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Adjectives fail me…

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by LGOberean, Mar 1, 2021.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    @Fuelish I do recognize and have acknowledged--in my OP and further comments--the subjective nature of the topic. And, yes, It is a dilemma, Gil, and it does go beyond just descriptions of this type of neck pickup.

    And as I said, I'm only hoping that this discussion will help clarify my thinking on what best describes to my mind the tone I hear from vintage style single coil Tele neck pickups. And if I can achieve that degree of clarity for myself, or even get close to it, then I will be better equipped to explain and/or clarify my point in discussion.

    After all, we don't use smoke signals for communication here, do we? :twisted: We gotta use words. Words and their definitions are what we must use to have a discussion, or else we will have no discussion forum.

    Yes, that can be problematic. Already in this thread we have had Aussies, Canadians and those from the UK commenting. So we have speakers communicating in English as their native tongue. Meanwhile, I'm down here talkin' Texan. :twisted: Point being, there are dialectical differences between us even when we are supposedly speaking the same language. Still, although the use of terminology may not be a perfect form of communication, it is the best chance we have for discussion...the exchange of ideas...communicating with one another.

    And so I am determined to press on, again only looking for clarity of thought for myself.
     
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  2. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    Good point. Traditionally, Fender's Tele neck pickups have a chromed brass cover that rolls off a lot of the top end. To me, that's a muffled or blanketed sound. If it's what you need, it's perfect and no other pickup really nails that tone. It's what Leo thought would make the Tele cover more sonic ground.

    Fender's modern Tele neck pickups, even the ones that are 'traditional' models have a chromed nickel-silver silver cover that doesn't roll of so much top end. These pickups have more top end detail and are my preference. I can always twist the tone control to get the rolled off tone.

    By the way, nickel-silver has no silver in it and is a copper, nickel, zinc alloy that can be stamped or drawn into shapes like a cover.
     
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  3. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    You're right, Larry.....we DO have to try and use words to describe things. The only other way would be to use actual sound clips, but that wouldn't always work because we may HEAR things differently.
    Sadly, all I can often say about a pickup is, "I like it" or "I don't"......;)
     
  4. Randypttt

    Randypttt Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Hey, this is a real can of worms, aint it LG.

    I have a hard time believing that most people responding only hear one type of tone. I have 3 Tele's and two of them sound similar but the 3rd doesn't sound like them at all.

    My 85 MIJ got a Twisted Tele neck pickup a couple years ago. The original sounded like pure mud. No real tone at all. And it wasn't the wiring coz I stuck that harness in my CV50 when it's pots started dying, and all was divine.

    Most reviews of the Twisted claimed they were Strat like. I wouldn't say that but I loved the tone. It's like playing in front of the sound hole on a good jumbo acoustic.
    As soon as I popped it in I realized it sounded just like the one in my CV50. If I'd known...:twisted:

    Now my American Special sounds more like a PAF with less bottom end and brighter highs.
    Nothing like the Twisted. At all. Apart from still being a single coil.

    I wish I could A/B the CV and the MIJ but the CV is an Esquire now. They may not sound so much alike but I wont know anytime soon.

    And check it out @nojazzhere, apart from using 'mud' to describe a toneless pickup I avoided all those adjectives that seem to crawl up your skin :). Just razzin ya man;) I feel your pain. Sometimes I'd like to be one of those that sees music as color. How cool is that?
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2021
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  5. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    If u have just bought some, new expensive pups, then it sounds.... Squishy :)

    If u are trying a cheap Chinese Tele, it sounds..... Squishy :(
    .
     
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  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    chocolatey

    if they're A5 magnets, they have a hint of Madagascar cinnamon
     
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  7. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

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    Warm and woody.
     
  8. Woollymonster

    Woollymonster Tele-Meister

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    There. Problem solved.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Boomhauer

    Boomhauer Friend of Leo's

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    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia

    There are actual physics at work that make pickups sound different depending on where they sit in relation to the nodes and antinodes in the strings. There are actual physics at work between the magnetic fields between the magnets and coils within the pickup that cause different sounds as well.

    The descriptors get weird, meaningless, and gross over time.
     
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  10. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    And, at least for me, it's not that I don't hear differences in pickups (and p/up placement).....it's the descriptive words people use to describe those differences.
    @ndcaster nailed the silliness just above. It's definitely the same as wine snobs or "art-speak". ;)
     
  11. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    I went with that option going on 13 years ago...

    My Logan Custom mahogany, 2008 - front.jpg

    And I really like having that tonal option. It offers a distinctive sound, and I use that guitar when it's called for. But that doesn't really solve the problem, because I don't find it as versatile as the traditional tele neck pickup offering. Like I said, I like the vintage style tele single coil neck pickup. I'm not trying to avoid it; I'm trying to describe it.
     
