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An embarrasing question for a man to ask... (about tone)

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Gaz_, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    So, as a few of you may have seen, I built myself a 12 string telecaster, here's the thread for that https://www.tdpri.com/threads/new-member-just-finished-my-first-tele-build.963810/

    I am really and truly an acoustic rhythm guitarist. The 12 string element came when my band started playing live. We'd always been two acoustic guitars with a bassist and a drummer. The lead guitarist decided to play his strat when we got gigs, so I went to the 12 string to add some more middle. But that 12 string acoustic is on it's last legs, and as we don't really gig anymore I got fed up of endless feedback in practise rooms, so I built my tele 12.

    Unfortunately, I'm struggling with it at practises. Although truth be told, I've never been very good at setting up my own sound. I have the best of intentions, but then as soon as the drummer starts up everything seems to go out of the window, it all needs to be louder and I can barely hear it anyway. I've read alot on the internet about settings for 12 strings. But for the most part, they talk about the byrds and The Beatles, which are amazing BUT I don't think they're not using the 12s as rhythm guitars.

    So here is how I play, this is a sample of an ep we recorded. My guitar part is just the acoustic 12 string with a mic infront of it.



    I'm not sacred about it, and I'd like to get abit more twang in now I have a tele! But mostly I am looking for quite a bright sounding rhythm guitar especially as I mainly play open chords.

    So I thought I'd get a wider audience to help me dial everything in. I'd love to go into the next practise with two or three settings to try.

    Equipment wise, these are what I currently have. The amp is a fender deville at the practice room. Basic setup.PNG

    Anything can be moved, or taken out, I'm easy really.

    If you were going to play this rig, how would you set it up?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Poster Extraordinaire

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    Turn off the compressor, chorus and Reverb. Tweak the amp to an “almost there” setting, and use the EQ pedal to boost your mids and highs.

    Then (judiciously) add compression, if it is still lacking.

    Keep that chorus pedal turned off.

    Just my humble opinion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  3. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    All opinions are great! And I'll try almost anything.

    I haven't actually tried all those pedals with the 12, mainly I've just been using the compression (again, the only thing you'll find suggested if you look up 12 string electrics). I just put them on the list because I own them. Then again, I also own a dunlop crybaby but didn't list that. But I digress...
     
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  4. dough

    dough TDPRI Member

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    This might not be relevant advice, but have you considered an acoustic simulator pedal as an added flavor? I'm primarily an electric player but found a Boss pedal that I use straight into the PA when the song calls for an acoustic.

     
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  5. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    Song sounds kind of Jefferson Airplane-y

    IMO you just dont need to use a Chorus on a 12 string, as it is literally a Chorus ( multiple voices in a 'slightly out of tune unison ') effect by nature.
     
  6. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    It's an interesting idea Dough. I guess I'd been trying to move away from the acoustic side slightly, and add abit more edge, but as the song we have were written on an acoustic it might be a nice halfway. Plus I've found a behringer one so I can keep the matching set!

    That;s a fantastic band to be compared too. Thank you very much! And yeah, I'd have to agree with you there it can get pretty crowded. Especially as it's strummed.
     
  7. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    It might also help to see a picture of your 12-string telecaster. There are at least two main different ways as to which way you string a 12-string (high octave first or second for each course with an octave string) and it could make a difference depending on how you play. I'm not recommending one or the other as the only way to go - just something to think about and try.

    In other words, just using the low E string as an example - some 12-strings have the high octave part of the pair first, in terms of being closer to your downstroke and some have the low, standard tuned string first. Here are photos (headstocks only) of the examples:
    A Takamine acoustic 12 string with the high octave on the upside (from a right-hand perspective):
    Takamine acoustic 12.jpg

    and here's a Ricky 12, the other way around:
    Ricky 12 headstock.jpg

    Does it make a difference? If you're doing a lot of hard, fast strumming, maybe not much at all.

    But one thing that makes a 12-string standout (and IMO, particularly electrics) is not the strumming, but picking individual notes in a finger-picking pattern. Might not fit a whole song, but where you want a 12 string part to shine, single notes will signify that 12-string sound very quickly. In a band mix, the strumming can/might get a little muddy and lost. And I agree with the posts above - if you've got chorus or reverb on, you're only going to add to the mud with a strumming background.

    So consider the different ways a lot of acoustics are strung vs. the electrics and maybe work on picking patterns (if you use a flat pick) that emulate a finger-picking pattern - where you might want to use the 12-string for a fill or for establishing different sections of a song.
     
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  8. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    I’d ditch all those pedals and work on the basic sound. Reverb, chorus will just wash it all out.

    Turn up the amp master as loud as it can go and then use the volume input to get as clean / loud as it can get/need/bear.

    Fiddle with the treble tone and presence controls for the sweet jangle spot.

    I play an electric mandolin occasionally which has similar demands and I use a pick to highlight note pairs in runs between chords and to keep the attack.
     
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  9. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    20190630_1139022.jpg

    It's the non-ric stringing. I've been toying with the idea of cutting a ric style nut the right size, but at the moment I'll settle for flat wround strings and better machine heads.

    That sounds a reasonable way of going about it. Another one on the list to try!
     
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  10. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd ask what pickups you put in the guitar and what pickup setting you use.

    If you're using the neck pickup and it's a brass covered or generally typical muddy toned Tele neck pickup that might be part of the problem.
    While many or most players seem to go to the neck pickup for rhythm playing, IME you can get great clearer rhythm tones with the bridge pickup if you adjust the amp to that pickup.
    Tweak to taste but when you need cut and clarity the Tele bridge pickup is a great place to find it.
     
