taming the bridge pickup

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Garruchal, May 9, 2017.

  1. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    Before you change the pickup, I'd do two more things (you've already changed strings, and that's what I was going to suggest as a first)
    - try several picks and be careful how you pluck the string. I've spent a very fruitful hour on this looking precisely for nice Tele jazz tones. For the record: I've settled on Dunlop 2.0 mm gators, the grey/black ones.
    - following a great suggestion by Tim Lerch: if you're playing jazz on a Tele, it's a good idea to try and roll off a bit of VOLUME (say a quarter turn if the knob from full). It's the move that has found me my tone .

    Of course, your jazz tone will mostly be from the neck pup. But I also like the percussive sound you can get from the bridge PUP (I also roll of a bit of tone, but not too much).
     
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  2. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    I'll try this. I've got plenty of caps at home to choose from; didn't even know about mystical caps until I started working on guitars. Brilliant money-making scheme.
     
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  3. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    This is good advice, and the longer I study jazz, the more I understand how technique is affecting the tone. I use a Herco medium flat thumbpick (essentially a normal pick with a shape that holds it to the thumb) so I can use all my fingers when I want. I have also become aware of the benefit of turning down the volume, it does keep the tone from being too strident.

    Perhaps wanting to use the bridge while playing jazz is not what it is intended for, but I like the idea of having a larger palette of tones to choose from. I am also more drawn to the solid-body sound with jazz rather than an arch-top. But why a tele? Great all-round guitar, looks cool, and I like the way mine feels.
     
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  4. brenn

    brenn Tele-Afflicted

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    I seem to recall that when Fender first started using the Vintage Noiseless pickups in Eric Clapton Strats, they used a different capacitor to tame the harsh, bright sound. I believe they also include a new capacitor when you buy a set of VN pickups (or they used to). Did you install vintage noiseless using the same pots and cap as the original pickups?
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
  5. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I kept the same pots and caps which came with the Squire CV thinline. This sounds promising; I'll look into it!
     
  6. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    In my case, you’re really preaching to the choir :) I have bought an archtop to play jazz and some weeks later I’ve realized that teles do a better job at jazz! I am stil GASing for a better archtop, but for the time being teles are my jazz (and more) guitars.
     
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  7. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    Stick to the neck pup when you are out front ~ where your guitar is heard over everyone else. Switch to the bridge pup when the rest of the band is cranking, and you can be heard clearly, and no one will hear the shrill.

    Try a noise gate like the Boss NS2. Set it right, and it cuts your signal when you aren't playing, which is when the 60 cycle hum is heard.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2017
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  8. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    12-gauge round wounds
    1mm or thicker picks (I like Dunlop Ultex or Tortex...the small jazz ones)
    Use your volume and tone knobs
    Find your cap value
    Examine your technique and consider playing with your bare fingers at least some of the time

    If you're still having trouble, look at different pickups. I can't make any recommendations on noiseless because I don't have any of my own. But my jazz tele has a DiMarzio True Velvet set in it and I love them for jazz. I'm getting ready to change the 3-way switch out for a 4 way switch. They currently sound great in all three positions, depending where I set the volume and tone, and I have every expectation that the series position will sound great as well.
     
  9. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    I think you may be right about when to use which pickup; I guess that I'm spoiled by the endless possibilities that keyboards allow for shaping sounds, and should be more satisfied with the rich tones this guitar does give me.
    I used to use a noise gate, and it was perfect for when the band was playing along, but while accompanying an actor on stage without other instruments or playing a quiet underscore to a scene, the hum can be very distracting. Noiseless pickups have been great for that kind of work, or I use my Gretsch. I just can't stop wanting to use the Tele for everything; feels like the guitar I always wished for.
     
  10. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    You might stick with regular single coils and try a hum debugger pedal. Tim Leech recommended it in one of his videos. Bonus: Would vastly enlarge your pickup choices.
     
  11. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tele for jazz. Unless you're talking fusion or more modern jazz sounds, I'd just stick with neck pickup alone, and maybe neck+bridge. Most dedicated jazz boxes have one pickup-
    up by the neck. There's a reason for that.
     
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  12. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    Good point.
     
  13. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

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  14. bakersfield2014

    bakersfield2014 Tele-Meister

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    It's the Gatton set. It has a pretty smooth upper register as far as tele bridge PU's go
     
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  15. Garruchal

    Garruchal Tele-Meister

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    Here is my experience trying the various suggestions here: The resistor to ground on the bridge pup works. I'll put a pot on it so I can figure out what value to use. In addition, I want to try putting it through a cap so that it works the same as the normal tone knob. I am not sure what the cap does to the signal electronically that a simple resistor does not. I am looking for a 2-pot knob so I can make that adjustable.

    The change which brought the most benefit for me was going from 9's to flatwound 11's. Although I like the bendiness and ease of playing of the 9's, I now see how much they were changing my tone.

    Another thing that happened is that I started practicing with a new amp. I built a 1x8 plywood cab with a Weber 8A100 in it and am trying out a Bugera t5, which is a 5 watt tube amp with a 12Ax7 and an EL84 tube. That combination is much, much warmer than my Classic 30 with a Traynor speaker. Too quiet to gig with, but sounds great in my studio. I think I need to try another speaker in the Classic 30, perhaps a Warehouse Veteran.

    I may not try a new pickup because I am liking my tone after the string and amp change, and am realizing that the neck pickup really is where I like to hang out. If I do get a new pickup, I'll try the Wilde Bill pickups (but got confused by the fact that there are two companies selling them and don't know which one to try.)

    I thank all of you for offering advice; it is getting me much closer to the tone I am looking for!
     
  16. sonofiam

    sonofiam Tele-Meister

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    You may want to try brass saddles. They will help mellow the tone noticeably compared to the stock steel saddles.
     
  17. shinigami747

    shinigami747 Tele-Holic

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    Hello,
    My CS Nocaster bridge pickup is awesome. But at full blast (vol 10, tone 10) it can sound harsh and trebly with certain setups - like anything digital or certain drive pedals. Probably due to clipping. Who knows?

    My solution:
    Lower both volume and tone by about 1/8 of a turn (or more on the tone, depending on what comes out).
    Compensate for the slight volume drop by increasing the volume at the amp.

    I also had to tweak the bridge pickup height quite a bit to get max output and body while dialing out harshness.

    I know these are not noiseless pickup suggestions. Just thought these zero cost tricks might help tide you over until you get a new bridge pickup.
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  18. codamedia

    codamedia Friend of Leo's

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    I just want to point out to those that don't realize this, the "flat vs round" will only effect the tone on the wound strings... the plain strings won't be any different from set to set.

    I'm not sure if this is relevant to your scenario or not... but when I bought a set of Vintage Noiseless they came with 1 meg pots. If that is the case, try changing those to 250k pots... that takes away a lot of the ice pick qualities that can occur.
     
  19. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Joe Barden Modern (not Gatton) T-Bridge pickup. Pure nickel strings - I like Pyramids. If your volume pot is over 250K measure a few and put one in that's at, or slightly below, 250K
     
  20. Old Tele man

    Old Tele man Friend of Leo's

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    ← although some call it blasphemy, I installed a Fender/Seth Lover WRHB for my jazz work.
     
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