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Need Advice on a Dull Sounding Tele Build

Discussion in 'Other T-Types and Partscasters' started by TommyGunz, May 22, 2020.

  1. Grendel2000

    Grendel2000 TDPRI Member

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    Oh, and I have a Gotoh "In Tune" bridge on that Tele with ZERO issues FWIW.
     
  2. Yuro

    Yuro TDPRI Member

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    Pine???? Have you ever heard of a tele made with PINE???? That's not a tone wood. Spruce is a tone wood. Alder is a tone wood. Swamp ash is THE tone wood...if it's a good piece of swamp-ash.

    Pine is too soft and squishy. How much does it weigh?

    I don't think the neck plate thickness will matter a hoot, but it's a cheap fix if it works...Problem is, there are a lot of things you can change...and if the wood is wrong, you're just throwing money into something that will end up parts. It's a shame because it looks very cool...beautiful, I'd even say.

    The good news is that, if you buy good parts to fix it and they don't work, you'll have good parts around for your next one.

    If you want it to sing, get a body made with one piece of swamp ash. The lighter the better. Alder is OK too, but swamp ash is the best for teles. The reason you don't see it so much is because it's a rough wood to finish off. Some, like Palir, just don't finish them smooth...they use the grain for FX.

    Fender wanted a wood that would lend itself to manufacturing high volume of slick looking guitars. Alder sounds reasonable and is easier to finish. To make a swamp ash body look new and finished, you need a lot of filler. That's why the first Teles were swamp ash and then they changed to alder.

    The neck looks pretty good to me but a rosewood board is going to be a bit darker and fuller compared to maple board. You can make a singing tele with a neck like this one...but not with pine...in my experience.

    I'm got exactly one guitar with SS frets. They don't feel right to me. Just sayin'. They last forever...That's especially true if you don't play the guitar much...and I don't play my SS fretted guitar much. It's a DeTemple tele, btw. One piece ash with titanium bridge barrels, eyelets and truss rod. With a massive neck, it still weighs about 7.5 lbs. Only thing not fantastic about it is the SS frets. It wasn't cheap. It sounds GREAT but I don't play it so much. Neck is huge...per my instructions...and SS frets feel a little gritty or something.

    Old ash trees where the base of the tree has been underwater a lot is the best. It needs to be completely dried out. That makes the pores in the would huge. That gives it resonance almost like a hollow-body.

    Check out a good Palir tele with that rough finish. They're not all great but a lot of them are. They seem to be the only really interesting tele around that I can actually purchase new.

    Always try them without an amp to find a good one. If you like playing it naked, making the electronics work for you is the easy part. Find a guitar in a store that you really like, then you have a good target for the next build. ...You need a worthy target.

    This is a beautiful looking guitar and I think you've done a lovely job, especially for your first try. However, I think trying to make it sound good with a pine body is going to be an exercise in spending money for band-aids. Get everything finally right and you'll have a guitar that's "not that bad".

    Guitars that go thud never make me happy no matter what pickups/electronics/bridge etc I put in them. Good stuff sounds better, but if you have the wrong piece of wood, you're never going to love this thing. Sounds to me like you have the wrong piece of wood.

    You did everything else right...great look, tight neck fit, roasted maple neck etc.

    This thing is so pretty, someone might buy it who likes that sort of sound. Might be good for playing REALLY LOUD? Otherwise, just get a different body and use the parts.

    I have spent a lot on store-bought guitars. My favorite player is a Warmouth body Strat made right. It's light, one-piece body. The Fender made neck was hand carved to perfection. It has a rosewood board. 7 lb 6 oz. The neck fit is perfect. The finish is white/pink relic (I think he was going for aged Oly white) with a green guard. It buzzed when I touched the pick guard screws so I put clear mailing tape over the pick guard. It's been on for 4 years now. If that all sound sounds ugly...It is. The pickups are hand-made and the electronics and bridge are out of an early 60's Fender. It does SRV tones all day and won't make a bad sound.

    I bought it in Vegas for $1650 from Cowtown Guitars. It was one of Jesse's (owner) projects. He used to make 6 or 8 per year, put them on the rack and they'd be gone in 2 days. I happened to show up on the right day. I didn't even plug the thing in when I bought it. I knew it was special just playing it naked in the store. Since that purchase, I always plug in LAST THING and never buy a guitar I haven't tried.

    What you're missing, I think, is a good piece of wood.
     
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  3. shiznatic

    shiznatic TDPRI Member

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    Also make sure the adjustment screws on the saddles are making a solid connection. I had a bit of a dead string sound on the higher strings until I adjusted them to all be making solid contact.
     
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  4. netgear69

    netgear69 Tele-Afflicted

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    That type of talk will get you chased with pitchfork and flaming torches by the cork sniffers
    but well said that man
     
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  5. greasamizer

    greasamizer TDPRI Member

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    Not necessarily so. I have a range of Telecasters I have built; some with Rio Grande pickups, some with Seymour Duncan's, and a lot of others. That 'darker' jazz sound can be had with a good graphic equalizer (note: I said 'good' -not necessarily expensive), possibly a compressor. with most of my 'Telecasters'. All said, a Telecaster is, conceptually, one of the most versatile solid-body instruments ever built; it just takes getting to know your axe a bit.
     
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  6. blisters

    blisters NEW MEMBER!

