Need tone help - Am Pro II Tele + 65 PRRI

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by DHerbert, Oct 26, 2021.

  1. DHerbert

    DHerbert TDPRI Member

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    Apologies in advance if there is a better forum to post this to - I am brand new here.

    Playing a 2020 Am Pro II Tele through a 65 Princeton reverb reissue, bought summer 2021. I love aspects of both, but having some real issues with various tones, both in practice and in recording.

    Amp "blooms" at between 4.5 and 5. It's a nice volume for practicing and sounds good recorded. BUT, at that volume and higher, there is a very unpleasant, even painful percussive pop/click/bang at the edge of every note played on high-e string when set to bridge or middle positions.

    Is this the "ice pick" that I read about? It's not just a frequency thing, I don't think, it's genuinely a physical airwaves thing, punching eardrums.

    Is it the pickup? Is it the amp? Is it the combination of the two?

    Appreciate any insights from people playing with this or similar gear. And if there is a better forum for this topic, feel free to point me in that direction

    -thanks
     
  2. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    That's the Jensen C10R reissue craptacular speaker. Jensens are fine at low to medium volume but the moment they're pushed it's harsh and brittle. Drop a Weber 10F150 into there and see what that amp can really sound like.
     
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  3. Gkott78

    Gkott78 TDPRI Member

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    So I myself have an American Pro II Tele, and also a 65 PRRI. My Princeton is the Sweetwater Exclusive, with a 12" Cannabis Rex speaker though, and I have not experienced this problem.

    Couple of questions here:
    1. How old is the amp, is it new? My speaker in my Princeton took a little bit if time to break in. What speaker do you have in the amp?
    2. Also is your amp on the floor or elevated? Mine sits on top of another amp, and I tend to face my amps when playing due to the way the space is set up. If I'm facing the amp, the attack is much more present overall,
    3. Have you adjusted your pickup heights?
    4. Roll off the volume just a bit on the guitar and play with that tone knob. On the Pro II it has a treble bleed built in, so you won't lose the highs, but you will soften the attack a little by rolling off the volume.
    5. Check to see if that high e string is string is sitting properly on the saddle. Is it touching the height adjustment screw? Also check the nut as well. Couldn't hurt just to trouble shoot.

    Then again I could be overthinking everything here, it could just be the stock speaker as the first responder noted.

    I had a similar issue with a completely different amp, actually two amps. Both had Celestion 70/80 speakers in them... I LOATHE those speakers. Both of them are long gone. There was something in the high end that was giving me physical ear pain at volume. I couldn't stand it.
     
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  4. DHerbert

    DHerbert TDPRI Member

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    That's a super interesting recommendation - thanks. Santa is on his way...
     
  5. DHerbert

    DHerbert TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for all this - very thoughtful and helpful. Some of your questions raise new questions for me...

    1. Amp bought in July, so very new but also used every day since then, often loudly for breakup. So I think it is broken in.
    1a.Speaker is the stock Jensen - now thinking of replacing (more below)
    2. Amp is on the floor but have considered raising for clearer sound and less bottom end vibration. Often play facing amp, not always. Ear issue definitely more pronounced when in front of amp at 5+ volume.
    3. Have not adjusted pickup height. You think that would work without losing balance between the two?
    4. Thanks - I do a lot of volume and tone adjusting on the guitar, and that eliminates the pain but def loses part of the top end tone, which IMO is one of the points of playing a Tele in the first place, no? But you're right, that is a workable solution.
    5.String seems to be in the right place.

    OK, now new question - if I replace that Jensen for the Weber recommended by @Minivan Megafun , I figure the bloom and breakup points will change. Is that right? That is, what can I expect in the way of volume, tonal, and breakup changes overall with the Weber?

    thanks!
     
  6. Minivan Megafun

    Minivan Megafun Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    The Weber 10F150 is their take on the Jensen C10N. It's got a big tone. You'll notice way more bass response but excellent clarity and chime (The 10F150 does NOT flub out in the bass). You probably will notice more volume as well. When it is pushed the breakup is smooth and pleasing rather than harsh and brittle. Basically you won't find yourself reaching for the treble knob as you turn up the volume. They're one of the more popular replacement speakers for the PRRI.

    The other thing you might want to check out if you can is the power tube bias. Fender has a habit of biasing their amps pretty cool from the factory (to maximize tube life) and it can make the amps sound a bit harsh in the highs when turned up.
     
