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Pickguard and Tone

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Ess Eff, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    Now, I am normally very sceptical about changing saddles, bridge, tuners, etc. and its affect on tone but I encountered an interesting phenomenon with my new Paisley Tele.

    I didn't like the look of the clear pickguard with the air brushing around the neck pup. The colour just didn't seem to match the rest of the guitar. So I removed the guard and put in a metal pickup surround instead.

    Now, the tone is very different. It went from being very bright (to the point where I didn't really like it), to sounding warmer and much nicer.

    So there you go. I'll never doubt someone that says changing his pickup screws changed his tone. Mind you, a piece of metal placed around a magnet is probably a good candidate for creating a change.

    From this...
    IMG_20181031_192348.jpg
    To this...
    IMG_20181109_190009.jpg
    Equals - Warmer n fuller
    .
     
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  2. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    As an interesting side note...
    I found that an iPad screen protector, cut to shape, makes a great invisible pickguard. Just stick it on, no screws required and easily removable.
    .
     
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  3. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Did you measure the pickup height before changing it and set it to EXACTLY the same place? The most likely explanation is that your neck pickup was closer to the strings when you had the guard on and farther away after you put the metal surround on. A few turns lower can make a noticeable difference.
     
  4. cgharrison

    cgharrison TDPRI Member

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    I’ve experienced this as well. Anodized aluminum makes for a very different sound than plastic.
     
  5. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    No height change. It's the old style with the pup screwed into the body.
    .
     
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  6. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    I guess that supports what Tony Zemaitis, james Trussart and others use metal on the front of their guitars. I'd love a Zemaitis, Dylan uses a Trussart Telecaster and a friend of mine, Steve Opitz builds great guitars out of metal and wood ( as well local pickup manufacturer Mick Brierley).
    So there must be something in it .
     
  7. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    I once took the trem cavity cover off my Strat. I forget what led me to do it, but I decided to see if it sounded any different.

    Without the trem cavity cover, my Strat seemed to lose a weird sort of "internal reverb" that always threw me off. Funky/other staccato stuff seemed to come through easily, or at least sound better to me. I haven't put the trem cover back on since.

    I also fitted my MIM Standard Tele with a vintage-style bridge complete with bridge cover (really just for looks while it hangs on the wall. The cover always comes off when I play it; can't seem to get along with it). I'm not convinced when it's plugged in, but if I play the Tele unplugged, there's a bit of a change in tone depending on whether the bridge cover is on.
     
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  8. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    How would you say? I'm considering a gold one for my Strat.
     
  9. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Friend of Leo's

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    The extra metal adds a bit more capacitance so some treble frequencies are being muted which is why you perceive it now as 'warmer'.Glad it works for you...many Tele players dislike the neck pickup because they feel it lacks clarity and yet you made yours even darker.
     
  10. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes i know, but in this Paisley Tele with the mij vintage style pups, both were very, very bright.

    I decided to embrace it as an alternative tone to my other Teles but I'm glad the neck pup has been tamed a little, now.
    .
     
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  11. darren7

    darren7 Tele-Holic

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    Even if it's a non-ferric metal (non-magnetic), it can still interfere with the flow of electrons. Look up "eddy currents."
     
  12. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

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    Yes, I was wondering about that. I think my pup surround is brass but I'm sure you are right. Even if it acts as some sort of shielding, it certainly made a difference.

    I also have a Strat with an aluminium pickguard but when I put it on I also swapped the pups so I could not make a fair comparison but I had read that it would affect the tone.
    .
     
  13. Ebidis

    Ebidis Tele-Afflicted

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    ^^^this^^^

    Eddy currents caused by the greater mass of metal are what makes the difference. The same reason a metal base plate on the bridge pickup affects the sound.
     
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  14. Shnook

    Shnook Tele-Meister

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    I have ‘extreme ears’ which is a good and sometimes bad thing. I can hear the slightest changes in tone and tuning.

    I had a Danocaster Esquire that I for whatever reason decided to take the pickguard off of. As soon as I played it after the change is sounded more opening acoustically and when plugged into the amp more woody and rang out better. I played it like that for a few days and put the PG back on. Didn’t like the sound as much as off. Pulled it off again and keep it off. Man that guitar was fun. Sadly, I had to sell it. Anyway, I absolutely noticed a difference in sound with the guard off.
     
  15. TokyoPortrait

    TokyoPortrait Friend of Leo's

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    Hi.

    Regardless of any sonic changes, I think it is a visual change for the better.

    Pax/
    Dean
     
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  16. steve v

    steve v Tele-Holic

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    The metal pickup ring looks cooler, thus it sounds better
     
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  17. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    I realize you sold it, but was it a metallic pickguard, or a plastic one? Honestly don't understand how removing a plastic pickguard would affect sound, unless it hd metallic shielding. Wonderin'.
     
  18. chemobrain

    chemobrain Friend of Leo's

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    the trem cover makes a nice ash tray. or a place to put loose screws and bits while perfecting a tele.
     
  19. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    :lol: It would, but I meant the plastic cover on the back, covering the trem springs.
     
  20. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    I once removed the trem cover from a Strat, and all I noticed was that I was suddenly getting my stomach hair caught in the springs when I practiced without a shirt on. That's why I only play Teles now.
     
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