I just don't get it...

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Alienjohn, Sep 17, 2021.

  1. Alienjohn

    Alienjohn TDPRI Member

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    I built my Tele in 1990 with a true Fender neck on a great body, I have had stock Amer Tele pickups, several combinations of single coil and humbuckers, P90s, PAFs, Strat neck and middle, Duncan bridge pup, Tex Mex, Noiseless, 3, 4 & 5-way switches, every conceivable wiring possibility and everything in between in the 31 years I've owned her. Her neck is arrow straight, and she plays like a charm every show, (at least 500 shows) BUT even with all these different configurations I have never been able to get that spanky tele sound like Ray Flacke, Roy Nicholes, Paisley and others get, even tho I am considered a very able chicken picker (complete with grabby fingernails on the right hand)

    BUT WAIT

    THEN I picked up this 2007 Mexican Telecaster and suddenly it sounds perfect! I play the lead to Highway 40 Blues and every note spanks and every string bend on the low E and A are effortless to a full step and even 1 & 1/2 steps. She rings and chimes like a bell and sounds just like Ray Flacke but I'm not playing any differently than I always do, so why in the world does this less expensive basic old Mexi Tele get this sound so well?

    My 30+ year Tele has a rosewood fretboard and the 2007 Mexi has a Maple one, could this contribute so much? I'm stumped here.

    Maybe I'm just ranting that after thousands of dollars over the years in trying so many pickups, tailpieces, plastic nuts, bone nuts, professional fret jobs, every gauge and brand of string out there just to find a $250 stock Mexi Tele that has been under somebody's bed for 24 years suddenly gives me the sound I was after?

    I just don't get it. I'd really like to understand but I'm just confused.

    Thanks. Carry on

    John in Ohio
     
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  2. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Friend of Leo's

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    There is something about those ceramic magnet pickups that makes them very precise. Ime, that is what you have been searching for.
     
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  3. JL_LI

    JL_LI Poster Extraordinaire

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    Different pickups are magic for different folks and it’s great when you find what to love. It’s even better when you find them in a perfect guitar. Good for you, @Alienjohn . Magic for me is Ultimate Noiseless in an American Standard Strat. I just love the magic.
     
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  4. gitold

    gitold Poster Extraordinaire

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    Why question it…? Just enjoy!!!
     
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  5. BamaSurf

    BamaSurf Tele-Meister

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    Yeah....well age will do that to ya.....lol
     
  6. loudboy

    loudboy Tele-Meister

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    A good guitar is a good guitar, regardless of the price.
     
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  7. Fretting out

    Fretting out Doctor of Teleocity Platinum Supporter

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    Definitely not the fretboard material my rosewood boards spank as much as maple

    I can’t explain it I’m not much of a ummmhmmm...tonewood believer (as far as electrics) but sometimes even if you change pickups a guitar will just sound dead
     
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  8. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    No,Ray Flake was a rosewood guy.
     
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  9. stratisfied

    stratisfied Tele-Afflicted

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    ... and a dud only makes a thud.

    "All the money" partscasters don't always turn out sounding like "all the money". You can tap test the woods and use your go-to pickups and still get a dead sounding guitar. It's the luck of the draw.
     
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  10. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

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    You did got that Squier didn't you?
     
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  11. tomasz

    tomasz Tele-Meister

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    Is there a weight difference to the guitars? You could switch necks to see what change that brings.

    Not trying to summon the tonewood discussion here, but i've learned from my humble experience, that besides the electronics, the guitar parts contribute to the sound, even on electrics, as they influence the resonance. The string does not vibrate on its own. It vibrations induce the movements of the body, that impacts also sustain and tone. If you think about an experiment, like installing a string on a steel rail, vs installing it on two nails hammered into dirt, which would resonate better?

    Material density and weight, joint quality will have an influence on resonance. Heavier tuning heads will make a change, simar to a lighter body. I remember a strat korina body, that was just dead sounding in any combination of necks and pickups. This is an interesting video from a different industry, but it shows an interesting resonance problem, that also happens on a guitar:


    Just my two cents to trigger thoughts :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2021
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  12. Senor Blues

    Senor Blues TDPRI Member

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    I have a Strat neck taken off off a 57 AVRI when a kid traded me for the Warmoth compound radius neck I had at the time. That AVRI neck that imparts it’s unique tonal character to any body I have put it on. I will never part with it, the hollow woody tone of that neck is unique, classic, and it would sound good bolted to a brick. It’s been regretted with Evo frets as I wore out the originals and it’s sort a compound 7.5 to 9.5 now since I had that done specifically during regret, and it still sounds the same. I think it’s the piece of wood itself and the vintage truss rod that makes it sing.

    That said, I built a parts caster at high expense, with a high end roasted maple Warmoth neck. And that neck was dead comparatively and had odd harmonic overtones.unplugged and through an amp. Until I fret leveled and crowned and polished. It was like night and day. It’s now a favorite axe.
     
  13. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I figure every guitar really is a bit different and its one of the things that makes them so cool. I agree with the precise pickup comments with those ceramics. Enjoy your new guitar-and of course if you like it, resist the temptation to mod and "improve" it
     
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  14. THX1123

    THX1123 Tele-Holic

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    According to some people nothing affects the sound except pickups and your hands. I believe a guitar is a synergy, the of the sum of all its parts, cheap or expensive.

    Maybe that's not the ideal answer, but it is my answer.

    You are happy with it now. I would play it as it is until something fails or breaks and keep tweaking your 1990 in the hope that you find a combination you seek somehow.
     
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  15. pbenn

    pbenn Tele-Afflicted

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    Might be the bridge plate or saddles. I'm guessing the MIM had the stock Fender Vintage plate.
    Did you use an aftermarket/thicker plate in your partscaster build?

    IME the stock thin metal plate has a ring to it that others, including MIJ/CIJ similar looking plates from the '80s, don't have.
     
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  16. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    What species was that body of your partscaster made of?
     
  17. Mouth

    Mouth Tele-Afflicted

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    Does pickup height factor into this?

    Maybe you've always set up for a full rich sound and that's not the same height for spank?

    Just spitballing.

    Subscribed for the answer!
     
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  18. Peegoo

    Peegoo Doctor of Teleocity

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    Tone just...happens.

    Sometimes it doesn't--no matter what you try.
     
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  19. sk25

    sk25 Tele-Meister

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    Pickups and strings and amps make the sound but everything else contributes to it, some things more than others. Sometimes a neck that produces an amazing sound with one body sounds like crap on any other body. Sometimes a body that sounds amazing with a specific neck sounds like garbage with any other...the trouble is finding a neck that sounds decent on a particular body. The interaction of dozens of parts is not something you can accurately predict, not when you throw the variability of wood (even if the body and neck came from the same tree) into the equation. Sometimes a seemingly innocuous thing will have an outsized effect on the sound, and sometimes the "best" (more expensive) part isn't always the best option for a particular guitar.

    After the pickups and strings, the neck and body are the core of the instrument, everything else is just coloring the sound they produce. A good setup is important too.

    And sometimes you just have to accept that a guitar is what it is, and if you can't accept it for what it is, get a different one.
     
  20. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

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    If there was a formula for making the perfect guitar, all guitars would be perfect. Try out 10 MIM teles and they won’t all sound exactly the same.
     
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