Nashville T-Type: Pickup Balance Question

TheOtherNeill

Tele-Meister
Silver Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2020
Posts
228
Location
Southern California
Hi, all:

Was playing around with a Nashville-style T-type I am interested in. It has a five-way switch, and a push-pull tone pot to engage the neck pickup with the bridge in position 1 (i.e., not hum-cancelling: only the middle is RWRP). Issue is this: bridge sounds great, neck sounds very good; but when when I pull the tone pot in position 1, engaging the neck seems to swamp the bridge, you don't get any of the bridge's chime and, therefore, you lose that Tele middle-position goodness.

The pickups are a factory-matched set and intended to work together. Also, the owner let me play with pickup heights, and with a couple of minor tweaks they sound pretty well balanced in volume and "force" when I switch back and forth--I even biased the bridge a little higher than usual relative to the neck as an experiment. But the bridge always seems to get lost in the combination. I love the guitar overall, and I really want that middle position to work: what other factors should I consider to address this? For example, is there any reason the push-pull pot would somehow cut the bridge pickup signal? I am willing to swap pickups, but I am afraid that doing so may not solve the issue.

I would appreciate any suggestions.
 

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
Is your neck pickup wired directly to the output jack, or to the volume pot (where the 5 way switch is connected)? Does the volume control work on the neck pickup alone if it is also switched on by the push pull pot? If it does not, I would recommend wiring the neck pickup switch to the volume pot so that the added resistance of the volume and tone controls, that is weighing down the other pickups is also weighing down the neck pickup, when it's on. The two pots don't add much resistance, but they do add a little more than going direct to the output jack and that could cause a volume imbalance. Also, if you have the volume control down, even a little, when you engage the neck pickup direct to output, it will be louder than the other pickups. Just my $.02. Good luck. I just put together a Nashville and I love it!
 

TheOtherNeill

Tele-Meister
Silver Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2020
Posts
228
Location
Southern California
Is your neck pickup wired directly to the output jack, or to the volume pot (where the 5 way switch is connected)? Does the volume control work on the neck pickup alone if it is also switched on by the push pull pot? If it does not, I would recommend wiring the neck pickup switch to the volume pot so that the added resistance of the volume and tone controls, that is weighing down the other pickups is also weighing down the neck pickup, when it's on. The two pots don't add much resistance, but they do add a little more than going direct to the output jack and that could cause a volume imbalance. Also, if you have the volume control down, even a little, when you engage the neck pickup direct to output, it will be louder than the other pickups. Just my $.02. Good luck. I just put together a Nashville and I love it!
Thank you for this. I'll break it open and check.
 

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
Before you even turn a screw, put the 5 way on neck pickup and turn it all the way down. It should reduce the volume (obviously). Then turn on the switch and see if you can still turn the volume all the way down. If the volume control has no effect on the neck pickup (alone) when switched on with the pull pot, then the switch is wired direct to the output. Post your results so we can fix this.
 

TheOtherNeill

Tele-Meister
Silver Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2020
Posts
228
Location
Southern California
Ok, so I need to correct one thing: the push-pull is the volume pot, not tone. But anyway, the volume reduces on position 5 (and 1) whether I engage the neck with the switch or with the pot.
 

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
The good news is, that it seems like it's wired properly. The bad news is, the imbalance issue is being caused by something else. Hmmmmmm........ Let me ponder upon this. Are the neck and bridge pickup, in phase? Are they both wound in the same direction and both the same polarity (either north up, or south up). And, do the "in between" positions (2 and 4) on the 5 way switch sound right? On my Nashville, I eliminated the chance of any phase issues by using 3 identical pickups (like the Fender's original guitars). They're all wound counter clock wise and south up. The downside is that there is no hum cancelling at all, but it is surprisingly quiet.

Here's a good article. Forgive me if you already know all this.

 

TheOtherNeill

Tele-Meister
Silver Supporter
Joined
May 6, 2020
Posts
228
Location
Southern California
Thanks, @misterdontmove. I had read that Fralin article, and it is good. The bridge and neck here are the same polarity, with a RWRP middle. But again, both of those pickups are a matched T set, with an S-type middle. it’s still possible the bridge just doesn’t have “enough,” but it seemed so odd.
 

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
Neck/Bridge tone is so sweet too! One more trouble shooting suggestion. How about wiring the neck and bridge direct to output (around the controls) and see if you can balance out the sound with height adjustments alone. My tele bridge pickups are pretty close to the strings. I always start with bridge height and then move the neck up to balance, since the neck pickup can cause tuning problems if it's to close. Good luck! I hope you solve it. Nashvilles are sweet!
 

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
Here's mine. Pine Barncaster. Knots and all!
 

Attachments

  • nashville.JPG
    nashville.JPG
    111.7 KB · Views: 24

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
One last thought! Check to make sure the Middle pickup is off when you switch to Neck/Bridge only. Mine is switchable to all three pickups at once and the Bridge pickup sound is "obscured" in that position. Touch one of the bridge pickup pole pieces with a metal screwdriver when in Neck/Bridge only mode and it should be silent through the amp. These types of things make me nuts!
 

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
One last thought! Check to make sure the Middle pickup is off when you switch to Neck/Bridge only. Mine is switchable to all three pickups at once and the Bridge pickup sound is "obscured" in that position. Touch one of the bridge pickup pole pieces with a metal screwdriver when in Neck/Bridge only mode and it should be silent through the amp. These types of things make me nuts!
I meant "touch one of the middle pickup pole pieces" to test if it's off. Sorry
 

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
My bridge pickup is pretty close to the strings, on both teles. I'll measure later and post for you. I put the bridge where it sounds good first and then bring up the neck to taste. Unless the neck starts to pull at the strings and cause tuning problems, then everything has to go down.
 

misterdontmove

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 25, 2011
Posts
414
Location
Connecticut
Bridge pickup is about 3/16 of an inch from the high E string without depressing the string at last fret. A bit further on the low E, but not much.
 




Top