Getting a (more) 50's tone from an alder/rosewood guitar?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Grateful Ape, May 13, 2020.

  1. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Holic

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    Ok, so I'm not starting with the most vintage style guitar - an alder/rosewood American pro. But I've been listening to the 'Ask Zac' YouTube channel and the tone of his maple necked Tele is sublime. I'd like to get closer to that classic clarity. I know I won't get all the way, but presumably, going for lower-output pickups with less mids will help? (It's a guitar with ample treble zing acoustically)

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
     
  2. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    Practice more

    Seriously, rosewood and swamp ash are not some sort of secret 50s sauce.

    He seems to use a deluxe reverb in his videos, so right there is a key--Scoop the hell out of the 800hz frequency range. The "mid scoop" is the signature sound of the black and silverface amps. Cutting your midrange
     
  3. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I’m gonna be the [edit, second] to say it: wood species doesn’t matter, not nearly and never as much as pickups and amp + technique.
     
  4. Togman

    Togman Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    What amp are you using?
     
  5. viking

    viking Friend of Leo's

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    +1
     
  6. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Holic

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    Blues Cube Artist with a fair bit of midrange rolled off.
     
  7. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Afflicted

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    The 3-brass saddles setup at the bridge is essential on every tele for me, regardless of woods or pickups.

    Love the Gotoh In-Tune brass saddles
     
  8. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    If the "ask Zac" guy, I'm assuming his name is Zac, is using a Deluxe Reverb, then it's not 50's tones he's producing. 50's tone would have much more mids and softer, saggier lows because of the rectification used in 50's amps. Not all Tele pickups are created equal. With the right pickups, you should be able to cop the tone you're after with any blackface amp including the RI's.

    Edit to add: body wood and whether you have a Maple neck, may color your tone somewhat, maybe but not in ways you can predict and it is very minimal in any case. Your hardware and PickUps and your amp are going to determine what your Tele sounds like.
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2020
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  9. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Afflicted

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    wood doesn't matter.
     
  10. mortron

    mortron TDPRI Member

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    Tone chasing can be good fun and very rewarding. But don't stress yourself out over it ... Lots goes into tone. Sure, some generalizations can be made about the sonic characteristics of some woods, but it is impossible to guarantee those traits in any single piece of wood IMO.

    For what it's worth, when I had Carl Thompson build me a bass he said (I am paraphrasing) "People say I want this wood or that wood so I sound like this... I dunno how to guarantee that. You can play a note that rings for ages on one of my basses though... If you really want to change how you sound.... You need to Practice"

    Personal experience has told me that the ability to adapt and overcome has always won out over getting the right tone. If you fit in the mix, don't worry. If anything, find your voice and carve out your own space. Every guitar player I can think of as influential has developed a style of their own, phrasing etc, and sometimes that is what determines the tone they need. In the end I feel like it's as personal as a pair of underwear. Some do boxers, some do briefs and some don't wear any at all.

    I've found playing a range of material on a single instrument can force one to adapt their style to suit the song. I've found several tones by accident that have become staples in group situations to cut through the mix or fit into a pocket... Whatever the song dictates. To paraphrase another wiseman "you may not get the tone you want, but you may get the tone you need... To fit into the mix." At least I think that's what he meant heh.
     
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  11. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I think refinishing your tele in butterscotch blonde nitro is the necessary mod...

    Seriously, if I had your rig American Pro and a Blues Cube, I'd just twist some knobs and keep playing if I was you. If you like what you are hearing on some video, cop some licks first, and then twist some knobs until it sounds closer. Maybe in your heart of hearts you want a Deluxe Reverb, I dunno.

    I would guess your American Pro has most of the tele sounds hidden in it somewhere already though.
     
  12. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I've owned or played Teles bodies made from ash, basswood, paulownia, pine, and alder with necks that were maple, roasted maple, and rosewood. I'm not going to tell you there are no differences in tone from these materials, but I will say that pickups, amps, pedals, strings, wiring, and set up all made a much bigger difference than the woods used. I'm absolutely certain that you can get a vintage tone from alder and rosewood. Listening to his channel I wouldn't be surprised if he could get that tone from your tele using his gear.
     
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  13. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Holic

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    Don't have his hands ;) Totally get what you guys say about practice, and I agree - I spend /have spent a lot of time on tone production via technique.

    I think there is one thing that might be worth changing, and that's the pickups - which seem to be pretty hot.
     
  14. Grateful Ape

    Grateful Ape Tele-Holic

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    Edit: double post
     
  15. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    Yep. Vintage PU's vs. hot pickups will make a big difference.
     
  16. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

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    Wood matters. Everything matters. The question is, how much?
     
  17. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    EQ pedal. Boost the mids a touch and dial back the top 2 frequency sliders if required.
     
  18. teletail

    teletail Tele-Holic

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    That's not what my wife says.
     
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  19. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    Even an original blackguard wouldn't sound "50s" through this amp.

    Amps, pickups and effects are humangusly more important than "wood".
     
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  20. CapnCrunch

    CapnCrunch Friend of Leo's

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    You hear that wood type does not matter a lot here. I think they still even believe that the thickness and type of finish greatly influence tone over at TGP. While finish is irrelevant, I agree that wood type does influence the sound of an electric guitar in very small ways. The problem is that you really can't predict how it will influence it. Over all, wood type is subtle in its influence where scale length, hardware, Pickups and amp all are much more obvious in their influence.
     
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