Neck pickup is a little muddy

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Lonn, May 1, 2019.

  1. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    Not terrible, just sounds like the tone control is rolled way back. Bridge pickup sounds fine. No idea what brand the pickups are, my question is really what pot/cap values are in a "regular" Tele? Love everything about it, even the middle position sounds good, I just want a nice clear neck position tone. I can get a set of Tex Mex pickups brand new for $60 on ebay but thought I'd ask around before spending any $$$. I've thought about taking the chrome cover off to see if that helps. And yes, it's intonated.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    If the pickup is a mystery brand, the cover is probably brass. Some brands that are known to use nickel silver are Fender, DiMarzio, Tonerider, BYO, and any other that specifies it by name. Seymour Duncan notably uses brass.
     
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  3. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Sometimes perspective is misleading in a photo. But both pickups look like they could use significant height and tilt adjustments.

    On the neck it could be as simple as dropping the whole pickup a bit and dropping the bass side more dramatically, to clear it up. The bridge looks really low and tilted strangely.

    But again, that could be perspective.
     
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  4. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    Just popped the cover and there are 500k pots and a .033 cap. That pic was from when I first brought it home and hadn't messed with the pickup heights yet.
     
  5. howardlo

    howardlo Tele-Holic

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    The cap could be fine. 250k pots are normal for Teles. The 500k should make it brighter than normal.
     
  6. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    +1 on the (possible) brass cover. It is not a subtle difference.
     
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  7. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    Just raised the bridge pickup some more and it sounds even better than before. Unfortunately the neck pickup isn't adjustable, which now makes the difference even more dramatic. When I have a day off I may try to get the cover off of the neck pickup and see what difference that might make.
     
  8. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    If you want to get into some experimentation and keep the cover, you could do the slot modification I invented:
    http://kenwillmott.com/blog/archives/246
     
  9. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    Love this idea but I have no way to make such cuts in the cover.

    Willmott_modification1a.png
     
  10. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Long, it appears that the neck pickup is mounted as it was back in the early days. You have to remove the pickguard to adjust the pickup, which is mounted with screws and and sprung from the bottom of the cavity.
     
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  11. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    It is yes, I've had the pickguard off before.

    [​IMG]

    Here's the oddball bridge pickup. The windings are super thin and I've never seen a bottom like this.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Cheapest mod, since you love the bridge pickup tone (and the mated volume pot) is get a 0.047uF cap like is on the tone pot and put that in series with the hot lead to the neck pickup. This reduces the internal capacitance of the pickup and will brighten it up. If you later measure 'the pickup' (with the cap in-line such as from the guitar jack) you'll think the pickup is 'broken' since it won't pass DC voltage for the meter to measure. AC signal from playing gets right through. If all the problem is just the 'brass cover' then this may not help as much as other pickups but it generally makes a huge improvement, for a nickel.

    Measure the 500k pot across the outer lugs with your meter and note what the actual kohms of the pot is. It could be on nominal spec or at either end of it's 20% range so around 450k to 550k and those extremes make a difference. The other option is try a 1Meg volume pot (measuring to find out it's actual kohms). This may make the bridge pickup too bright while fixing the neck pickup, there is a switching diagram around for adding a fixed resistor that gets engaged with one pickup but not the other so each pickup can see what kohms it needs.

    If you put a 250k volume pot in the guitar it will just be a muddy bucket of no hope.

    .
     
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  13. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Holic

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    Or disconnect the tone control from the neck pickup only. An open cover is also an option
     
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  14. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    That is a very strange looking bridge pickup
     
  15. MrYeats

    MrYeats Tele-Meister

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    buy a new pickup
     
  16. Wally

    Wally Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I would say that those are some inexpensive made in Asia pickups. I would adjust them to balance output. I would buy two new pickups. However, if you like what they do after they are properly adjusted, play on.
     
  17. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    "Cheapest mod, since you love the bridge pickup tone (and the mated volume pot) is get a 0.047uF cap like is on the tone pot"

    There is no .047 cap on the tone pot. The only cap in there is an .033.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Ive analyzed a Tele neck pickup like this one http://www.tdpri.com/threads/160-chinese-telecopy.693627/ , not only is the cover brass, but there are steel pole pieces in the core, so the eddy current losses caused by this pickup are the most extreme of any pickup I've tested before or since. In the plot below, the lines that slope downwards are the covered neck pickup.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. slauson slim

    slauson slim Friend of Leo's

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    Bag the whole set up. Twang Kings, OVs or SD STR-1 and STL-1 are good trad tele p/u replacements, 250K pots and .047 cap.
     
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  20. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Afflicted

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    This.

    +1 for SD STR-1 and STL-1 (even better: STL-1b)

    STR-1 has a drawn brass cover, though. And is a little dark (though I found it complex and compelling and a great match for a tele bridge pickup).

    I swapped some cheap pickups in an Affinity tele for a SD vintage broadcaster set and it made the prettiest tones of any tele I've ever played. Covers a lot of ground. And is worth the money, if you like how the guitar plays.
     
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