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#1
And at what point will a telecaster not sound like a telecaster?

I've been thinking about a custom telecaster I might build. I wanted one with P90 pickups and a bigsby. This lead me to read a bit about what actually makes a tele sound like a tele. It sounds like it has a lot to do with the bridge pickup design, and possibly how it sits within the piece of metal that is the bridge. Since telecasters with other pickup configurations, like P90 or humbuckers don't have that kind of bridge, do they still have the tele sound? And could I get the same sound as a p90 tele by putting p90s in a strat? If not, then what is making the difference?

I'm just trying to get a better understanding about what actually makes the difference between these guitars, and if that difference remains with different pickup combinations. Sound wise, at least.
#2
The most important thing about the Tele sound is almost certainly the pickups. I suspect the ashtray bridge isn't crucial to that, but I'm pretty certain P-90s and humbuckers would fail to achieve that same sound, since they're more or less without exception significantly higher output, very different construction (i.e. both use bar magnets rather than magnetised pole pieces) and have different inductances - hence different resonant peaks. That said, I think to some extent the uniqueness of the Tele sound is rather overstated because of the sort of rigs they tend to be used in - most bridge pickups through a clean Fender-style amp will "twang" once you roll off the highs enough to lose the ice-pick treble.
#3
Quote by K33nbl4d3
The most important thing about the Tele sound is almost certainly the pickups. I suspect the ashtray bridge isn't crucial to that, but I'm pretty certain P-90s and humbuckers would fail to achieve that same sound, since they're more or less without exception significantly higher output, very different construction (i.e. both use bar magnets rather than magnetised pole pieces) and have different inductances - hence different resonant peaks. That said, I think to some extent the uniqueness of the Tele sound is rather overstated because of the sort of rigs they tend to be used in - most bridge pickups through a clean Fender-style amp will "twang" once you roll off the highs enough to lose the ice-pick treble.


pickups for sure. yeah P-90s although single coils are a fairly different design and voicing so won't really sound like a tele. the bridge etc may contribute a bit and it's more about the sum of the parts than any one in particular (past the pickups).

although you can get the twang from a strat it isn't the same as a tele as strat (or jaguar) pups aren't the same and are voiced somewhat different.
#4
It really is those single coil pick-ups, that metal plate bridge does contribute to the that specific tone definitely, but it's not the major contributor to that tele voice. You can get fairly close with humbuckers if you coil tap them, and it'll sound genuine enough to get you that feeling.

Also those busby trem bridges are without a doubt the best kind of tremolo system. Such a lovely sound and feeling, until I tried one I just thought they looked fancy but they actually have this unique creamy sound to them.
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#5
The baseplate on the bridge pickup is probably the biggest contributor. You can make a strat bridge pickup sound like a Tele by installing a metal baseplate under it. It won't be exactly the same because the Tele pickup is bigger but it's pretty close. Johnny Hiland actually uses strat pickups with a baseplate under the bridge pickup. Then you have the plate-style bridge. A hardtail Strat has twang that a regular Strat doesn't. It's not Tele twang but it changes the tone considerably. Then you have the overall construction of a Telecaster with the ash or alder body and the 25.5" bolt-on maple neck which adds to the brightness and snap. The sound of a Tele doesn't come from just one thing. It's the perfect storm of twanginess.
#7
I'm less likely to make a p90 tele now. Though I could still do one with a regular tele bridge pickup and a p90 for the neck. Probably better to try a normal tele first. I'll keep my eye out for deals. Saw a USA one for $675CND I should have grabbed the other week.

Quote by Anthony1991

Also those busby trem bridges are without a doubt the best kind of tremolo system. Such a lovely sound and feeling, until I tried one I just thought they looked fancy but they actually have this unique creamy sound to them.

