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Tele Bridge Pickup Hate....

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Pat D, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. Pat D

    Pat D Tele-Meister

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    OK, hate is a strong word... :)

    90% of the time I'm in the 2nd position and loving it. The neck pickup I find very useful. Just added a 4-way switch and the series wiring is getting plenty of air time.

    So three of the four switch positions are killer!

    But the bridge on its own? It's far too bright unless I EQ specifically for it. Unfortunately that renders the other switch positions useless. So, EQ'ing for the bridge alone is a non-starter, and as a result my bridge pickup gets next to no use on its own.

    I know I could just roll off the tone knob to reign it in, but that's too much work in the heat of playing.

    Is there any sort of electrical mod that would settle down the bridge pickup so it's better matched with the 2nd position? I'm thinking maybe a separate cap that's only active in the 1st switch position?

    Any practical suggestions for getting some use out of that pickup are appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2020
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  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    You might try either a higher wind A5 bridge pickup (more midrange, less treble, rounder top end) or possibly a A2 or A3 (sweeter top end). It would be helpful for us to know what pickups you have currently though to make a recommendation. Do you have a meter that you can measure your pickups' resistance with?
     
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  3. Pat D

    Pat D Tele-Meister

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    I have two Tele's, both with the same relative brightness on the bridge that I'd like to soften...

    Guitar 1) MIM HH with Suhr Thornbuckers. It has the '+' version on the bridge which is slightly hotter than the other option in that set of pickups. I play that guitar almost exclusively in coil-tapped single coil mode. It gets used as I described above, 90% of the time in 2nd position.

    Guitar 2) Squier Affinity with a Bootstrap Pretzel Neck, and Original Recipe on the bridge. This one gets used the same way, mostly in 2nd position, but it has a 4-way switch that also gets a lot of use.

    Pickups:

    G#1) Coil Tapped resistances not listed - https://www.suhr.com/pickups/humbucker-pickups/suhr-thornbucker-signature-pickups/

    G#2)
    Neck - 5.6kOhm- https://bootstrappickups.com/products/bootstrap-pretzel-pups
    Bridge - 6.4kOhm - https://bootstrappickups.com/products/bootstrap-original-recipe-for-tele®
     
  4. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Afflicted

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    Wiring the tone to work on the bridge only is a easy mod.
     
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  5. Pat D

    Pat D Tele-Meister

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    Just wanted to say, the bridge pickups on both guitars sound awesome assuming proper EQ on the amp. No complaints about how they sound at all.

    But the bridge tone is just too different from the tone I need most of the time (modern praise & worship) to be able to slide in and out of the bridge pickups in a useful way. If I could add something to the circuit to cut some more highs on the 1st position it could be really useful.
     
  6. Pat D

    Pat D Tele-Meister

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    Hmm, that might do it. The tones on the other positions are well balanced, so I don't really ever need to back the tone off on the other switch positions.

    Can you point to a schematic for isolating the tone on the bridge pickup? I'm not sure what search terms to use.

    BTW, it's not necessarily "too hard" to use the tone knob. I'm often changing the switch position and volume knob several times over a given song. Problem is, a lot of times the parts will be really busy with no break in between. The problem with going to the bridge would be having to move the switch and then accurately twist the tone while transitioning between parts. It's not worth the effort and interruption in flow, so I just go with one of the other positions. It would be nice to have a usable 3rd or 4th tone option that I can get to quickly by flipping the switch.

    Leaving the tone knob rolled off (and disconnected from the other position) seems like a practical solution. I'll give it a try for sure if i can find the details.
     
  7. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    that's a tele, razor on the bridge, mud on the neck...

    why don't you put a humbucker in the bridge, or a really hot pickup like a lollar special or a quarter pounder or something like that in the bridge that will darken it up but good.

    it would be pretty cool to have a mini switch that would only darken up the bridge pickup though, usually rolling down the tone kind of makes the whole thing sound pretty flat, not that I don't like to ride the tone knob a bit but it seems like it does destroy most of the interesting harmonics and complexity of the tone, particularly with clean tones.

    You could simply add a stacked knob and have independent tone controls. isn't that like modern strat wiring?

    You could just get a strat, with modern wiring.

    Have you tried something like a parametric eq, or even just screwing the bridge pickup way down, compared to the neck?
     
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  8. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Friend of Leo's

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    I think the “neck muddy” and “bridge ice pick” things very much depend on how much gain you have going. Very clean, the tele neck is nice and fat BUT articulate and the bridge is razor-sharp… still has its uses (country, western swing, nice rock arpeggios, stab chords…) but not an all-round sound by any means.

