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.

What defines vintage vs. modern, and describe your perceived tonal differences?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Boogie, Mar 22, 2020.

  1. Boogie

    Boogie Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    268
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Location:
    The Late Great Golden State
    Certain years or models? 3-barrel vs 6-saddle bridge?

    What are the differences in tone, and what changes in materials and construction account for those differences?
     
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    25,371
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    More than era I see parts.
    A3 magnets sort of dull or soften the tone.
    Flat poles make the high and low Es more pronounced while the D and G are less pronounced, where the stagger made the D and G more pronounced which sounds almost like more mids.
    Hotter and weaker coil winds seem to exist in many eras and of course sound different.
    Many of the earliest are actually pretty weak coil winds despite the popular idea that the Broadcaster nocaster was hotter.
    Two coils of the same wind, one with the early A3 and the other with the later A5, the A3 version will sound softer maybe warmer because those magnets sound to me a little dull and less brilliant.
    Last would be the thinner 43awg wire used in the early bridge pickups that didn't change the sound but adds confusion because dcr readings become less meaningful. A 43awg that reads 10k in only as hot as a 42awg more like maybe 7-8k.
    When you see 10k of 42awg that is a pickup mo vintage Fender ever came with.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  3. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    8,878
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2015
    Location:
    Winchester, VA
    I prefer the three brass saddles for their tone, and have not experienced intonation problems from them. However, my current telecaster has the 6 individual saddles and it sounds just fine.
     
  4. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    70
    Posts:
    4,341
    Joined:
    May 20, 2017
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    To me the difference is simple. With true vintage, you get what came on the guitar when it was made. You also get rust, patina, dings and dents, tuners that don’t quite turn like they used to. There’s a certain beauty in a natural relic. There are things you just deal with. Once the guitar has been modified beyond basic maintenance, it’s no longer vintage, it’s an old beat up guitar. Modern is the opposite. You can get anything you want that you can pay for. This is the attraction of Custom Shop guitars. You can get that ‘69 sound with modern components that work as specified. You can get a patina and mild checking or you can get one that looks like it was dragged behind a truck. You can get a birdseye maple torrified neck if that floats your boat. You can get a 2020 Mustang car color. You can get any pickups you want and switch, bleed, or blend them any way you want. To me, vintage is for collectors and modern is for players. The limiting factor for either is the size of your bankroll.
     
    GEECEE likes this.
  5. reckless toboggan

    reckless toboggan Tele-Holic

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    774
    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2019
    Location:
    Canada
    This is everything I was thinking.

    So I'll add, I think that wood selection as it relates to resonance. There is simply less wood to choose from. Less volume, less growing area with varied growing conditions, so less choice for locations with good, resonant wood. This, coupled with more people, means that relatively speaking there is even less "good wood" to go around.

    The flip side to that is that wood makes absolutely no difference in tone (which I personally disagree with) and the old wood only sounds good because it's had decades to dry, and the wood in whatever guitar you bought yesterday will have just as much resonance in 50 to 70 years (which I think is plausible). Also, only the good vintage instruments survived, and the mediocre ones were tossed in the trash heap, so of course every vintage instrument is better! (which I also disagree with)

    YMMV.


    Someday all those particle-board Fender/Squire guitars will be "vintage".
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    25,371
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Yeah I value the bones of my guitars in terms of the wood they are made of.
    I used to believe old wood had something better because of the ethic behind the violin making history, but have owned old and new and now find a good hunk of new properly seasoned wood is just as good as a good hunk of old wood for a solidbody electric.
    Also plenty of not all that great wood went into vintage guitars, though I thin the worst then wasn't as bad as the worst now.
    I don't adhere to the idea that more resonance makes a better guitar though, I find more resonance makes a worse guitar for my taste, but some players may prefer what a resonant body does to the response of the amplified guitar.

    It's interesting with the less available lumber like light weight alder and swamp ash.
    Those woods are more often the heavier variety, but we can buy light weight bodies and whole guitars if that's what we want.
    Probably because the price of alder and ash goes up as the weight goes down.
    Then add in the those who want really light Fender styles can buy paulownia bodies cheap and get even lighter than anything Fender ever produced in the vintage era.
     
  7. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    25,371
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    I prefer the three brass saddles for their simplicity and feel but I'm not nearly as obsessed with saddle mojo and saddle tech as the internet seems to be.
    Some of the prices paid for boutique saddles is funny, as is the expectation that they will make the fretted guitar intonate properly.

