Telecaster Neck 12" Radius

Discussion in 'Telecaster/Esquire Forum' started by Leofender, Sep 13, 2021.

  1. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    So, I am looking to buy a Telecaster. I posted another thread about that, and am a Stratocaster player... I know now that the options are many, to say the least.
    Question is the Nashville Telecaster has a flatter neck radius, it is 12 inches. Apparently, a lower action setup is possible due to the flatter profile, that's a good thing to me! The Fender product information says this is better for string bends. So, I gather this is a response to style of fretboard offered by the competition.
    I wonder about this, as the long 60 year history of the type has used 7.25 and 9.5 inch radius boards... Hmmm!
    The other aspects of the model are attractive to me...
    Pau Ferro board
    Locking tuners
    3 Noiseless Vintage style pick-ups
    6 Block saddles
    Does anyone know what this model sounds like, and if they rate them?
    Does this radical design put it in another world, or are they still sporting the classic Tele sound character?
    Does that distinctive Tele sound come from the setup of pickups, body and neck format?
    Interested to know your opinions, and grateful for the assistance of experienced players of the awesome Telecaster family.
     
  2. heltershelton

    heltershelton Vivamus libero Vivamus duris

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    before i decided to build my own telecasters, i was looking heavily at the mim nashville teles.
    yes, they are teles, through and through, only they have that extra pickup for more options.
    the 12" radius is awesome...i believe les pauls also have the 12" radius.
    mine have a 10 to 16" radius.
     
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  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have a Nashville Tele but a prior model with a 9.5" radius fretboard and without noiseless pickups. They're pretty much the Swiss Army Knife of Telecasters.

    Playability is no different than any other Telecaster and I don't find a 12" radius board to feel all that much different than a 9.5". Two of my basses have 12" radius fret boards and I go back on forth between my Fenders and my Epiphones all the time.

    Tonally what the Nashville can give you is pickup selections and tonalities that are similar to a Strat in positions #2 and #4 and the middle pickup alone. However without some rewiring you lose the typical neck/bridge position of a straight Tele.

    The good news is this is an easy fix with a little rewiring which is what I've done with mine by tying the middle pickup to a separate push/pull switch that I can activate with any other pickup or pickup combination. I lose middle only but gain neck/bridge.

    But that's just one option. There are other "super switches" that will allow even more wiring options so that part is entirely up to you and whatever your needs might be. I prefer the neck/bridge setting to middle only. I can use my Strat if I need that.

    The Nashville still retains all of it's Tele character and roots it's just a bit more versatile tonally is all. The idea for it came about from session players who wanted one guitar that could cover both Tele and Strat parts during one session without having to bring two guitars.

    Hope this helps.
     
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  4. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Wow... I hit the jackpot, with your post... that wiring setup sounds fascinating! I am pleased you took the time to help, and also that the Telecaster sound is present, albeit with a closer tone comparison, with the wiring modification. Thanks for your time and interesting options to consider.
    Tone consideration you mention holds true as expected, and logic would dictate, that the Tele Tone is courtesy of the whole guitar setup... That includes neck, body, bridge and pickups... Notwithstanding the extra middle Strat pup. That puts to bed those that wrongly claim that tone on an electric guitar is not effected by anything else but the pickup.
    Reviews are also give this model very positive comments and also, perhaps more telling, nothing negative. I do value more the thoughts of real owners and players, as most own more than one guitar, and have over the years become very familiar with the issue of the pursuit of tone.
     
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  5. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    You're most welcome. I can tend to get a bit wordy at times but that's me being driven by 35 years in the investment world where full disclosure is not only a good idea, it's the law. So I typically think along the lines that more info is better than less. I like to give people enough information for them to make a choice.

    As is typical with all Teles rewiring one isn't all that big a deal for anyone with even modest skills at soldering and the parts are readily available online. I've wired and rewired all of mine and those of others as well and done numerous pickup swaps and I am no electrician trust me.....LOL. Wiring schemes are easy to fine online.

    For me the two things that contribute most to typical Tele characteristic tonality are the bridge pickup and the bridge itself in which that pickup is mounted. Some find they prefer the vintage style 3 saddle bridge for a truer Tele tone but in my experience there really isn't that much different between that and the six saddle.

