My old '93 tele seems to be quieter (less volume?) than it used to be...?

ruger9

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Anybody experiencing a guitar's volume (output) lowering with time? My '93 (which has been my #1 since '94) is quieter than ALL my guitars, even other teles I had had with single coil pickups. All the others seem to match in volume, but my tele seems weak?

[note: I haven't changed pickups, pickup heights, action, relief, or strings. All the same for the last 28 years. And it's the same result with any amp I plug into, again over many recent years. The 2 pickups were installed the same year, as were the pots. Everything is the same age.]

I checked the pickups DC resistance (I just went from the output jack, I did not de-solder them), and they seem to still be very close to original spec. I was thinking maybe the magnets had weakened (that's what it feels like), altho I know that subject seems to be hotly contested- at least over a 25-30 year timeframe... (that pickups loose magnetism and get weaker).

I could use a boost to level it with the rest, but I'd rather not.... just wondering what might be going on, if anything? Has anyone experienced this? I remember reading an article where Marty Stuart and Kenny Vaughan were using boosters with their vintage teles "the old pickups need a little help" was basically what Marty said...
 

archetype

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Unless the pickups have been in a field that demagnetized them, they won't demagnetize appreciably for a thousand years. I have no idea why that's contested when magnet makers publish data sheets.

Perhaps clean the pots in case accumulated funk has increased the resistance.
 

dsutton24

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The d.c. resistance of a pickup will not change over time, unless of course it fails.

There is a small possibility that the magnets have degraded, but I sincerely doubt it. If there's a problem at all it's likely something has gone wrong with the controls. I had a '90 MIM Telecaster that suddenly developed a low output, and started picking up A.M. radio to boot. After a lot of highly scientific monkeying around with the stupid thing I finally just said to hell with it and replaced both pots along with the tone cap. Problem solved.

I've never noted that any of my guitars from that era were any quieter than anything comparable from other years, barring the obvious differences you'd get from say, humbuckers or active pickups.

The "old pickups need a little help" thing reflects the differences between old pickups and modern pickups. The pickups in vintage guitars just weren't as hot as pickups made today. It's manufacturing practice of the day, not aging that makes the difference.
 

ruger9

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Well, apparently the theory is "resting your guitar against the amp is close enough for pickups to degauss over time"... again- hotly contested. But I have done that for years. Whatever guitar I'm currently playing usually gets left against then amp. This is at home, so for example, that tele could be leaning up against an amp for a week at a time. And #1 has seen alot more of it, simply because it's been with me the longest, by far.

As for the controls, they aren't scratchy or anything, so I assume they are fine? There is no noise (from something coming ungrounded for example) either.
 

Red Ryder

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A bigger amp, preferably a 100 watts or more with nothing less than 4×12" speakers should solve any problems you have with pickup volume.
 

ruger9

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I think it's just a quieter guitar than my others. The pots aren't noisy, the DC resistances check out, I think it's just the wood + pickups combination... it is what it is. And what it is is SWEET. The only time the volume difference makes a difference is at a gig, when I switch guitars. And, interestingly, that is not even a problem with my solid state amp (a Roland Blues Cube Artist), only my tube amps. I wonder if that speaks to the superior responsiveness of tubes...

At home it's not a big deal of course... guitars do have different volumes/outputs, that's why humbuckers famously push amps harder than single coils, etc.
 

Skyhook

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Anybody experiencing a guitar's volume (output) lowering with time? My '93 (which has been my #1 since '94) is quieter than ALL my guitars, even other teles I had had with single coil pickups. All the others seem to match in volume, but my tele seems weak?

[note: I haven't changed pickups, pickup heights, action, relief, or strings. All the same for the last 28 years. And it's the same result with any amp I plug into, again over many recent years. The 2 pickups were installed the same year, as were the pots. Everything is the same age.]

I checked the pickups DC resistance (I just went from the output jack, I did not de-solder them), and they seem to still be very close to original spec. I was thinking maybe the magnets had weakened (that's what it feels like), altho I know that subject seems to be hotly contested- at least over a 25-30 year timeframe... (that pickups loose magnetism and get weaker).

I could use a boost to level it with the rest, but I'd rather not.... just wondering what might be going on, if anything? Has anyone experienced this? I remember reading an article where Marty Stuart and Kenny Vaughan were using boosters with their vintage teles "the old pickups need a little help" was basically what Marty said...
Dunno... I've had a pickup fail on me once but it didn't fade out. It just flat out stopped working so that's probably not it.
Lots of hassle, I know, but can you try an A <-> B swap of pickups with one of your other Teles?
In such case, measure the result with both a spectrum analyzer and a dB meter.
If there is an actual loss of dB it might be some non-obvious frequencies which would be laid bare by the spectrum analyzer.
And of course, check if the possibly bashful pickups come to life in the other Tele and vice versa.
 

PCollen

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Anybody experiencing a guitar's volume (output) lowering with time? My '93 (which has been my #1 since '94) is quieter than ALL my guitars, even other teles I had had with single coil pickups. All the others seem to match in volume, but my tele seems weak?

[note: I haven't changed pickups, pickup heights, action, relief, or strings. All the same for the last 28 years. And it's the same result with any amp I plug into, again over many recent years. The 2 pickups were installed the same year, as were the pots. Everything is the same age.]

I checked the pickups DC resistance (I just went from the output jack, I did not de-solder them), and they seem to still be very close to original spec. I was thinking maybe the magnets had weakened (that's what it feels like), altho I know that subject seems to be hotly contested- at least over a 25-30 year timeframe... (that pickups loose magnetism and get weaker).

I could use a boost to level it with the rest, but I'd rather not.... just wondering what might be going on, if anything? Has anyone experienced this? I remember reading an article where Marty Stuart and Kenny Vaughan were using boosters with their vintage teles "the old pickups need a little help" was basically what Marty said...
Touch up the solder joints of the wiring in the signal path common to both pickups. One may be going cold..developing increasing resistance. Maybe your volume pot resistance has changed. I would suggest changing those strings. I mean, 28 years ?! C'mon, Man. :D
 
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PCollen

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Unless the pickups have been in a field that demagnetized them, they won't demagnetize appreciably for a thousand years. I have no idea why that's contested when magnet makers publish data sheets.
I just had a disturbing thought. I have three guitars on wall hangers, and one on a floor stand (they rotate, depending on what I'm playing that day). Today, our housekeeper will show up and at some point go into my office/music room and vacuum the floor, as she has weekly for the past several years, which will no doubt eventually put the vacuum cleaner motor in proximity to the guitar on the floor stand. I have to make a change...NOW, as Jimmy "J.J." Walker says.
 
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ruger9

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I seems you say that this Tele has always been not as loud as your other guitars...it's not a recently occurring phenomenon.
In hindsight, I tend to agree... it just so happens that in the last 5 years or so I have had several guitars that were/are noticeably louder... including other teles. I have always heard about "humbuckers being louder/driving the amp more" and people who "use the low input for humbuckers", but I never really experienced it until lately.

And, one of my teles- a Cabronita- has always been louder, regardless of the pickups that were in it. And it's had alot of pickups in it. Fender Fidelitrons, TV Jones Setzer Signatures, Powertrons, T-90s, T-armonds, most recently Rio Grande BBQ'trons... I guess it always seemed strange to me that even 6K Setzer Signatures were louder than the 8.5-9.5K single coils in my #1 tele.
 




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