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Question to all Baja Tele owners about bridge pickup.

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Rusty Stauffer, Oct 7, 2018.

  1. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    Experts: I’ve got a new-ish Baja tele and somehow the bridge pickup will not “fatten up” with overdrive, especially the unwound strings. Some bridge pickups fight distortion and I am guessing this is one of those.

    Context: I use a moderately driven fender amp with either a klon or a ts9. I have had other tales that do get fatter with volume/drive on the bridge pickup. I’d note that this particular Baja is brighter than others I’ve tried out — it’s just got a more treble voice than others. Neck pickup sounds wonderful no matter how I adjust the amp ... it distorts well too. I like a tele to sound clean at moderate guitar volume, fattening up at full guitar volume. My signal chain is simple and my amp does what I ask of it with my strat for example.

    Anyone else have this challenge? If so what did you do to get more growl out of the bridge pickup? I prefer not to swap pickups (I’ve had more bad than good outcomes doing so) but suspect it’s the only option short of selling the guitar.
     

  2. JMac52

    JMac52 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    57
    47
    Apr 26, 2018
    Mesa, AZ
    Have you tried adjusting the height of your bridge pickup? I love my Baja bridge, but I do remember fiddling with it a bit...
     
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  3. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    Yes tried it low-ish and also high. Volume changed, not the tone though. Note I play bridge pickup with tone down over halfway to reduce high end. That usually gives nice p-90 sort of growl when driven.
     

  4. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lewes De.
    Thats the darkest Tele Bridge p-up I ve heard, odd its trebly . Is it just the guitars natural tone, or could the bridge p-up be not a Baja ?
    Mines soundstage, or dimensionality, or bigness of sound seems to be nothing outstanding. I like the tone, but the Twisted Tele Neck just has a more "here and its important" vibe that it lacks. I love the Series position 4 so much I'm going to live w its slight blahness.

    Due to the wiring scheme its connected w the coil finish grounded instead of the normal coil start , so that can make a difference. I have a p-up that sounded good clean, connected eitherway , but w distortion only Start grounded. I m making a Baja from a Baja neck and a loaded body, but I plan on switching the Bridge's leads so its Start grounded to see if it helps its stage presence.
    To hear the different connections use the push phase button while its on Neck Only position. With a higher wind p-up like the Bridge its more noticible
     

  5. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    I hear you. I’ve tried a couple others that sound closer to your description. Agree exactly your view on neck pickup.

    And yes it’s stock Baja bridge pickup. Thinking it’s just a weird bridge pickup I got and it’s likely going back to store for refund.
     

  6. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    ....in fact I’ve ordered several, and sent back several tele’s from the same online shop....each had a real issue. Won’t name the shop as I don’t want to influence others who had better outcomes. But with how well I know Telecaster sounds (played them for almost 50 years) I’m shying away from the shop in future.
     

  7. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    Your choice of words describing the pickups is so on-target. The neck pickup has real authority. The bridge less so ...not awful just middle of the road.
     
    Teleterr likes this.

  8. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    Rusty, I think the bridge pickup is somewhat the way it is, so it does well at Series and some of these out of phase and partially out of phase settings. Personally I kinda like a bridge pickup that resists going heavily in the very direction you're trying to go. My impression is, the pickup that would be perfect for your needs when used alone, would sound like a soggy mess when wired in Series.

    I hope you can find a 50s Baja in stock form someplace, you can play as a Measuring Stick - to see if your pickup is messed up. I've got seven of these Bajas and the bridge pickup is pretty consistent I would say - but my playing is way over on the clean side.
     
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  9. caliban335

    caliban335 Tele-Afflicted

    May 4, 2007
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Is this a 50s or 60s Baja?
     

  10. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    51
    Mar 5, 2009
    Georgetown, TX
    Good question.
     
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  11. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    It’s a 50s model in blonde / butterscotch made in 2017
     

  12. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    - Thanks that’s good info. I take your point about needing certain qualities to mix well in multi pickup settings. I also have been considering how I always need to clean up my tone when gigging in order to cut through, else the guitar gets lost in the mix. So yes, there are some clear advantages with the stock pickup.
     

