Two Teles, Two Very Different Sounds

unixfish

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I pulled the plastic off my new Tele and was really putting it through it’s paces a bit yesterday. I finished a few small setup issues and have it about where I want it.

During the night, I compared my new American Professional II to my Baja, and I was surprised how different they sounded. Here are the spec differences:

Neck:
  • The Baja has vintage split shaft tuners, a soft V chunky neck, a maple board and medium jumbo frets.
  • The APII has modern tuners, a fat C neck (a bit slimmer), a rosewood board and narrow tall frets.

Body:
  • The Baja has a lightweight ash body. The guitar is about 7.0 or 7.1 pounds total.
  • The APII has a middleweight alder body. The guitar is about 7.75 pounds total.

Pickups:
  • The Baja has the custom shop designed Broadcaster bridge pickup and a twisted Tele neck.
  • The APII has the V-Mod II pickups with the mixed alnico II and III magnets.

I am going to ignore the pots, switching, and S1 options; these comparisons are only pickups with the volume and tone wide open. (BTW - the treble bleed circuit is really nice on the APII volume knob.)

The sound. Aside from the pickups, I don’t subscribe that the neck or body materials have anything to do with the guitar sound – or at most very little to do with it. Pickups should be the largest factor.

As a whole, here is what I hear:
  • The Baja sounds bright, clear, and punchy. Dare I say crisp?
  • The APII sounds warm, smooth, and creamy.

I have seen the V-Mod II pickups listed as “slightly hot”, while the Broadcaster is more a vintage vibe. Neither sounds good or bad in comparison, neither is “better”. They are very different, each with its own voice.

Is this difference just pickups, or am I also hearing that “it factor” of a “complete instrument” as well?
 

Blue Bill

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It's hard to prove, but I think the pickups are a big factor, while everything else contributes, in some smaller way, to the overall tone and sound. Otherwise, every guitar with the same pickups would sound the same, but they don't. Enjoy the new Tele!
 

nojazzhere

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I pulled the plastic off my new Tele and was really putting it through it’s paces a bit yesterday. I finished a few small setup issues and have it about where I want it.

During the night, I compared my new American Professional II to my Baja, and I was surprised how different they sounded. Here are the spec differences:

Neck:
  • The Baja has vintage split shaft tuners, a soft V chunky neck, a maple board and medium jumbo frets.
  • The APII has modern tuners, a fat C neck (a bit slimmer), a rosewood board and narrow tall frets.

Body:
  • The Baja has a lightweight ash body. The guitar is about 7.0 or 7.1 pounds total.
  • The APII has a middleweight alder body. The guitar is about 7.75 pounds total.

Pickups:
  • The Baja has the custom shop designed Broadcaster bridge pickup and a twisted Tele neck.
  • The APII has the V-Mod II pickups with the mixed alnico II and III magnets.

I am going to ignore the pots, switching, and S1 options; these comparisons are only pickups with the volume and tone wide open. (BTW - the treble bleed circuit is really nice on the APII volume knob.)

The sound. Aside from the pickups, I don’t subscribe that the neck or body materials have anything to do with the guitar sound – or at most very little to do with it. Pickups should be the largest factor.

As a whole, here is what I hear:
  • The Baja sounds bright, clear, and punchy. Dare I say crisp?
  • The APII sounds warm, smooth, and creamy.

I have seen the V-Mod II pickups listed as “slightly hot”, while the Broadcaster is more a vintage vibe. Neither sounds good or bad in comparison, neither is “better”. They are very different, each with its own voice.

Is this difference just pickups, or am I also hearing that “it factor” of a “complete instrument” as well?
You don't mention strings, which can have some effect on overall sound.
Personally, I believe every aspect of a guitar has some effect.....The pickups probably 80% or so, but the size of the neck, the bridge and saddles, the nut, even the color of the pickguard. (just kidding about the pickguard) There's even the possibility that YOU are playing differently in some imperceptible way. All I can say is appreciate each one for what it is, and enjoy. ;)
 

unixfish

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You don't mention strings, which can have some effect on overall sound.
Personally, I believe every aspect of a guitar has some effect.....The pickups probably 80% or so, but the size of the neck, the bridge and saddles, the nut, even the color of the pickguard. (just kidding about the pickguard) There's even the possibility that YOU are playing differently in some imperceptible way. All I can say is appreciate each one for what it is, and enjoy. ;)

The APII has the Fender strings it came with - so, probably D'Addario 9s (or whoever is OEM-ing Fender strings now)? The Baja has Ernie Ball Slinky 10s.

Those two should not be that much different.
 

nojazzhere

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The APII has the Fender strings it came with - so, probably D'Addario 9s (or whoever is OEM-ing Fender strings now)? The Baja has Ernie Ball Slinky 10s.

