Where Does the Tele Get It's Twang?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by adam79, Aug 15, 2019.

  1. adam79

    adam79 TDPRI Member

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    There's something about a butterscotch Tele that calls out to me, but I'm curious about what it is that gives it its classic twang sound?

    I've read that it's the Swamp Ash body, but aren't some Strat bodies made with Ash as well?
    Both necks are Maple, from what I've read, while the fingerboards alternate. There're prob more Maple Tele boards than Strats, but it's the opposite with Rosewood. And then Ebony will poke out it's head occasionally.

    So if it's not the wood, than is it the electronics that make that patented Twang?

    I'm basically thinking about making a Tele/LP hybrid. Basically the look of a Tele with the Mahogany body n neck n Maple cap. With some vintage PAF clones. Prob tje DiMarzio 36th Anniversary PAFs.

    Anyone that's made one of these care to comment on how it came out?
     
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  2. urbandefault

    urbandefault Tele-Meister

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    Combination of the bridge, pickup, scale length, pot value, etc. Making changes to any variable will affect the overall tone, but usually not drastically.
     
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  3. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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  4. Fearnot

    Fearnot Friend of Leo's

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    Ditto that... that metal bridge plate. And that bridge pickup. Everything else more or less falls away after that.
     
  5. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think it comes from a combination of the pickups, strings and the way they are run through the body and due to the bridge plate and saddles transferring vibrations/ sound so well. Tele's are very percussive and give back what you put in to them.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2019
  6. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The sharp 1/8" roundover on the body digging into the players forearm causes a tension in the RH and forces a twangy picking technique.

    I'm finishing up a new product that you can attach to any other electric that digs into your arm and gets that Tele Twang.
     
  7. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    it comes from the twangster-gangster
     
  8. doc w

    doc w Tele-Afflicted

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    ... but what is "twang," really? Duane Eddy's tone from the 50s and 60s was called "twangy" and even surf guitar is often said to be twangy.

    But the term is currently used mostly to describe the tone coming from the bridge pickup of a good Telecaster (puh-TWANG)" which involves a lot of finger technique, perhaps more than anything else.

    We need to agree on what we are talking about! Post some examples of what you think is "twang." I will try to dig up a few myself.
     
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  9. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    Is this another of those trick questions?
     
  10. doc w

    doc w Tele-Afflicted

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    Here is my definition of twang. Listen to the two very brief solos by Steve Wariner and Ricky Skaggs, starting at 0:57. THIS is twang to me. In fact, it was Skaggs' tone that inspired me to get my first Telecaster.

     
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  11. doc w

    doc w Tele-Afflicted

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    I can only be deadly serious regarding the elusive quality of twang.

    But yes, all kidding aside, I am really curious what that word means to others.
     
  12. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    It comes from the Tele bridge but not quite what people attribute it to...

    The reason is ergonomics.

    Set a Tele on your thigh or from a strap and your picking hand will hang pretty much where the heel hits the back or behind the bridge lip (part of that can be the sharp saddle screws people avoid raking over) and then your pick is magically over top of the pickup or between the pickup and the saddles -- where the maximum twang happens. Single coil accentuates the sharper tone but if you pick there you get twang.

    Strap on or sit with a Les Paul and where did you find your picking hand resting? Most likely right on the TOM saddles or slightly ahead. Palm muting for high gain is really easy there. But you also find you are picking in front of the bridge pickup, toward the middle of the guitar. Force yourself, and you'll find you need to think about it, and pick between the pickup and the saddles and that LP with twang like a Tele. The tone will be a little rounder because of the humbucker area of influence, but there will be twang.

    Now go grab a Strat, sit or stand, and because that volume knob is right there "for easy volume swells" and you don't want to hit the knob while playing, plus the bridge sits slightly back to the right vs a Tele, your hand will pick and strum between the middle and neck pickup. You can go back and navigate the cramped space behind the volume knob and make a Strat twang too. (this is also part of the famous playing by Hendrix -- he had no volume pot at the bottom to worry about hitting while playing a righty lefty). By strumming up there on a Tele or a LP you can get more Strat tones.

    So if you are putting a humbucker in a Tele, use a Tele half bridge and split the pickup with a push/pull tone pot or toggle. Then pick in the right location for the twangiest tone you want. I use a humbucker with screw poles that I raise and split to that bobbin for more separation.

    Watch how Bill picks and turns knobs here to cover tones from a hundred different players and different guitars.


    .
     
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  13. fretWalkr

    fretWalkr TDPRI Member

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    Teles are all about the bridge pickup...lap steel style pickup and metal bridge plate.
     
  14. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMHO a thinner bridge plate = more twang, and a thicker bridge plate = less twang and more mids.
     
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  15. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

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    It's in the right shade of butterscotch ... You don't see any butterscotch strats around do you?
     
  16. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I have a tele with a half bridge and the pickup screwed into the wood, and it is plenty twangy. It's more than the metal bridge plate that I would attribute to the cause of the twang.

    The tele bridge pickup, the scale length of the guitar, the angle of the bridge pickup seem to have some impact, as does perhaps the saddle design and material.

    I have a tele with a half bridge and a P-90 at the normal tele bridge pickup angle, and it seems pretty darn twangy too.

    I don't notice more or less twang from top loading or rear loading the strings on my teles either really.

    Does anybody feel that a tele is twangy in the neck position? (I personally don't).

    I think that lighter strings tend to be a little twangier than heavier strings.

    I think you can get a pretty twangy tone out of most guitars with roundwound/plain steel strings and a bridge pickup and the right kind of tone coming out of the amplifier, if that's what you're after.

    I think, as I think with all things guitar tone related, that it's mostly the player.
     
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  17. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    IMO it's all about the bridge plate and bridge pickup architecture. The neck pup is it's own thing though, just due to the pickup design.
     
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  18. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've heard and played MANY different-wood Teles, and they sound like "Teles". Mine has a Gibson 24 3/4" scale neck made of mahogany, and it sounds just like a Tele.
    I think the "common denominator" is the bridge "assembly". I've used string through AND top-load, on the EXACT SAME TELE, and cannot discern any difference.
    I'm tempted to build a "Telecaster"-shaped guitar, but with a Les Paul Jr-style stop-bar bridge, or a stop-tail with TOM bridge, just to see how that sounds.....but that will have to wait.
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    From building probably hundreds of variations of partscasters over 40 years I'd say all the parts including the wood play a role.
    I've mounted Tele bridge pickups in Strats and they brought some tele twang to the plastic guard mount.
    I've swapped the same Tele bridge pickup from a swamp ash body where it was too twangy for my taste into an alder Tele and heard the twang reduced enough to not hurt my ears.
    I've mounted a Tele bridge pickup in a tele but not in the steel bridge plate and there was still Tele twang.

    I've had Twangy Strats that had none of the Tele parts that are associated with Tele twang.

    And as mentioned, we've heard twangy semi hollow guitar from Duane Eddy and others.
    We can even get legit twang from a stock vintage style LP bridge pickup if we set the amp and pick the guitar for twang.

    The more twangy ingredients the easier it is to get that twang.
    But almost any guitar can twang.

    The most extreme Tele twang generally comes from a Tele, but if we use the most extreme twangy amp setting and twangy pick and phrasing technique on the twangiest Tele we can find, the twang will be too twangy and we will naturally back off on the technique to bring it in line with the twang that sounds cool.
     
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  20. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Double Platinum Supporter

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    I think it comes from the butterscotch
     
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