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The day both my Telecasters decided to rebel, or how to lose 3 hours

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by THX1123, Dec 30, 2020.

  1. THX1123

    THX1123 Tele-Meister

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    Location:
    NY
    Both my Teles conspired to rebellion today.

    I'm tracking rhythm guitar parts. I have my amps miked up in one room. I got the sounds I was after by plugging in directly to the amps in the amp room. I am using 2 amps at a time for these songs. I plugged the cables into the amps from the control room, unplugged my '72 Custom and brought it into the control room. When I plugged in to my Radial Switchbone I got no signal. After checking all the cables and amps for an hour I finally check the Tele. Absolutely no signal from the axe. In the 15 feet and 15 seconds from one room to the next it had just catastrophically failed.

    So I grabbed my '52 RI and plugged it in. After a few goes I got a keeper take. As I was playing the part I kept noticing a random little high pitched noise, like maybe a microphonic tube, or a wonky fret issue. It isn't the strings above the nut resonating, I have something deadening them. I was able to determine it was probably a fret issue on the A string. I had pretty recently set up the guitar and polished the frets, but I am in the Buffalo NY area where the temperature and humidity are pretty variable this time of year. It isn't uncommon to have to adjust the neck frequently (or to get 18" of snow on Christmas). I took the guitar down to the bench and adjusted the neck without removing the strings (that's always fun on '52's) and did another quick set up. I hear nothing unusual down there. Back upstairs and in the headphones the sound is still happening. I decide to not get mad and start breaking things so I stop for dinner.

    Took both Teles downstairs to the bench after dinner for some discipline for their conspiratorial insubordination. After removing all 7,000 pick guard screws on the '72 I started poking around and checking solder joints, toggle switch, etc. I noticed a small circular sticker from somewhere in the control cavity that had mostly lost its adhesive after 16 years and had somehow gotten stuck perfectly into the input jack, entirely blocking the tip of the cable from making contact. It wasn't adhered to the jack too badly, but it was somehow really in there because it was some kind of semi-rigid plastic thing that did not want to flex. It improbably took 5 minutes to fish it out with a pair of needle nose. It just would not come out for some reason, and I didn't want to be hasty and break a solder joint. So, after 7,000 more pick guard screws, issue #1 is solved.

    I check the '52 over. I see nothing in neck relief, nothing on the frets, etc. Finally I run my finger along the underside of the strings. Yep. There's defects in the A string around the 9th fret that were making a squealy buzzing on the fret when I laid into A and D Barre chords, and the song has a lot of somewhat aggressively downstroked chords. Cleaned the neck and polished the frets again and threw a new set of .10s on. At least the '52 is set up a little better than before. I hope the Teles are ready to cooperate tomorrow.
     
  2. StevesBoogie

    StevesBoogie Tele-Holic

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    North Carolina
    Sometimes you gotta crack the whip! Cool story
     
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  3. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    los angeles
    Dont'cha just love that crap?! It's inevitable that at some point every guitar and amp is going to do something like this to you that has you chasing some ghostly issue that is near impossible to figure out. Went thru this for weeks with my strat recently and some random noise and checked every possibility but nothing worked. Eventually one day it was just gone and i still have no idea what it was. Sounded like static but no dryer sheets or even anti static spray worked. Rewired the entire guitar adding new pots, jack and switch and still nothing till finally the ghost just decided to move on. Hours wasted. Crazy ....
     
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  4. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Northeast Ohio, USA
    That is a choice? Here I thought it was mandatory! I guess you learn something new every day! :lol::lol::lol:
     
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  5. unixfish

    unixfish Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I get you though; when you have one oddball failure, it is usually associated with a second. Your main guitar cord goes bad? Use your backup, which 95% of the time will fail at the same time as your primary.
     
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  6. jfgesquire

    jfgesquire Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
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    Lake View
    Good job with the patience and hello from down the street. I thought I had my whole house humidifier ready to go a couple weeks ago but suddenly I watched the hygrometer drop from 45% to 30% in just a few days. Nope, I didn't have it set right.

    I am usually able to keep my house at no less than 40% unless we have extended days in the teens, then the guitars go in the cases with case humidifiers until the weather returns to somewhat reasonable. I have a few that are bullet proof when it comes to humidity, but a few others are just prima donna guitars.

    Gotta love Western New York.
     
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  7. Flipped Mustang

    Flipped Mustang Tele-Holic

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    Nor Cal
    Great job tracking down the issues and fixing them!
     
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  8. THX1123

    THX1123 Tele-Meister

    Posts:
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    Aug 24, 2006
    Location:
    NY
    True. People who don't love WNY rarely move away for some reason. You probably know what I mean. People here will stop to help you if you get stuck in a snowbank, but they will also give you a good dose of verbal abuse while helping to push your vehicle out of the snowbank. Gotta love that mixture of selfless helping and insults. That ain't a thing everywhere. I recently returned after 20 years of moving around the country. This winter hasn't been too severe (yet). Knock on wood.

    Seems like my older guitars are more resilient. My old '78 Music Man rarely needs a tweak, and I have never once had to adjust my '87 Rickenbacker. Even though my Teles aren't exactly new (2000 & 2004) they seem to need a neck adjustments frequently.

    I am also struggling with the humidity up here in the Boston Hills. It often gets below 40% in here, especially if I have a fire in the fireplace (which I do at night when it is under 20). Last summer I had all the windows open in August and it got up to 80% upstairs for a few days. Granted I am surrounded by pretty dense forest. That is too high. I probably need a in-window AC unit for next July and August to help control that. Since we jam in the basement I had a pretty big dehumidifier cranking down there to keep it at 55%, so my axes and drums live down there all summer. It is a small house but my humidifier struggles to get even one room to 50%.

    One of the things I love about WNY is opening up the windows, especially at night when the weather is fine. That ain't a thing everywhere. When I lived in NZ I noticed everybody there also tends to have windows open. Oddly enough they hadn't discovered the modern miracle of window screens though. I open windows up a lot when it is above freezing. I've lived in places down south where most of the windows would not even open.
     
  9. Peegoo

    Peegoo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I keep a small stack of firewood near the fireplace. When a guitar starts acting up, I lean it against that stack.

    Works every time.



    Nice job tracking down the issue!
     
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  10. WalthamMoosical

    WalthamMoosical Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    Vermont
    Last night I was hand-drilling the 7000 holes needed for the pickguard screws for this tele-thing I am almost done with and was thinking to myself, that Leo was one smart dude for only going with 5 holes.
     
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  11. beep.click

    beep.click Poster Extraordinaire

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    California
    I am amazed that you actually found and solved the problems. In my life, I can spend many hours researching and twiddling and nothing helps. Then the next day, the issue is inexplicably gone.
     
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  12. preactor

    preactor Tele-Holic

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    I mean what else would you expect from 2020. Hope your New Year rocks!
     
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