Those two should not be that much different.
Perhaps.....but consider ALL the minute differences, and they could be enough to hear. (?) ;)
 

WingedWords

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Well I don't know, but I've got two teles with the same McNelly A2 pickups, the same value pots and capacitor, same strings and they sound very different. One is solid body alder with maple neck, one is thinline swamp ash with a fat roasted maple neck. If wood made no difference then shouldn't they sound the same?

All I know for sure is that I love them both and I'm very happy they sound different.
 

That Cal Webway

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SO many factors to configure into a solid body's sounds.

That's the beauty of it.
you just don't know til it's all put together
Each electric is a much an individual as a chimpanzee is!

:)
 

Happy Enchilada

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Hmmm, IME, the difference of tone between 9s and 10s is really really huge. Personally I like the feel of 10s but the sound of 9s on Teles. Never liked 9s on Strats though.


Have you tried 9.5s? Started using them a couple years back instead of 10s I'd been stuck on forever. Nice kinda Goldilocks solution!
 

Sax-son

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I pulled the plastic off my new Tele and was really putting it through it’s paces a bit yesterday. I finished a few small setup issues and have it about where I want it.

During the night, I compared my new American Professional II to my Baja, and I was surprised how different they sounded. Here are the spec differences:

Neck:
  • The Baja has vintage split shaft tuners, a soft V chunky neck, a maple board and medium jumbo frets.
  • The APII has modern tuners, a fat C neck (a bit slimmer), a rosewood board and narrow tall frets.

Body:
  • The Baja has a lightweight ash body. The guitar is about 7.0 or 7.1 pounds total.
  • The APII has a middleweight alder body. The guitar is about 7.75 pounds total.

Pickups:
  • The Baja has the custom shop designed Broadcaster bridge pickup and a twisted Tele neck.
  • The APII has the V-Mod II pickups with the mixed alnico II and III magnets.

I am going to ignore the pots, switching, and S1 options; these comparisons are only pickups with the volume and tone wide open. (BTW - the treble bleed circuit is really nice on the APII volume knob.)

The sound. Aside from the pickups, I don’t subscribe that the neck or body materials have anything to do with the guitar sound – or at most very little to do with it. Pickups should be the largest factor.

As a whole, here is what I hear:
  • The Baja sounds bright, clear, and punchy. Dare I say crisp?
  • The APII sounds warm, smooth, and creamy.

I have seen the V-Mod II pickups listed as “slightly hot”, while the Broadcaster is more a vintage vibe. Neither sounds good or bad in comparison, neither is “better”. They are very different, each with its own voice.

Is this difference just pickups, or am I also hearing that “it factor” of a “complete instrument” as well?

From what I am reading here, everything about those 2 guitars are different. The wood, the pickups, the tuners, the fretboard wood? I would definitely expect them to sound different. It's not like comparing 2 guitars of equal construction specs. However, it's good of you to lay out those differences for those considering either of those guitars.
 

Gkott78

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Those twisted tele pickups in the Baja are really nice, and also really unique. The neck pickup has a much more strat type sound. I've done back to back sessions with 5 of my Tele's and they all had different vibes. I agree with your conclusion, the APII, it's smoother overall. The Vmod pickups are good, balanced, pretty warm, and smooth. My Jason Isbell signature has pickups closer to the twisted tele, and it's much more open sounding, crisper highs, not biting just more present. I prefer the sound of the Isbell. My Isbell has 10's on it, the APII has 9-46 hybrid Elixers on it. I'm pretty sure I'm going to put 10's on the APII, I didn't get along with the stock 9's it felt too thin sounding. Pickup height will also be a factor here don't forget that.
 

vintagelove

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I don’t subscribe that the neck or body materials have anything to do with the guitar sound –


You should really check out the Warmoth YouTube channel. They do very fair shootouts including different tone woods. They absolutely make a difference and it's not subtle.


Beyond woods, they have other very interesting tests. SS frets vs Normal, neck construction styles, etc. Very informative.
 

blues

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It's not surprising to have two different guitar not sound the same. Quite normal.

I currently have two Telecasters. I recently had three. All sounded different and had their own vibe going on.

Two of them had the same pickups. All of them have the same woods. Two of them
have different saddles. Brass and steel. A few other differences as well.
 

Happy Enchilada

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@SPUDCASTER - I grew up in a town in Ohio where the 5 largest potato farms in the state reside (well, not anymore, but it used to be). They even have a potato festival every year with a potato stomp 5 and 10k race.

Spudcaster. That made me smile.
And if you get bored with all of that festivity, Idaho has a Potato Museum. I kid you not.
 




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