Anyone have a Mex Blacktop tele?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Craig Williams, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams TDPRI Member

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    Picked one of these up today secondhand good price. Set it all up and put some new strings on it tonight. The HB pick ups seem to be very high output to the point where it is giving a slightly muddy / distorted output though my Fender Super champ (clean channel) on 3. Like the output of the guitar is overdriving the amp even at low volumes.

    I am going to lower the pick ups a bit tomorrow but to be honest they look pretty low now.

    Does anyone own one of these can give me some advice on your set up. From what I see very good reviews. I always have my volume knob on full. Perhaps with these guitars do you need to back the volume / output off a bit? I have never been a fan of Fender HB but these were pretty highly rated on the net and I didn't have a chance to play it before I bought it.

    I must say I have had Mex Fenders before and I really like them. To me they are more the feel of a 90's USA Fender which may sound good or bad to some. The new guitars are gorgeous no doubt but just a bit too perfect for me tonally and structurally. Very bulky feel to me. No character.

    I am starting to see the differences though. The wood and construction, paint etc lovely. Hardware my god. Nearly every screw is at best rusty, most have the heads worn out of them. 2 of the saddles are rusted up and allen key hole stripped. The tuner posts are corroded and the nuts holding the string posts on chrome flaking off and rusty. Nickel pick up covers really tarnished and wont polish up. I understand these are a lesser model than USA but they're not exactly cheap. I have had Chinese Squiers / Korean / Indo guitars with better hardware on than this one.
     
  2. Poorman512

    Poorman512 TDPRI Member

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    I have one but replaced the pickups immediately with gfs mean 90's. They were muddy and i just don't seem to like humbuckers anymore. Other than that i love the guitar. The neck is a little chunkier than my American strat but feels great. I replaced the saddles with stainless block saddles but all other hardware is good. The electronics were basically crap on mine when I got it used so I just stripped it all out. Great mod platform. It is now a strong #2 to my beloved 93 strat.
     
  3. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    After lowering the pickup if you can I would check the pot/cap values. a .022 cap or using 500k pots would be good. Some with the WRHB's had 1meg pots.

    If that doesn't work, a .047 cap inline with the signal wire of the offending pickup can help with the low frequencies.
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1 that's what you need to do. Measure the volume pot you have. Pots run 20% tolerance range. Sometimes lowering the pickup and raising the screw poles will help too.

    I have one of these I bought and it came with some muddy Duncan humbucker in it and the 'normal' rotated control plate. I ordered the ebay $15/set pair of pickups (they have about half the internal capacitance of the SDs), rewired the 16kohm bridge pickup to give me both bobbins, lowered the pickup and raised the screw poles for more separation between the bobbins, and hooked those wires to a 4-way switch with the reversed control plate. I really like the chunkier neck on this and it's become my preferred Tele. 'Matching' Strat with hendrix angle bridge pickup.



    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Afflicted

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    Had one for a while, same issue, sold it on rather than go through the hassle of finding new pups. Shame, lovely guitar.
     
  6. navigate40

    navigate40 TDPRI Member

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    teles6.jpg

    Had one, loved it, but sold it to a good friend who really loved it. At over 8 lbs, it was a bit heavy for me.

    The pickups were just OK, so replaced them with SD Alnico II pro's....fantastic. Found a 3 hole control plate and wired up 500k pots in strat wiring... 1 vol, 2 tones. SO....made it essentially a tele-strat-LP. Just perfect.

    [even just replacing the stock wiring would be good. 500k pots]

    Sea foam pearl was a wonderful color and had a real pearlescence to it. It got lots of compliments.

    As it came, it was a good guitar. Mod the pickups and electronics, and it can be a great guitar. As good as an LP.
     
  7. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams TDPRI Member

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    I read a few articles before about removing nickel covers to brighten up the sound. I then saw a you tube thing of a guy doing a few experiments and he said when the nickel covers are on, the pole pieces are screwed out of the bobbin quite a long way so they are flush with the nickel. Normally people removing covers screw the pole pieces back down so they are flush with the bobbin. He claims he got the same effect of removing the cover (brighter tone) just by screwing the pole pieces down without removing the cover. Easy enough to do will try tomorrow.

