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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. Tele Plucker

    Tele Plucker Tele-Meister

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    Wow, five days (first thread I’ve been fully taken in on) of this thread and no solution. There have been so many suggestions I don’t think I have anything valuable to say.

    But, I will go out on a limb and point to that body. When I think of pine, I’m thinking soap box derby, model airplanes, etc. Some pine can be pretty soft. Is the resonance being soaked up by that wood? If you tap on the body are you hearing a dull thud or something a little brighter?

    Before the days of fancy electric tuners, it was a tuning fork and your ear against the neck or body to listen to the tuning. Can you strum you guitar unplugged with an ear to the neck and then the body and hear a noticeable difference in the transference of vibrations?

    Crazy idea, hummm.

    That guitar looks really nice. I hope you figure it out.
     
  2. 63 vibroverb

    63 vibroverb Tele-Afflicted

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    I get where you're coming from, especially since you experienced that on a $2400 guitar and a self-build. Same thing happened to me on an ash strat - the body was a nice light piece of swamp ash with wide grain (must have had a lot of rain/water those years). But it just sounded/felt kinda empty. No sustain, no girth to the tone. It sounded like a Danelectro. I swapped everything over into a denser and heavier northern ash body with thinner grain and the whole thing came alive. Can't prove the science of it, but the sound just seemed to absorb into the lighter body and disappear.

    However, I would not discourage the OP from going thru things part-by-part on his build. There's a lot to be learned and gained from the experience, and might as well do it now on a problematic build then on future builds.
     
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  3. Fullmoon07

    Fullmoon07 Tele-Meister

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    Pickups. I have a $500 2018 Mexican Tele Standard in white. I put a Fender ‘62 reissue in the bridge and a Seymour Duncan Vintage Stack (a disguised humbucker) in the neck and it went from dull to great.
     
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  4. Sax-son

    Sax-son Tele-Holic

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    The one good thing in working with a Telecaster is that they are an incredibly simple design. You can build one in your garage with the right tools. Having said that, the are also incredibly precise. I learned that the hard way from building on from scratch. It was one of the most humbling yet rewarding experiences I ever had. I learned not so much of what to do it but what not to do. For me personally, whatever mistakes I made were worth all the guidance in the world. I am sure Fender has turned out it's share of turds. It all just goes with the territory.
     
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  5. Wrong way Tele

    Wrong way Tele TDPRI Member

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    What size pots and caps are you running?
     
  6. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

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    I did actually tap the wood to see what it would sound like and it did have a bell like quality to the ring. It didn't sound like the wood was punky or dead. That being said, I've worked with very few bodies so I'm not an expert at tone tapping.
     
  7. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

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    I agree. I learned a ton from this experience as it continues to unfold. I wold love to be able to get to that point where I could do it all from scratch. Time to ask the wife to add on to my tiny shop!
     
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  8. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

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    I believe a 280k volume and 250 tone with a .047 cap. I did bypass all the electronics by wiring the pickups direct to the output jack to eliminate that as a possible problem. Thanks for thinking of that!
     
  9. Rediscovery

    Rediscovery NEW MEMBER!

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    Frustrating after putting all the work in and then being disappointed with the sound, I know. I have customized three pine body Telecasters. Two came out great, and one came out really bright and tiny sounding, and thats before plugging it in. You seem to have good components so more perplexing. I like to start with simple basics. Is everything tight on the guitar? Anything loose with suck brightness out, snug every screw on the guitar. Forget about the "book" too, experiment with pickup height to the strings, magnetic pull can and does affect brightness, so try high AND low. Same with string gage and material, experiment. Bone nut, so thats good, but is it cut with proper relief and sanded to correct overall height? Saddles are cheap enough try something different. Now, bridge plate...can you fit a pick under the plate, is it loose or otherwise not dead flat on the body? It should be a flat, tight fit to the wood. And it could be the body is green wood (not fully cured or dried). Could also be too heavy a coat of clear on the body. Are your strings thru the body or top loaded thru back edge of bridge plate? Again, experiment. Best of luck.
     