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  7. PoorNoodle

    PoorNoodle Tele-Meister

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    Yes, a new speaker will impact bloom and breakup. I didn’t like the stock Jensen in my PRRI. I switched to a Jensen P10R-F. It’s used in Fender CS amps. Depending on the sensitivity of the speaker (vs. stock) your perceived volume may increase or decrease.

    I use an attenuator with my PRRI. I turn amp volume to 10 and then use guitar volume to regulate overall volume and clean or dirty tone…
     
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  8. Sea Devil

    Sea Devil Friend of Leo's

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    It sounds like the simplest problem in the world: your string may be hitting the bridge pickup, especially if you play aggressively with light strings. Lower it.
     
  9. DHerbert

    DHerbert TDPRI Member

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    First, thanks to all who've responded - all very helpful ideas that I plan to experiment with.

    An update:

    In order to see whether the main culprit of the ear pain was the amp or the Tele, I plugged in a couple of other guitars - and old (1992) and un-fancy Epiphone Les Paul as well as a vintage (1967) Hagstrom Viking (has unusual and rather dark single-coils; killer-looking guitar, but iffy sound).

    In both cases, I took the Princeton volume up to 6, definitely above the point where the Tele e-string pops too hard. Set both the LP and the Viking to bridge pickups and dug in deep all over the high-e-strings. Neither the LP nor Viking created anything near the painful bite that the Tele does, although the LP did have a bit of a punch.

    So, I think I am going to explore pickup/pickup height issues on the Tele and hold off on replacing amp speaker at the moment (although I wouldn't mind getting new speaker in any case). It feels like a bummer, TBH, that my "best" guitar has such limitations with tone and playability.....

    thanks again
     
  10. bblumentritt

    bblumentritt Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    1. Cool.
      1. Speakers can make a world of difference... but that doesn't automatically mean you need a new one, it just means that different speakers can sound... well, different (which could mean worse as well as better).
    2. Try a Mud Stand. That's what I use.
    3. Pickup height can be critical.
    4. I tend to roll off the tone on the guitar for some things, and when doing fills and fingerpicking the Princeton just didn't cut it.
    5. Cool.
    Changing the speaker could change everything... the sensitity (loudness, all other things being equal), the frequency response, and the resonant frequency can and will definitely chang the bloom and breakup points. An exact answer would require comparing the specs of the C10R with the 10F150, and since Weber doesn't publish their specs, that's a difficult propostion. Also keep in mind that there is no one 10F150... Weber makes many options in the way of suspend doping and dust caps, etc, that one 10F150 is not the same as another 10F150.
     
  11. 0ct0Pr0n

    0ct0Pr0n TDPRI Member

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    That is indeed the icepick. Speakers can help, as can experimenting with pickup height (I actually prefer the treble side of my bridge pickup lower than the bass) but to live on the bridge pickup is to ride the tone control. This is also why a left-handed bridge plate is a popular mod. It goes away when you get to higher levels of drive and gain.
     
  12. fasteddie42

    fasteddie42 Tele-Afflicted

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    just lower your dang pickups.
     
  13. Gkott78

    Gkott78 TDPRI Member

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    So based on what you have said here, I'm going to agree with other posters responses. First and foremost, dial in your pickup height. It's such a simple thing but so overlooked. A lot of people use Fender Specs, and those tend to be a good starting point but use your ears. For reference though, I cannot find any Fender spec specifically to the VMOD II pickups. For now, i would start by backing the treble side of the bridge pickup down a quarter turn at a time.

    Secondly, speakers obviously make huge difference. The main reason I chose the model with the 12" cannabis rex was to smooth out the high end a little and it does exactly that. It took some breaking, probably about 30 hours of play time.

    Where is your EQ set at on your Princeton? Sometimes I play mine at lower volume and adjust the eq for that volume to get it how I want it to sound, and when it's cranked I have to adjust for that too. 5.5 on the volume is pretty loud on these little amps, they really have a punch. What's your treble set at? Keep in mind these can vary from amp to amp but just getting an idea.
     
  14. DHerbert

    DHerbert TDPRI Member

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    Thanks again all.

    @Gkott78 - your question about amp eq is a good one. Normally I just run T and B both around 5, often pulling the bass down a bit when cranked. Per your great suggestion, though, I have been playing with turning the treble down to 3 or 2 when my volume goes above 5, and finding that helps with the ice pick WAY more than it does to mess with the tone knob on my guitar. I may still bring the bridge pickup down a touch - I have never done that before, so that's interesting - but the amp eq seems like it makes a huge difference. Just need to reset every time I play at 4 vs 5+
     
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