What is the tele neck pickup for anyway?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Obsessed, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. rideit

    rideit Tele-Holic

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    Neck pickup.
    It is for THIS:
     
  2. mslugano

    mslugano Tele-Meister

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    Yea, I learned this trick a long time ago and really it applies to any guitar with a neck pickup. You eq your amp for your neck position so that it is nice and clear and full and not muddy like it usually is when you eq your amp for the bridge position (probably have to change your "everything at 12.00" tactic). I'd suggest that this could mean you can remove your two EQs and A/B from your board, though you might want ONE just for special purposes.

    Thing is, it was a light bulb moment for me when I realized you can never add treble to the neck pickup with the guitar's tone knob but you can always take brightness away from the bridge pickup with the guitar tone.

    How often do you use the tone knob in the neck position? If, like me, it's pretty much never then removing that pickup from the tone knob is a wonderful thing. If you can't do it, it's a two minute operation for a decent tech. Your neck pickup will be clearer than ever and you can roll off the highs on the bridge pickup w/o effecting the neck...easier, quicker pickup switching because you can just find the sweet spot for the bridge (tone rolled off) and leave it.

    By the way, if you do decide to remove the tone from the neck position and if you don't have a treble bleed on your volume knob, you can roll off a little volume while in the neck position and it will remove some of the highs for a warmer tone when you want it...sort of like using the tone knob.
     
  3. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    mslugano, you are making a lot of sense. I do believe I spend more time dinking with my bridge tone knobs more than the neck on my other guitars. It is funny how I could not come up with a better solution than to have two EQ pedals. One has a boost so that when I switch from lead to rhythm, my volume stays the same, but over the years of adjusting pup height, the less I need that boost. Now that I learned that I can do it on this tele, maybe I could pull this mod off and reduce my wacko pedalboard. This would explain why I keep thinking about adding a treble bleed to my Sheraton neck tone pot instead of EQing the heck out of it. Your scenario would (well ... at this point, hopefully), eliminate that need.

    This is brilliant if it works. Do others do this or is this part of the learning process?
     
  4. mslugano

    mslugano Tele-Meister

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    I really do think this could be a great solution for you and anyone else who can't figure out why their neck pickup is so muddy. You'll also be shocked at how close you can make your bridge pickup sound like a cranked humbucker with some OD and the tone rolled off.

    Sure, I think a lot of people do this. It was really the thinking behind making the bottom tone knob on a Strat be bridge only but it also works on a Tele. The only guy I can think of now that subscribes to this technique is Jeff McErlain...he's a fantastic player and in one of his YT videos he describes this very technique (seeting amp eq to neck)...see below.

    As far as disconnecting the neck tone, I have seen a few guitar builders offer this as an option but can't think of any in particular right now. It's a pretty well known technique though. I'll tell you where it really made a world of difference for me was with a PRS with P90s. I disconnected the tone from the neck and, man even though I already loved the (aftermarket) Suhr S90s, the neck really opened up with this simple mod. TBH, I am not a big PRS guy but this guitar gets me really close to Tele tones.

    Here's a Jeff McErlain video. Not sure he discusses it here but you can start here and jump around until you find the right video if you want.

     
  5. Peas

    Peas Tele-Meister

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    it's for sounding awesome
     
  6. mslugano

    mslugano Tele-Meister

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    ^^^^

    By the way, why do you reckon more pickup builders don't talk more about this technique? It's because they sell a ton more pickups than they otherwise could to all these guys that keep saying stuff like "My bridge pickup sounds great but I need to buy another neck pickup because this one is too muddy". I see it on internet forums ALL THE TIME. So they buy ABC pickup and it's not quite right so they buy DEF pickup. Then it's not quite right so they buy XYZ...blah, blah, blah ad nauseum. Finally, after wasting $500+ they figure out the amp EQ technique and realize their original pickup was pretty damn good after all.
     
  7. tukk04

    tukk04 Tele-Meister

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    TS, I believe you're going to have your tele license revoked after showing such ignorance. We'll lend you a musicmaster to use until you can learn to appreciate the neck pickup.
     
  8. Skub

    Skub Poster Extraordinaire

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    I don't understand the question.
     
  9. mslugano

    mslugano Tele-Meister

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    Oh, and to your initial question about what the neck pickup is for...I use it for leads all the time (especially with OD) but I do a lot of live work and I use the neck and neck/mid when I need to approximate an acoustic rhythm passage. The neck or neck/mid set very clean and clear are great for this sort of stuff.

    While I do this quasi-acoustic thing often for country stuff, I also play a ton of Led Zep. Try this technique for "Babe, I'm gonna leave you" and "Ramble On" and "Over the hills and far away". Also try it on "Ten years gone" and play it in drop D.
     
  10. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity

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    Actually, there is one person that consistently amazes me with his innovations in the realm of pickups....

    He has devised a new concept for wiring a Tele, one that produces a completely different sound in each of the switch positions.

    The problem with conventional Tele switching...if a problem exists, is that in the different switch positions the guitar still sounds like that specific guitar, just woth a subtle tonal variant...

    Listen to this....

