Tele + Vox Brightness Help

Red_Sofia

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Hi guys! Totally new to this forum, but I've been reading posts as a guest for awhile! So excited to get to know this wonderful community. I’m going to give a lot of exposition to avoid the inevitable “more details needed” replies ;)

My main telecaster is the current model Nashville Deluxe Tele (with the Vintage Noiseless Pups). My main amp is a Vox AC15C1, totally stock. My current settings are normal channel at basically 9 o’clock, master anywhere from 9 to noon (bedroom), tone cut about 1. I also crank the Top Boost channel (slight bass boost, slight treble cut) to get a fuller sound.

Playing chords or even most lead lines, these settings sound great to my ears. I’m sort of pedal guy, and I’ve gone through plenty of drives to find ones that go well with the amp; I’ve landed on Plumes for light-medium OD, Rat for heavy-distortion, Hoof for fuzz, and some sort of boost before it all for solos or pushing the Plumes. (For those curious, I usually run the Plumes just a bump above it's darkest settings for all kinds of gain; I only really use the Rat [MIC Rat 2 w/out the beloved LM308] with distortion at 9 and filter at 3).

Here’s my problem: solos are so bright they’re killing me. Like I said, most things sound balanced EQ-wise, but whenever I play a solo that requires me to play the e or b string, especially with the bridge--oof. I could crank the tone cut, but then everything else will sound dull. I guess I could set my boost to cut a little treble, but then won’t I get lost in the mix once I go to record this or play with people? Is the painful truth just that solos are going to hurt when I sit so close to the amp, or do I need to grow up and use my tone knob mid-song?

Any advice is much appreciated--thanks guys!
 

Dave1

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Are you switching from the neck to the bridge for leads? The key to a bright vox is the cut knob and finding a balance. A little bit warmer on the rhythm parts normally sounds great after you play it for a while.
 

KC

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is there a treble bleed in that guitar? The trouble with classic Fender wiring -- to me, lots of guys like it just fine -- is that the last couple of numbers on the volume knob really bring on the treble. The guitars I've got with a treble bleed, I just knock it back to where I want it on the tone control & I can go up and down the volume knob without changing the tone.

Otherwise you can crank the amp a bit more and then back off on the guitar volume, so that even at your loudest you're still in the middle third of the range. It's those last couple of numbers causing trouble / treble / treble trouble.
 

Red_Sofia

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Have you tried using an EQ as a solo boost and frequency tweaker such as a Boss GE7? That would be my first bet.

Not yet! I don't have an EQ pedal but I have a boost with a Mid mode, Bass and Treble controls. Would you just boost mids and cut treble to cut through without hurting people's ears?
 

Red_Sofia

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is there a treble bleed in that guitar? The trouble with classic Fender wiring -- to me, lots of guys like it just fine -- is that the last couple of numbers on the volume knob really bring on the treble. The guitars I've got with a treble bleed, I just knock it back to where I want it on the tone control & I can go up and down the volume knob without changing the tone.

Otherwise you can crank the amp a bit more and then back off on the guitar volume, so that even at your loudest you're still in the middle third of the range. It's those last couple of numbers causing trouble / treble / treble trouble.

I'm a bit of DIYer, so I've thought about a treble bleed, but none as of yet. I have no problem with using my tone and volume knob, but I guess my mentality has always been to set the amp to sound good with everything on 10, then use the knobs and pedals for more specific situations where I need the tone harder, mellower, etc.
 

Red_Sofia

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Are you switching from the neck to the bridge for leads? The key to a bright vox is the cut knob and finding a balance. A little bit warmer on the rhythm parts normally sounds great after you play it for a while.

Yeah, I think part of the problem may be that I like a bright rhythm haha. Also, the Rat darkens as it breaks up, so chords make it darker, but the lower output of lead work immediately makes it treble city! So maybe boosting into it whenever I need a lead sound would help...I've tried this before, but it only helps a little. I know it's all subjective, but you don't think more treble cut than I already have would be too much? I've struggled to find that balance and I find that anymore sounds lifeless to my ears.

EDIT: It depends on the song, but I'll often stay on one pickup (tone rolled back for bridge doing rhythm, or pedals changing the EQ).
 

