17 years' Tele ownership - now I get it

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Thoughtfree, Feb 27, 2020.

  1. Thoughtfree

    Thoughtfree TDPRI Member

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    I bought a new American Deluxe Tele in 2003, played it at party and bar gigs for years. Stuck it in the closet around '12 when I gave up loud bands. A nice-playing guitar, it sounded good through my JC-77. But I never got a jazz sound I liked. Rather, the imbalance between the neck and bridge pickup volume frustrated me, big time. I mostly stayed in the center position, pushing in the S1 switch if I needed a loud solo sound. Strats and Gibsons, the pickups' volume balanced. But not this guitar. It seemed wrong to mess with the pickup heights too much.

    Yesterday for the first time in three years I pulled the Telecaster out. Now I get it. The Tele is all about the bridge pickup. Balance between the two pickups is not relevant to this guitar. Now I am playing jazz on the bridge pickup with a little tone control rolloff - clear, bright, focused sound. I thought about adding a HB to the neck position but no - better to do that with a cheapo or a new build.

    Anyway - it took a long time, but now I understand the Tele "thing" better...
     
  2. TeleTex82

    TeleTex82 Friend of Leo's

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    Those come with the Noiseless pickups right? Switch the neck for something like a Twisted Tele or a Cavalier.
     
  3. FrostyMorn

    FrostyMorn TDPRI Member

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    Such a versatile tool, the Telecaster. For the style I play, it's all about the neck pickup!
     
  4. tah1962

    tah1962 Tele-Afflicted

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    The Strat was my primary guitar for years. About 5 years ago I started playing Teles as my primary guitar. I love them both both 70% of the time I’ll grab one of my Teles.
     
  5. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Meister

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    I think your reluctance to 'mess with' the pickup height is limiting the versatility of your Tele. There are adjustment screws for a reason. I mean, what would it hurt to spend 15 minutes to balance them out, maybe keep the bridge a wee bit louder? Completely reversible. Or maybe you are an esquire player and don't know it yet? Experiment.
     
  6. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Afflicted

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    Time for an Esquire mate!
     
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Put a Strat pickup in the neck.
    Add a 4-way switch for series humbucker tones.

    Before those mods:

    You may have your bridge pickup too high. Measure where you are at so you can go back if you need to. Lower the neck pickup as much as you can without it falling off the screws, lower your bridge pickup until volume parity with the neck. May need to raise the neck pu some. Turn up the amp. Let your ears settle in over a couple days playing before you adjust again.

    Best tones are lower pickups.

    .
     
    Fendereedo likes this.
  8. Tony Forman

    Tony Forman Tele-Meister

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    You can open up the neck pickup (sonically) on a Tele by just having just the bridge pickup going through the tone control. That way you can balance both pickups volume wise by adjusting their relative heights, and you can balance them tonally by rolling off some highs on the bridge pickup.
     
    Fendereedo likes this.
  9. ClashCityTele

    ClashCityTele Tele-Afflicted

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    I recently raised the neck pup & lowered the bridge pup on my Tele'.
    Added a 4 way switch.
    Also, after 40 years I've learned how the use the tone control.
    It's a different guitar now.
     
    Chicago Matt likes this.
  10. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    I never gave the Telecaster a fair chance until around 5 years ago. Now I couldn't be without one. I love all three very different sounding switch positions on a basic Tele. I set mine so the bridge pickup is very slightly louder than the neck pickup. I'm on the neck pickup the most but use the other two positions as well. All three sound great for rhythm or soloing. The tele works for me like a Les Paul, but with more top end and clarity. I think every guitar player should have one.
     
  11. qblue

    qblue Tele-Afflicted

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    I have been a Tele lover when I got a Baja in 2007. I didn't stop playing that guitar for 7 years. Then in 2014 a lot of blues-ridden things happened. Like my drummer dying, and the group goes under. My best friend committed suicide, earlier in the year. So I got a chance to rediscover the other guitars I had.

    Still the Baja is the most gigged guitar I have. And if I wasn't playing so much in church lately, I would still play it as much.
     
  12. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a Deluxe Nashville Tele that has Vintage Noiseless pickups installed. Don't know if your American Deluxe is the 3-pickup or 2-pickup version. I know this. Those pickups were meant to work together. Mine has 1M ohm pots. I think the original American Deluxes had 250k pots. Those pickups really shine with 1M ohm pots and I have no balance issues.
     
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