    Funny, 20 years ago I had a 1970's original thinline. The pickups were absolute dogs, muddy as hell and I unfortunately moved the guitar on for $700 :( .These pick ups remind me very much of those. What are Fender thinking? This day and age they still can't come up with a decent HB?

    What ohm value are the standard pots in these? One of the best sounding Teles I ever had, late 70's standard USA. It had the most unique sound. Jangly, a bit like a Rick or Gretsch, but very subtle and smooth. I think the vol pot was a bit scratchy so replaced it with a 250k and the guitar just didn't sound the same. Took me a while to work it out but the guitar when I bought it had a 250k tone pot and 500k volume pot. I put the 500k pot back in and great sound again. I have since put 500k vol pots on other teles I have had with the same result. I never realised changing the value of a vol pot should make so much difference to the tone. Is this a known mod? If you like playing around with pots try it. I loved the tone of that tele. I wonder if would get a brighter tone doing the same on the Blacktop HB?

    What does everyone think about screwing the pole pieces down? Anyone tried it or had any better result removing covers altogether?
     
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  8. Tuxedo Poly

    Tuxedo Poly Tele-Afflicted

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  9. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Tele-Meister

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    I've got a Blacktop baritone and I love it. As mentioned above, the electronics were a joke so I chucked them out and replaced the whole lot. I had been intending to change the pickups, but the new electronics seemed to breathe new life into the existing ones, so I left them.
     
  10. Jackroadkill

    Jackroadkill Tele-Meister

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    Oh, and I scrapped the tuners, because they were gash and couldn't keep up with the higher diameter strings. Or stay in tune.
     
  11. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The stock WRHB’s in an original 70’s thinline were muddy as hell ?

    Definitely the first I ever heard of that.
     
  12. navigate40

    navigate40 TDPRI Member

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    I read the same info regarding removing the pickup covers. Antigua, perhaps? I tried it, a little messy, since they are wax potted. I do think it helped.

    To my ears, the neck pickup was always muddy. The bridge, better.

    You could also do a magnet change. Easy and cheap enough...but....why not just get new pickups.

    If the pots are 500k, they might be fine. Perhaps no change is really needed there. Not sure if mine were. I had thought they were 250k...but....I could very well be mistaken.

    The first thing I would do would be to line up a new neck pickup. Uncovered. A set would be better. Lots on ebay. Used Gibson 490's or '57's. S. Duncan's...depending on the tone you want. The ones I mention are all PAF Gibson like. Well under $200 a set and makes the guitar great.

    But...can take the covers off and change magnets, also. See what happens....
     
  13. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams TDPRI Member

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    I screwed the neck pick up down today so it is about 2mm below the plastic surround. Then screwed the pole pieces down. Didn't feel like they were threaded actually just sort of pushed down about 2mm. Different sound altogether now. Much brighter highs, not muddy, more defined strings particularly on the neck / middle setting and both pick up out puts now more matched rather than the neck PU way over the top and bridge PU a lot more subdued. I will try it again tomorrow. To my ears 100% improvement but maybe I am just in a positive mood today :)
     
  14. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams TDPRI Member

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    Yep and can't say I can really compare them to anything as after that I have never considered Fender HB again, they were that bad. No amount of tweaking would make them better either. If I had the same guitar now I would definitely put a single in the back and leave the Bucker in the neck albeit replaced with a decent one. I just didn't understand the value and rarity of the guitar at the time. I do remember the frets were also horrible as most Fenders were in early mid 70's.
     
  15. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams TDPRI Member

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    Mine structurally and weight wise is very nice and light, woodwork great. Neck feels nice. Really can't see much point in spending at least $200 on pick ups. Would need to change most of the hardware, it's just rubbish. Guitar just isn't worth it. Would rather move it on and put the extra money towards a Japanese Tele which are generally perfect. It is what it is and I bought it cheap. As it is now a nice cheap workable Tele. Not worth investing more in though
     
  16. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    So the Blacktop Tele is pretty good as long as you replace the pickups, wiring, pots, caps, tuners, and saddles? Got it. I think this means I can cross it off the list.
     
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