Pickup suggestions for a « jazzier » tone

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Danz, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Danz

    Danz TDPRI Member

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    I don’t like 9s actually. I just mounted a set to try and see but it’s too light. I’ll go back to 10s, probably 10-48 Pure Nickel.

    If it doesn’t work I guess a set of 52 Telecaster from any brand should work right ?

    I know... Starting from today I’ll save money to get a lovely ES 335
     
  2. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Afflicted

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    Amen. Heavy picks and proper technique. I use stone and wood mostly

    Use to make a lot of money correcting techiniqe issues.
     
  3. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    ^^^^ Yeah, beautiful tone from a stock 50's Roadworn with Tex Mex pickups in this video. I love my 50's Roadworn and am especially fond of the stock Tex Mex neck pickup. It's great for jazz and blues IMO, and inexpensive too.
     
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  4. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

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    First, try a set of nickel wrap strings like Fender 150 or DR Blues. Steel wraps are too bright for me.

    Next, look at your problem as a frequency response issue. If your amp's EQ and guitar tone don't get the results you want, try an EQ pedal. Preferably a parametric so you can dial in the frequencies. Change pickups to change output and clarity, change the EQ to change the tone. Pickup swaps are an expensive gamble.
     
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  5. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    You can do a lot with the tone knob and an eq pedal with the current pickups, but a mini humbucker in the neck position will definitely do what you want.
     
  6. SB Havidson

    SB Havidson TDPRI Member

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    Can you post a link to an example of the tone you are after ?
     
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  7. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic

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    One of the first times I realized a stock tele was good for Jazz was hearing this cover by Joe Robinson of Black and Gold. That's an AVRi '52 with stock pickups.


    This was the first time I had heard of the Charlie Christian pickup. He's got another demo of this that has more of a Jazz-Blues feel, this is the Jazzier demo.
    .
     
  8. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic

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    Tim Lerch explaining how to use a Tele for Jazz. I have the same models with Bardens Gatton set and that's pretty easy to get a Jazz sound of as well.

     
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  9. maxvintage

    maxvintage Friend of Leo's

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    "jazz tone" means different things to different people. I like a lot of midrange, but also clarity. Humbuckers are mushy and muddy. Underwound P90s hit the mark pretty well for me: they have a direct, bright single coil quality without sounding thin or edgy. I like 12s and flat wounds. A lot is in your attack.

    I have a Lollar Charlie Christian pickup in a guitar I built. It sounds great, lots of clarity but a big sound.

    The problem with both P90s and the Lollar is hum and buzz. They both buzz a lot. I replaced the P90 in one tele with a Lace "aluma 90" which has a lot fo clarity and a very full sound but a very flat frequency response--no obvious peaks in any frequency range. it takes some getting used to. Its dead silent, no hum or buzz

    A good tele neck pickup can get a great jazz sound, but I'd avoid "overwound" neck pickups for jazz.
     
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  10. double_a

    double_a TDPRI Member

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    I have had success with Klein Pickups, in particular the JazzyKat neck pickup. Rio Grande pickups, in particular the Charlie Christian pickups and Seymour Duncan’s Charlie Christian pickups like the ones Tim Lerch uses on that video.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm pretty sure Tim Lerch's Charlie Christian pickups are by Lollar.
     
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  12. double_a

    double_a TDPRI Member

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    You are right. I stand corrected.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  13. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Quite a broad range of suggestions, some of which are the opposite of others.
    Clearly Tele and "Jazz tone" is not a universal recipe.

    Or is it?
    IME I get my tone with my hands more than with my gear, though in the case of what might be an acceptable definition of Jazz tone, I would also roll off the guitar vol and turn up the amp.

    String gauge effect on tone is IMO way way overrated!
    String gauge might be important for technique, and if you're playing Joe Pass style you will get better results with heavier strings.
    I've used .009, .010 and .011 sets on my Teles and can say with certainty that the heavier strings do not darken the twangy tone!

    For that duller attack of a hollow body Jazz guitar you might fake it more easily with a heavier string, but that's dynamics, not tone.
    This is possible because you can mimic the quicker decay of an archtop by using a harder attack on the heavier strings, combined with palm muting to cut the solid body sustain.

