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Advice On Telecaster Bought From Ebay Sounds Dark, Bad Soldering

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Placid Blue, Apr 23, 2021.

  1. Placid Blue

    Placid Blue TDPRI Member

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    I bought and American Standard Telecaster on eBay for £800 which I though was a good deal.

    It seems pretty good but after looking inside, the wiring and soldering looks bad. Do you think it is worth resoldering or replacing these parts?

    Another thing is I am not satisified with the sound as it seems pretty dark and not at all bright sounding even on the bridge pickup. I find myself turning the treble up full on the amp and it is still not bright enough, I guess you could say it is a but muddy and lacking detail.

    I think that could be due to the original pickups being replaced with a "Bare Knuckles Brown Sugar" set. But I am not sure because according to the Bare Knuckes website, these are meant to have a "characteristic bite in the high-end". Or do you think it could be the dodgy wiring and soldering done by the previous owner?

    What do you think I should do? I was thinking of replacing all the wiring first and seeing if that helps with the sound, or getting new pickups that are more like standard Telecaster pickups.
     

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  2. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

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    And that children is why we don't solder at the same time as smoking crack.

    If it was mine and sounded great, that wiring would still have to be redone. I couldn't live knowing that mess was under the cover.

    I'd start with cleaning up the wiring and see where that leaves me. If I still didn't like the sound then I'd look at the pickups.

    If nothing else, it's a reason to get an Electrosocket into your life.
     
  3. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't think it's the wiring unless it's a higher value cap.

    Do mess with the pickup height.

    But it could also be a dark pickup.
     
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  4. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater TDPRI Member

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    For a quick test, you could run pickup lead straight to the jack and get the direct signal. That way you could confirm it’s not a pickup issue.
     
  5. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    Well, the good news is that it looks like all your hardware is decent, so yeah... you just need to clean it up and prob put a better cap in it. Looks like someone's been monkeyin' around in there... Don't feel bad though, I bought a USA made LP Goldtop for a song on ebay several years ago and the wiring was all F'd up. I didn't complain though cause I got a smokin' deal on it. I ended up rewiring the entire guitar, including getting rid of the weak factory pots that were in it, and caps, and went full vintage 50's all the way. Cost me about 100 bucks to do all that, but it was worth it. You won't have those costs I don't think.

    I'm not familiar with those pups though, but someone out here might be?
     
  6. ElJay370

    ElJay370 Tele-Afflicted

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    That looks like a classic "Watched-A-YouTube-Video-And-Thinks-They're-A-Guitar-Tech-Now" job.

    Yeah, I'd tear all that out and start over.

    Doesn't look like anything's burned up, but something could be shorting out or not grounded properly somewhere and messing with the guitar's tone.
     
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  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    To fix tone problems:
    -adjust pickup heights (generally lower is better), bass/treble tip, screw poles if you have 'em
    -Measure and swap Pots 'n Caps. If that's a 250k volume pot you may do better with 500k. Lower uF tone cap value. Even a series cap if particularly muddy.
    -Last is swap pickups and go back to the top of the list.

    The soldering looks bad on the tone pot .. and usually you put the pickup ground wires to the back of the volume pot (but electrically it doesn't matter). The way the cap is soldered in and the other stuff with the sticker. I suspect the prior owner bought a pre-made wiring harness and then did some pickup swapping. It can be cleaned up. You'll want a 'solder sucker', under $10 on Amazon, to pull the excessive solder off.

    .
     