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    I would change to a different set of pick ups. Every thing else you described seems ok. the brass saddles should give you tons of brightness and sustain. not sure if you checked the specs on pick up height and string height for that particular scale but thats an idea as well. other than that just make sure grounds are soldered nice and your pick ups are soldered with the right wiring specs. thats all i can offer . good luck my man. nice build though.
     
  7. Ollie Neilson

    Ollie Neilson NEW MEMBER!

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    The dullness you describe could be caused by a number of variables, starting with the guitar, the material of the nut and bridge and how well it’s set up, the strings you’re using, if the wiring in your guitar not only have solder connections but also a mechanical connection, if it’s top mount you loose a lot of the Tele bite and twang, your cables may be long/ not great quality, also the pickup height makes a huge difference, the higher they are the more output, thickness and bass you have to it, he further is more of a vintage sound I would say with the high end twang, I hope this has helped in some way
     
  8. telecastasaurus

    telecastasaurus TDPRI Member

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  9. telecastasaurus

    telecastasaurus TDPRI Member

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    This is all you need to do.
     

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    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  10. Mgeek

    Mgeek TDPRI Member

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    Loads of replies on this so forgive me if someone has already said this but if it sounds dull acoustically it's gonna sound dull through an amp too, I would have looked there first before sending those pickups back, personally.
     
  11. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    Well I have been thinking of doing a pine body build but not sure. There is a guy that sells lots of pine bodies on ebay. Pretty sure the first Tele builds by Leo were using pine bodies. Since you have electronics skills, the cheapest potential fix is to change your pots from 250 to either 500 or 1K. My 69 thinline reissue came with stock 1K pots and it was way too bright, so I switched those for the typical 250 pots and it sounds more like a normal Tele. Not sure why they use 1K pots on those Thinline reissues but they made your ears bleed!
     
  12. 46and2

    46and2 TDPRI Member

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    Pickups are, IMO, 95% of your tone. The other components have only a marginal effect. I really think it's the pickups. While there may not be anything "wrong" with them per se, my diagnosis is they just don't work well with your particular guitar.
     
  13. DanCooz

    DanCooz TDPRI Member

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    I always found I get a bright spank from the Wilkinson bridge with the compensates brass saddles.
     
  14. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Nothing wrong with pine for the body. Lot's of phenomenal sounding Teles made from pine.
    Good luck getting the sound you want.
    Cheers,
    Rex
     
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  15. LiarCity

    LiarCity NEW MEMBER!

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    I bought an Esquire body from that guy. Threw a ‘62 pickup/bridge assembly in there, and it twangs my face off.
     
  16. Chihoe Hahn

    Chihoe Hahn TDPRI Member

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    I find that a bad setup usually accounts for most "dull" sounding guitars/teles -- a poorly cut nut that leaves the action high and is not "clean", and high action (maybe a bowed neck or just saddles set too high). Your pine body also absorbs a lot of the transients and resonance, and extreme rounding of the edges I also finds dulls the sound. A lack of a hard finish will also lessen the "sparkle" and attack - light to no nitro, oil, poly. I'd also make sure the wiring is right- the type of pickup and hardware should only affect the sound in a fine-tuning sort of way. My two cents!:). Good luck! Chihoe
     
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  17. koolimy

    koolimy TDPRI Member

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    I am a noob so take my opinion with a huge grain of salt, but after hearing your sound samples I believe that your issue is in the electric circuit. You stated previously that the switch had each pickup engaged at all positions. To me, that is the sound that I am hearing. In your sound samples, your neck pickup sounds normal tele to me, although you may dislike the sound. It is the bridge pickup that has a weird, warm sound. Have you received a replacement switch? Also, it is quite bizarre that going direct you still get the same sound, as I thought that it will usually be quite ice pick in the ear. I'm guessing you are bypassing the switch when you wired the pickups directly to the jack, right?

    I actually found the acoustic sound of the Gotoh more pleasing, as it had more punch and fundamental. The Wilkinson sounded thin in comparison. Of course, your sound samples show that the acoustic sound accounts for some difference, but the difference is much less prominent when played electrically. That's why I believe you should focus your efforts on the electrical circuit, rather than on things that affect the acoustic sound (such as changing the body, etc). Of course, doing the things that improve the acoustic sound will probably help.

    Hopefully you find what's causing the problem!
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  18. dreamsinger

    dreamsinger TDPRI Member

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    More than once I've seen that "dull" sound as being the result of too much air gap between the body and neck. It always seems to happen when the two parts are made by different manufacturers. It also crops up when efforts to adjust neck angle by any method that eliminates full contact at the joint.
     
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  19. rocnrik

    rocnrik TDPRI Member

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    I feel your pain.. i bought a high end allready made boutique strat that compared to my other guitars was dead ... I tried everything to make that guitar work .. I called the shop and talked to the man who made it .. his words were .. yea sometimes it’s just the sum of parts don’t work out .. if I were you I would sell it ! I did and glad I did !!
     
  20. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

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    Thanks for chiming in Ron and I'm a fan of your work.

    I spoke with Rob after the first set seemed flat sounding. He graciously accepted a return and he rewound me a new set. Same thing...flat sounding. Before I contact him again, I'd like to rule out other variables. I have another set of pickups I bought to test out.

    I also want to loosen up the neck pocket a bit. Would you sand the next pocket to open it up or the sides of the neck at the heel?
     
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