    You didn't say which sound you wanted, though you did note that you'll buy a 335 to solve the problem!
    If the dull thuddy dynamics of archtop Jazz sound is your goal, I'd guess you would have long ago bought a full hollow archtop, and not even be interested in a Rocky 335.

    So for a more modern Jazzy tone, IMO you have what you need already.
    Roll off the guitar volume to maybe 50%, and you'll hear a dulling of the tone, but not the same dulling as your Tele tone control.
    (You might check to see if there are a cap and resistor soldered directly to your volume pot. If so, then you have a treble bleed, which makes your tone thinner rather than fatter as you turn down. Get rid of that trendy thing!)
    Turn up the amp and maybe dial the bass back a bit, your settings seem pretty bassy, but that may relate to your pickup heights.

    For the fattest Tele tone you want the pickups as high as possible.
    Lowering the pickups will get you a thinner twangier tone.
    But the pickups need to be further from the wound strings than the plain strings.
    You can lower the pickups under the wound strings quite a bit and then turn up the bass a little, till you find a balance.
    The closer the pickups are to the wound strings, the more muddy your bass will sound. You might try just raising the pickups under the plain strings and leaving the same height under the wound strings.

    To control the rest of your tone and make it "Jazzier", IMO you need to change up your right hand technique to produce darker sounds.
    Picking closer to the neck is a big part of it, but there is a lot to be done with your pick attack and RH muting.
    For my control of tone I prefer to set the amp too loud and then pick and mute the volume back down.
    If you set the amp to the correct volume and then bang the strings fairly hard, you have less control of what tones you get.
    If you pick and mute for darker tone, the volume is lower, because you're not allowing the strings to produce their full range.
    Practice ways to control the sound of a note, and keep track of what sounds Jazzier to your ear.
    So amp volume up, guitar volume down, and light pick attack with some palm muting. Just suggestions of course, not the only way to a Jazzy tone!

    If you find that you want the dulled bass of flatwounds, I know some players like that so give them a try.
    Not for me thanks!
    It is a sound though, and if you want it you want it!

    If you feel you must change the pickups, I'd go to a Gibson mini humbucker before a full size '59/ PAF style, which is more bassy and muddy.
    But you want a mini hum that's not much over 6k resistance, which is warm fat and clear, just an effortlessly Jazzy tone.
    I'd love to try a Charlie Christian pickup, but it takes a huge hole to mount, or you have to choose a sort of fake Charlie Christian pickup that's smaller for convenience, yet looks the same.

    Looks are essential to tone!
     
  14. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Another vote for a SD '59 in the neck. To me it oozes jazz.
     
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  15. TheMindful

    TheMindful Tele-Meister

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    Roll the tone knob back. Turn bass up on your amp and treble down. Play closer to the neck. Try emulating different jazz guitarist's feel. My experience is most of it is feel, and the fact that traditional jazz guitar tone is fairly dark. But Ted Greene and Bill Frisell are/were "jazz" guitar innovators and both play telecasters. It's feel. Practice.
     
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  16. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    Also - play with clean, undistorted amp settings. Turn the amp volume up higher than you normally would, and play more quietly to compensate. That will give you smoother attacks, less thwack.
     
  17. TheMindful

    TheMindful Tele-Meister

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    Haha I felt like the clean tone observation was implied! Yes turn the distortion off lol. Very nice point about turning up the tube amp to give a fuller sound but play lightly. Although listen to Barney Kessel. That guy whacked the s out of his strings
     
  18. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    It does, indeed; it's a fairly warm-toned humbucker. Most low-wind humbuckers in the neck position will give a genuine warm-jazz tone, especially with a slight roll-off of the tone knob.

    I definitely appreciate the tones of humbuckers in Teles.

    [​IMG]

    If you would like a pickup which can give sparkly bright response, as well as warm up to genuine jazz tones... the mini humbucker is a great choice.

    [​IMG]
     
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  19. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    The Charlie Christian is great for Jazz tones and the Staple P90 is also great.
     
  20. elementfrvr

    elementfrvr TDPRI Member

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    I'm currently running a stock CV Alnico 5 neck pickup and a Dimarzio Chopper T bridge. I throw it in the series position and back the volume down, and get a surprisingly good jazz tone. It's a super versatile setup, the middle two positions (neck, neck and bridge parallel) are both single coil/ish, and the bridge cleans up super well.
     
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