  11. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    The neck pickup is a Sentell singlecoil, 9.34k ohms with a ceramic magnet and adjustable slugs. The bridge is a 2014(ish) fender american standard, but as the output doesn't match at all, I'm swapping that for a Q pickup, which has been wound out of 42 wire to give 7 k ohms with alnico 3s.

    I tend to play on the neck at the moment, as it comes through alot clearer than the bridge pickup. But I have had to be picking either/or as the difference in outputs is hilarious.
     
  12. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    Might want to try round wound for a change, as well - rather than flat wound.
     
  13. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    It's got roundwounds at the moment, I've got flatwounds to fit at the weekend. I'm just intrigued by them at this point really, it's not something I've ever tried.
     
  14. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

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    OK so IMO that neck pickup needs to go in the parts bin and be replaced by something with way less resistance, assuming the 9.34k reading is a coil of typical 43awg wire, where a stock already darkish Tele neck pickup has more like 7k of 43awg wire on it.
    Could be 44awg but regardless of the specs it's not working for you, PLUS you say the neck pickup has way more output than the bridge pickup.
    Could also be that you adjusted the pickup heights badly, or in fact you did indeed adjust them badly if the result is that the neck is louder than the bridge.
    If the pickups are just too incompatible it will be hard to get them to balance though.
    First you could lower the neck pickup as far as possible and raise the bridge pickup as far as possible to see if they will volume balance.

    Or simply ignore the neck pickup, raise the bridge pickup a bit paying close attention to getting the bottom strings the same volume as the high strings, then dial in your amp for the bridge pickup.Note that setting the pickup to balance volume between the high strings and the low strings will put the pickup at an angle where it looks crooked. Because the wound strings have more mass than the high strings, the pickup needs to be further from the wound strings to get balanced output, resulting in an angled height adjustment. A starting point is setting the pickup one nickel from the high E and two nickles from the low E, then adjust from there.
    And don't flip to the neck pickup if it's still too loud!

    Really the first thing to do is get the guitar you assembled set up properly.

    It's also worth noting that the bridge is further back than a correct fitment Tele, as well as the gu=ard having some fitment issues, suggesting that the whole build is made with parts that are not really high quality.

    Specifically the bridge placed too far from the neck due to a body that's drilled a little off with result in the saddles having to be moved closer to the pickup, which makes the tone of the bridge pickup thinner and harsher.
    It might still dial in good tones, but the guitar has some issues which I'm guessing is where your problems reside.

    I bought a couple of cheap Sentell pickups and did not like the sound of them despite their being spec'd how I should like the sound.
    Either way, a 9.34k neck pickup is not generally what we want for clear rhythm tone.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
  15. LunarSlingShot

    LunarSlingShot Tele-Holic

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    Master volume doesn’t control the clean channel on the deville, just the drive channel
     
  16. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    Currently, the neck is as low as possible, and the bridge is as high as possible, and I'm no where near a balance! Which is why I'm swapping the bridge for a Q pickup on 42 wire with 7 kOhm, to hopefully balance out.

    If this doesn't work, then the neck pickup is coming out, I just thought I'd try this first as like I say, the pickup has some lovely clarity in a 10w practise amp on clean. You are probably right though, I just liked the idea of the adjustable slugs for a final set up.

    The whole guitar is from a gear4music kit originally, but I swapped out the pickguard and bought a white one. That then didn't really fit around the larger neck and the larger bridge so I did a few tweaks to get it around about. I did check the scale length when I first got the kit, but I'll check again what I get home. I think the gap is just a case of the pickguard being wrong. (Hopefully)!
     
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  17. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr Tele-Meister

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    I would turn off all the pedals and focus on getting a good tone from the amp and guitar, first. Remember that tone playing solo and tone playing with a group are different. With a group you need to fit into the overall ensemble and not battle for frequency ranges. By yourself you need it to sound full.

    Guitar lives in the mid range. A middle control is something I always use a lot. Sometimes I take out all the mids sometimes I boost them. Remember the other guitars are also going to be in that frequency range. Make room or take room in the freq spectrum....depends on the situation.

    One thing I learned very early on is that playing with a bass player and drummer you don't need a lot of bass on guitar. Otherwise you end up fighting for the low end which gives you mud. On Fender amps (BF/SF with huge bass) with a mid control I roll all the bass off and have the mid on 7-10.

    Pedals should be used to fix a problem or enhance your basic tone with just guitar and amp, added as needed to provide a color or texture. EQ pedals should be used to change the sound temporarily, like a boost for a solo. I would never use it as part of your normal tone unless I was correcting a problem.

    BTW I love, love, love the tele 12 string. Great idea
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2019
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  18. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    Love 12 strings absolutely hate tuning them
    The replies here make sense too much effects will bury it you want to get that sounding right in your face to compete with them drums
     
  19. jim777

    jim777 Tele-Meister

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    Everything above sounds great, just a reminder than in general time delays like choruses sound best after the preamp and in the effects loop.
     
  20. Gaz_

    Gaz_ Tele-Meister

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    I've checked, it's just the pickguard! Every other dimension ties up, but it was worth checking. When i put the two together the pickguard looks funky though!
    20190912_183313.jpg
    I reckon I've got some good ideas now though, thank you everyone! I might end up being a pickup issue, but it'll be fun working it out!
     
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