Assuming you mean bigsby, I agree, Strat trem does nothing for me. It isn't even really trem, whammy bar is more accurate. I have a gretsch with bigsby. It is a lot more sensitive, and I can bend up and down.
#8
Quote by Raccoon1400
I'm less likely to make a p90 tele now. Though I could still do one with a regular tele bridge pickup and a p90 for the neck. Probably better to try a normal tele first. I'll keep my eye out for deals. Saw a USA one for $675CND I should have grabbed the other week.

Assuming you mean bigsby, I agree, Strat trem does nothing for me. It isn't even really trem, whammy bar is more accurate. I have a gretsch with bigsby. It is a lot more sensitive, and I can bend up and down.


Yes I meant bigsby, sorry! Busby was in my head from a conversation earlier today. Yeah for me either go for the bigsby or the floyd rose, the whammy bar things are pointless if you ask me and can lead waaaaay much use to the detriment of the actual song. A whammy bar always makes the player use it more than they should.

Definitely go try out a normal telecaster, they are seriously nice guitars when you pick up a good one.

The tele fluff uses in this video is just gorgeous:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x40XFey9BU8
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#9
i would do a tele SC in the bridge and throw a P90 in either the neck, or in the middle. i personally love three pickups teles. most are swimming pool routed anyway.
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#10
Quote by trashedlostfdup
i would do a tele SC in the bridge and throw a P90 in either the neck, or in the middle. i personally love three pickups teles. most are swimming pool routed anyway.


It's interesting that, I'm not a fan of 3 pick-up guitars - for me that middle pick up can be quite annoying in regards to getting in the way. I really, really like a humbucker in the bridge and a single coil for the neck. Biggest bang for the buck and the most sustain in a single package.

Each to their own!
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#11
I agree it's mostly the pickups, had a telecaster neck pickup as middle pickup of the guitar in my avatar, and it had a strong telecaster vibe, even if it was in the wrong position and that guitar had a strat style hardtail bridge

that guitar is like falling in love with a stripper
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#12
The slugs in the pickups for telecasters are from old winchester rifles, which is why they sound so country.
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#13
Quote by JustRooster
The slugs in the pickups for telecasters are from old winchester rifles, which is why they sound so country.

I hear between 1957 and 1965 they were taken directly from Leo's cabbage patch.

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#14
I really like the Twisted Tele neck pup.I would have that and change the bridge pickup for something less twangy in my ideal Tele.
#15
Because "it was born at the junction of form and function"

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#16
Quote by EyeballPaul
I really like the Twisted Tele neck pup.I would have that and change the bridge pickup for something less twangy in my ideal Tele.

I'm not especially discerning - I've liked pretty much every Tele neck pickup I've tried - but I have a Twisted Tele in my Baja and it makes a really tasty sound to be sure.

With the bridge, as far as I'm concerned that's got to be twangy or there's no point, but different strokes for different folks.
#18
Quote by Ippon
The MIJ Fender Aerodyne Telecaster sounds like a Tele with the P90 neck and typical SC bridge. Bonus features for some: arch-top, body binding, individual saddles, and matching headstock.

Does the neck pickup sound like a Tele?

I'd love one, regardless...
#20
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'm not especially discerning - I've liked pretty much every Tele neck pickup I've tried - but I have a Twisted Tele in my Baja and it makes a really tasty sound to be sure.

With the bridge, as far as I'm concerned that's got to be twangy or there's no point, but different strokes for different folks.
Yeah its just a thing with me.Too much high end offends my ears.I love Teles though,I just usually role off the tone a good bit on the bridge.I do love the middle position though.
Last edited by EyeballPaul at May 24, 2016,
#21
I think we need more pictures Ippon Like right now
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#23
Stop making me jealous, I'm pretty sure I've talked about it enough times that you know that's exactly the Telecaster I'm looking for

Quote by EyeballPaul
Yeah its just a thing with me.Too much high end offends my ears.I love Teles though,I just usually role off the tone a good bit on the bridge.I do love the middle position though.