    I also have a G&L ASAT Special which has Leo's MFD pickups and his Saddle Lock Bridge and the bridge pickup is mounted separately into the body and not the bridge. It still possesses most of its Tele type tonality when called upon for it. I also feel a good deal of it is how we use these models and how we play them.

    I have never been disappointed in owning a Nashville. In fact I converted an older Tele I once had into one then traded it for that Strat you see in my avatar. But after a bit I missed it enough that I converted another Tele I had into a Nashville type all over again. They're fun to play and very useful too IMHO.
     
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  6. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    The fretboard radius will not affect the sound. At all.

    12 inches is hardly a radical design, it has always been Gibson's standard radius. The 7 1/4 inch radius Fender decided to use in the '50s was actually the more radical design.
     
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  7. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    Yeah, I can’t say I really feel a tremendous difference between 12.5 and 9.5 radii. I think I prefer flatter boards like 12.5, but I get along fine with 7.25 too.

    the setup will make a much bigger difference. A nice neck is a nice neck regardless of radius.
     
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  8. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have never found a good explanation for why Leo Fender chose the 7.25" radius in the first place. Nobody else was doing that, and Leo wasn't a guitarist. At all.

    Some people claim that a tighter radius is more comfortable for chords. But when you bend, it brings the strings closer to the higher frets--so you have to set the action a little higher if you bend strings.

    Nobody was using string bends when the first telecaster was built. That came later.

    I don't have any issues switching between a 9.5 radius and a dead flat classical guitar. 12 will be fine.
     
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  9. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    I think you hit the nail on the head here. The players Leo was dealing with as far as getting their opinions and input were primarily playing C&W stuff so chording coupled with all those little country riffs and licks played lower on the neck took precedence.

    A 7.25" radius may feel more comfortable playing in that style but can become an issue when doing bends higher on the neck. Once the rock/blues string benders came along a slightly flatter radius was used to solve that problem and became standard.

    If I could play like say.....Eric Johnson I might have developed a strong preference for one or the other but I can't play like Eric Johnson so I can pretty easily adapt to any neck radius as long as the neck profile itself is one I can live with.
     
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  10. ibdrkn1

    ibdrkn1 Senior Stratmaster

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    I have a 99 American Deluxe Nashville Tele.

    The 12" radius is nice and I much prefer the block saddles over vintage.

    Since mine is older I only know how the first generation Noiseless pickups sound. I was not a fan and they are out and replaced by traditional single coils. I understand why people might want the hum issue tackled but IMO only a true single coil sounds and reacts like a single coil and to me it's worth whatever negatives come with them.

    I would hope the newer versions of the Noiseless are better but I consider the first generation to be useless. I knew before I even bought the guitar it was unlikely that I would keep the pickups based on how much I didn't like the Noiseless in my American Deluxe Stratocaster of the same era. That didn't stop me from buying the guitar though because overall, it really is that nice.

    In any case my opinions of those style pickups may not be yours and you really should try for yourself.

    Even though my favorite Fender neck is 9.5" the 12" was nice enough that I picked up another couple models that also had it.
     
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  11. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Wow, great comments and analysis, really appreciate it very much.
    I like precision tuning, so agree with you about 6 block saddles. It's also because I am used to that with my Strat, and would seem a bit agricultural to have to compromise on intonation.
    The flatter fretboard radius seems like a great idea to fall into line with the competition eg LP, PRS etc. It's not a big deal, but very certainly I am in favour of lowest action without choking and fret buzz.
    I replaced my Player Stratocaster HSS Pickups with Custom Shop FAT 50s and a new wiring harness with Treble bleed and White Pearl Scratchplate. I installed the 2 into the original Scratchplate and they are so great, but position 2 sounds weak and low volume... Despite reversing the wiring. So I will reinstate the original pups into the original Scratchplate, and have the SSS FAT 50s on the pearl Scratchplate.
    Long story short I will swap out the standard pups later down the track, unless they are sounding perfect. I think they are so cheap to buy, you would agree, why wouldn't you experiment in pursuit of tone!!

    What pups did you get, and how are they better? Did you replace all 3, or leave the middle Strat pup and go ahead and install new Neck and Bridge?
    I didn't really notice the RWRP FAT 50s pups being quieter, so yes, I am also agreeing with you there too! To me it's about tone, and as much high end as possible, as I can roll off with tone EQ on guitar, and amps anyway! Clarity and dynamics are my go to!
     
