Brent Mason Tele- 3 week review

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by T Prior, Sep 21, 2020.

  1. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    3 weeks and 1 gig , here are my thoughts.


    Just a few things, do not consider these as any production flaw or defect, they are each personal set-up preferences. Let me preface all of this by saying that this guitar, as it was sitting in the case from Fender , was set-up ( with 10's) 90% to my liking. I could have easily lived with that 90% and did for just shy of 3 weeks which is when I changed strings to 9's ahead of gig #1

    1- The nut is narrow, 1.625 which places the HI E somewhat close to the edge of the fretboard which may cause a hammer off to be skewed. If you do not perform hammer offs on the HI E, you would never notice this. Two very simple set-up adjustments which can adjust for this. This would be for any NARROW NUT width guitar. The E string saddle adjustment , left /right, two set screws can move the position slightly. Another method, well known, loosen the 4 neck screws just enough to nudge the neck ever so slightly LEFT, then tighten the 4 screws screws. We are not looking for more than a few thousandths here.

    2- If we don't know how to use LOCKING TUNERS, learn how they operate. Don't assume. Their purpose is to HOLD the string tight, not keep the guitar in tune.

    3- The fret heights are in the .045 to .047 range. Excellent for 10's but just on the edge for 9's . My working guitars have lower frets, more like .040 to .042 . I put 9's one this guitar which has a .42 LOW E , I notice an ever so slight pitch thing going on with that LOW E. And yes, its because of my left hand style, I am acclimated to shorter frets. I am replacing the 9's with 9.5's which have a .44 on the LOW E. And yes, I adjusted the saddles and string heights slightly for the 9's . I like very low action.

    4- Glaser Tension adjust. Next to the body strap button is the adjustment for the Glaser Spring tension. I tightened this up , I prefer it very stiff.


    None of the things mentioned above are even close to a flaw or a design thing, not even remotely. They are my observations as I begin to use this guitar for full time gig duty. I'm fine tuning the guitar to MY particular style and approach.

    Overall this guitar was killer on the gig, the Glaser system, the flexible tones, especially that NECK H Bucker , just stand out. Very Hi WOW factor, At least for me.


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    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  2. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    Good to hear it’s working out well for you!
    I didn’t know the volume and tone controls were swapped... I know it’s based on Brent Mason’s own very special Tele, with all his own design decisions included — that seems an odd one to me! (I’d also want the push-pull on the furthest pot, not right by the switch.)
     
  3. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Narrow nut and swapped volume tone would bug me. The first would keep me out of the guitar, the second would be a quick mod to fix.

    I play with Vol-Tone-Switch reversed control plate to put the volume up front, Kirchen style.

    .
     
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  4. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Excellent review.
    I'm like you-- I wait about a month before I submit online any kind of guitar review

    The high E string at the nut was cut too close to the fingerboard edge.
    (It sounds like you've done some compromises to make it livable tho)

    When you do have time, do a video, it'd be really nice to hearing all the pickup positions, especially the blend knob, and the Bender too!!
     
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  5. Audiowonderland

    Audiowonderland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    This is the first I have seen anyone mention the tone and volume controls reversed...
     
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  6. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Let me be be clear, the nut width was NEVER "not livable" It was a very slight adjustment, not a compromise . Its 100% fine. I would agree though that had the E string NUT slot been ever so slightly INWARD this would be a nothing burger .

    My 08 AM STD is very similar except it is 1.65 width. I adjusted that one as well.

    It only takes a very small movement for adjustment.

    Just as the narrow NUT width , 1.625 is spec'd everywhere you go, its not a surprise. If it is , we didn't do our homework.

    It does remain though that this is very slick neck, thin, narrow, all that, ( 1967 specs) which is MY preference. Those who like thicker , wider , chunky necks, this is not the guitar for you. You can't change the set-up for that !

    While I wrote a review of my observations from my gig, I had been playing this guitar everyday for 3 weeks, none of the items mentioned even crossed my mind !

    My earlier comment with regard to the knobs reversed, I misspoke they are typical and normal.

    tp
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  7. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    I disagree with this, to a point.

    When I cut a nut, regardless of the nut width, I cut the E and e string slots first, making sure that they are the correct distance from the edge of the fretboard. Then I use the StewMac spacing ruler to cut the middle four slots. Sometimes this leaves a neck with strings that are too close to each other for my liking - but I'm not always working on my guitar. This is a huge reason I do not like pre-slot-started nuts.

    If you like the string spacing but the E and/or e are too close to the edge then you have the wrong neck. This is of course assuming that the saddles didn't side-slip or the neck isn't crooked in the neck pocket, as you pointed out.

    I do love the Brent Mason Tele style, though. The Squier SSH in my avatar is my go-to Tele for studio work.
     
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  8. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    When the high E string is off a bit, I push the string bridge the direction I need. In your pictures it looks a bit slanted and I would align that piece as well. Happens with those individual string bridge pieces.
     
  9. Audiowonderland

    Audiowonderland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Where did you see this discussed? Google can't seem to find it and Fender is making no mention of it in their press releases That's a rather crucial detail they should be making very clear to potential buyers
     
  10. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    In this video,around 15,the knob closest to the neck is the bridge and neck volume,the middle knob is the middle pick up volume and the push pull is the master tone for the bridge and neck .

    I don't see anything "reversed" about it.



    Also clearly stated on Fender's site

    https://shop.fender.com/en-GR/electric-guitars/telecaster/brent-mason-telecaster/0115912793.html

    "The 3-way pickup selector switch, master volume, independent middle pickup volume, and push/pull master tone controls offer easy access to a plethora of inspiring tones"
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2020
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  11. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nick and others are correct, I made an error, I misstated, I was thinking the MID volume control not the main Volume control . Its as Fender stated .