    I've put together parts Tele assemblies with steel saddles because that was what was in my parts bins and they sound like they are supposed to sound. The two groove steel saddles are just fine. Not fond of the threaded saddles but they work fine too.
    Strings falling into the height screw slots on brass saddles is annoying, and I also find angled intonated saddles annoying.
    The old trick of bending the intonation screws for compensation/ fine tuning of intonation is the most annoying.
    I'm happy to use whatever parts are on hand but I bought a few sets of comp saddles from an ebay seller cleaning out his parts supply so am set for a while.
     
    3-Chord-Genius likes this.
  8. Corvus

    Corvus Tele-Meister

    Age:
    71
    Posts:
    293
    Joined:
    May 22, 2019
    Location:
    Birmingham UK
    Let's face it most modern guitars are made to very fine standards and some of the "hand finished" products of the famous names were quite definitely below par in past periods and it's the survivors and exceptional that we use as a yardstick. That said I do believe there is something in an old survivor that can seem special in an indefinable way. They may just seem to play better and yes may sound better and it's not just psychosomatic! Wood has all dried out and stabilised - perhaps finer wood than can be obtained now -and things that move have all settled and the finish is faded and smoothed through playing. And the guitar may have received treatment such as a great fret job.

    I try not to be seduced by the "vintage is always better than the modern" argument and the antique value put on them is frankly questionable and beyond the affordability of mortals. I have owned some great vintage guitars (often when they weren't "vintage") and many of fine recent manufacture. The one thing about those old guitars is that they were played in and all the rough edges were worn off so they were very easy to play. My last vintage telecaster was a 1969 refinish in good playable but not exceptional cosmetic condition. It was ok but not exceptional with a less than wonderful neck and fretting and rather thin sounding. My Fender Roadworns and Squier CV are great playing and sounding guitars from the off with original-style vintage features but made to modern standards - fine by me.
     
  9. ADK Teleman

    ADK Teleman Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,576
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2009
    Location:
    A-Bay NY
    For me the vintage 3 barrel brass bridge, the lower wound pups do it for me. My Teles have all been modded to be this way. IMO, the higher output pups lose the sparkle and twang of the early ones. JMHO
     
    BorderRadio likes this.
  10. roycaster

    roycaster Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    528
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2012
    Location:
    Santa Cruz California
    It kind of does go by eras. As Teles changed from ash to alder, maple to rosewood, brass to steel, 250k to 1 meg and so on. So did the amps, tweed to brown, to black, to silver and so on. A lot of people will say the black guard defines vintage, the Bakersfield crowd will swear by steel saddles and 1 meg pots. If you don’t define which vintage you could get Keef with a black CBS Custom…
     
  11. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    54,468
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2007
    Location:
    New Orleans, LA + in the
    Incredibly broad, open ended question.

    I can't tell if you want to hear about a 1950 Broadcaster or a 2020 replication of that guitar (subject to a lot more changes than we like to admit).

    Which would you like to hear about?
     
  12. GEECEE

    GEECEE TDPRI Member

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    89
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2018
    Location:
    IndaHouse
    This...
     
  13. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

    Age:
    52
    Posts:
    433
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2018
    Location:
    San Jose
    I'm not sure what makes it sound different, all I know is that it does. Broadcasters sound different that Telecasters for the most part. the pickups were wound different and with an inconsistent number of winds. The one i'm most personally familiar with sounds just like Mike Campbell's and has a 7.5k bridge pu. There are so many different variables involved (43agw, A3 that are made from different metal than A3s that came later, larger diameter flat pole pieces, type and amount of lacquer on the wire and don't forget the zinc plated steel plate). Two things that I do believe: 1. Leo Fender probably ran out of old stock A3 and 43agw inventory and the new stock was cheaper and that's why the switch was made. 2. He probably got complaints from CW players about to much distortion. I stress the word Probably since I can't really know for sure.
     
  14. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,966
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Vintage vs. modern what? I don’t even fully understand the question.
     
  15. Ess Eff

    Ess Eff Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,286
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2018
    Location:
    Earth
    Vintage = anything Tweed or Butterscotch Blonde (regardless of tone)

    Modern = anything Black Tolex or Pointy shape (regardless of tone)

    .
     
  16. El Marin

    El Marin Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,115
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2014
    Location:
    Madrid, Spain, EU
    I don't care about vintage or modern...

    Actually I sold all my vintage guitars and my best now is a 2018 LP P90s
     
  17. 6String69

    6String69 Tele-Holic

    Age:
    42
    Posts:
    770
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2019
    Location:
    Florida
    nitro, small frets, fat necks, warm
    amazing tones is what I think of vintage.
     
  18. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,565
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2008
    Location:
    Left of the Left Coast
    Older than me=vintage

    Newer than me=modern
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.