Anerican Special is BRIGHT.

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by pinkphiloyd, Oct 20, 2019.

  1. pinkphiloyd

    pinkphiloyd TDPRI Member

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    I picked up a 2017 American Special off of Reverb, and man is it bright. Is it the Texas Specials, or the brass saddles, or a combination of both? I've been playing with the P/U height with only minor improvements.
     
  2. Kezzell

    Kezzell TDPRI Member Ad Free Member

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    It’s probably not the saddles. Brass usually warms a tele up. Steel usually brightens a guitar up.
     
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  3. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Teles are bright guitars.
    But "bright" is subjective: one man's brightness is another mans muddiness :)
    Generally speaking the TS are HOT pickups and their high output might be perceived as "brightness".

    If anything brass saddles REDUCE brightness.
     
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  4. pinkphiloyd

    pinkphiloyd TDPRI Member

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    I've owned probably 10 tele's over the years. I don't know why I ever got away from them. This is supposed to be a "coming home" guitar for me. This is almost ice-picky.
     
  5. AlbertaGriff

    AlbertaGriff Tele-Afflicted

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    Try turning up the bass and turning down the treble and/or tone knob?

    What do you normally play?
     
  6. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Meister

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    If you are lowering the volume and it stays bright...or gets a little brighter, there might be a treble bleed on the volume knob. Depending on which type used, they can add some brightness.

    edit: are the pots 500K instead of 250k? That will really brighten up a Tele, to my ears make them a little harsh.
     
  7. rangercaster

    rangercaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    With any tele this always works for me ... Set your vol and tone knobs at 75-80 percent ... Start from there ... and adjust accordingly ... Only dime them when appropriate ... Took me years to figure this out ...
     
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  8. pinkphiloyd

    pinkphiloyd TDPRI Member

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    Duly noted. Now that I think about it that feels intuitively correct.


    I fiddled with the controls a bit and didn't notice much improvement. The EE in me wondered if someone had installed some weird cap or pot values control-wise. He also really doesn't have the time or drive to get in there and look right now and was hoping to hear "oh yes, those pickups are notoriously bright", or something along those lines. Ha ha. I'll check out the controls first chance I get.
     
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  9. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

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    I thought the same thing on mine. Ended up replacing the neck pickup with a Fralin High-Output bridge PUP. Thickened it up a bit, but it'll still twang pretty good.
     
  10. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

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    yeah, volume full up & tone full up is blizzard-of-nails territory. but both of them at three-quarters should be a nice usable tone. if not, maybe somebody has been messing with it. I had a thin line with 1meg pots, speaking of harsh. good luck.
     
  11. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Meister

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    My experience when recently buying a Strat was that the am specials weren't as warm and deep as the am standards. Oddly, the used am standard I bought had Texas specials in it, which I don't like and ended up swapping out. But it made for an apples to apples comparison, and there was no comparison to my ear.

    Are the specials using custom shop Texas specials? Or a cheaper alternative? I've heard people say both.
     
  12. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

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    Its the pups
     
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  13. Bowpickins

    Bowpickins Tele-Meister

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    I've only tried the Tele model, but I currently own an American Special Strat. I'm thinking it might be the tone circuit they put in those guitars. If I recall correctly: the American Specials are wired up with the "Grease Bucket Tone Circuit". They add in a cap to the volume pot so it bleeds in treble as you roll down the volume knob. There are also capacitors on the tone knob so you can roll off the treble without adding bass. o_O
    I took the stock Texas Special pickups out after I played a few gigs with that guitar. Those pickups just didn't cut through no matter what I did to the amp Eq, pickup height, tone control settings. They were bright, too. I had to mod the wiring to get the middle pickup on a tone pot.
    Have G&L MFD pickups in it, right now, and they work great, but I'm liking traditional alnico pickups again after modding my MIM Telecaster. The American Specials do play nice, though. I like the way they feel in the hand. :)
     
  14. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    If its ice picky, then something’s rong.

    Relative to other Fender Tele AlNiCo neck pickups, the TS is warm with some high end definition, probably due to the nickel silver cover. Arguably, it’s one of Fender’s most versatile Tele neck pickups. It isn’t a bright pickup.

    The TS bridge pickup has a in-your-face midrange and lends itself to rock or hard blues. It has more bang than twang. It’s not a bright pickup.

    They’re way too high and harsh, or way too low and don’t reproduce enough low end, or the volume pots are more than 250K Ohm, or you have mystery miswiring #7.
     
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  15. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    It would be a mistake to assume that Texas Special T pickups and Texas Special S pickups have all that much in common. The T versions respond slowly to changes in height and the S versions are trigger happy; real hard to dial in.

    I vote, that the previous owner(s) have monkeyed with this Am Special. I've never ran across one that was "all out" bright. The only thing I can think of that would bend this model towards brightness is, the super jumbo frets. Everything else cuts back the other way, towards warmth.
     
  16. Irondog

    Irondog TDPRI Member

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    I specifally bought it because it was bright, I have 2017 American special as well Tesas special custom shops (standard in 2017). I run the tone or volume around just less than 10, ~9 takes the edge off perfectly. It is very dependent on your amplifier and speaker as well. I run it thru the Hiwatt DR103 on Helix just perfect nasty snarl.
    Highest treble EQ pickup fender makes.
    Try different Amp if the wiring is unmolested as we suspect.
    [​IMG]
     
  17. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    Check the value of the volume pot...s/b 250K, as should the tone pot. Maybe some twang freak installed a 500K pot.
     
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  18. PCollen

    PCollen Friend of Leo's

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    I had the TS-S's in my 97 Roadhouse Strat and had to set them way low to get the tone I wanted. They were harsh when set high and really prone to causing stratitis. The '14 Am Special with TS-T's were much more forgiving.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2019
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  19. pinkphiloyd

    pinkphiloyd TDPRI Member

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    I just wanted to say thanks to everyone and I'm not ignoring anyone's suggestions or advice. On top of everything else I already had going on, my house sits right in the path of this:

    [​IMG]

    so I've been dealing with the fallout from that. Maybe someday in this lifetime I'll get a chance to investigate this guitar and see what's going on.
     
  20. Aaron1061

    Aaron1061 Tele-Holic

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    i will tell you something ive learned pretty recently..

    pots are extremely inaccurately produced. most have like a 30% tolerance. that is crazy. and could account for most difference in guitars that otherwise are identical. you could have a tele with 325k pots.
     
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