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Bootstrap Pickups Adventure - Extra Crispy Tele Set

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by TokyoPortrait, Dec 15, 2020.

  1. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    So, my new set of Bootstrap Extra Crispy pickups for Teles arrived last Friday. That’s the 50s styled type, similar to their Original Recipe set, but a little more oomph.

    I didn’t think I’d get the chance to stick them in until later this week, but I came home stone cold sober later that Friday night and decided I had nothing better to do. Finished by 3:30 am!

    The bottom outside ‘wall’ of the ashtray bridge plate (the side that faces the floor & that I never look at) turned out to be covered in quite a bit of rust. So, I gave it a bath for a couple of hours and then polished the rust (mostly) off. Hence the 3:30am finish.

    Installing them was totally straight forward - no drama there.

    And…

    The guitar sounds terrible. :eek:

    Taking the bridge off and cleaning, messing with the saddles, etc. seems to have turned it into a sitar. A total hardcore sitar. Must have rubbed the mojo off :rolleyes:

    Specifically, the high E along with B and G. The wound strings are doing just fine, but I can’t get my ears past that ringing, stinging string problem, so I need to sort that out first. In the meantime, here’s some photos.

    More on this adventure later.

    C93B5261-ABF7-4882-989B-28AD6802580B.jpeg

    Bootstrap Extra Crispy Install 5.jpeg

    648DDF5A-35D2-4C03-A06A-02BC690C5C8B.jpeg

    AFD09BFF-4F16-48EB-9989-B38113D4872D.jpeg

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Check your nut...no! Not THAT nut...the other nut...NO! Not that nut EITHER. The nut on your guitar!

    That's the first place i would look. A couple light strokes with a nut file and/or a shot of graphite in there (you can also rub the tip of a lead pencil in each slot) should fix you up. If it's still there, give your saddles a couple light brushes with some sandpaper (assuming they're brass). Good luck. Let us know how it sounds after that.
     
  3. Bootstrap

    Bootstrap Tele-Meister Vendor Member

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    Hey Pax, sorry you’re having trouble with that. I can help diagnose whether this is a malfunctioning pickup, which I’m happy to replace at no charge if it is.

    First is there an audible difference before and after the install in the tone or feel of the guitar when it is not plugged in and not amplified? If so, the problem is likely elsewhere on the guitar itself.

    Is the tone issue happening in both positions or only one? Typically a defective pickup will be just one position, not two or more pickups. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible though that both pickups are defective.

    Do all of the magnets appear to be magnetized? To test this take a piece of steel or iron (like a screwdriver tip) and feel whether each pole has a magnetic pull. Sometimes a bobbin
    will not be fully magnetized due to an error in the shop, or if the pickups are jostled during shipping (or if the package is opened for inspection by customs and the contents tossed back randomly in the box) so that repelling poles are forced together.

    Do you have a multimeter? If so, what are the DC resistance values for the pickups?
     
  4. tintag27

    tintag27 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Picture 2... You put the neck pickup in back to front - that's why!
     
  5. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    I, um, scratched that.

    Off my list I mean.

    It does it fretted at all frets, right to the last. It's the saddles.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  6. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Yes, but in the last photo you can see I fixed that later...;)

    Actually, as someone with the word portrait in his online name, what concerns me most about that photo is the poor focus.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  7. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi Ryan.

    Thanks. No, it's not the pickups. It's def. the saddles. The infamous sitar effect. Sorry if I didn't make that clear in the original post.


    Pax/
    Dean

    p.s. oh, and pax is latin for peace (from the goddess of peace). I use it as a parting sign-off to sort of mean 'in friendship' or 'in peace,' etc. Incidentally, in British English it used to be used by school children to calm things down. Also can be used to refer to a phoney kind of enforced or imposed peace, as in Pax Romana.
     
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  8. tintag27

    tintag27 Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    You are a good sport, Dean - I hope you can get this sorted out soon
     
  9. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    I got nothing, other than it stinks, sorry that it's happening!

    You should be exploring your new pickups instead.
     
  10. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    No, it's not the pickups. It's totally the saddles. Already some progress there.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  11. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know I had that problem once. Someone on here suggested taking some sandpaper to the brass saddles now and then to take out any burrs and smooth out any grooves that were wearing in them. They would do this every half dozen string changes or so as regular brass-saddle maintenance. Or you could just change to a harder saddle material like steel or titanium. At the time, I switched to titanium. They're still on that tele.
     
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  12. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Hope you get it sorted soon. Bootstrap pickups are among the best - top notch. The Oatmeal Stout Strat set is my absolute favorite Strat set. I bought it on a whim because it sounded interesting and I wanted to do something a little different in a project Strat. Blew me away - powerful, but clear and articulate. My favorite sets were Fender Tex Mex and SD Alnico Pro II and the Oatmeal Stouts just leave them in the dust. :)

    I have a Pretzel Tele set, as well and was eyeing the Palo Duro and the Extra Crispy sets for another Tele - can’t decide so I’m looking forward to your assessment of the Extra Crispy set!
     
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  13. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Clearly I wasn't clear enough in my original post. Perhaps I shouldn't have set it up as a jocular non sequitur thing.

    Even if it's just one or two misunderstandings, I'm kinda concerned now. I don't want my comments to be in any way construed as referring to someone or their product. That's absolutely not what I was talking about or referring to.

    So, for the record, the problem I have with the guitar has nothing at all to do with the Bootstrap pickups. Nothing at all.

    It's the quirks of the three barrel traditional Tele bridge. Removing it, cleaning it, fiddling with it and reinstalling it have somehow upset it.

    Since it's where the strings go over the saddles, this was probably just a problem waiting to happen at some future string change anyway. Maybe the removal, etc. had nothing to do with it? Maybe it was just putting the new set of strings on?

