1. Win a Broadcaster or one of 3 Teles! The annual Supporting Member Giveaway is on. To enter Click Here. To see all the prizes and full details Click Here. To view the thread about the giveaway Click Here.

Tone Difference-Thinline vs Solid?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Brewbaker, May 24, 2007.

  1. Brewbaker

    Brewbaker Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    362
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Location:
    West Bath, Maine
    Assuming the neck materials were the same and the pickups were too, what's the difference in tone between the hollow body and the solid? Is it similar to comparing Gibson solid vs semiacoustics?
     
  2. boneyguy

    boneyguy Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    13,042
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    victoria b.c. CANADA
    Yes. I would say that's a valid comparison. For me the sound is more open and round. I think that I can get a little more spank from it as well. I think.

    It's also nice to play such a light guitar.
     
  3. BrianF

    BrianF Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,712
    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2003
    Location:
    Carlsbad, Ca
    I wonder about the body being as light as they are....if they are off-balance (headstock heavy)... If so they would be uncomfortable to play despite being light
     
  4. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    9,326
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Godzone
    No problems, Brian. As you're used to your benders it might feel initially like you're playing air-guitar, but Thinlines are pretty nicely balanced and hang real good. You can play for hours without sore-shoulder syndrome.

    Tonewise? Well most Thinlines are mahogany but in reality, it is recognisably Tele. A little warmer and more open-sounding without quite the snap or pop of solid ash. Compensates by being a little more natural-sounding. Either way, it's all good. I love my solid Teles, I love my Thinline. Vive la differance!
     
  5. Robin Nahum

    Robin Nahum Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,273
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    In general terms there might be a slightly middier/warmer tone but it's not a sure thing. I've played a very bright AmStd '90s Thinline and a warmer sounding solid.

    My current hypothesis about warmer/jazzier sounding guitars is that this is primarily determined by the size of the top. My 345 sounds as rich as a full-sized archtop despite having the block down the middle and being only 3cm (or whatever) thick. None of my Thinlines get anywhere near that big tone whether with a stock Tele pickup, a minibucker, full bucker, P90 or Charlie Christian. Nor does my mahogany Les Paul Special HB.

    In other words, there is a much bigger tonal difference between a Gibson solid body and an archtop, than between a solid Tele and a Thinline.

    Usual advice - if you try a Thinline you like, go for it.
     
  6. tjalla

    tjalla Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,941
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    I honestly feel the latter observation to be most consistent - thinlines being "brighter". I've owed two thinlines (black mahogany MIM '69, ash CIJ Thinline Special), and my bandmate has a mahogany MIM '69.

    +1.

    But I've found the tonal differences go in opposite directions. Ironically, while a gibson semi is usually warmer/middier and noticeably louder than its solidbody counterpart, in a thinline tele the attack and upper mids get attenuated, giving the impression of a brighter treble, more jangle. I feel that thinlines make great rhythm guitar instruments, but the ones I had didn't have enough punch/snarl for playing lead lines in a blues band - even with the P90 type pickups I dropped in my CIJ thinline. I've settled on an CIJ 50s RI, ash with low output pickups, and it has more presence onstage than my thinlines.

    If you say out loud "priiiiing" vs "kraaaang" - that's thinline vs (a good) solid tele right there. Exactly what Robin was saying in that you don't get the big archtop sound, with the rich midrange. Quite the opposite, in fact. Thinlines are cool, but it depends on what sound you need.

    Trevor
     
  7. Brewbaker

    Brewbaker Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    362
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Location:
    West Bath, Maine
    Wow--amazingly contrasting opinions. I was hoping that the hollow body would be rounder and punchier in the mids and therefore possibly better for playing jazz than a solid body. My solid alder body even with a Voodoo neck pickup which is pretty fat still sounds scooped and lacking the punch you need for clean jazz tones. I bet Robin's 345 sounds like the bomb though...
     
  8. tjalla

    tjalla Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,941
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2003
    Location:
    Perth, Western Australia
    Tele neck PUPs are IMO inherently scooped ala Robben Ford's Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues - I'm pretty sure that's a tele neck PU, and a cool sound, but its not the archtop jazz sound. Maybe try a higher output model with more mids, or something with a softer top end like an Alnico 2 or Antiquity model. Or a minibucker like Robin's avatar pic.

    Perhaps someone here can chime in about the Charlie Christian-type pickup in a solid and/or thinline tele, for jazz?

    Trevor
     
  9. Robin Nahum

    Robin Nahum Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,273
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    And turning this into yet another Charlie Christian thread

    Funny you should ask Trevor....

    My experience is that a Charlie Christian style pickup in the neck posi works best for jazz. It doesn't make a Thinline sound like a big archtop but it's a nice warm single coil tone and not as hot as a P90. And you use roundwounds.

    If you search for "Charlie Christian" you wll find a number of threads where this has been discussed at great length. The current research question is "Lollar or VintageVibe?". That doctorate is just waiting to be awarded. :D

    The 345 sounds great but it's a lot of guitar to shlep around. I tend to use it when I must have that tone. A Thinline with a CC is a much more manageable size and weight and it always pleasantly surprises the "guitar spotters".

    I have a minibucker in my first partscaster built for jazz - the purple one in the avatar. I've tried a Gibson and now have a Lollar. Both are quite bright/clear - the Lollar is a little less bright. Lovely tone and very good for practice. You hear all the mistakes. Very Tele!!
     
  10. leewhit

    leewhit Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    224
    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2003
    Location:
    baltimore,md.
    Had to get in on this one! I've played both a lot and even with same hardware/pup combos. The semi-hollow ones are brighter with less mids. Less punchy for sure. I'm not saying this is good nor bad, just what my ears hear as very different from each other. I happen to really like the semi-hollow bodies for soft/pretty stuff but, when it comes to punchy/country type sounds the solid bodies are where it's at for my liking. Really notice it more in a live band situation.
     
  11. Telakaster

    Telakaster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    247
    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Location:
    Toronto
    Your getting contrasting opinions because not all thinlines are the same. My '75 thinline is ash with humbuckers and the neck pickup is sweet for jazz. It has more sustain on the upper fretboard than a solidbody tele. Great spank but a little less twang.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.