by comparison) low-grade hardware and electronics in that thing.

  3. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    Try a guitar with a bridge P90

    Or play country music with a Les Paul.

    You may be pining for a pickup that is overwound. The stock alnico pickups in that should more likely be vintage wound.

  4. telex76

    telex76 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Jun 24, 2006
    Fort Worth,Tx.
    If I was going from a real Les Paul to a Xavier, I wouldn't like it either.

  5. Johntodd

    Johntodd Tele-Meister

    Jul 6, 2010
    The Xaviere was a good choice, since I can do a little work on a guitar. I adjusted the neck, set the action and intonation, put a neck shim in, oiled the board (5 times!), polished the frets, and the guitar plays great. Unplugged it has a good resonant sound. This is all about the tone through the amp, etc.

    I bought it because I'd had good experience with their pups in some other guitars. I've been thinking of putting in the Lil Punchers and a 6-saddle bridge. I don't care what people say - 3 saddle bridges can't intonate like a 6-saddle can! I've learned that the hard way. Then again, I am a stickler for intonation.

    After all the work I put in, I still think it's a good deal. You builders here would have no trouble with an Xaviere, since you folks can start with a tree and make a great instrument of it.

  6. Johntodd

    Johntodd Tele-Meister

    Jul 6, 2010
    @telex76, LOL!

    The X plays as good as the Std. Fenders I've played in the stores. (After I did some work on it.)

    So is it just me? Can I adjust myself to it? Am I subconsciously trying to make it into a Les Paul?

  7. honeycreek

    honeycreek Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 16, 2009
    Just to point out obvious mistakes that I have made

    ...the settings on your amp that sound great for your LP will make a tele sound thin and shrill.

    ...the tone (and volume) control on a tele may not sound its best at 100%

  8. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Dec 29, 2010
    A good first step would be to play a few Telecasters. Loads of people have good luck with GFS stuff, but I'm not one of them... I'd bet if you could get your hands on a used MIM or CV your opinion of Telecasters would change. Even a beat to hell Squier is likely to be a better guitar, and can be had for well under $100.00 these days.

  9. jammers5

    jammers5 Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 21, 2009
    Mount Pearl NL
    Are you sure its not an issue with your other gear? What amp and pedals are attached to your Tele? What are your settings on the pedals and amp?


  10. honeycreek

    honeycreek Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 16, 2009
    If you can't hear a tele in the's probably because you scooped out the mids to make a mid-heavy humbucker guitar sound better.

  11. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 9, 2011
    Philadelphia, PA
    :lol: Great

    Oh and what's wrong with a little mild overdrive for country music?

    And have you tried a compressor like an orange squeezer (my favorite flavor so far)

  12. cowardm

    cowardm Tele-Holic

    Nov 3, 2009
    Chattanooga, TN
    Hi Johntodd, here are my thoughts:

    One mans "thin" is another man's "chime." I don't like Strats because they quack and others don't like Teles because they twang. It may just be that the Tele is not the guitar for you. The good news is that you can play country on a Les Paul. If you're looking for a non-Les Paul a Gretsch or Strat might be the guitar for you. Yet, these are typical complaints of low-quality Teles (particularly in the pickups).

    The Tele is a workhorse of a guitar, revered for its simple, yet dependable construction and tonal versatility. I played humbucking guitars for years, mostly Les Pauls. I then heard Jeff Buckley's cover of "Hallelujah" (which you should really give a listen) and knew I had to have a Tele. All of my other guitars stayed in their cases after that and I eventually sold them all to have a boutique Tele built.

    What's so special about the Tele? Well that depends on what you want out of the guitar. That's the magic of it, is that it can really deliver on multiple levels. The metal bridge plate with open and dynamic single coil pickups, the musicalness of ash as a tonewood, the pop of maple.

    Here are some things you can try:
    Pickup change - probably your most expensive option. You mentioned the Lil Punchers which are humbucking. Some humbuckers can have some of that single coil life, but you will probably lose that Tele-ness. I would suggest that a good set of traditional Tele pickups might be worth the shot. For a comparable price, the folks around here sure do seem to love their Keystones and I've seen people swear by them over any boutique brand. If you're willing to fork out a lot more money, I love Bare Knuckles and Kinmans (I have two sets of Kinmans for sale as of now, by the way). You may want to consider Broadcaster pickups, which are early versions of the Tele pickups. They're a little hotter and ballsier.

    EQ - Les Pauls and Teles are so different you are going to have to turn some knobs if you want to sound good.

    Another guitar - like I suggested, the Tele may not be the guitar for you. If you really want single coil tone, you might consider a Strat. Otherwise, there's nothing like a hollowbody Gretsch with those classic filtertone style pickups.

    You might also consider selling the Tele and changing the pickups in your LP for more versatility. I really like Burstbuckers (not the Burstbucker Pros) for having the dynamics and depth of single coils while having the richness and thickness of a humbucker. You could put those in and add a coil tap for when you want more country-like tones (though I think those humbuckers will accomplish it on their own).

  13. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Dec 6, 2005
    You don't get the Tele?

    Well, a Tele-shaped guitar isn't the same as a Fender Telecaster ... What you don't get is the Xavier XV820 ...

    If you want a Humbucker tone though, the Telecaster isn't for you anyway.

  14. Sin Nombre

    Sin Nombre Tele-Meister

    Apr 14, 2010
    San Diego
    It sounds like your ears are pretty accustomed to hearing humbuckers, and your reason for trying single coils is because you think you need them to play a particular kind of music. I say kudos for trying to expand your tonal choices but you may need to learn to like single coils without comparing them to humbuckers.

    When I first tried a Tele after using HBs exclusively I kept turning the tone knob down, and did think of the tones as rather bright or possibly shrill. But I was hooked by the deep bass and sparkly highs of the single coils that I never had with HBs. Now I keep the tone knob all the way up and think of the tone as perfect. I have since bought a Strat, sold my LP and put P-90s in my Dot.

    So give the Tele a chance, maybe beefier pups would help. Or maybe you just like beefier types of music. But if you are going to play country music, listen to it being played with a Tele and decide if you like the effect. And as someone stated earlier, if you want to play country but just can't find any love for Teles, play with humbuckers.

  15. AirBagTester

    AirBagTester Friend of Leo's

    Nov 7, 2010
    Very true! It definitely took me a while to figure that out.

  16. Chris H.

    Chris H. Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 2, 2010
    I agree, i wouldn't expect the transition from the power of a Gibson LP to a $170 Tele copy to be a smooth one.

  17. Fresh

    Fresh Tele-Meister

    Oct 10, 2011

  18. colchar

    colchar Friend of Leo's

    That might be your problem right there.

    And, for the record, that is not a Tele. Only Fender can make Teles, what you have is a Tele-style guitar.

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