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Fender American Nashville B-Bender Poor Tone

Discussion in 'B-Bender Forum' started by WashParkBob, Aug 27, 2017.

  1. WashParkBob

    WashParkBob TDPRI Member

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    I bought a Fender American Nashville B-Bender used through reverb. I bought it to try the whole B-bender thing. The guitar has a three saddle Glendale bridge. To my ear the tone is really thin on all pick-up positions. I'm really disappointed, no soul or bottom end. I have a 52 reissue that I love.... twang in the bridge position and that jazzy middle position when I don't want as much twang. I can't find any position I like on the Nashville, even the B-bender notes sound weak. Any ideas on set-up or pick-ups that would get me that classic telecaster sound. B-Benders are kind of hard to find, I thought I got a good deal on this one with the modified bridge. I thought I would see if there are ideas on the forum, because I'm not sure a Luthier would be the answer unless they were a Tele expert.

    Thanks for any sage advise out there (other than dump the guitar).
     
    Doug 54 likes this.
  2. Rick Towne

    Rick Towne Tele-Afflicted

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    I am not a pickup expert as I found the ones I like 20 years ago and have had no reason to change: Seymour Duncan 5-2 and Jerry Donahue in the bridge and SSL-2's in the neck and middle.

    Many people here will have their own favorites. In the meantime, there is no reason I can think of that the bender mechanism by itself should have that effect.
     
  3. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    I wouldn't dump the guitar until you've tried a few things. You have many options here--many of them easy. And no, the B Bender and bridge aren't inherently involved in the thin sound you're getting.

    If you're used to playing humbuckers, going to single coils can be an adjustment at first. Fiddle with your amp settings and see if turning up your bass & middle, and down your treble, doesn't improve things to your liking. Turn off your amp's bright switch, etc.

    Adjust your pickup heights. See what thickens the sound. This can make a pretty dramatic difference.

    A tech can easily swap in new pickups. Cavaliers get a lot of love here--great sound and a good bargain. I put a Fat Lion into my Esquire, and it's just great. Meat, twang, cut--anything you want. An easy swap for a tech. GFS makes a good range of very affordable Tele pickups, too.

    You could also or instead go with just a different capacitor in your wiring, which a tech can easily swap in. A very inexpensive venture that can much thicken your sound.

    Try thicker strings, too. I find 9's plinky, but love 11's for some chewiness.

    Good luck and welcome to the Forum! Post again about what you did and the results.
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2017
  4. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I've had two of them.
    Both sounded and worked fine, for me.
    Is the guitar set up properly, for you?
    Perhaps a pickup change or two is in order.
    Though I did not keep either of mine, weight was my only minor quibble.
    I like Rio Grande Muy Grandes.
    They are very slightly hotter and more mid-range-ey than stock.
    Good luck!
     
  5. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    Check out Jerry Sentell - Sentell Pickups. He is a custom winder that will make anything you want and his prices are often less than typical replacement pickups. Just give him a clear idea of the tone you want - He's made perfect ones for me, and every player I know who has ordered pickups from him has been pleased.

    With that specific guitar it's pretty obvious the pickups are not what you want tonally. IMO you should replace all 3 - ask for the bridge pickup sound you want and I suggest Strat-type tones for the other two. I use Strat neck pickups in all my Teles and IMO they have much better punch and tone than any Tele neck pickup.

    I hope that helps.
     
  6. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    I bought a new one and sent it back after two days. I concluded I'd have to change the pickups to get a tone I'd like and probably eliminate the mid pup.
     
  7. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sell it if a few tweaks donut work.
     
  8. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    You guitar has the usual "nothing to write home about " pickups (the bridge pickup isn't a real tele bridge pup to start with since it comes without a baseplate).

    Still I think that it is a set up problem (especially pickup heights).

    Adjust the height of your pickups and if still not satisfied try better pickups (thousands of options out there)
     
  9. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    There's really no reason to remove the middle pickup unless it gets in the way of your pick no matter how far you lower it. Otherwise - and lowered so the magnetic pull is nominal - it's benign.

    I have mixed feelings about returning new guitars because the pickups don't have the tone you want. It's much harder to find a guitar with precisely the right feel, weight, balance etc, and pickups are easily replaced.
     
  10. WashParkBob

    WashParkBob TDPRI Member

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    Guess I should go to see a good luthier/sound tech. I'll continue to do more research. Thanks for the advise. It's kind of what I thought. Makes me realize the 52 reissue is a gem.
     
  11. Pineears

    Pineears Tele-Afflicted

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    Change to the same pickups that are in he 52 reissue.
     
  12. WashParkBob

    WashParkBob TDPRI Member

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    Thought of changing to the 52 pickups, but there are three pickup in the Nashville and no mud
     
  13. nocastermike

    nocastermike Tele-Meister

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    I bought one and hated all 3 pickups. I yanked them and put in a traditional 2 pickup set.(don mares). Replaced the pots with glendales and put in a vintage cap. So overall..i gutted it. However now i have a Great B Bender telecaster thats a blast to play.
     
  14. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    So? I don't understand what the problem is. Install the '52 set and use the existing middle and switch. That seems awfully obvious.
     
  15. WashParkBob

    WashParkBob TDPRI Member

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    Okay let's assume the problem with tone is the three pickups are mediocre. What three pick-ups would forum members suggest, wiring and switching. I may just bite the bullet and get it upgraded. I checked the pick up height and it looks like my other teles. A while ago I purchased a Baja cheap and I think it sounds much better than the Nashville, as does my 52 reissue. Also I think it came with 9s and normally I play 10s so I'm thinking it is not a string gauge issue.
     
  16. WashParkBob

    WashParkBob TDPRI Member

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    Also is it possible to get a Strat sound off the middle pick-up, I don't think the Texas Special sounds very Strat like alone or even in the out of phase positions. I was kind of hoping that might be possible with the Nashville because I like the rhythm sound of a Strat.
     
  17. muudcat

    muudcat Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Put Don Mares in my 96' with a PP bridge pick up switch and Stelly in the neck, darn good sounding guitar
     
  18. Silverface

    Silverface Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    First - there are no out-of-phase positions on a Strat. Switch positions 2 & 4 are bridge/middle and neck/middle pickup combinations.

    You can get a "Strat-like" tone out of the middle pickup alone - but not in the combined positions. "Strat-like" because the tone is altered by magnetic effects caused by thye Tele bridge and bridge pickup plate.

    As far as the combined pickup sounds go, the Telecaster bridge pickup is completely different both in makeup and mounting, plus it's not in precisely the same harmonic position as a Strat's because of the different angle. And again, the large steel bridge and steel pickup plate change the entire magnetic response of the strings. Add the fact that the neck pickup is a different type, and the frequency response and output of each combined pickup position is markedly different than that of a Strat.
     
  19. Don Miller

    Don Miller Tele-Afflicted

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    Check the tone capacitor too...I had an American standard B bender...came with an .022 mfd cap...I replaced it with a .047.....that might make a difference if you use the 52RI pickups...which, as an aside, are my favorites for a great, comparatively inexpensive non boutique pickup...
     
  20. string pull

    string pull Tele-Meister

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    TURN UP YOUR AMP!
     
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