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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. ladave

    ladave Tele-Holic

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    Looking forward to hearing the outcome. I too have an expensive thick bridge on a build that I am planning to switch out for similar reason.
     
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  2. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

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    The squier tele bridge is 2.5mm and the callaham is 1.9mm thick, so you did go thinner. You also went to brass saddles too. My bridge is even thicker at a tad more than 3mm. It's a slab. I can't wait to hear the difference when I go from 3mm down to 1.3mm on the Wilkinson bridge sitting in my shop. I'm gonna swap it out tonight or tomorrow on my day off. I would have thought that it would be brighter by going thicker too, but i'm just not sure that's the case. I wonder if anyone here can chime in on the physics at play here and provide an explanation.
     
  3. TeleTucson

    TeleTucson Tele-Afflicted

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    There is one unambiguous effect with thicker plates - and it depends also on what metal they are made from. This is the damping effects due to eddy currents, which are more noticeable the thicker the plate, and tend to reduce high frequency response. Plated brass is a particularly bad actor in this regard. I've put a long post here on understanding the effects of eddy currents which you can easily find just on the web by googling "modeling eddy currents in guitar pickups"
     
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  4. Strato50

    Strato50 Tele-Afflicted

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    Pine can sound a little dark from what few I’ve had. The CV pine bodies are dipped in poly so it’s not much of an issue. If you have a spare body to try these parts on...that might help determine if it’s the body. I use the Gotoh bridge and the Wilkinson and really can’t tell much difference. The pickups are going to be the big change. Some wood as was stated is just dead. It happens.
     
  5. Sinphenom

    Sinphenom TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    Hey, what news... so did you install the bridge? Been eagerly anticipating the solution to this [emoji1692]


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  6. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    The Squier bridge plate was
    not steel, nor were the original saddles.
     
  7. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Some bodies just don't sound as good as others. I have one that sounds good with any pickup I've tried in it. It's had about 6 different sets in it and always sounds great. I have another (both of them are ash, and about the same weight), that I'm still searching for pickups that sound good in it. It's had at least 8 different sets, and I'm still searching for a set that is acceptable. Necks have been swapped back and forth, not much difference, all the other hardware has been swapped also. Good luck!
     
  8. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I had wondered somewhat about this possibility. My understanding is that it *should* be a very secondary effect as it relates to the bridgeplate (as opposed to things like pickup covers, baseplates etc that are more directly in the path of the magnetic field). But I certainly wouldn't rule it out *if* I had ruled everything else out. I'd be much more inclined to look for mechanical causes given everything else that seems to have been eliminated.

    The whole question of traditional thin vs thick is frought with difficulty and lots of people appear to have solved problems by going with the tried and true (which carries alot of weight). But I'll admit to being puzzled about why it often produces a good result. Here is why I find it puzzling.

    I did a Tele style build using a modern Gotoh six saddle (not barrel). It is thick plated brass. At the time I did the build I was somewhat aware of the range of outcomes people had. I also was inclined to try it and see for myself. Anyway - the guitar has no shortage of twang, snap, bite or any other word people use for that thang. So I never had an excuse to change it out for an ashtray with barrels - and can't speak to that. But here is what I can speak to...

    The plate was not truly flat at first. I never even tried it out in this condition so I don't have an A/B. But I ground the bottom of the plate flat against a piece of tile with sandpaper on it. The high spots were mostly around the holes and there was a bit of twist. If it was just the deformation around the holes I might expect it to just dent the wood and settle in to a good seat. But I just didn't see the warp being able to seat well. After grinding it made dead flat contact with the body. I wonder if the thinner plates just do a better job of conforming to the body and making good contact when they are screwed down. Just another possibility to think about.

    Oh - the body was basswood. If I can get twang and snap out of that...

    I'll be curious to hear if the new plate makes a difference. If it doesn't, and electronics are out of the picture, the neck pocket would get my attention. It isn't all about tight. It's also whether the bottom of the heal is making solid flat contact with the bottom of the pocket. If it's too tight against the sides it's possible it isn't seating well against the bottom. That becomes a fiddly execution dependent thing to address. Just another thought.

    I can't claim deep experience of many many builds and repairs but everything I do know suggests much more potential for a mechanical explanation. The bridge/body/neck/nut mechanical system is just critical to how much damping is present and the coupling points are the big E on the chart.
     
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  9. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I wonder how any of our thoughts might change if we actually heard the problem. Describing tonal nuance is problematic - we could all be thinking something a bit different than anyone else, even the OP.
     