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  12. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    I can provide a suggestion for a great Nashville set based on your desire for clarity and dynamics. Bill Lawrence's Keystones are legendary and very reasonably priced for hand wound boutique pickups of this quality. I play them in one my Teles.

    https://www.wildepickups.com/products/keystone-t-nashville-set

    [​IMG]

    My Tele with Keystones......you can get the neck with a chromed plastic cover that will not inhibit high end or cause eddy currents. Bill never used a metal cover.

    cvc1.jpeg
     
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  13. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Well that's just super fantastic to have a tip like this! I really appreciate your heads up on these beautiful pups!
    I can't tell you how happy I am to have this tip! I'm probably going to just go ahead and order these in a few weeks!
    The mint green pickguard that comes standard with the sky blue colour body, is just not my thing!
    Hand wound too... Wow that sounds awesome! Bring on that snappy, attack and fill, open dynamic sound that is so quintessentially the trademark of a nice Tele! Thank YOU Soulman!
     
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  14. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Yes, setups are so important, I do that myself... I play fingerstyle, and have tried many different ways to set things up! I feel like it takes quite a bit of experimentation to find the best settings. Also, I find even changing string brands need a big tweak on saddle height, intonation and pup height.
     
  15. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    That you have 5 Teles is quite a collection! Do they all have those Keystone pups? Would you like to fit them across the entire collection, or do you have various tone characters for different reasons and styles?
     
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  16. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    You'll also find that Keystones while not noiseless are very quiet and of course the middle pickup is RW/RP so the pickups will hum cancel entirely in the neck/middle and bridge/middle settings.

    Bill Lawrence was a stickler for eliminating hum in all of his single coil so Keystones are probably the quietest single coils I've ever played. I doubt you'll notice much difference in that regard going from noiseless to these.

    Wilde also produces noisefree Tele and Strat pickups that could also be ordered as set for a Nashville style Tele. Bill passed away several years ago but here's his wife Becky and their daughter Shannon discussing the noisefree versions. They have kept the company in operation following Bill's death.

    https://www.wildepickups.com/blogs/news/noisefree-series-2-l280-l290

    If you have questions call Becky instead of emailing. It's much easier to reach her and get your questions answered that way. You'll find her to be very friendly and helpful since it's she and Shannon who actually wind the pickups themselves.
     
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  17. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    They all have different pickups which was my intention when I acquired them. I love Tele but wanted some tonal variety to set them apart.

    The CS '51 Nocaster of course has Fender CS Nocaster Pickups.

    The Nashville has a custom wound set of Onamac Windery Tall Blues/Full Blues pickups. Another smaller pickup winder with some excellent pickups.

    The Sunburst/Maple Double Bound Tele in the photo I posted has the Keystones and a 4-way switch. It's become my favorite player.

    I have another FSR Double Bound Tele that has a Kent Armstrong P90 in the neck position and a Bill Lawrence/Wilde noisefree dual blade L-48TL in the bridge.

    I also have a G&L ASAT Special which has the MFD type pickups Leo designed for his Music Man and G&L guitars and basses. Those are also incredible pickups.

    asat1.jpg
     
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  18. ibdrkn1

    ibdrkn1 Senior Stratmaster

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    For pickups I went with a Texas Specials. Higher output, more mids.

    I actually removed the middle pickup. I didn't really buy the guitar because it was a Nashville I bought it because I liked the neck. I have Strats to give me Strat sounds and even then I pretty much only use positions 1 & 5.
     
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  19. soulman969

    soulman969 Most Honored Senior Member

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    They do have a somewhat unique neck profile don't they.

    I liked it so much that three of my Teles have necks from 2006 Nashvilles. Two were installed after the fact and they were not easy to find either. I got lucky.
     
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  20. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Oh wow Soulman... Those guitars all must be super awesome! Interesting your fave is the Keystone equipped guitar. So, while it is a personal preference thing, your choice of the one over the other venerable rigs is actually very telling to me. I really thank you for sharing this. It's so cool and a fantastic boost to get a setup that gives maximum dynamics and clarity...
    I imagine you might also suggest the cut through is a closely linked part of the Keystone pups. It's been my experience the an articulate and crisp sounding guitar has an easier time being heard in the overall mix with drum, bass, keys and vocals.
    What is your experience with this sometimes difficult audio issue?
     
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