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  12. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    now i must confess, i am not a large tele friend ( i think) because the tele i had was a chinese copy and the pickups were crap.
    so i made it fit strat pickups and at the neck a L280.

    but i have had the microcoil with adjustable pole pieces, and man, that was a winner to me.
    warm, full, articulate dynamic, and no way the idea it had a blanket covering the sound.
    if i would buy a tele neck pup, than this one again
    but i can understand the most don't like the looks
     
  13. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    We do have to have some way to convey the characteristics we hear. We do that with many things in life, trying to describe what we perceive even though our perceptions are subjective and our descriptions are imprecise.
     
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  14. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    Yes, compression in this case is reduction of dynamics. It's a subtle, but discernable characteristic of the classic Tele neck pickup design. It can be used to good effect when you want that characteristic.
     
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  15. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I have been told that the English language is quite limited in adjectives and perhaps that is why we have a difficult time explaining these things. So, I propose that we invent a few adjectives.

    The obvious one would be "telenecky". I think everyone here could relate more about that adjective than "chocolatey". Perhaps then we can add warm telenecky or chimey telenecky for different single coils in the neck position of the tele.

    Anyway, just a thought.
     
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  16. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    Set aside the dulling brass chrome plated neck pickup covers used in the first Teles, as well as the original wiring circuit that served Leo’s idea of serving as a bass guitar. By the way~ Hound Dog Taylor couldn’t afford to pay a bass player, so his trio included a Tele player who filled that role ~ and filled it well.

    A neck pickup with a nickle silver cover, and the modern wiring circuit is a thing of beauty.(subjective word alert!)
    It would be objectively helpful to see a graph of Tele pickup output. My ears tell me that the difference between neck and bridge would then be clear without having to resort to subjective descriptors.

    Try performing solo on a Telecaster. I mean solo as in the only instrument on stage. The neck pickup is going to provide a wider range of frequencies than the bridge. And you will likely find that wider frequency much more versatile as well as avoiding the spike of high frequencies.

    By contrast, in a band context, at decent volume, the higher frequency range of the bridge pickup can allow you to find a sonic space that other instruments are not already crowding.
     
  17. allesz

    allesz Tele-Holic

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    Hey let me try!

    Squishy Is not bad btw, but I would also say Natural and simple; it could be seen in bad way of course, sometimes It can be too simple and Natural :)

    But I like a lot my tele neck pick up... And it's a twang king btw: natural, simple (not too much) and rubbery. What do you think about rubbery? In a good way of course :)
     
  18. Collin D Plonker

    Collin D Plonker Tele-Afflicted

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    Better
     
  19. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    I got into pickup electrical measurements because I was sick of all these adjectives and the subjectivity of it all.

    Compared to a Strat pickup...

    - A Tele neck pickup has 43 AWG instead of 42 AWG, that makes no difference. A Strat and Tele neck pickup usually have about the same turn count of wire and inductance values.

    - A Tele neck pickup has flat pole pieces, that does make a difference, it reduces the amplitude of the G and D relative to a Strat, especially when contrasting a 7.25 radius Tele with a 9.5" Strat.

    - Tele neck pickups have a cover, it the cover is brass, eddy currents cause a loss of trebles, as though the tone control were turned down to "7". Seymour Duncan and some import pickups use brass, most domestic makers use nickel silver, which has low eddy currents by comparison. Combine a brass cover with 250k pots and a 7.25 radius, the result can be a very dark sounding neck.

    That's about the extent of the difference. A reason Tele neck pickups can be perceived differently is because whether the cover is made of brass or not makes a big difference in whether the tone will be clean and clear, or dark and jazzy, but since both are chrome plated, you can't tell which it is just by looking. Some people can love Tele neck pickups, some can hate them, but we never know if we're loving and hating the same things. Personally, I hate brass covers and the muddiness they cause, I'll either replace the whole pickup or just the cover. Nickel silver covers can be bought for under $10, which is cheaper than a whole new pickup. Increasing the volume and tone pots to 500k will also help mitigate the eddy current attenuation, but then the bridge pickup will be too bright in turn, unless you put a resistor across it to bring it back down to 250k across.
     
  20. gcdcpakmbs

    gcdcpakmbs TDPRI Member Gold Supporter

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    I'm a noob and a novice. As a matter of fact, extreme novice (whatever that means). I'm currently shopping for my first electric guitar. Maybe that describes how novice. One of the issues raised by OP is 'what do different adjectives sound like?'. Although adjectives add significant emotion in literature, they are quite subjective. And therefore you don't get definitive answers from them. It may be that the most accurate way would be to have (toys, devices, appliances, tools) that gave you a detailed picture of the sound wave produced over a particular time. Then you could describe the shapes of the waves for each different pickup given particular settings and driven by a particular amp / effects. But then everyone would have to have those tools, and be well versed enough in interpreting those waves with those tools for that to be of use. Meanwhile, the current method while not providing solid answers does in fact provide entertainment and stimulation. If genuinely trying to be helpful, the more technical you can be I think is more helpful. Terms you find on a digital soundboard (like 'compression') are helpful if you've got access to a soundboard. Or if you could relate the tone to something that happens with a given pedal, or effect. But I amble, excuse please.
     
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