  8. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    Congrats on the new guitar. Re-wiring it first sounds like a good plan. The switch looks like it can be cleaned up and salvaged but I'd probably replace the pots. The Bare Knuckles Brown Sugar pickups don't seem like anything too extreme, aside from the price; around 7k6 DCR and A5 magnets. BTW, that big glob of solder on the bottom of the baseplate looks kind of hinkey. Might just be the picture but it could indicate an attempted repair. If you have a meter, see what the bridge pickup reads. Should be 7k6 for the bridge and 7k for the neck.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2021
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  9. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Looks like a nice guitar the soldering job though is terrible if you have a soldering iron and a solder sucker get that crap off the pot
    just do a standard wiring job and go from there to rule out any issues with the pickups and cap
    wiring standard.jpg
     
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  10. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

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    It shouldn't be dark sounding. I didn't try to trace how it's wired. Wire it like it's supposed to be.
    Those terrible wiring globs on the pots are what happens when you dont have a hot enough iron and dont use flux. A 40 watt iron and some flux will produce a smooth shiny glob in about 3 seconds without overheating the pot.
     
  11. Tuxedo Poly

    Tuxedo Poly Friend of Leo's

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    The original wiring would be Fender not Seymour Duncan. They both generally use different locations for the capacitor.

    This is a typical Fender wiring layout, no soldering on the tone pot case and all grounds commoned on the volume pot.

    Fender_Typical_Modern.jpg
     
  12. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

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    Drop the bass side of the pickup a turn away from the strings.

    If you fret the strings at the last fret, you want ballpark 2 and maybe 3 dimes from the treble string side of the neck pickup cover or high E pole piece.

    Almost always you want slightly more clearance on the bass side for a balanced nonmuddy tone.

    On the bass string side you want 3-4 dimes thickness between neck cover and bridge low E polepiece. This can vary depending on pickup output.

    Usually on a Tele you want more output from the bridge pickup but you don't want 'wolf tones' which is characterised by muddy distortion or tuning difficulty.
     
  13. lowatter

    lowatter Tele-Meister

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    From the BK website...

    "Bare Knuckle have partnered up with Capacitor masters Duelund Coherent Audio, to develop the next generation of our paper in oil tone capacitors.

    Our PIO capacitors offer a superb upgrade, giving you clear, defined response, right through the full range of your tone control.

    Available in three capacitance variants:

    0.022µF, for a great all-round response,

    0.015µF for a slightly brighter response, great for retaining clarity on a neck tone control,

    0.047µF for a darker tone, or for use with our 280kΩ potentiometers for use with single coil pickups"

    What's the cap value? I hope this helps. Nice guitar(I'm jealous).
     
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  14. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Rewire it nicely, see where you get to. Could be a bad joint or a mistake. When I’m feeling lazy I just buy the looms off Axesrus, then you just have the pickups to solder in. On paper you have a killer guitar there.
     
  15. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Get yourself a Tone Shaper kit, and start from fresh, that would be my course of action. That's shocking work.
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    That sloppy soldering doesn't shock me at all because I used to work as a guitar tech.
    Globs of solder don't darken tone either.
    Those pickups are darker but not THAT dark, though they look adjusted by eye rather than ear.

    Is the guitar dark toned when playing lead lines on the B and E strings?
    Or when more strumming full chords?

    Nice level looking pickups will have an overall big bassy tone with low volume plain strings.
    The pickups should be two to three times further from the low E than from the high E.

    Some strummers who like a big warm bassy chord sound seem to get away with level pickups, but it's WRONG!
     
  17. blues

    blues Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I would be tempted to just change the tone pot as opposed to getting that blob of solder off. All that solder he might have overeheated the pot. Maybe it's damaged?
     
  18. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    Solder can accumulate between the body of a pot and the lug's stem if you overdo it. One more thing to check out...
     
  19. myteleplaysjazz

    myteleplaysjazz Tele-Holic

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    That is a scary mess. Rip it out and start over.
     
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  20. Alex_C

    Alex_C Tele-Holic

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    this ^

    It looks like the bad solder was performed with a 15~25 watt iron, not hot enough to heat the large metal surface. Often, a low wattage iron will cause more damage to circuits because the heat is applied for long periods. I'd consider replacing the pot. If it were me, I'd replace all the control cavity electronics.
     
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