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Cheap Tele + Expensive pickups - video on That Pedal Show

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by TokyoPortrait, Mar 5, 2021.

  1. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Title says it all.

    Do you think he also needs to upgrade his tone wood? :)







    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  2. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    Do you hear any real difference ? Or are they very close sounding ?
     
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  3. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Actually, yeah, they sounded quite different, especially the neck pickups. He kept the amp, pedal and recording gear set up and set the same, and later edited it to show an A / B type comparison.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  4. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Completely useless test.

    I find all cheap guitars actually sound real good at conversational levels where the details in materials and workmanship aren't thoroughly tested in the merciless microscope of "gig volume" playing.

    As I have said before, the tiny signal from a pickup is amplified literally millions of times to make the audible sounds we hear through an amp. The louder you play, the more the pickup quality is tested.

    Take that same guitar up on stage at a meaningful volume level among the sonic chaos of a live band, and then record the difference in sound. You will definitely hear a very noticeable difference.

    Any comparison is only as useful as the circumstances used to make the comparison.

    If you only intend to play in your living room, save your money and keep the guitar stock. If you intend to play in a live ensemble, you probably won't even be watching comparisons like this. They are of absolutely no value.

    Rock on.
     
  5. BUG80

    BUG80 Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    As someone who did some research regarding the human auditory system I think I have to disagree with this. We seem to be more sensitive to audible differences at normal levels, as long as the energy of the frequency range of interest is well above the threshold of hearing.

    At higher levels, in a live setting with other instruments playing, auditory masking (temporal and simultaneous) will actually make it harder to hear differences.
     
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  6. Tele-friend

    Tele-friend Tele-Meister

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    At 00:31 he says "It looks like a Tele"...
    I thought this in fact WAS A TELE. I guess I have been living in a lie for so long :lol:
     
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  7. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Yes, volume does make a difference in many different ways. The (perception of the?) character of the sound certainly changes with higher volumes, along with many other things.

    But, I'm not sure what you are saying. Do you mean the difference between the sets that is in fact noticeable at lower volumes would not be noticeable at higher ones? Or less, more, etc.? Or just different?

    Thanks.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  8. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hiya.

    Yeah, that was funny.

    Night.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  9. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't really know, I can never really tell from a video posted on the internet. I find I'm always at an advantage if I can play a guitar with a certain variety of pickups. But, like I say I personally can't tell from a video ymmv.
     
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  10. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Yeah, that's a good point. And somewhat ironic, considering the topic of their video from the week before.*

    But in this case, there are at least two things which I think make it interesting and at least somewhat useful.

    First, it's really just documenting his experience and lending support to his conclusion, which was yes it makes a difference, but no, it's probably not worth it. It's his conclusion we're listening to, in a sense, not the demonstration of why he drew it.

    And second, you can in fact hear a difference, especially in the neck. More clarity and definition. So, while you might not accurately know what it really / actually sounds like, you could probably be confident that the clarity and definition are better and draw the conclusion you can achieve this in a cheaper guitar by putting the right kind of better pickups in. Probably.

    As an aside, and relating to my first point above, I don't know what Ron Ellis pickups cost in other places, but searching here from Japan, it would seem they are inordinately expensive. If you bought some Bootstrap pickups for example, the 'not worth it' conclusion might very well change to 'very worth it.'

    Right, now I really must get my beauty sleep. Night.

    Pax/
    Dean
    * here

     
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  11. johnniegoat

    johnniegoat Tele-Meister

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    @TokyoPortrait

    i think hDan mentions the fact the pickups cost more than the guitar

    Andertons recently (in the last year) did a run a run of Bullet Teles in Purple. if you bought the Monty's danish Pete pickup set, they would fit them foc

    the pickups cost as much as the guitar. why not just put it all into a new CV Tele or 2nd user MiM Tele, raise the broader quality of the instrument rather than one factor?

    well, it seemed popular. people bought a cheap guitar and stuck expensive pickups in it. people are strange

    but agreed - a squier tele upgraded with a set of Iron Gears or Toneriders makes a lot more sense for the regular human; for a YT content creator, it makes sense to go to extremes
     
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  12. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Very good point, I did notice a very slight difference, but then I'm on my phone right now, so will have a better listen later this evening, when I'm home. Thanks for the reply. :cool:
     
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  13. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    I’d go as far to say you don’t even need to pay Ron Ellis prices for a significant tonal improvement on a cheap guitar. I remember swapping the stock for Alnico 2 Pros in a Jay Turser Tele and it was a huge noticeable improvement.