  10. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Interesting. I've always felt the thin bridge is part of the old resonance vs sustain situation. Big plate acts as a sink for all but the fundamental tones. So, a better fundamental response, with likely greater sustain.

    Thin plate vibrates with everything else, which loses energy, thus 'bad' for sustain, but all the harmonics come through. I think the part we like about twang and snap lies in those harmonics.

    All pure unscientific gut feel, having played some of each (and a lot of the thin ones...)
     
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  11. richa

    richa Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    Yeah it's a challenge. I was going with the surface assumption that this was not a nuance but a first order problem based on the OP's comments. Unfortunately making recordings introduces so many other variables that maybe taking potshots at the problem on the basis of available info is about the best we can do. :)

    The whole thin/thick thing and the whys and wherefores is one I don't want to touch more than I already have. :D
     
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  12. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    You've read my thoughts and I keep coming back to see if there has been any developments.

    I'd also like to know what kind of pick ups are being used. They sound like Cavaliers. I did an experiment with a pal of mine in NJ and we created an experiment with a stacked humbucker supporting Bill Lawrence's advice on using a non-ferrous bridge for stacked single coils.

    What we discovered was if the pick up sat in a ferrous bridge with the top and bottom halves of the coils divided by the bridge, the pick up would play more-or-less as normal. Move the pick up up or down and the tone would change significantly. Some good toned and some quite flat and horrid.

    We then tried a stainless steel bridge in which the pick up responded better when the coils were split by the bridge, a brass bridge which was less 'friendly' and we also roughly fabricated an aluminium bridge and the pick up hated this. It sounded weak in all positions.

    Bill Lawrence recommends/recommended the use of a non-ferrous bridge with his pick ups and we concluded that the bridge material did make a difference to [bridge] pick up, particularly if a stacked humbucker or 'noise-free' config.

    From @TommyGunz description I'm expecting the change to a Wilkinson bridge to make a difference but I'd also be removing all the electronics, testing them individually and reassembling as my gut tells me the problem is in the bridge/bridge pick up area.
     
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  13. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Pretty sure he said that in the first post.

    And I'm not sure (I asked...) but I believe it sounds 'meh' on the neck pickup as well.

    So, when I say 'bridge', I mean just that. Not the bridge pickup.
     
  14. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Yes, you are indeed correct.

    For clarity, when I say 'bridge pick up' I mean just that. :D
     
  15. SPUDCASTER

    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

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    Can't believe in two tries Rob missed the mark. Every pickup I've ever purchased from him has been spot on.

    I've never had a pine body. And, always built my own control section.

    Other than my Strat or my Deluxe Nashville. All my other bridge plates are Fender Pat. Pending.

    Interested to see if the new bridge makes the difference.

    Would seem there's other factors working against him. We'll see.
     
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  16. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Afflicted

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    yeah it's difficult... which is why I commented on the old 'blanket over the amp' cliché. It's said often but I've never experienced it myself and I don't play particularly bright guitars or amps. To me that expression sounds like something is seriously wrong like dying power tubes, not an issue that changing a bridge would cure. But I guess everyone is different I changed my mate's pots from 250k to 500K and he was jumping around saying it was like his guitar had 'come alive' ... to me it didn't sound that different, just like moving the tone knob from 7 to 8 or something. :D
     
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  17. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Really interesting problem here.

    It's not the pots, those were bypassed with same result.

    It's not the nut; same poor sound all over the fretboard.

    It's not the amp, since other guitars sound normal through it.

    It's almost certainly not the pickups, after trying two different sets of known qualities.


    Is it the bridge? I'm dying to find out!


    Neck and body remain possible culprits, just by some quirk of the wood?
     
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  18. moosie

    moosie Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Neck can quickly be ruled out by swapping. Play both guitars, which has the crap tone now? Unfortunately, if it stays with the body, it's still no guarantee that's the culprit, without first replacing the bridge.
     
  19. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

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    UPDATE!!!

    Alright, after a long weekend of ranch jobs and spring cleaning/renovating my tiny shop, I installed the Wilkinson bridge and took some before and after sound clips. In the photo, you can see the difference in plate thickness. The overall mass of the Wilkinson is 94 grams and the Gotoh is 214 grams. I only changed one variable, the bridges. I used my Galaxy s10 to record audio samples from equivalent positions. I played direct through a modified Fender Champion 600...nothing fancy, just open strumming to hear the sound. I recorded acoustically and through the beck and bridge position. I'll let you be the judge on the change in sound. I just ask that you listen with decent speakers/headphones.

    20200525_154425.jpg







     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  20. TommyGunz

    TommyGunz Tele-Meister

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    Here's the last two sound files for the neck pickups.



     
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