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  10. Wrong way Tele

    Wrong way Tele TDPRI Member

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    And it still sounded dull?
    Sounds like pickup, you have another bridge pickup laying around to swap to verify it's the pickup?
    What gauge strings are you using?
     
  11. Wrong way Tele

    Wrong way Tele TDPRI Member

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    Post a photo of the underside of the control plate..
     
  12. PixelMover

    PixelMover Tele-Holic

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    Agree Dave #2, doesn't sound to be properly setup
     
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  13. koolimy

    koolimy TDPRI Member

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    I hope you don't eliminate the electronics too early. I really do not think it has something to do with anything affecting the physical properties of the guitar, such as the neck joint, woods, setup, etc. My reason is as follows:

    1. In your recording, the acoustic sound changed quite significantly. However, the electric sound did not change nearly as much. If one did not pay attention, they could maybe think the electric sound did not change at all. This leads me to believe that anything that affects the physical aspects of the guitar, such as getting better connection at the neck joint, may not have as significant of an impact as you would hope.

    2. In your recordings, the neck pickup sounded like a normal tele neck pickup with the tone rolled off a bit. Your bridge pickup, however, sounded very weird. It sounded like your tele neck pickup with a bit more brightness and a bit more volume. In my opinion, if the electronics were working correctly, the bridge pickup should still sound like a tele bridge pickup, no matter how much of a dud the rest of a guitar is. From your recordings, your guitar did not sound like a dud acoustically, at least to me. It may be less bright than your strat, but it sounded perfectly fine for an electric guitar. I don't think a guitar with that acoustic voice will sound dull (and especially the way it is in your recording) in any way if it had properly functioning pickups and electronics.

    I wish I knew more about electronics to give you advice on how to troubleshoot the electronics. It is also bizarre that you have the same problem and no icepick when you connect the pickups directly to the jack! The problem may have been the pickups, so hopefully the new pickups rectify the situation. In the meantime I would check to see if there are any stray wires making contact with metal where they should not make contact.
     
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  14. Chuckboy

    Chuckboy Tele-Meister

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    Where in Texas? Austin? Ft Worth? Dallas? Houston? The Alamo? I might be able to recommend some guys who could do an in-person audit and make suggestions.
     
  15. Muku

    Muku Tele-Meister

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    I find pine bodies too light. I find double truss rod necks not enough tone transfer. That has a less than optimum resonance Q. Try a light, single piece, ash body from MJT/Guitar Mill with a different neck. Try some Mare PU's?

    Since my recommendations are severe I would possibly sell as is. WHich most likely could be the partcaster loss reality. Then try better basic parts. I also like Alder tele bodies The one tele I have left is a USA Fender, Alder, HS 2006 tele that blooms in warm tone. Plugged straight into the PR amp.

    I have built 3 top end strats (1 is insane) and am about to build a tele and an Esquire. It is a fingers crossed, expensive, but custom feel that can be so rewarding.
     
  16. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    Did you disconnect the bridge ground wire before wiring directly to the jack? It seems to me that no one has mentioned the presence of that wire, which would remain in the circuit in the same way throughout all of the other wiring variations that you've described, with very different potential consequences depending on where the other wires are going.
     
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  17. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    You might somehow be shunting a portion of the bridge pickup's signal to ground. This might have been occurring from the very start when the wiring diagram you were working from seemed wrong.
     
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  18. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    Try a trusted luthier/builder to double check everything before you give up on that body or those pups I say. Even though the Tele is simple, something simple can be wrong and no one here is thinking of it. and if the luthier discovers it and fixes it and informs you about it then you have saved a guitar and learned a valuable lesson.
     
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  19. Leonardocoate

    Leonardocoate Tele-Meister

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  20. mmannaxx

    mmannaxx Tele-Meister

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    I am really seriously thinking of forgoing using pine though if there is that much concern about getting the right piece of wood. Perhaps some other wood would be better. But I was hoping to build one cheaper, maybe using reclaimed wood even. Not sure now. I used an MJT ash body before and it worked out well. But that body was $300.
     
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