    A cheap guitar will always have limitations that keep it from being truly great, IMO. But you can get it to sound good and play well, and that’s what counts most.
     
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  14. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Everything you say is true. Sure, there comes a point where the volume is so loud that all detail is lost in the roar. But at the same time, an effective, high quality pickup set is made in such a way that it stands out amid the clutter.

    I also notice that I don't particularly care for the sound of really great pickups at conversational volume levels. That's not what they're made for. I think a Squier Strat always sounds better at low volume than a higher quality Custom Shop guitar. And with good reason. They're both made for a different purpose.

    The odds of a Squier Strat leaving the house and going on stage are much less than the odds of a higher quality instrument. Fender knows this. And the Squiers that actually do make it out the door usually get a pickup upgrade to deal with the situation. I Have a Squier Tele Deluxe with my own Telenator pickups in it. The stock pickups were great home, but dreadful on stage.

    As someone who did research with pickup manufacturing and testing I agree with your statements in general. But I don't agree with them as applied to this discussion. The point of high quality pickups is their ability to be heard clearly during a live performance where "auditory masking (temporal and simultaneous) will actually make it harder to hear differences."
     
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  15. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    You can get the same tones with swapping Pots 'n Caps as he did with the pickup swap.

    The fancy neck pickup has less capacitance than the stock pickup (mostly from the cover material choice) and the fancy bridge pickup was wound hotter so the volume on that was much higher... and in Youtube land, "louder equals more better" as they say. That's why he also said he "could feel a difference" when playing -- the volume was louder. Lower the pickup for equivalent volume not measured height and they would be more similar.

    He did a nice demo for selling pickups. He only mentioned in passing that fancy pickups were getting installed in his other guitar, but was he getting them for free/reduced or at the front of the order line because he was to do a demo? Youtube is a sales platform.

    .
     
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  16. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    I mean that, the differences you hear at low volume are one thing. The differences you hear at performance volume is an entirely different thing. Cheap pickups are made to be inexpensive and sound great at home. High quality pickups often don't good until they're turned up to the point where they were intended to be used.

    Once the volume increases, everything changes. The point is, to test the pickups in their intended environment. The video here compares two sets of pickups intended for two completely different uses. It's like comparing apples and oranges.
     
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  17. kaynray

    kaynray TDPRI Member

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    “A cheap guitar will always have limitations that keep it from being truly great, IMO.”

    This is absolutely true. And the biggest limitation, far and away the biggest, will be the person playing that cheapie. I know this is boring, boring, boring, but you know if you give Eric Clapton, or Derick Trucks (insert your favorite hero here) a well set up inexpensive guitar you will not be able to tell a difference with your ears only. And even if you could, so what? It’s not like an inexpensive guitar held Gary Clark Jr back. And never forget that some of the most expressive, influential recordings EVER MADE featured cheap “catalog” guitars. The song is in the hands, not the wood.

    With all that said, I also believe (well almost) that black guitars sound the best. So what do I know? Grain of salt, etc.
     
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  18. ben smith

    ben smith Tele-Afflicted

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    all i know is that squier neck pickup sounded like complete crap, most bridge pickups sound fine on any tele style guitar but it's very difficult to get a good balanced neck pickup
     
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  19. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    Wow different pickups sound different, stunning revelation!
    Is the modern way of playing not to use the tone controls on the amp?
    Click bait, name dropping, silly comments (changing the pickups, changed the feel of the guitar) this video has it all.
     
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  20. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Yeah, I agree.

    I guess it depends on each specific guitar and exactly what you are doing, how much it will cost and the real (as opposed to perceived / hoped for) benefits.

    I have a battered old Squier Jazz Bass which is actually rather great. I bought it second hand for around the equiv. of US$120. I’m planning to put new but moderately priced pickups in it at some stage, and new tuning machines, cos in this case it will be worth it.

    For me, that decision is easy. But, in a certain price range and with a more typically representative instrument, it would be a tough decision, upgrade one factor, or move to a higher level instrument? Probably comes down to how attached to the current one you are, as much as anything (within reason).

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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