Tele newbie asking for tips and tricks

birv2

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Just got my first tele. I've been strictly a strat guy, but I've fallen in love with the tele sounds.

I'm learning about the different combinations of pickup positions, volume and tone settings, but I'd love to hear what the experienced players have found that works for them.

I play blues through either a Pro Jr or a stock HRDx, if that helps.

Thanks in advance,
Bob
 

Old Cane

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Well, in general you have 3 sounds from 3 settings. Get a sound you like and run it wide open. You'll get lots of replies about tone caps and turning the tone control down and blah, blah, blah. But for me, if I don't like the way a guitar sounds wide open I don't need that guitar. There's no real tip or trick. Telecasters are pretty much plug and play. Like a strat or LP or 335 or......at least for me.
 

gaddis

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I don't know, there are no "tricks" really. It's a pretty simple switching arrangement. Use them all. I have an older Tele which has the older wiring scheme. The only "trick" for me is to put the switch in between positions 2 and 3 so I can get the two-pickup combination. Most likely your Tele is wired so that you can get this combination directly, with the switch in the middle position. I'm probably in the minority but I like the bassy sound that I get with the switch in the forward position. It's a great sound for strumming chords. With the modern wiring you can approximate this sound by selecting the neck pickup and turning the tone control all the way down. It's a similar sound but not the same, so I prefer to keep my original wiring scheme.

The only other "trick" I do is to turn the volume knob back a bit if I want a jazzy sound. I think this produces a better jazz tone than rolling back the tone knob.
 

brokenjoe

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Learn to ride the tone and volume knobs. I'm constantly switching between the three pickup positions to milk the most sounds out of my stock tele, so learning how to use the knobs on the fly is a must.

Teles -perhaps more than any other guitar- can go from heavenly to brutal real fast. Learning how to tame the shrillness makes a world of difference.

I, too, have a Pro Jr. That, and a tele is a match made in heaven. I run mine pretty much wide open, and 'drive' from the guitar.
 

Prison Rodeo

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I notice a much greater effect of *where* I pick the strings (near the bridge vs. near the neck) on my Tele than on my other guitars. Getting back near the bridge lends the notes some serious "pop."
 

UncleJarmo

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Learn to ride the tone and volume knobs. I'm constantly switching between the three pickup positions to milk the most sounds out of my stock tele, so learning how to use the knobs on the fly is a must.

Teles -perhaps more than any other guitar- can go from heavenly to brutal real fast. Learning how to tame the shrillness makes a world of difference.

I, too, have a Pro Jr. That, and a tele is a match made in heaven. I run mine pretty much wide open, and 'drive' from the guitar.

Although some tend to run all the knobs on their guitar wide open, with teles and P-90 Gibbies I juggle the controls on the guitar to get what I want.

My basic method with a telecaster is to set my amp so the neck pickup sounds right with the knobs wide open and then turn the tone and volume both down a little on the bridge pickup. With both pickups on I'll roll back the volume a little for a clear rhythm tone.
 

birv2

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Thanks for all the suggestions. One of the things I'm finding is how versatile the tele is. I used to think tele=country or ear-bleeding treble. I'm finding I can get a wide range of tones out of this thing. And this is just guitar into amp. And, yeah BrokenJoe, the tele and a PJ is a great match.

I had someone at the blues jam last week compliment me on my tone and he said he had never heard a tele sound so fat! Cool. And it was only my second time out, just guitar into PJ.
 

Kalaab

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+1, BrokenJoe

There is a certain beauty running a guitar full bore, but the subtle nuances are what makes a Tele a Tele.
 

SURF

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I think its a good idea to adjust pickup height. On a clean sound till you find the best point. And the bridge pickup has 3 screws - all them have a big influence on the resulting sound (adjustment).
 

Singin' Dave

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I think its a good idea to adjust pickup height. On a clean sound till you find the best point. And the bridge pickup has 3 screws - all them have a big influence on the resulting sound (adjustment).

This would apply to any electric guitar really, but good advice non-the-less and it don't cost ya nothin'.
 

Ronkirn

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Don't let anyone suggest modding to "improve" the tone. There is NO best tone, there is only the sound you like, also pursuing some artist's sound can be discouraging, simply because most of their "sound" is a result of their technique and talent, oh yeah, and their recording engineer’s skill.

And finally, the absolute best thing you can do for any and all aspects of your gear and playing is having the guitar correctly setup by someone with a proven track record. That can make all the difference in the world.

Ron Kirn
 

birv2

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Don't let anyone suggest modding to "improve" the tone. There is NO best tone, there is only the sound you like, also pursuing some artist's sound can be discouraging, simply because most of their "sound" is a result of their technique and talent, oh yeah, and their recording engineer’s skill.

Great advice, Ron. And I'm saying that as a serial tinkerer who has always been chasing new pickups, etc. I say get the best you can with what you got. That's what I'm trying to do with my new Affinity tele. I know it's at the bottom of the food chain, but it's what I can afford and I'm determined to play the heck out of it. Which is why I started this thread.

Bob
 

MN Punk

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Tip 1: If you like it, don't mod it. Don't let anybody else tell you that you have to fiddle with the tone knob or buy compensated brass sadles or put a humbucker in the neck or anything else but play it. Mods are for improvements that YOU feel the guitar needs.

Tip 2: Steal ideas shamelessly from the very best players. If you want to play blues leads, B.B. King is a good one to start with.

Tip 3: ASAP, Learn to play funky rhythms by choking off barre chords (just keep thundering away 1/8" notes with a steady up-and-down right hand strum while forming syncopated patterns by alternating your left hand between fretting the chord and muting the strings). Then learn chicken pickin'. You will then be able to cover damn near any part (and you might even find yourself using some of it as a blues player.)

Tip 4: The fewer effects you put in your signal chain, the more that great Telecaster sound will shine through. Don't compress, chorus, reverb, EQ, and dirt your guitar to the point where people can't even tell what you're playing anymore. My favorite way to play my Tele is bone dry or sometimes with a little reverb on it. A Tele through a good amp on a "clean" setting is about as beautiful as electric guitar tone gets. Pedals are popular security blankets, but once you get used to plugging straight into the amp, you probably won't ever go back.
 

thejerk

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I'll chip in...

Play around with WHERE you pick, I find that I get the best, most manly tone from picking just over the bridge pickup (or slightly toward the neck from there, about where the edge of the ash tray is). Between pickups is too spongy (though works for jazzy clean stuff on the neck pup), and any closer to the saddles is too twangy (in a wierd way). Ya gotta find the sweet spot!

BTW, this means if I want to get my favorite sound, I have to ditch the ashtray cover, unfortunately.
 




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