ReverendRevolver

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I lived a simpler and happier life when I pretended the pickup switch only had middle and bridge options. Just sayin.....
;)

Treble bleed is popular. Voxs thrive on those highs, so whichever of the 5ish ways to rein it in you choose are going to be personal preference. Eq it out, use those knobs of the guitar, add a treble bleed, saddle replacement, add high pass filter (dont actually do this, its unnecessary and you already avoid the tone knob, you don't need more switches), swap pickup and adjust height, buy a Marshall and try you luck with high mids.........

If you don't want to start using the knobs alot, just try an EQ.
 

ShortintheSleeve

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I've got the same set up as you (Tele into Vox AC15). I use the normal channel at 1:00 and the tone cut around 1:00 too. Because I play on the bridge pickup 90% of the time, I just keep my tone knob dialed back a bit. In fact, I'm such a dork I actually made a little dot next to the tone knob with a Sharpie to indicate where I like it best.
 

Collin D Plonker

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I have an Xotic Super Clean Boost I use for leads. I have it set to treble cut. This works well for leads.

You will never get a guitar to respond exactly how you want in all situations. If you look at the pros, they are constantly fiddling with their knobs. Practice riding the tone knob.
 

LGOberean

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Hi guys! Totally new to this forum, but I've been reading posts as a guest for awhile! So excited to get to know this wonderful community. I’m going to give a lot of exposition to avoid the inevitable “more details needed” replies ;)

My main telecaster is the current model Nashville Deluxe Tele (with the Vintage Noiseless Pups). My main amp is a Vox AC15C1, totally stock. My current settings are normal channel at basically 9 o’clock, master anywhere from 9 to noon (bedroom), tone cut about 1. I also crank the Top Boost channel (slight bass boost, slight treble cut) to get a fuller sound.

Playing chords or even most lead lines, these settings sound great to my ears. I’m sort of pedal guy, and I’ve gone through plenty of drives to find ones that go well with the amp; I’ve landed on Plumes for light-medium OD, Rat for heavy-distortion, Hoof for fuzz, and some sort of boost before it all for solos or pushing the Plumes. (For those curious, I usually run the Plumes just a bump above it's darkest settings for all kinds of gain; I only really use the Rat [MIC Rat 2 w/out the beloved LM308] with distortion at 9 and filter at 3).

Here’s my problem: solos are so bright they’re killing me. Like I said, most things sound balanced EQ-wise, but whenever I play a solo that requires me to play the e or b string, especially with the bridge--oof. I could crank the tone cut, but then everything else will sound dull. I guess I could set my boost to cut a little treble, but then won’t I get lost in the mix once I go to record this or play with people? Is the painful truth just that solos are going to hurt when I sit so close to the amp, or do I need to grow up and use my tone knob mid-song?

Any advice is much appreciated--thanks guys!

@Red_Sofia I clicked on this thread of yours as soon as I saw it, because tele + Vox amp is my go-to rig, for home or gigging.

But there are just enough differences between my rig and yours, my approach and yours, that I don't know how much help I can be.

Comparing my teles to your Nashville Deluxe, I don't have the Vintage Noiseless pickups. My experience with a Noiseless Tele pickup is quite limited. Most recently (and it's been more than a year) I've played the one in the bridge position of the Acoustasonic Tele. Further back (maybe a decade ago?) I did test drive a Nashville.

To tell you the truth, I wasn't that impressed with the N4 pickup in the Acoustasonic. But it probably isn't a fair to compare the magnetic pickup bridge position tones of the Acoustasonic (with its thin hollowbody, spruce/mahogany construction) to the bridge pickup of the Nashville.

Speaking of which, as I said, I have played (test driven in a store) a Nashville Deluxe Tele, but as I also said, that was probably a decade ago. I don't know if the pickups then are the same as the Vintage Noiseless ones in Nashvilles today.

And none of my five teles have Noiseless or any kind of Fender brand pickups in them. My favorite tele pickups are DiMarzio's Twang King set. The bridge pickup of that set definitely lives up to its name (it definitely twangs), but the tone has a bit more body or character to it, or warmth (if any of that makes sense).