    But whatever, it has nothing to do with Ryan's fine product - I want to be definite and clear on that point.

    And speaking of definition and clarity, you can expect more on that subject in the near future. In the form of glowing praise.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  14. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Oh wait.

    You meant I should be experiencing the fun of exploring what my new pickups are capable of, rather than having to first explore remedies for the unrelated thing that has happened with the strings / bridge / saddles.

    Doh, turns out that it's me who is misreading things. That is kinda funny too though.

    Sorry.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  15. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, that is what I mean.

    I LOVE new pickups and finding out what they can do and finding their new sounds, it's inspiring and makes me want to play a lot and play new things.



     
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  16. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    Sounds to me like it's probably either an intonation spring, or a saddle height adjustment screw. Something is either no longer snug, or isn't making proper contact.

    I've had problems with rusty or just corroded intonation springs, and now will typically just replace them, instead of trying to clean them.

    I've also had height adjustment screws wander around, because they were just a little too loose in the saddle's threaded bores. For me, it's typically been worse with 6-saddle bridges, but sometimes the screw closest to the 1st string might move around on a 3-saddle design.

    You might want to check the surfaces of the saddles themselves, where the strings come into contact with them. If the string has worn a groove into them, it might be wide enough to cause that sitar-like effect.

    Lastly, check the four mounting screws for the bridge itself, and make sure they're all snug.
     
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  17. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    That is what I thought about too but hesitated to suggest it.

    I've seen this happen on a wraparound bridge, I got really aggressive stretching strings and put little dents in the plating. I replaced the bridge, but four of the strings were doing it.

     
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  18. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi again.

    So, I emery papered out some grooves in the saddles (see photo below) and mostly eliminated the sitar effect.* Now I can actually hear what’s going on with all the strings. Yay, now I get to talk about smokey upper mids, harmonic complexity and the tone fairy while I nibble on enchanted elvish candy from the Sugar Mountains.

    The guitar is a 2015 MIJ Fender ’52 style Tele and the new pickups replace a set of Japanese made “original alnico pickups,” whatever that may mean. Styled after ’52 Tele pickups I guess. They are quite nice actually, especially the bridge one. But the neck was a little murky, and also fairly mismatched with the bridge. Nothing really wrong with them if I’m being honest, but I just wanted a little more clarity and sweetness in the neck and not to have to adjust off-guitar things when switching between them.

    And I wanted an adventure.

    And that too has been a trip.

    Took a while to figure out how I wanted the heights of each one adjusted. But that’s just me, adjusting my ears as well as the pickups.

    I’m quite surprised at how much clearer and, in particular, brighter the neck pickup is. It’s not bad or anything, it’s just a surprise and an aural adjustment for me. Just a matter of my ears settling in to the difference and of learning how to set the rest of my gear so it all works together. Getting there.

    The neck pickup also has what I think of as a sweetness to the tone. It’s one of those things that can’t really be described. It’s almost a feeling. My MIJ 60s Tele (with US made “62” pickups) has this, but the original neck pickup in this 50s type didn’t quite achieve this. I’m very glad it’s there now.

    Also, the bridge is a lot warmer or richer, or something, than I expected. It’s still a brash snarly thing when you want it, but there’s some kind of depth or richness there that takes the edge off the treble, while still retaining sparkle. It’s more complex, or something. I rather like it.

    Another thing that surprised me was how they work with my germanium Fuzz Face clone. The neck and bridge pickup are more tonally distinct / different now. Before, the fuzz sort of overpowered the pickups and rendered them both very similar & it didn't really matter which you were using. It still does that, but to a lesser degree, and there is definitely a more pronounced difference between positions now with the fuzz on. A second surprising fuzz thing is how the notes themselves sound more defined. Before they would easily get quite smeary and double stops could be just too messy. Now there’s more definition and double stops don’t freak out as much, and chords are more of a possibility. It's probably a specific reaction to my particular pedal, etc., but I’m quite pleased about all of that.

    Apart for brief forays with the fuzz, I’d only used them with amp and reverb until later on yesterday (it’s early morning here now).

    Paired with both my Keeley Super Phat Mod and my Danelectro The Breakdown, I got some quite fantastic results. Sound is so subjective, but the neck was giving tight but sweet crunchy chords and single notes with both of these pedals and the bridge was kinda snappy yet looser and snarly in a raucous, carefree way.

    With tremolo, I now get clearer and more defined chords. My tremolo does colour the sound a bit, making it darker. These pickups are a good match. Which is great for me.

    I haven’t mentioned the amp yet. It’s a hand wired Vox AC4HW1. It’s a bright, sparkling thing anyway, so that will be contributing to the apparent brightness with the new pickups. When I tried them out on my THR10, I was really surprised. I hadn’t expected too much difference here, but the pickups sound great on this amp (I only use the Clean & Crunch settings). It really makes me wonder what they’ll sound like through things Marshal and Fender. I’m quite excited at the thought of getting out and about again, whenever that may be, so I can try some amps like these.

    Right, I’ve gone on far too long. Back to the mystical candy and conjuring up the enchanted smoky tone of unicorn hooves brushing past bewitched daffodils...

    Pax/
    Dean
    * mostly - slightly present still on the high E at times. Now, under my heavy right hand, it fairly often slides down and hits the height screw and starts sitar-ing all over again. I’ll get there yet.


    50s Tele Saddles Sanded 1.jpeg
     
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  19. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I like your description of the tone. I was worried the neck might be a little dark sounding, but its sounds right up my alley. This will be my next tele set :)
     
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  20. Wallaby

    Wallaby Friend of Leo's

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    Good save, kudos!

    And congratulations on your new pickups!
     
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