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Does The Ashtray Affect Tone?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by taxer, May 13, 2011.

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  1. taxer

    taxer Banned

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    I am new to Telecasters; have only been playing one for about a month. I finally popped on an ashtray bridge cover on my Tele and I think I hear a difference in tone when I play through my bridge or neck/bridge pickup. It appears to me to be BETTER!

    Can this little piece that most of you guys just toss in your case actually affect a Telecaster's tone? Is something going on above that bridge pickup but trapped by the ashtray that can affect the tone?

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Telegator

    Telegator Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, it will affect the tone... and your playing technique. An old trick the old time fiddle players used to perform was to carry a small pocket knife. They would use the blade and handle to fold it closed on the bridge. They got a big increase in mass at the bridge and this affected their tone in a huge, huge way. Today they sell what they call "mufflers" which attach to the strings behind the fiddle bridge which does te same thing.

    Some folks have had a lot of success playing with the ashtray cover on but most seem to look down on it because it greatly affects their right hand technique. Myself, I say if you like it do it. It's free to take 'em on and off at your own whim :D
     
  3. JeradP

    JeradP Former Member

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    I play my CV50 with the ashtray on. You develop a way too use it quickly. I don't think it affects the tone at all.
     
  4. joeybsyc

    joeybsyc Tele-Meister

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    No effect on tone at all, it just looks cool...and you can't palm mute with it on.
     
  5. cosmiccowboy

    cosmiccowboy Tele-Afflicted

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    I don't dig 'em at all ... don't do anything for your tone, can't palm mute, and they look like _ _ _ ~IMO
     
  6. Alamo

    Alamo Doctor of Teleocity

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    well that's a lot of (missing) tone effect when ya can't palm mute, isn't it?

    similar to a chastity belt - only looks coooler :D
     
  7. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    No, and I don't think playing the guitar while it is still locked in the case changes the tone, either.

    Yes, I'm being sarcastic. I guess we all play differently but I cannot imagine playing intricate guitar parts with the cover on. I can barely strum chords with the ashtray on there. And if you cannot get at and get under the strings, you bet yer tailfeathers it changes the tone as you try and play it.
     
  8. strat_tone

    strat_tone Banned

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    It would reduce feedback though, wasn't that original use for it? For us that use feedback, you could say it changes the sound therefore tone?
     
  9. bluuzguy

    bluuzguy TDPRI Member

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    Ashtray

    Only if there's some really good 420 rolls sitting in the ash tray!
     
  10. paesano

    paesano Tele-Meister

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    Hey taxer, For me it depends on which tele & what that particular looks like overall, on yours in the pic above, that bridge cover looks GREAT to me. Nice tele! As for tone, I don't know, but now I am interested in the question.... :)
     
  11. Cowboydan

    Cowboydan Former Member

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    I'm a recent convert to playing with ashtray on. It feels comfortable, it's just getting used to playing with it on. Now it seems natural, sounds great.
     
  12. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    As often (but not always;)), I agree with you, Boris.
     
  13. Duncas

    Duncas Friend of Leo's

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    is it possible to modify the ashtray with a spring set and cloth to induce palm muting? might try it later...
     
  14. spook69

    spook69 Tele-Holic

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    Its the fag ends and ash catching on the strings that does it LoL.
     
  15. KevinB

    KevinB Doctor of Teleocity

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    I like the way ashtrays look, and I frequently play with them in place, but I can't detect any difference in tone whatsoever.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
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  16. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    Taxer, trust your own ears! If you hear a difference, there's a difference. That bridge cover on/off question is about the only configuration issue that you can legitimately make an A/B comparison.

    I don't hear a difference myself, but my ears are old and a little beat up - you shouldn't attach a lot of significance to that. ;) I do like the look, but I play with the cover off from habit mostly. I do most of my damping with my left hand.

    What's going on physically? Well, that steel cover close to the pickup does change the magnetic field a little, so you could arguably be hearing that. But, you may be reacting to the cover by changing your right hand technique slightly, too. Pondering all this is part of the fun of it all.
     
  17. taxer

    taxer Banned

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    Well, I find the tone is affected because with the ashtray on I am forced to play further up the strings, nearer to the neck pickup. That always produces a warmer, rounder tone.

    I do think the closeness of the metal tray to the bridge pickup has to be doing something to the vibrations/tone of that pickup.

    Regardless, I am strictly a rhythm guitarist. A 12 year old kid after two guitar lessons can play a better lead than me. So being a rhythm guitarist that ashtray bridge cover does not bother me at all. In fact it helps my playing, it's a nice place to place my right hand on. I now tend to play with that ashtray on. That ashtray is a friend to rhythm guitarists.
     
  18. PJ55

    PJ55 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I lost mine back in 1972 and then Fender stopped including them with new guitars. So, I haven't had one since. Never saw the need to buy one. But, maybe I've been missing out on something, all this time.
     
  19. TheDude

    TheDude Tele-Meister

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    Count me in the crowd of those who can't play worth a darn with the ashtray on-- palm muting for me is a a huge part of getting a good choppy rhythm sound. Plus, I can change the tone by picking closer to the bridge or closer to the neck. Never cared for the look of it either, so no big loss not having it on for me.

    If you can play well with it on, you must be a better guitarist than me... or you must be Albert Collins (who DEFINITELY is a better guitarist than me ;))
     
  20. taxer

    taxer Banned

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    We all play differently and with different techniques. I get my choppy rhythm sound by using my left hand that is fretting the chord. Quick release on and off.
     
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