And before leaving the tele equation/comparison, there is another difference in the teles that I gig with primarily. Namely, the bridge plate is stainless steel with a straight alignment for the bridge pickup, not slanted downward towards the treble side.

Logan Custom teles with DiMarzio Twang Kings.png


I don't have results from a scientifically conducted study to prove it, but in my estimation the straight vs. slanted alignment does attenuate some of the treble brightness.

As for the amp aspect of this tone equation, my VOX amp is a Pathfinder 15R.

03-02-2020 - Vox Pathfinder 15R - 3.jpg


It does AC tones well, IMO, but there are enough differences between the PF 15R and your AC15 that it's not an exact comparison. The settings I typically use are well represented in the pic above. The Gain & Volume will vary (that's my clean setting), but the rest of the knobs stay pretty much as they are in that pic. Treble is almost always at about 11 o'clock, Bass at about 1 o'clock. The Boost switch is not engaged in that pic (it hardly ever is).

And speaking of the Boost switch, I get boost another way, from my teles. Those two teles above not only both have the SS bridge plate with the straight alignment and the Twang King pickups, they also both have a 4-way switch. Of course, that 4th position is both pickups in series. There is more output and more girth to the tone in that position, and some of the highs are attenuated.

When I've got the amp set for cleans (again, as it is in the pic above), flipping the switch up to the 4th position/both pickup in series gives me the effect of a clean boost pedal, just controlled from the guitar. If I set the amp to the edge of breakup, then that series option gives me a more driven tone, albeit a light crunch.

That use of tele + amp serves me well for most of what I do, so I don't use pedals, as a rule. I've done many a gig with just that rig san pedals. In fact, I only have one pedal, the multi-fx BOSS ME-70.

boss-me-70-554915.jpg


I don't take it to gigs unless I plan to do songs in the repertoire that call for delay, or delay + chorus, or a Harmonist 12-string effect, or fuzz. Even when I do, the amp's settings stay pretty much the same. Although my multi-fx pedal has reverb and tremolo, I just use the amp for those effects.

As for an EQ pedal to be a possible solution for you, as @rze99 suggested, the BOSS ME-70 does have a Preamp section (upper left section of the pedal, see pic above). I don't always engage that, because I hardly ever use the COSM amp models, so at home I tend to just leave that whole section alone. But when I do engage that Preamp section, as you can see it gives me another set of controls (in addition to the settings on the Pathfinder amp) to EQ the tone.

Okay, all of this rambling on, and there may not be anything applicable to your situation! :oops: Welcome to TDPRI! :lol: If nothing else, I guess, this long-winded reply demonstrates a different approach gear-wise to tackling the issue of icepick. Or in Texas parlance, it just shows to go ya that there's more than one way to skin a cat.
 

Voxguy

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Set the bridge tone control for full bright. Then, set the both sides of the bridge pickup pole at 1/8" below the low E. Then trim (lower) the high side while plucking, listen for the tone changes until you hear what you like. Good luck.
 

nojazzhere

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Hi guys! Totally new to this forum, but I've been reading posts as a guest for awhile! So excited to get to know this wonderful community. I’m going to give a lot of exposition to avoid the inevitable “more details needed” replies ;)

My main telecaster is the current model Nashville Deluxe Tele (with the Vintage Noiseless Pups). My main amp is a Vox AC15C1, totally stock. My current settings are normal channel at basically 9 o’clock, master anywhere from 9 to noon (bedroom), tone cut about 1. I also crank the Top Boost channel (slight bass boost, slight treble cut) to get a fuller sound.

Playing chords or even most lead lines, these settings sound great to my ears. I’m sort of pedal guy, and I’ve gone through plenty of drives to find ones that go well with the amp; I’ve landed on Plumes for light-medium OD, Rat for heavy-distortion, Hoof for fuzz, and some sort of boost before it all for solos or pushing the Plumes. (For those curious, I usually run the Plumes just a bump above it's darkest settings for all kinds of gain; I only really use the Rat [MIC Rat 2 w/out the beloved LM308] with distortion at 9 and filter at 3).

