1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Need Advice on a Dull Sounding Tele Build

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

  1. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    I think the switch was the big problem in a way that is still confusing. I would think that the pickups with either be on or off, but there was something happening in between, just neutralizing the tone. That being said, Swapping the bridges and the neck pocket trick had a measurable affect on the tone in a positive way.
     
    drmordo and FuZZBoY like this.
  2. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    Thanks!!!
     
  3. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    Thanks!!!!
     
    Sinphenom likes this.
  4. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    470
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Location:
    Virginia
    I’d have a heart attack if I lived in that town!
     
    TommyGunz likes this.
  5. KW1977

    KW1977 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    470
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Location:
    Virginia
    I am beginning to agree with this, glad to hear someone else point it out. Over the years I’ve tended to choose solid body guitars based on acoustic resonance, the “Keef” method, the idea being if you’ve got a good, resonant hunk of wood it’s half the battle b/c pickups and hardware can always be swapped. Plus I do a lot of unplugged couch strumming which creates a bias too—-the more resonant ones get more play. I have a 90’s MIJ Foto Flame Tele that I rarely played for this reason—dull. Alder body with Basswood cap, don’t need to extrapolate the finish,...but the previous owner did some upgrades—Tusq nut, Brass saddles, Duncan Broadcaster pickups. One day I took to practice for the yay of it and it turned out to sound better, more crisp, articulate, & harmonically rich than the others I’d been playing. A far cry from the semi-dull sound I heard strumming unplugged on the couch.
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
    TommyGunz and drmordo like this.
  6. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    2,369
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I still wonder whether the bridge ground wire was implicated somehow. That, presumably, was the one mechanical connection to the switching, tone, and volume circuit that remained when you thought you were wiring the pickups directly to the output jack. (Note: it's only supposed to ground the strings, but sometimes that's not the case.)

    If the wires on the bridge pickup were reversed, wouldn't that place a capacitive load on the hot signal, equivalent to half the value of the circuit since it's in parallel and not in series, even with the pots wide open? And wouldn't it mix the bridge signal in regardless of the switch position, since the ground leg of the circuit is always engaged?
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2020
  7. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    2,369
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I know that if there are only two wires, either one could be the hot, depending on how it's wired into the circuit. Neither one absolutely has to be either hot or ground; it just becomes a phase issue when paired with other pickups. But there's a third wire here.

    Part of me keeps thinking that would just shunt the whole signal to ground, though. I'm the first to admit I'm baffled by wiring. Can someone who understands this offer an opinion?
     
    TommyGunz likes this.
  8. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    58
    Posts:
    2,369
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    If the neck moved in the pocket, it's time to re-set the intonation!
     
    TommyGunz likes this.
  9. Diytelecaster

    Diytelecaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    47
    Posts:
    204
    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2018
    Location:
    UK
    Still don't get it. You wired directly to the output jack and it still sounded dull. So how did you know it was the switch
     
    DHart likes this.
  10. DHart

    DHart Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Posts:
    5,699
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Jeez... what a thread. :lol:

    I do know from assembling well over a dozen different Teles with necks, bodies, pickups, and electronics of varying origins... each guitar brings it's own tone to the pickups and electronics - the guitar woods DO make a difference.

    I've moved the same set of Dimarzio Twang Kings from one Tele, to another, to another, with electronics being constant, and found that each guitar's inherent tonal character came through that same set of pickups quite differently - ranging from very warm in one Tele, to sparkly bright in another. Guitar woods and construction can have a greater influence on tonal character than the pickups themselves.
     
    KW1977 and Telenator like this.
  11. ricksandteles

    ricksandteles Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    155
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Location:
    Western Wisconsin
    don't know how you get those readings with only 1950 turns of 43awg...
     
  12. jrblue

    jrblue Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,535
    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    Your initial build should have been fine, physically. If you aren't overexaggerating the degree of dullness -- whatever that means -- then the problem and solution is almost certainly electrical, and could involve anything, including the signal chain outside of the guitar. I'm glad to see you've got the usual trillion suggestions reflecting others' personal choices. Personally, I would double-check my wiring, make sure the PUs are OK, get my amp setting centered, and then look at pots and caps. Then PUs. Once you get in the ballpark, then you can consider hardware changes to tweak the sound. Starting with hardware makes absolutely no sense to me. Honestly, with Teles I find the PU/pot/cap compatibility is huge. Even crap pickups can sound good.
     
    TommyGunz, FuZZBoY and KW1977 like this.
  13. Galibier_Un

    Galibier_Un Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    134
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2016
    Location:
    Colorado
    I once had a cursed Tele build and killed two 4-way switches while wiring it. Same symptoms, but I didn't think to mention it - partly because I forgot about it until you mentioned it and partly because you mentioned you ran straight to the jack and eliminated all wiring from consideration.

    Sometimes you're too close to a problem and you become stupid where you're normally smart. As me how I know :confused:

    I'm a neat solderer and have never messed up a switch and to do two in a row ... the build must have been cursed. I'm back to 3-ways on Teles - not so much because of that experience as ... just because.

    Congratulations!

    ... Thom
     
    TommyGunz and KW1977 like this.
  14. JJLC

    JJLC Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    662
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    I missed a lot in the thread but I saw something about the 3 way switch & something about a 'neck pocket trick.'
    I'm familiar with the switch but what is the other reference?
    Also, what was the greatest mitigating factor, percentage wise aka what issue that was addressed offered the most help in resolving your issue OP?
     
  15. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    That's a really interesting thought. However, I wired up the new 3 way switch identically to the old one and huge difference. There must have been some solder or some other type of defect causing what you are describing within the switch. I'm no electrician so I defer to your experience.
     
  16. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    Well I always tap the pole pieces in each switch position to ensure proper wiring. I noticed that I could hear the bridge and neck pickups in every position. In the third position, the bridge was quieter, but still came through. I knew something was wrong. I looked for excessive soldering or something else that was causing a short, but I couldn't find anything. Weird. I just need to look closer at the switch to uncover the culprit.

    As for wiring direct and it still sounding dull, I cannot really explain why that happened. It must have been a problem with my testing method.
     
    Galibier_Un likes this.
  17. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    I agree that they can, but don't always. The pickups that I got wound I had only lightly dipped in was so they'll pick up more from the unique character of the guitars acoustic tone. I haven't played them loud yet so I hope they don't get microphonic on me.
     
  18. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    That's what's written on the bottom of the pickups and what I measured before the pickups were wired into the circuit. Now you've got me curious as to why that seem irregular.
     
  19. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    True on getting too close to a project! I've never messed up a switch either and I'm not entirely sure I did with this one either. They're pretty simple devices with everything out in the open. Could have been a manufacturing defect as I didn't get crazy with the solder. I'll clean it up really good and then test it to see if it works properly.
     
  20. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    114
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2020
    Location:
    Elgin, Texas
    Sometimes when screwing in a new neck, it doesn't seat well into the neck pocket. I have a very tight neck pocket. Once fully strung, loosen the screws 1/4 turn and you'll hear a creak or pop. That's the string tension pulling the neck toward the bridge and down downward the neck plate creating a more solid coupling. Now there are two surfaces coupled with the body (assuming the sides have gaps). When I did this, I noticed a significant difference in how the guitar resonated and in particular how notes on the fretboard seemed more alive as well as a more even in response. Before there were dead spots, mostly on the E and B strings,but no more. Try it out if you've never done it before. I worked really well for me. I you love the way your guitars sound now, then I wouldn't mess with it.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.