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what makes a tele a tele pickup ?

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by SilvaStrat, Nov 22, 2016.

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  1. SilvaStrat

    SilvaStrat Strat-O-Master

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    What is the diference on construction , that makes a tele a tele pickup ?
    in other words , how the are different compared to a strat pickups ? why they sound different ?
     
  2. LRS!

    LRS! Strat-O-Master

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    1) (brass) bassplate
    2) steel bridge used to mount the pickup
     
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  3. Stratoskater

    Stratoskater Fuzz Meister General

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    Bingo.
     
  4. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    The idea that the base plate is essential to the Tele bridge is a myth. Pop it off and see what happens. Also, the newer Fender base plates appear to be steel, not brass, as evidenced by the fact that they are magnetic, and brass is not magnetic.

    Much of the sound of a Tele is the neck and body. A Cabronita has Filter'tron clones, no large steel bridge or any of that, and it still sounds like a Tele.

    Compared to a Strat set, the Tele bridge is very "overwound". A typical Strat pickup is wound to 6k with 42 AWG and achieves about 2.5H inductance. A Tele bridge pickup is usually wound from 6.5K to 7.5K, and achieves inductance of 3H to 4H. They "growl" because they are very hot. The metal bridge assembly causes eddy current losses that dull the resonance slightly, that gives them more growl as well. The base plate lops off about 2 to3 dB from the resonance due to eddy currents, and increases the inductance by a negligible amount.

    The Tele neck pickup is beset by eddy current losses. Originally brass was used, which is a terrible metal for a pickup cover, and it's still used in Seymour Duncan and cheap import pickups. Fender switched to nickel silver at some point, and it's a lot better. The brass covers cause Tele neck pickups to sound excessively dark, compared to a Strat neck.

    A member on here named stratotarts / rigatele discovered a means by which eddy currents can be eliminated http://www.tdpri.com/threads/cover-technology-breakthrough-telecaster-neck-pickup-cover.682875/ , but something that has become obvious over the decades is that the guitar world doesn't want innovation, they want the warts of 50's design, perfectly preserved.
     
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  5. LRS!

    LRS! Strat-O-Master

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    I must (partly) disagree here. Provide a strat bridge pickup with a base plate and see what happens. I ordered my BKP Slow Hand set like that, and IMHO it does make a difference! Not a typical (thin) strat bridge sound at all, but more bass, more punch, regardles the slightly lower output compared to a typical Tele pickup.

    Regarding the Cabronita, I have one. The Telebration version with TV Jones pickups. It is not very Tele like IMHO. Quite a different animal. Very Gretsch like (not a big surprise).

    I think we agree that the final Tele result is the sum of all parts together.

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
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  6. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    1) Have you tried the Slow Hand with and without the base plate? If not, you can't really be sure what aspect of the transfer characteristic owes to the base plate, versus that which is inherent to the coil specification.

    2) Not all base plates are created equal. It's quite possible to make a base plate that significantly effects the pickup, it's just that the base plate on Fender's Tele pickups don't do more than about 2 to 3dB of difference at the resonance. I detailed tests I had conducted here http://www.tdpri.com/threads/measured-electrical-values-of-various-telecaster-pickups.665808/
     
  7. LRS!

    LRS! Strat-O-Master

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    I think it was about 8 years ago, after a brief e-mail conversation with a guy called Tim (who apeared to be the owner and also answered customer e-mails in those days [emoji2]), I initially ordered the normal set Slow Hand pickups. Afterwards I heard that BKP also provided their strat pickups with a base plate. I returned only the bridge pickup since I really liked the neck and middle pickups, but felt the bridge one to be too thin sounding. After about one month I received my own pickup provided with a base plate. Again, not scientifically backed up, just my ears told me a much more ballsy sound. I think sending the pickup to England and back again to Holland was more expensive than the actual baseplate [emoji23][emoji23][emoji23]
     
  8. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    I have. Tim @ BK will fit a baseplate to his own pickups for £10 each, so I sent the bridge pickup to him for this job. So I heard it before & after. And I agree with LRS! about the difference.

    I guess we all have to choose who to believe when it comes to pickup related stuff. Bareknuckle pickups have an international reputation & Tim is trusted & respected as someone with a proven track record. I'd tend to take his word compared to that of a lone voice on an internet forum.
     
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  9. Pete McC

    Pete McC Senior Stratmaster

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    But the neck pickup also sounds different to a Strat... I have a tele neck pickup in one of my parts caster strats and it sounds more like a tele because of it. I too would like to know what makes the difference
     
  10. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    A Tele neck pickup is fundamentally different to a Strat neck pickup. The coil is smaller, it uses a different grade of wire, but most of all, it has a metal cover. If that metal cover is brass (as most of them are) it will significantly attenuate the top end. That's what makes Tele necks muddier than Strat necks. Removing the metal cover will significantly change the sound, but it brings problems of it's own.
     
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  11. Skinny Nitro

    Skinny Nitro Senior Stratmaster

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  12. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    Tim made the point, IIRC, that baseplates needs to be made of steel if they're to have the desired effect. What they are plated with is largely irrelevant.
     
  13. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    There are lots of options. There are various grades of steel with different ratios of conductivity and permeability. The thickness of the steel is also very important. Eddy currents are depth dependent, lower frequencies attenuate more when the material is thicker, so the roll off can be shaped, to some degree, by the thickness.

    Fender appears to be using steel, but Bill Lawrence used/uses whatever this is, copper, or brass:

    [​IMG]

    This brass / copper base is more conductive than steel, and I did measure more attenuation in the mid range. I went over that in the TDPRI thread I linked to.

    For science, I've ordered a Fralin "ready to go" base plate, and I will test it's effects.

    Also note that I'm not saying the base plate has NO effect, I did say 2 to 3dB and a resonant shift of somewhere around 100Hz, and that it's technically audible, but what I AM saying is that it's does not give a Tele it's "tone". The base plate it just dulls the high a bit, that's hardly the "Tele tone".
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    ! Some heated discussions got started off a straight forward discussion :confused:


    The simple answers are the coil wire is different, with more windings, the cover on the neck pickup, the base plate on the bridge pickup and flat non-staggered pole pieces. Some Tele's use 500k pots and 0.047uF tone caps while others use 250k pots and 0.023uF tone caps just like Strats.

    Put Tele pickups and electronics in a Strat pickguard and mount it all in a Strat and that guitar will sound just like a Tele. I have a rig around here where I did that so I know it works. If you want an inexpensive path into the Tele sound, and you have a spare Strat-like device sitting unused, just get another pickguard for it and set it up with a Tele pickup set.

    .
     
  15. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have a Classic Series 60's Tele I love - but the pickups stink, I have tried adjusting them 12 ways to Sunday, but still sound weak and sterile to me, no zing, no twang, no nothin' except dull -

    I was hoping to find out what makes a Tele pickup so I could turn my Tele into a Tele, but I can not make heads or tails of all this.

    Pickups are a crap shoot to me, I replaced them in my PRS and they made it sing. :) I replaced them in my Ibanez and they sounded exactly the same ! :(

    Thanks to those who have suggested the Tele pickups they have tried and liked.
     
  16. Strat-Talk

    Strat-Talk Administrator Staff Member

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    Admin Post
    We removed dozens of posts from this thread when two members decided to go after each other to prove who could be the most argumentative. Both lost and are serving a suspension to try to get them to understand that the community cannot survive without basic civility toward one another.
     
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