    It was early and I was in confusion. Please accept my apology. I'll do better next time. :(
     
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  12. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I misspoke, no rational excuse, they are typical and normal, I think the mid V Knob threw me off this morning. V and Tone are in the correct places with the exception of the BLEND POT in the middle. Please accept my apology :(
     
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  13. blue metalflake

    blue metalflake Doctor of Teleocity

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    Enjoyed reading your review. Sounds like a keeper
     
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  14. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    I believe you are correct, while this is not a distraction for this instrument, I think its more related to the 1.625 nut width. The slight neck adjust I made was probably closer to no movement at all rather than SOME movement ! I'm talkin miniscule. I had read this on some guitar tech forum years back.

    Anyway, excellent input
     
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  15. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    I fell victim to my own filing job. I insisted to myself that I wanted a wider string spacing and I had to compromise somewhere to do so. I compromised on the low E. It doesn't look bad in pictures, but it is a 7.25" radius so relative to the radius I tend to push out instead of down. It is a beautiful piece of unbleached bone but if I slip off the fretboard one more time I will rip it out with a pliers. A perfectly radiused unbleached bone nut from StewMac is only $12.00 so cost is not the issue. You really have to play it to even know that it's an issue - and it may just be me and the way I play.

    How is the radius on the Brent Mason - is it true to its real 60s counterpart owned by Brent with a 7.25" radius? That may contribute to the string behavior. It's taking me a while to change my style on the smaller radius, but I am getting used to it.

    neck.jpg
     
  16. Audiowonderland

    Audiowonderland Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    No apologies needed friend. I just wanted to understand what they did, and maybe why such a significant non standard config was not pointed out by Fender. Most players probably could not put that back to "standard" and would be out of pocket to get that done if they didn't know about it up front.
     
  17. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Nice reply ! thank you for that. I have no way of knowing if the original BM guitar is a 7.25 radius or not, I suspect and believe that it is, as Fender has stated that they went over Brents guitar with a fine tooth comb and caliper ! I personally think this is more related to the 7.25 radius and a narrower nut, 1.625. Each of my other Telecasters, even with the 7.25 radius, have 1.65 width nuts. its amazing what that very small difference .025 makes. No different than a player can feel a neck thickness difference of .81 vs .85. .81 is too thin, .85 is perfect. Who knew us humans can detect such a small difference in feel ?

    I think your assessment of " you really have to play it to even know that it's an issue " rings true. For me, I did ever so slightly pull the neck for a tad more clearance on the HI E, and it is more than acceptable for me. I have had other guitars with far worse " CRIMES " that bothered me more, some to the point where I don't even want to play them .

    I did contact Fender to pose the question, they replied very quickly. The initial assessment was to have a Fender tech shift the neck ever so slightly, as they refer to this as setup, and they would be correct. There is a smidgen of room allowed in the neck pockets ( all guitars) specifically for this type of setup adjustment. It is certainly more of a PLAYING style thing than any kind of a defect. No different than having strings too low or too high. I don't need a Fender Authorized Tech, I already did it !


    I am actually going to bring the strings UP just a tad this morning, plus I'm going to 9.5's rather than 9's . Its also possible that the slightly taller frets and lighter strings are contributing. IT ALL MATTERS. The guitar came with 10's, I played it for 3 weeks and didn't notice anything until I went to 9's a day or 2 before the gig. Thats when I noticed a tad of " 1st string edge". So ..yeh IT ALL MATTERS.



    I have a good friend ( luthier , tech) in our area, when I visit him he tells me more often than not that players bring guitars in for work , pups and stuff, he then does a complete setup and they think he did something magical ! He laughs and says sometimes all he did was turn the saddle screws 1/32 or 1/16 of an inch . The strings, the gauges etc were set just a tad low for the neck profile and fret heights. He pulls out his trusty caliper and says " do the math " !

    I really appreciate your comments and assessment. Back to the guitar, its friggen awesome, worth every penny ! But it is NOT exactly same as my other guitars, the "VERY FINE" specs matter in setup. This guitar is spec'd at 7.25 radius and 1.625 nut, I can't make it exactly the same as a 7.25 radius and 1.65 nut . Do the math ! :) But when playing it, man it fly's ! :)

    On the gig, my bandmate laughed and commented, " I never heard you play that stuff before " . I think thats what some instruments are supposed do to us, they inspire us to reach further than we have been before. Well, minus the bad notes of course !




    RE: Two photos after an ever so slightly shifted neck, also called setup. I've done this to probably half of my guitars. ( Bolt necks of course) Don't just assume they are set right.

    1-The upper frets , the string spacing is spot on
    2-at the 5th fret , also about as close spacing wise as can be expected

    IF someone feels that frets down near the NUT there is a something or other issue and its a deal killer, then its a deal killer !
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    Last edited: Sep 22, 2020
  18. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    My conclusion is that all your guitar needed to achieve PERFECT string spacing and "headroom" for the high E was the quintessential Fender "neck shift".

    :)
     
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  19. T Prior

    T Prior Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes Nick Thx, I totally agree, and thats exactly what Fender said in their reply to me. And that's exactly what I did ! It took all of 3 min !

    best

    tp
     
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  20. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

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    THAT is the action at the 21st fret? You're not pressing down on the strings at say the 12th fret in that first picture?!?!

    That fretboard must have perfectly dead-level frets and no relief. Wow, beautiful setup.
     
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