    Turn the gain up, and the neck gradually becomes muddy (… still some glorious sounds along the way…) while the bridge starts shining as the Tele’s brightest star. Not ice-picky. Not muddy. Mean. Meaner than any other electric guitar lead sound. Bad to the bone, and so musical. You’re on TDPRI mister: don’t talk no trash about the tele bridge pickup :p

    Now, I’m pretty sure that this post is of NO USE to you, but I still had to say it. Apologies, it’s my visceral love for the tele… :)
     
  9. Wrighty

    Wrighty Friend of Leo's

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    Odd that you bought a Tele................known for their bright bridge pick up
     
  10. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    He has 2!!
     
  11. Andy B

    Andy B Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    My favorite Tele bridge pickup is a DiMarzio Chopper. Use it by itself all the time.
     
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  12. Pat D

    Pat D Tele-Meister

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    It seems like Telecaster players fall into two main groups. One group only plays on the bridge, and the other group never plays on the bridge. I'm in group 2.

    Rest assured, though, that my neck pickup is not the least bit muddy. It's an equivalent of the Twisted tele Fender pickup that has a nickel silver cover. It's bright and clear.

    Maybe a hotter Bridge pickup would be better. I don't know. I purposely paired the two lowest output pickups I could find.

    But the Suhr humbuckers I have on my other guitar do the same thing, so......
     
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  13. eallen

    eallen Friend of Leo's

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    My first stop of someone requesting a pup tamed on highs is lowering the treble side of the pup?

    If you like the tone of the neck, you could cut more highs in the bridge by adding a higher value cap in series of the hot lead of the pup. The higher the cap size the more highs it will cut. Singles commonly have a .47uf to reduce their brightness. Pick a value higher than on your tone cap. Try a .75uf, or 1.0uf. You can put an alligator clip and swap values until you find one you like.

    Eric
     
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  14. reckless toboggan

    reckless toboggan Tele-Holic

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    If a tele bridge pickup is too bright, raise it closer to the strings by a good margin...see if that fixes it before taking any other drastic GAS induced measures.
     
  15. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    I used to not like tele bridge pickup either.
    Then I fell in love with a Les Paul Junior, learned all about where to pick, how to pick, and what all them knobs do and what do you know!
    I love the bridge pickup on my tele.
     
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  16. Bearzooka

    Bearzooka TDPRI Member

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    f9ee08adac7f898d2c5c540e27664a8a.jpg
     
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  17. cravenmonket

    cravenmonket Tele-Holic

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    I rarely use the bridge pickup either. I'm 90% neck, and it's never muddy! All clean, fingerstyle, and I'm always hunting that warm, sweet, bell-like choir-boy tone. Or that soft jazz sound. I don't think the bridge sounds bad, I just don't have a lot of use for it. I have a N3 noiseless stacked humbucker in the bridge, which is voiced to sound like a classic Tele bridge, but I'm told doesn't. I have never really considered swapping it out for something else, but now you've got me a-thinking...
     
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  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Measure the height of the pickups currently so you can go back (since you like the neck and middle positions right now) as backup.

    Lower the neck as much as possible. Lower the bridge so you have volume parity when switching between pickups. Lower the treble side a little more.


    While Hendrix is using a Strat ... this video has some good close up shots of how he has his guitar set up. See how the pickups are low and he raised the bass side higher than the treble. Hey Joe is good bass heavy song. Also notice how he has no Strat volume knob in the way of the treble strings and how he can play all the treble strings from bridge to neck without hitting anything.




    The Hendrix video also brings up another option. Find a left handed Tele bridge plate so you can have a reverse angle on the bridge pickup. I've had a reverse pickup angle on my Strat for a while now. The pickup has a lot thicker tone this way. Next mod for it is to get a stacked tone/blender pot so I can move the volume to the first tone knob location (it has an Armstrong Blender on it for SSS to HSH). The Esquire-H has a 4-way and wired with separate bobbins.

    [​IMG]
     
  19. jackal

    jackal Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Some really helpful information on this thread!
     
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  20. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    I, too, NEVER liked a Tele's bridge pickup by itself. I only played neck or (more often) neck+bridge.....until I tried Bootstrap Pickups Pretzel set. To my ear, the Pretzel bridge p/up is very much like a P-90, which I love! I'm terrible at describing sounds, whether "mid-rangy, not mid-rangy, or whatever".....I just know what I like. I am now playing a typical gig with 60% middle position, (neck+bridge) and 40% bridge only. The other 10% is neck only.(that's a joke......I don't know exactly) To buy only a Pretzel bridge would be around $25-30.......not a bank breaker! ;)
     
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