What Road Worn Tele mods for my playing style and desired tone?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by don, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. don

    don Tele-Meister

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    Looking for some suggestions. I'm back playing guitar after 10 years of primarily being the bass player. Just trying to refine my tone and enhance my playing style. I have a 50's Road Worn tele - all stock at this point except for upgrading the pots and cap. I play a variety of music from Carolina Beach Music, old school country, and roots music. I don't do chicken picking or super fast leads and generally prefer open big full chords and melodic fills and leads. I play thru a Princeton Reverb Reissue.

    The Tex Mex pickups are nice but the bridge seems a little harsh and the neck a little dark and compressed compared to my ideal tone. I've changed pickup height and messed with amp settings but wondering if a pickup change might get me a more full and open sound. Probably not interested in boutique pups but something reasonably priced $100 per pickup) with the typical tele look.

    The bridge is a string thru with 3 saddles - smooth steel. 6 saddle bridge, top load, brass saddles are all ok options.

    The capacitor is a .047. I can experiment with that value

    I'd like to think I could use the middle setting with both pickups on most of the time with the bridge only for the twangy stuff and the neck only for the softer stuff. Any suggestions appreciated!
     
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  2. Fred Rogers

    Fred Rogers Tele-Afflicted

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    Keystones are great pickups if you don’t want a harsh sound.
     
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  3. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    Fender ‘62 reissue pickups~ absolutely superb.:cool:
     
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  4. don

    don Tele-Meister

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    Not familiar with keystones but will check them out online. The '62 Reissues I've heard of but will check out some demo videos on these too - thanks!
     
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  5. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    `
    My 2003 Fender AVRI '52 Tele has its "American Vintage" (aka “Original Vintage”?) Tele pickup in the bridge position and a Fender Custom Shop '51 "Nocaster" pickup in the neck position.

    The American Vintage is juicy bold and sassy. Bright for sure, but not piercing.

    The Nocaster is warm and full but still open, airy and clear. Here's a review I did on that one:

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/fender-nocaster-neck-pickup-review.697940/

    I too am a middle setting person and the combination of these two pickups really hits the spot for me.

    This guitar also has Rutters compensating saddles which work great...

    52 Tele 2017.jpg


    `
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2019
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  6. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    A set of brass saddles and a pair of twang king pickups?
     
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  7. Corvus

    Corvus Tele-Meister

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    I'd agree that the Tex Mex pickups are a bit harsh, though, if loud is your thing they are overwound. Just swopped mine out for a set of Fender Nocasters - much more classy.
     
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  8. don

    don Tele-Meister

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    Brass saddles calm things down?
     
  9. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Friend of Leo's

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    I installed brass saddles on my Roadworn 50s Tele.I find it slightly mellows the tone a bit compared to the stock steel saddles which seems slightly brighter.
     
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  10. SFPicker

    SFPicker TDPRI Member

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    I have the road worn tele. I put in brass saddles and I swapped out my bridge pickup for a Seymour Duncan vintage stack(noisless). Sounds and plays great. I like the neck for noodling but haven't quite figured out how to use it in a live setting.
     
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  11. mimmo

    mimmo Friend of Leo's

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    Ask Rob Di Stefano.

    You're welcome :)
     
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  12. don

    don Tele-Meister

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    So I have been playing around some and see some improvement. When I bought the guitar I changed out the cheap feeling Korean pots and wire with CTS pots and heavier wire but I did not swap out the small brown disc style capacitor stamped .503. I went ahead and trashed it and installed a sprague orange drop .473j capacitor - it does seem to make the tone control more useable so maybe the original one was problematic since the values are pretty close or maybe its in my head :>) I also started micro adjusting the treble side of both pickups - the neck I raised a bit and the bridge I lowered. The neck pickup picked up some life with small adjustments and rather than use the Fender specs I did use my ears and noticed the high E string was unnatural sounding before I lowered the bridge treble side and now its less harsh but still twangy. Lastly I set my Princeton Reverb amp treble and bass controls on 5 and adjusted the treble up and the bass down in small increments and dialed in a better tone based on the new guitar setup. Still tinkering with it but overall its much better now. Still thinking about those saddles.
     
  13. blues

    blues Tele-Meister

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    I am going to put a Budz Danocaster set in mine. The nut was cut to low so that will get replaced. I figure I might put some compensated saddles on it too.

    But if it did not have some issues when I got it I would have probably left it alone. I would
    have went for the Budz though.
     
  14. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    A decent set of pickups (your bridge pickup isn't even a real tele pickup since it lacks a baseplate) and you are good to go.
     
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  15. tlsmack

    tlsmack Tele-Afflicted

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    I like Alinco II magnets for any tele that will be used more for chords than chicken pickin'. I have DiMarzio Area-T's in one, and Duncan Alinico II's in another. Both do great big open chords without harshness. Another way to tame a harsh tele is with a compressor pedal.
     
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  16. AxemanVR

    AxemanVR Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    I like the Alnico IIIs on my 2003 Fender AVRI ‘52 Tele.

    I just set the brightness for my lead or solo playing with the volume wide open, then back the volume off a bit (to roll off some of the highs) for full chording.

    Works great for me...

    0E5EE343-42D5-4A1B-83C4-52130CCA0763.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2019
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  17. scooteraz

    scooteraz Tele-Afflicted

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    Duncan Five-Twos gave me that smoother, yet still Telecaster sound in an American Deluxe I have. The original PUs were OK, but not quite right to my ears, and the Five-Twos fixed that.



    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  18. whoanelly15

    whoanelly15 Tele-Holic

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    https://bootstrappickups.com/

    You could get 2 sets with your budget and both will be awesome! I’d recommend asking Ryan for his input and recommendation.
     
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  19. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    The Five Two pickups were my solution, too. They fix all the harshness I have with normal Teles.
     
  20. -PickupTruck-

    -PickupTruck- Tele-Meister

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    I grabbed a cheap tele because I wanted to strip it down to look road worn and I wanted to put a set of tex mex's in. I love them. I control the harshness and darkness with my amp settings - halfway up on treble and bass, full up on mids (I play a blues jr. mostly these days - my Super Reverb and Twin are just too much) FB_IMG_1574109258488.jpg
     
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