That's fair. Truth be told, if you were to come into my house at any given time there's probably a solid 95% chance or more that my Tele would be on the neck position - the Twisted Tele - so I don't disagree that the bridge is often treblier than I'd like.
Last edited by K33nbl4d3 at May 24, 2016,
#24
Friend of mine has a rock bottom Tele; I think it was $150, maybe less. It has all the basic Tele stuff with absolutely no frills. And it sounds exactly like it should. All the "improvements" (P90's, Bigsbys, f-holes, etc.) just keep moving it out of the tele realm.
#25
The Charlie Christian in the bridge gives me a bit more punch. 'MURICA!
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#26
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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#28
Quote by dspellman
Friend of mine has a rock bottom Tele; I think it was $150, maybe less. It has all the basic Tele stuff with absolutely no frills. And it sounds exactly like it should. All the "improvements" (P90's, Bigsbys, f-holes, etc.) just keep moving it out of the tele realm.


Yes, I agree entirely with that. An aspect of my "form and function" hobby horse.

If you put a tele bridge plate and pickups in a strat, what would you call it? Most of us would be tempted to call it a strat, but functionally it is a tele.
Last edited by Tony Done at May 24, 2016,
#29
Quote by Tony Done
That CC bridge pickup looks interesting. I've played a solidbody
Maton with a Lollar CC neck pickup. I've never heard anything like it, thick and dark like good chocolate. I'm not sure how I would get on with it, but fantastic for smooth jazz.



That CC (and the neck pickup) made by custom winder, Vintage Vibe (Pete Biltof). He makes 'em all kinds of sizes & shapes. (Other kinds of pickups as well, of course.)

It's a good jazz pickup, but it also works well for blues or blues rock, straddling the gap between the traditionally voice singlecoils and P90s.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 24, 2016,
#30
Quote by Tony Done

If you but an tele bridge plate and pickups in a strat, what would you call it. Most of us would be tempted to call it a strat, but functionally it is a tele.


Reverend called it the Sixgun LE
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 24, 2016,
#32
Well, clearly they opted for a (Wilkinson) trem, so...

But I'm sure someone else has traveled that path. Luthiers with a little time on their hands will make all kinds of things:

https://www.google.com/search?q=strat+with+tele+bridge&client=safari&hl=en&prmd=sivn&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiF6-TC6_PMAhXF8YMKHQD3CK0Q_AUICSgC&biw=480&bih=208

Or even this:
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 24, 2016,
#33
Well, a 'Nashville Tele' is a telecaster with a strat middle pickup, so I'd be tempted to call it a 'Nashville Strat.'
#35
Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full? I'd say it's a pretty meaningless thing to focus on. Personally I think the body shape is a pretty important part of what makes a Tele a Tele, because at least for me it does a lot to the way I play (i.e. the lack of contouring compels me to pick/strum closer to the neck than I would on a Strat), but evidently if you're talking about "sounding like a Tele" the implication is one of these:


Never mind that these both say "Telecaster" on the headstock:



Is this a Gretsch 6120?


Whether something should be called a Telecaster strikes me as a rather irrelevant point to focus upon.
#36
Quote by K33nbl4d3


Is this a Gretsch 6120?


Whether something should be called a Telecaster strikes me as a rather irrelevant point to focus upon.

HiTone- a local luthierie- made a 12-string version of that. Sounds incredible.
http://hitoneguitars.com/myportfolio/12-string-archtop-tele/

Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 24, 2016,
#38
Yes, it is. Wish it were mine, too...
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#39
Quote by Tony Done


How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?


Trivial question. Give me the required dance area per angel and the dimensions of the pinhead and I'll be happy to answer it.

I think the thread isn't adequately differentiating between tele tone and tele visuals, two very different things.
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#40
Well yes...and no.

Yes, there is a real sound difference between a Tele with the classic pickups and one with P90s or HBs.

But "no", because even the manufacturers themselves muddy the water. Fender makes & sells Telcasters with all kinds of pickup configurations and doesn't bother changing the name. Ditto Strats. And every maker out there does likewise with their own flagship products, too.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
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