  13. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    .....I’ve also been considering that the other tele I have includes the grease bucket tone, which I use mainly to tame the bridge pickup. It seems like it does a better job of reducing high end without giving the impression of more mud/bass...in other words it concentrates lower tone settings to the midrange tones which is just what I want in a driven bridge pickup.

    Now I know a lot of you good folks don’t care for the grease bucket but when used for the sole purpose of taming a shrill, driven bridge pickup it does the trick in my estimation.
     

  14. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    Ps: I want to add a thanks for all the smart and friendly people who often help me on this forum. A guy who has played 50 years can still learn (a lot) from other players in a kind and insightful way on this forum. Which amazes me because when I go into a local guitar store, the people there almost never know nearly as much as I do.
     

  15. caliban335

    caliban335 Tele-Afflicted

    May 4, 2007
    Cleveland, Ohio
    The bridge pickup on the 50s Baja has been marketed as being based on the original Broadcaster. I thought the bridge pickup on my 2007 Baja was plenty fat & beefy. That said, specs can morph over time, so who knows what's installed in your guitar. Suggestions to modify the pickup height are a good idea.
     

  16. qblue

    qblue Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 12, 2009
    Clarks Summit, PA
    I would hope your amp has a midrange control that is in the overdrive circuit on your amp. Use it, turn it up. This should help.
     

  17. Teleterr

    Teleterr Friend of Leo's

    Feb 7, 2011
    Lewes De.
    7 Bajas ?! Why so many ?
    I ve noticed that due to the Neck and Bridge p-ups being different on Teles which p-up is grounded can make a quite noticible difference in sound when they are in series. In general, and in the Baja, w the Bridge grounded you get a Mids emphasis. I plan on setting up mine for grounded Neck thru Bridge also. That should give both more bass and treble and air, if it holds true to past results w other Teles. You re right about series mud problems, the Bridge may have been better by itself w more windings during the test phase of its development, but they had to sacrifice that somewhat to get the great series sound.
     

  18. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    All: So here’s where I stand after the advice. (And thanks!).

    First, I got used to the idea that this bridge pickup is not going to get very fat and dirty. It has girth and fullness though. Accepted it for what it is. Did in fact increase the midrange a bit too. But.... the B string still had a whiny overtone — think of a sitar sound but less prominent. The string unamplified sounds fine, action is high and neck has proper relief. It also sounds fine in ALL other pickup settings. So it’s not the guitars voice, it’s either the bridge pickup itself or the amp (or combination of the two).

    Since the Katana amp has deep EQ abilities built in, I reduced the high end cutoff to just over 5k. It’s not a hard cutoff, but rolls off highs progressively as frequency increases. That fixed the issue for me. Also This made no detectable difference In any other pickup setting so its a perfect surgically targeted kind of fix.

    If I was using a tube amp I’d just use an EQ pedal to roll of the very top frequencies.

    So all is well that ends well. Thanks again for your insights.
     
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  19. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    Ps: I notice other solid state amps also tend for the unwound strings to sound good clean, sound good-ish distorted, but sound a bit whiny just a bit overdriven.
     
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  20. Rusty Stauffer

    Rusty Stauffer TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    60
    Nov 27, 2016
    Canyon Lake, Texas
    Well....new day, fresh ears. B string still really sounds whiny like a sitar. No use fooling ones self.

    I went to a gear store and played another Baja (boat anchor weight) and the bridge pickup sounded better on all strings. Also I adjusted bridge pickup in store and the tone really responded to pickup height. My own Baja bridge PU does not respond to height except to get louder. The store model is too heavy (and awful Nut cut), thus that one stays in the store.

    So I suppose there is some weird voodoo in the wood resonance or bridge pickup itself on the one I purchased — but she’s going back now that I know they aren’t all like that. Now I get to ship her back to store what a pain.

    Special thanks to Boris Bubbanov for his sage advice.
     

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