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=4938235768520&set=vb.1077413075&type=3&theater

    Good to see the "old Master" still at it, creating superlatives for us all...

    Ron Kirn
     
  11. tukk04

    tukk04 Tele-Meister

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    No, it does not exist. It's an interesting concept, but it doesn't fix some inherent problem because there isn't one, it's just an added tonal option.

    And subtle variant? Tele's have biggest tonal differences between switch positions of any guitar type I've ever played, and using the tone control can add even more tones.
     
  12. schotter611

    schotter611 Tele-Holic

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    don't know what's not to like about the neck PU. Great for clean to bluesy crunch. I only go bridge for OD power chords. I guess it has a lot to do with amp synergy: My PRRI is rather trebly and I love the full 3-D sound with the neck (more than anything I can get out of my Gibby..:). I am not a country twangster, hate the middle position and if I want mean, I also like it meaty: Smthg P90ish in the bridge position might be nice...
     
  13. tukk04

    tukk04 Tele-Meister

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    Wire up the middle position to be series instead of the standard parallel, much thicker and humbucker-like, that's what the 4th position on a tele with a 4 way switch generally is. Probably something you'll find useful, and look for an alnico III bridge pickup if you want to try something with a bit meatier but still tele sounding tone.
     
  14. schotter611

    schotter611 Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, thought about in-series for my next Tele but I am also not a huge humbucker fan. But alnico 3 bridge PU sounds like a good idea. I would still want to keep the tele characteristics, def. single coil, just fatter.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  15. TwangBilly

    TwangBilly Tele-Afflicted

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    I will speak strictly for myself;

    I use the bridge for twang, or crunch, or cutting through the mix to be heard etc. It is very sharp, crisp, punchy, treble-ish and responsive. It rings clear and true for nice pure clean tones, and has an aggressive bight and edgy tone for the occasional slightly OD tones I like.

    The neck pickup I use for singing first-position chord rhythms, softer, fatter, deeper, throatier tones, and blending in behind the mix when I need to. It has a nice smooth kind of a
    mid-range, silky, fatter tone I love for jazz, some blues, finger picking kind of "Chet-ish sounding" type stuff, and less aggressive more melodic type stuff.

    The middle position I don't like and never use.
    Like you with the neck pickup, I've never found a use for it, where it fits, or where it sounds good.

    Moral of the story? Everyone is different, tone is subjective, as is the usefulness of a thing. Including a neck pickup.
    So don't worry about it, play how and what you like and enjoy it!

    Two suggestions:

    1-Try a different neck pickup.

    Or 2-Esquire it!

    "That's all I got to say about that"- Forrest Gump
     
  16. sliberty

    sliberty Tele-Afflicted

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    I hardly ever use a neck pickup on any of my guitars. In fact, most of my guitars don't have a neck pickup (Les Paul Juniors and the like). My main Tele is actually an Esquire for that reason. My Cabronita is also a single bridge pickup model. But I do have a third tele, which has 2 pickups, and it allows me to play tunes like Don't Let me Down by The Beatles, and other songs with mellow, deeper tones. I think having the neck pickup in at least one guitar is worthwhile, but will continue to be a bridge pickup guy at heart.
     
  17. mechtech

    mechtech TDPRI Member

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    I found it surprising,but the great Steve Cropper mostly played the neck pup.
     
  18. ' burn 08

    ' burn 08 Tele-Afflicted

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    What I believe mslugano is pointing out is the difference between passive and active tone controls. The tone control on your guitar is passive. It can only roll off treble frequencies. The tone controls in your amp are active and can boost frequencies. So, yeah, EQ at the amp, and then roll off the treble using the guitar's tone control as needed. Similarly, you can set your volume using your amp with your volume pot not wide open, and then when you need a little boost, all you have to do is turn the knob wide open. Just spend a little time twisting some knobs. You'll figure out what works for you and what doesn't.

    When mslugano is taking about bypassing the tone control, the pickup should, I believe, be a little brighter than it would be with the pot wide open. This is because even when the pot is wide open, it still adds a load on the circuit.
     
  19. Telemarkman

    Telemarkman Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I usually agree with Ron, but in this case I'm with tukk04.

    The Tele has two distinctly different pickups in the neck and bridge positions, while the Strat's pickups are rather similar, as are the Les Paul's (just to mention the other two of the Three Wise Men). On most guitars it's mainly the position of the pickups that makes a difference (of course unless they have some H/S configuration), but on a Tele it's the construction of the pickups as well. (Of course I'm over-simplifying, but I'm a simple guy.;))


    As much as I love the Tele neck pickup, this isn't the case - at least with Booker T. & the MG's. When I saw them, he used the bridge at least 70% of the time. I've seem him use the middle position, which would be neck pickup with a tone control, but mostly he used the bridge pickup with the tone control rolled off quite a bit.

    There's some great footage of him on YouTube that confirm my assertion.
     
  20. wrxmania

    wrxmania Tele-Afflicted

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    As a professional gigging musician, a 1 pickup instrument would never be enough for a gig tonally. Two or three pickups is where it's at unless you only play 1 style or in the style or a limited number of players.
     
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