Esquiring a Tele

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Jdsmith, Jun 1, 2021.

  1. Jdsmith

    Jdsmith TDPRI Member

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    I am the proud new owner of a CV50s Squier Tele, and I really enjoy it. It’s not my main guitar, but I bought it as something to experiment on. I’m currently torn on the direction I want to go with it though.

    Option 1: leave both of the original pickups and replace the wiring with a 4-way switch and new pots ($70).

    Option 2: remove the neck pickup and put an esquire pick guard on ($12). If I do this, I may also upgrade to the Cavalier Nashville Lion bridge pickup since it’d be my only one ($60)

    The prices are pretty close, but I’m not sure which way to go. I don’t use the neck pickup much at all - my nicer guitar is a partscaster Strat with all the neck warmth I could want. I also like the idea of a one pickup guitar to make me get the most out of what I have.

    But I’m curious if I’ll miss the option of a neck pup if it’s gone. If you are solely a bridge pup user, is rolling the tone knob enough to substitute a neck pup?

    Decisions decisions... I’d love to hear any thoughts/advice! Thanks in advance
     
  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    As much as I love neck pickups and 4-way switching, if I were you...from what you describe...I would go Esquire. I think you'll really like it. Just wire the bridge pickup to volume and tone and bypass the switch. Inexpensive and simple. If you want to later you can wire in the switch and some resistors and the volume-only setting.

    Also, the Cavalier Nashville Lion is one of my favorite tele bridge pickups ever and I've tried a number of them. Excellent choice, especially for an Esquire.
     
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  3. Rigel7

    Rigel7 Tele-Meister

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    Try an Esquire, but I say go all in with the Esquire wiring. Back is the pickup with the tone bypassed, middle is normal, neck is the pup running through a cap. That can be cool if you're playing with fuzz.
     
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  4. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    If you already have a Tele, go the Esquire route (new wiring and all). If you don't already have a Tele, I'd say try the Esquire anyway and see how you like it, since it's an easily reversible mod. You can use all the same pots, cap and switch either way (you can even use the 4-way on the Esquire and just get a 4th wiring option out of it). And a Nashville Lion is great as an Esquire pickup or a Tele bridge pickup.

    I question somewhat the need for $70 to replace your Tele's electronics. Are you thinking of buying a pre-wired harness? That's fine, but if you can solder the parts yourself you can get all the parts you need for less than $70.

    Rolling down the tone knob on an Esquire is no substitute for a Tele neck pickup, but it was never supposed to be. They're two similar-looking (and somewhat overlapping) guitars that do very different things.
     
  5. Willie Johnson

    Willie Johnson Tele-Afflicted

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    I did a HS Squier Bullet Tele up like this recently. I had Strat pickups in the neck and bridge for a while, and then just the Strat bridge pickup and Esquire pickguard (screwed into the wood of the humbucker bridge cavity and covered with a plastic humbucker ring and a playing card). Now I have a GFS Dream 90 in there (humbucker-sized p-90 type) and I really like it a lot. No switch wired up, just 500k volume and tone pots. Lots of variability at 25%, 50%, and 75% of tone rolled off. Looks really cool, too--brown sunburst, black hardware, Strat-style hardtail bridge, black guard, brown Fender cupcake knobs.
     
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  6. rockymtnguitar

    rockymtnguitar Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    My CV50s BSB that I esquired a few years ago is my favorite guitar. Go for it. It's always reversible, too. And Cavalier pickups are great (though I'm still using the stock pup).
     
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  7. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Do the Esquire. It's simple enough to do in an afternoon with a cup of coffee beside the soldering station. If it doesn't do what you want after giving it a month to figure out what's different about the Esquire, then go with the 4-way.

    Are you replacing the pots for a reason? Electrically, they're fine. I replaced mine because they were just too stiff to rotate easily.
     
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  8. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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    Lots of Esquire ideas and discussion here:

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/club-esquire.100071/

    You've got exactly the right idea about single pickup guitars, I think you'll like an Esquire and you'll find the limits are wider than you might expect. And as others have said, it's easily reversible. If pushed I'd be happy with an Esquire as my only electric, but I'm glad to have a Tele or two as well.

    Keep us updated won't you. Oh and pictures!
     
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  9. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I've found this can be caused by knobs sitting too low on the shaft and rubbing against the guitar body. I have some spare Gibson-style knob pointers, and letting the knob rest on 2 or 3 or those (spread out around the knob, not stacked) while I tighten the set screw keeps the knob low but high enough to clear the body.
     
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  10. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is interesting. Can you post a photo?
     
  11. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I'll take one when I get home today, but the point is just to let the knob rest on something thin, and do so on more than just one side so that the knob doesn't tilt.
     
  12. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Holic

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    Esquires are often routed for neck pickups anyway so whaddya got to lose? Worst case; parts for other future builds.
     
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  13. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I would go Esquire. If you are hesitant, just keep the hole in the scratch plate until you decide. I would assemble a new plate from scratch, using all US spec parts. Follow the ALL the values in the stock 50s wiring diagram with 3 caps and a resistor. Pot values are very important. Put your old plate in cool dark place - as they say.

    Play for a while, adjusting pup heights, and exploring different wiring options. If you can't find anything you like, put everything back in its place.
     
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  14. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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    A while back I got a Warwick Corvette bass for a silly price in Cash Converters (like a pawn shop) because of exactly this problem. I use a couple of pieces of card under the knob to get enough clearance.

    Back to the charms of Esquires.
     
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  15. Troubleandahalf

    Troubleandahalf Tele-Afflicted

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    I Esquire'd my CV and liked it so much I kept it that way for many years.
    I actually screwed up somehow on the Eldred mod, and ended up with Kill, Vol/Tone,Volume only on the switch.
    It was surprisingly versatile
     
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  16. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    First off, a rolled back bridge pickup doesn't really substitute a neck pickup. There's a sweetness from the neck pickup that you can't really get from the bridge.

    That being said, if you don't much use the neck pickup, the first point is rather moot.

    Go for an Esquire for the fun of it!

    It it were me, and I were getting one of Rob's pickups, I think I would go for a tapped model. Something like the Nocaster (43awg) with a very bright tap (~7k) and one or two 'holy grail' taps (~10k, or even way more like ~13k).


    Also, I would add a no-load tone pot to get the same thing as the tone-bypass switch position on an Esquire.
     
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  17. alex1fly

    alex1fly Tele-Meister

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    Always a chance you'll miss something when it's gone. Don't sweat it too much. Mod the guitar in whatever way gets you the most stoked!
     
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  18. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Afflicted

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    I think every Tele player should spend some time with an Esquire. It really is a different animal. Since you don't use the neck pickup much (I'm with you there) you probably won't miss it at all, and you may be surprised at how versatile and responsive your Esquire is.
     
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  19. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Oddly, I usually avoid the bridge position in my Teles because I like the neck and combined positions so much. I still find the Esquire interesting. I like both position 3 and 2 for rhythm - which is about all I am competent with. But dropping down into position 1 will get anyone's attention. It pierces through cinder blocks!
     
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  20. shallbe

    shallbe Tele-Meister

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    Do the Esquire. I liked my first so much I've now done two.

    [​IMG]
     
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