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Esquire.....purpose?

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by Lonn, Dec 28, 2020.

  1. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    All I know about Esquires is that they're 1 pickup Tele shaped guitars. Any famous music played on one? What are good pickups for them? Do they normally have a hotter or more mellow pickup than a regular Tele?
     
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  2. NoTeleBob

    NoTeleBob Tele-Holic

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    A lot of Bruce Springsteen stuff was done with one. Walter Becker played one but I don't know which SD songs he used it on.

    Guys with single pickup guitars say the lack of a front pickup (magnetism) to quell the strings results in a different feel and sound.
     
  3. ponycar

    ponycar TDPRI Member

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    Billy Gibbons has a huge vintage Esquire collection and many modern short scale custom built Esquires. That says enough for me.
     
  4. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    There's this, which I personally don't know about. That's not to cast doubt on it, but there are enough other objective differences between my Tele and my Esquire (bridge pickup, bridge, switching/electronics) that I can't be sure any sound difference is down to the absence of a neck pickup and not something else. But it is often cited.

    There's also the (admittedly more subjective/psychological) effect of having "only" one pickup forcing you to achieve whatever tonal variation you want via your own actual playing and not switch-flicking. Of course you can (in theory) do this on any guitar (just don't switch pickups), but most people simply won't find a way to live with such a restriction until they're "forced" into it. As usual, the mystique is not in the thing itself but rather in our relationship with it.

    EDIT: Oh, and many players/builders take advantage of the lack of a second pickup and use the switch as a way to engage other wiring/electronic changes. Again, nothing you can't do on any other guitar, but the relatively uncluttered look of an Esquire with a Tele-typical control set-up gives it a sort of hot rod, secret weapon vibe.

    Other than that, Esquires have no more or less "purpose" than any other guitar: To make sounds that are utterly unnecessary for life but make it so much more bearable.
     
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  5. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    The switching is the main difference, other than the lack of neck pickup. I think the pickups aren't much different that traditional Teles. And there are different varieties.

    The switching on them allows for regular tone controls, no tone so it's ultra bright, or an extra dark setting, if I remember right. I've never taken that plunge, since I think i'd miss the neck and middle settings.

    IMO any good Tele pickup will be good on an Esquire, too.
     
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  6. guitarist232345

    guitarist232345 Tele-Meister

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    They look much nicer than Teles and have an extra aurora of 'cool' vs a Tele.

    Not to mention they really get you thinking how to get different tones from your axe in a creative and adventurous way. You will quickly become a pro at using the knobs.

    They are excellent, simple beasts. Who needs two pickups when you have one fantastic sounding one?
     
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  7. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I can't speak with any authority, but I doubt Leo would have used a different pickup than the standard Tele Bridge. I assume they just went over and grabbed one out of the bucket marked "BRIDGE PICKUPS" and threw it in. But that does not mean they sound the same.
     
  8. Blues Twanger

    Blues Twanger Tele-Afflicted

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    Steve Cropper and Luther Perkins used them a lot early in their respective careers.
     
  9. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I recently was reminded David Gilmour's old burst Tele is an Esquire with an added neck pup.
     
  10. Ghostdriver

    Ghostdriver Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

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    Just go look up Jeff Beck and the Yardbirds
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
  11. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Tele-Meister

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    yeah, the Esquire was the more budget friendly guitar at the time, so I doubt there would have been a specially designed pickup for it.
     
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  12. hepular

    hepular Tele-Holic

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    same for springsteen's
     
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  13. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Perhaps they were Tele REJECTS!!
     
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  14. JSMac

    JSMac Tele-Holic

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    I wanted to build one for purely simplistic appearance and functionality. As a bonus I'm really pleased with the tones that it produces. It makes me play a little differently to get those tones too.

    When I put it together I knew that I could always convert it to a Tele but for now I'm digging it and will leave it as-is.

    002.JPG
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
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  15. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for the replies. I've got a Squier Tele that sounds pretty good as is but it's getting a new paint job sometime in the near future. I thought maybe it's time I try an Esquire setup while I have it apart. For those that have one, what type of electronics are you using? I'm thinking of a hotter pickup but I want it on the brighter side.
     
  16. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I use a Cavalier Fat Lion in mine, just because I wanted something typically Tele but capable of a little more oomph. It has your typical Fender 250k pots, the tone pot being a no-load. My switching is normal volume and tone in the middle position (the no-load allowing me to remove than pot from the equation and achieve a little extra brightness), volume control and Eldred cap in the "neck" position (basically a tiny cap on the switch that gives a darker/filtered sound - look it up and you'll find tons of recipes and examples) a no controls, straight-to-jack in the bridge position (super loud, super bright).
     
  17. tery

    tery Doctor of Teleocity

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  18. paulblackford

    paulblackford Tele-Holic

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    I had an Esquire for a while, but, because I'm trying to bring my guitar collection down to 2, I added a neck pickup. I'm still debating as to whether I should keep the neck pickup. The original setup influenced me to remove the tone control. I really feel that removing options lead me to feel more free while playing. I had a Gemini Suprocaster pickup, and there was a great variety of sounds in just how you contacted the strings. If times and income get better, I'd like to build a Snakehead-style Tele with just a bridge pickup, and a volume control. Almost like picking up an acoustic, and playing. Maybe I'll do it. Who knows. :)
     
  19. Dan R

    Dan R Poster Extraordinaire

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    The purpose of an Esquire is Maximum Twang. There is magic in the bridge pickup.
     
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  20. JSMac

    JSMac Tele-Holic

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    While we’re here, I did the Eldred mod on mine. I can’t hear a difference between positions 1 and two with the tone control turned all the way up. Seems that position 1 should be brighter with the tone control out of the circuit.
     
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