Middle position on tele— the key to the soul/funk sound?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by appar111, Apr 18, 2020.

  1. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve been getting back into guitar since I have a ton of time here at home nowadays (thanks covid-19), and digging back through some Steve Cropper, Otis, and old James Brown and so much stuff seems to sound like the middle position on a tele (whether it actually was, I don’t know, except for Cropper... I think that was his main sound).

    It’s making me want to add a neck pickup to my esquire.. it currently has a Duncan Antiquity ‘55 in the bridge and no switch or tone knob. I have a spare tele neck pickup (Dimarzio True Velvet) that I might throw in.

    Anyone else here convert their esquire to a tele just to get that soul/funk sound of the middle position?
     
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  2. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

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    Middle position=rhythm.
    Neck position=blues soling.
    Bridge=solo.
     
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  3. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a Tele with a Huge Lion bridge pickup and a Broadcaster neck pickup. I thought about esquiring it but realized the weaker neck pickup is perfect for the middle position. Yes, tons of funk and soul is Tele middle or Strat 2 and 4 quack positions.
     
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  4. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    A certain pickup position isn't going to be "the key" to playing in any genre of music. It's what you do as a player that matters.

    I eliminate the modern style middle position, myself. I find it too thin. I turn positions 1 and 2 on my Teles into the same thing as an Esquire.
     
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  5. NicDo

    NicDo TDPRI Member

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    You're on to something with the middle position and that era. Funk too, it's a great rhythm sound. Nothing depends on it, but Steve Cropper said that he only used the middle position on his Tele.
     
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  6. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I also like the middle position for some country stuff. Still twangy, but not as sharp-sounding. Great for low-string, single-note stuff.

    The tone knob is truly your friend here.
     
  7. Califiddler

    Califiddler Friend of Leo's

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    I could be remembering this wrong, but I seem to recall that on his Homespun Tapes Rock and Roll Rhythm Guitar videos, Amos Garrett said that Cropper used the bridge pickup with the tone control rolled off quite a bit. Maybe it was only for the specific song that Garrett was teaching.
     
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  8. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    With a little bit of OD ( for sustain w/o real perceived distortion)
    the middle position is the ticket to getting close that 'sweet ' Dickey Betts tone on a Fender.
    ( just my finding as a ' jack of all trades' player that tries to get a lot out of whatever guitar is on my lap )
     
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  9. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah but you know what I’m saying...I wasn’t being 100% literal
     
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  10. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Doctor of Teleocity

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    Cropper always sounded good using the middle selector position. Back when he played Telecasters anyway.
     
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  11. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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    In most cases the N+B middle position is still a mainstay for R&B, soul and funk.
    A lot of Steve Croppers playing when he switched to a Telecaster didn't have the
    '67 or so modern wiring so the N+B setting wasn't there yet. It had the neck pickup
    with the bass cap on the neck switch position, middle switch position with neck pickup
    standard only and standard bridge pickup on that switch position.
     
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  12. Paulie_Boy

    Paulie_Boy Tele-Holic

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    You can always get out your router and try. If you don't like it, just throw on the old pickguard and change it back.
     
  13. appar111

    appar111 Friend of Leo's

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    No need for a router.., it’s already routed for a tele neck pickup under there. So no sense in not trying it I suppose. It’ll give me something to do during quarantine!
     
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  14. Thinline casket

    Thinline casket Tele-Meister

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    I would say yes and no. It certainly is a funk and soul sound. But so is a strat. You can get there with anything with reason.

    Cropper's tele through a Harvard. Strat through a scooped black face is pretty funky. Variety is the spice of life. If you watch James Brown videos through the years you'll see lots of stuff. Even humbuckers. :D
     
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  15. Axegrinder77

    Axegrinder77 Tele-Holic

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    You'll never know til you give it a go!

    I like the middle sometimes. More than the neck plus bridge that I had a 4 way installed for. That I seldom use, and when I do, I usually don't like it.
     
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  16. Peegoo

    Peegoo Friend of Leo's

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    I tend to lean toward positions 2 and 4 on the Strat. That has that spanky funk tone to my ears.
     
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  17. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    No way someone with esquire in his username could be biased against a two pickup tele ;)
     
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  18. 39martind18

    39martind18 Tele-Afflicted

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    I incorporated what I believe is a J bass control plate in my partscaster. It has separate volume knobs for both neck and bridge pickups along with a universal tone. With the pickup selector in the middle position, it is possible to dial in a myriad of tones simply by adjusting neck and bridge volumes. 20190306_182300.jpg 20190306_182300.jpg 20190425_133552.jpg
     
  19. Fretting out

    Fretting out Friend of Leo's

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    Cool!
    I’ve never seen one of these on a two pickup guitar, usually they are on a three pickup tele (Nashville style) and associated with Brent Mason where the middle knob controls the middle pickup volume
     
  20. Hari Seldon

    Hari Seldon Tele-Meister

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    Hi, good Idea. Since an Esquire is only a Tele with one pu missing and the routings are there, you can only win.
    Essential sound, that middle position. I use it for ca. 90% of my playing with the Tele.
     
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