Here’s my problem: solos are so bright they’re killing me. Like I said, most things sound balanced EQ-wise, but whenever I play a solo that requires me to play the e or b string, especially with the bridge--oof. I could crank the tone cut, but then everything else will sound dull. I guess I could set my boost to cut a little treble, but then won’t I get lost in the mix once I go to record this or play with people? Is the painful truth just that solos are going to hurt when I sit so close to the amp, or do I need to grow up and use my tone knob mid-song?

Any advice is much appreciated--thanks guys!
I'll see @LGOberean's "straight-across" bridge pickup, and raise my "reverse-slant" (left hand) bridge. Both my Teles have this change, and, while not a total sound changer, I believe it reduces the shrill, brittle treble I (and apparently you) find so irritating. Not as simple as tweaking a knob or two, because it involves routing out wood, but worth it to me. Good luck.
upload_2021-7-4_10-14-58.jpeg
 

LGOberean

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I'll see @LGOberean's "straight-across" bridge pickup, and raise my "reverse-slant" (left hand) bridge. Both my Teles have this change, and, while not a total sound changer, I believe it reduces the shrill, brittle treble I (and apparently you) find so irritating. Not as simple as tweaking a knob or two, because it involves routing out wood, but worth it to me. Good luck.
View attachment 874150

Gil, you just had to one-up me, din'cha? :twisted:

I'd forgotten about your "reverse slant" bridge plate. I'm sure that makes a difference. I think that'd mess with my head, at least for a while at first, until I adjusted to that as normal. I'm a southpaw playing righty, so whenever I see someone playing a right-hand oriented guitar flipped over or a true left-handed guitar, I probably strike a cocked-head pose similar to Nipper looking into the phonograph cylinder. Just looking at the bridge of your tele kinda does me that way, too.

Yeah, my straight alignment isn't a total game changer in terms of sound (still twangs, sounds like a tele), but it's a good step towards the taming of the shrill.
 

GreatDaneRock

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
Dec 6, 2018
Posts
1,161
Location
Central FL
Hi guys! Totally new to this forum, but I've been reading posts as a guest for awhile! So excited to get to know this wonderful community. I’m going to give a lot of exposition to avoid the inevitable “more details needed” replies ;)

My main telecaster is the current model Nashville Deluxe Tele (with the Vintage Noiseless Pups). My main amp is a Vox AC15C1, totally stock. My current settings are normal channel at basically 9 o’clock, master anywhere from 9 to noon (bedroom), tone cut about 1. I also crank the Top Boost channel (slight bass boost, slight treble cut) to get a fuller sound.

Playing chords or even most lead lines, these settings sound great to my ears. I’m sort of pedal guy, and I’ve gone through plenty of drives to find ones that go well with the amp; I’ve landed on Plumes for light-medium OD, Rat for heavy-distortion, Hoof for fuzz, and some sort of boost before it all for solos or pushing the Plumes. (For those curious, I usually run the Plumes just a bump above it's darkest settings for all kinds of gain; I only really use the Rat [MIC Rat 2 w/out the beloved LM308] with distortion at 9 and filter at 3).

Here’s my problem: solos are so bright they’re killing me. Like I said, most things sound balanced EQ-wise, but whenever I play a solo that requires me to play the e or b string, especially with the bridge--oof. I could crank the tone cut, but then everything else will sound dull. I guess I could set my boost to cut a little treble, but then won’t I get lost in the mix once I go to record this or play with people? Is the painful truth just that solos are going to hurt when I sit so close to the amp, or do I need to grow up and use my tone knob mid-song?

Any advice is much appreciated--thanks guys!
The increase in high frequency could be the interaction of your Boost injecting its gain into another drive pedal. Have you tried moving the Boost after your od? This is how I run boost for leads, just lifting the gain up a little bit from what's already there, not pushing other OD pedals.
 

Pcs264

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I've played a lot of great guitars over the years (various Gibsons, Strats, Rics, etc.) and also learned to "put all the guitar knobs on 10, then dial in my tone on the amp, and then maybe just use the guitar volume knob a little bit. For the past two years I've played my 1st Tele, my favorite guitar ever, and trust me, it's a different creature (in a good way!). I've learned to use my volume knob and especially my tone knob regularly (sometimes big turns and often very small ones). My advice: spend some time with your tone control and it will become your good friend!
 




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