The tone of the ashtray cover on... but without?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by EsquireBoy, Dec 16, 2019.

  1. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/do-you-use-your-“ashtray”-bridge-cover.965865/

    Since reading this thread, I gave the ashtray cover a try, and found out I LOVE the tone I get.
    The difference is subtle, but it's there nonetheless. I cannot really say how the tone changes exactly, but it seems a bit louder and the notes seem to "glue" more as if there was less note separation and more sustain.

    The real downside is I cannot palm mute anymore, and I miss that depending on what I'm playing. Thus I found myself taking off the ashtray and putting it back on all the time, which is not practical.

    I was wondering what I could do to try and simulate the nuance I get with the ashtray.
    For the volume difference it's obvious and a no problem.
    But for the "glueing" effect? It's almost like a subtle compression effect. I tried to set the pickup a bit higher, but it's not the same. I tried to push the amp more while rolling off the volume on the guitar: it's close, but not still the same.

    I'm sure at higher volumes the difference becomes less obvious, but because I play intimate gigs, the ashtray seems to give me more resonance out of my esquire.

    Any idea?
    Or is this a silly question and I just have to learn how to do without palm muting?

    Thanks!
     
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  2. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    The ashtray does the same thing as a LP humbucker with/without a chrome cover -- it protects against other noise than the 60 cycle hum. When people pull the cover off their humbucker they can hear 'more highs' and 'more open tone' but they are just collecting more noise. Sit in front of a computer with the cover on/off and try to record something and those noiseless humbuckers will perform much differently.

    You could try finding a magnetic steel band you can cut and bend to cover the pickup but leave the saddles open for string muting. I'd try that next, certainly. Something like you may remember seeing some older bass guitars.

    Also swap your two wires to the jack with shielded cable. Odd how Fender left those two wires like that but spent a lot of time on pickup covers. Leo knew all the players were using shielded cable from the guitar to the amp so why not that last/first half a foot?

    .
     
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  3. MrCairo46

    MrCairo46 Friend of Leo's

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    Wow
    Leo invented the first Deflector Shield.
     
  4. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    If I were me I wouldn’t sacrifice an important part of my playing technique to get a subtle difference in tone.
     
  5. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Maybe the GFS lipstick Tele bridge pickup would do what you want. It should give the same effect as a covered pickup without covering the rest of the bridge. It’s supposed to still sound like a Tele pickup. It’s the only drop in covered Tele bridge pickup replacement I know of. It’s hard to say if it would drastically change the tone in other ways without trying it first, but it would be a pretty cheap experiment!

    https://www.guitarfetish.com/KP--Ch...up-Fits-Telereg--Kwikplug™-Ready_p_21964.html
     
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  6. arlum

    arlum Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    "If I were me I wouldn’t sacrifice an important part of my playing technique to get a subtle difference in tone."

    I've got to agree with archetype. Far too many of the right hand techniques that allow a Tele to achieve the tones and voices it's known for would be compromised by the ashtray cover.
     
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  7. Matthias

    Matthias Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    It will make most people sound different because it prompts you to play differently. It's possible some of your tone comes from a slightly different playing position, so maybe analyse what you do differently and see if you can get some of the feel without the ashtray on.

    Having said that, I've definitely find a big thick bit of metal over or around a pickup can alter the frequencies. Sheet metal pickguard shielding even does it.
     
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  8. gwjensen

    gwjensen Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    I'm probably one of the few people that use it. I do notice a difference in tone on the bridge pickup, which I like. It's little deeper or midrangy. Seems to attenuate the highs... It's subtle and might even be psychological for all I know, but I don't palm mute, I don't pick way down by the bridge, and I like the way it looks, so why not?
     
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  9. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    If it's due to any influence on the pickup via eddy currents in the ashtray, the difference can be simulated very closely with a fixed resistor in parallel with the pickup.
     
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  10. boredguy6060

    boredguy6060 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Palm muting is so integrated into my style that I would basically have to relearn playing altogether.
    As has already been said, it’s a huge change for a little difference.
     
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  11. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    Very interesting answers and suggestions, thanks a lot!

    A bit like the lapsteel horseshoe pickup I guess? That would certainly be interesting for me, since what I like about the ashtray cover that I tried to describe in my OP, is that it gives my guitar a tone reminiscent of a steel guitar.

    I have to agree. The difference may be subtle tonewise, but it makes me play differently: not only because my hand position is different, but also because the guitar responds in a different way. It's a bit like an onboard reverb, but natural. From that I get inspiration.

    Thank you for the link. I did not know this PU at all. But I love the tone of my pickup, so I absolutely want to keep it.

    Very interesting! I see how to put one in series with the pickup, but how would you wire it in parallel? And what resistance value would do that?
     
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  12. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    Yesterday my wife, who admittedly does not have a very trained ear and does not care about that sort of thing, saw me put the ashtray on and noticed the guitar was ringing more after that.
    I should do a quick audio comparison, and will try to take some time to record and post it here, but I guarantee it is not psychological.
     
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  13. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't think I could play with the cover on.
    Maybe fingerstyle and straight strumming but even then I think I palm mute and I would feel less comfortable having to position my hand more forwards..
     
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  14. omahaaudio

    omahaaudio Friend of Leo's

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    Speaking of deflector shields I've thought that, to a dog, an elevator is like a transporter.

    The doors open, you get in, there's some noises and some rumbling and in less than a minute you're somewhere completely different.
     
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  15. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    I play with mine in place—on my (avatar) Telecaster (with the normal bridge) as well as on my Stratocaster and Telecaster Deluxe.

    It doesn’t interfere with his I play, but I’ve always picked closer to the neck and have mostly fingerpicked for the last ~20 years or so.

    I notice more sustain with the “ashtrays” installed on the Strat-style bridges (possibly because the saddles are being pushed together) and just some general tone differences (hard to define) with the ashtray present on my “regular” Telecaster bridge...

    Plus, it just looks cool...

     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
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  16. Carcinogen

    Carcinogen TDPRI Member

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    I don’t understand how people can exist without palm muting, that’s like saying you don’t use the breaks in your car or adjust the temperature on your oven before cooking something.
     
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  17. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    I've just done a very quick recording. I kept things really simple, so that you can hopefully hear a difference. First without the cover / then with the ashtray on.
    I did not touch anything while recording, so everything is exactly the same.
    I also paid close attention to pick the strings at the same place with and without the cover.

    It's the guitar straight into a tweed princeton (volume almost maxed out on the amp, but rolled down on the guitar), recorded with an e609 mic on the speaker edge.
    Listening back to the recording, the difference between the two appears more subtle than in reality, but hopefully you can still hear what the cover does to the tone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2019
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  18. Gardo

    Gardo Tele-Meister

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    Been following this thread with great interest. The subtle difference is definitely trumped by palm muting.
     
  19. EsquireBoy

    EsquireBoy Tele-Holic

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    Really cool looking strat, with a late 70's kind of vibe!
     
  20. Dadzmad

    Dadzmad TDPRI Member

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    I never saw how the bridge cover shroud is an issue as it just snaps on and off. Remove for general use with palm muting. Snap back on for fingerstyle with hand resting on cover. Leave on for glamor pics. It's just part of the original guitar design.
     
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