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Tele pickup help needed, please?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by humblepie, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. humblepie

    humblepie TDPRI Member

    Mar 20, 2003
    Birmingham, Alabama
    I just installed new pickups in an MIM tele special, a WCR Crossroads (humbucker) in the neck and a Lawrence L290 in the bridge.
    The neck pup seems to be operating okay, good tone, bridge pickup the same, but both seem a little lacking in punch and dynamics, unlike my L280s in my strat and other humbuckers I've owned. The bigger problem is with the bridge, where the pickup squeals like crazy. It is cancelling the hum as it is supposed to, but squeals constantly.
    The guitar seems to be pretty microphonic, as well.
    I also need to optomize the pot situation (500K for the humbuck, 250K (+/-) for the bridge pup).
    Can anyone untangle the "wires" for me?
  2. JoeAArthur

    JoeAArthur Tele-Holic

    Jun 9, 2005
    The lack of punch with both pickups on could mean that you have them wired electrically out of phase. Reverse the wires on the humbucker - the one to the switch and ground (back of the vol pot?).
  3. editorjuno

    editorjuno Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 16, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    I thought the name "Tele Special" indicated a two-'bucker guitar, but since you say you've got an L-290L -- you didn't say if it was the L-290TL (Tele) or an L-290SL (Strat) -- in the bridge position, the following assumes you've got some sort of ferrous bridge plate in yours. So, feel free to disregard what's below if I'm wrong:

    First order of business is to nuke that bridge pickup squeal -- make sure the bridge mounting screws are well torqued down, but not so tight that the front edge of the bridge plate lifts up off the body. Even a hairsbreadth of a gap between bridge plate and body is intolerable and will greatly aggravate the bridge plate's tendency to act as a crude microphone diaphragm.

    I might get a lot of flack from the "vintage" faction here for suggesting this, but the best permanent cure for Tele bridge pickup squeal is a modern, non-ferrous bridge like the Gotoh L-shaped brass item sold by Warmouth, StewMac, and AllParts.

    The only way to get complete squeal immunity with an ferrous (e.g. "ashtray"-style) bridge plate is to use a non-traditional pickup with a magnetic flow that doesn't intersect the plate at all, e.g. a twin-blade/rail model. Afaik all true single-coils and stacked-coil noiseless pickups are susceptible to the problem to one extent or another.
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