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Thread: Ultimate Tele tone!

  1. #41
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    I spent some more time auditioning the Jerry Donahue lead pickup in the MIM Burton Tele through the Marshall/Tweed tone channel in my old blackface Deluxe Reverb with the Celestion G12H-30 speaker.

    This channel has been modded with smaller input resistors and uses two .02 capacitors and a 250 pf silver mica treble cap for alot more mids and bass and glassy sizzle: more like a '59 Bassman or Plexi tonality. The negative feedbark circuit has been adjusted for less feedback too.

    I can crank this modded channel up to about 3 and most guitars starts to sing. If I turn it up to 5 or 6 it starts to sing like a cranked tweed Bassman or Marshall and get that tone Eric Clapton had with Cream or Jeff Beck got on Truth.

    It won't crunch exactly like a Marshall but it gets alot of that kind of tone.

    I've been looking for a Tele with the tone of the '51 Tele I had around 1970. That guitar had a stock '51 bridge pickup that could push a tweed Fender Champ or Princeton or Bassman into overdrive and sound almost like a Les Paul.

    It had alot of that nasal honk a bridge paf humbucker has and alot of that squishy mallable quality that let me shape the tone with my picking hand and squeeze the notes out. I could actually play alot of Clapton's Cream licks that he originally played on a Les Paul or SG with this Tele and get enough of that squawk and sustain needed to pull that kind of tone off.

    Now that I've adjusted close to the strings, this Jerry Donahue Lead pickup has that tone. I am so glad I tried it.

    If it is patterned after the lead pickup in JD's '52 Tele, then that '52 Tele has the same pickup that was in my '51 because this is the tone I have been looking for.

    It's brighter than the Fralin Blues Specials I've been using in my '54 and also has more mids and a squawkier, more paf or P90 like tone. The JD gets that sweet, slightly compressed sustain and tone, but still has the voice of a vintage '51 Tele.

    It has alot more mids than the NoCaster lead pickup and is a lot smoother and less shrill.

    So far, it is my favorite pickup in this Burton Tele, which has had: Fender Tex Mex, Fralin Blues Specials, Fender NoCasters and now the APS2 & Jerry Donahue set.

    As for the neck APS2: I like a neck pickup with a touch more highs and a little more output. It does not push my amp into overdrive easily, but it does have a nice warm bluesy, jazzy clean tone.

    When I solo with the Jerry Donahue and then switch to the APS 2 to play some chords and rythym, I don't have to turn the volume control down as much as I'm used to with the Fralin Blues Special neck pickup or the brighter Nocaster neck pickup because the APS2 has lower output.

    That's kind of handy and probably helps retain highs.

    Another upside of the lower output and warmer tone of the APS2 this is that when the selector switch is set in the middle, the guitar has a chimier tone than my other Teles, that's useful for other kinds of pop rythym tones...like arpegeated Andy Summers/Police type chord things.

    Lew
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 04-27-2004 at 10:53 AM.

  2. #42
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Thanks for the latest review, Lew. My recent experience with the JD is similar to yours. I'm really liking the JD paired with a Phat Cat at the neck of my Tele. It's a great combination, although the Phat Cat is louder than a standard Tele neck pup, so the JD has to be raised pretty close to the strings to keep up. But, it works -- and they are apparently RWRP after all, because there is no hum in the middle/combined position. If you have a Tele routed for a fullsize HB at the neck, then this combo is a very cool way to go.

  3. #43
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Here's two pictures of a real '55 Tele pickup...and a flat poled Broadcaster pickup to compare them to. Notice the raised poles of the '55 and copper back plate. The Fender NoCaster reissue uses a steel back plate...don't know why, or what diff it would make. All the oldies I've seen were copper. Lew

  4. #44
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Actually, I have read that the Nocaster base plate is zinc plated steel, whereas the copper ones are copper plated steel, so I don't think that difference is too critical. Now the color of the string wrap is another matter...

    What's a bit strange is that the JD bridge pickup has raised D & G poles even though it was supposedly modeled after a '52 Tele bridge pickup. Can't argue with the results though!

  5. #45
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelsey
    Actually, I have read that the Nocaster base plate is zinc plated steel, whereas the copper ones are copper plated steel, so I don't think that difference is too critical. Now the color of the string wrap is another matter...

    What's a bit strange is that the JD bridge pickup has raised D & G poles even though it was supposedly modeled after a '52 Tele bridge pickup. Can't argue with the results though!
    You're right about the raised D & G poles. That's the same as the Fralin Hybrid Stagger too. I think that's a good idea as it matches the fingerboard radius and keeps all the poles the same distance from the underside of the strings. With a flat pole pickup the poles under the two E strings are closest and the poles under the D & G are maybe a 1/16" further away than they need to to be. I DO like black string!

  6. #46
    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    i kinda thought the base plates were copper coated steel or brass

  7. #47
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy
    i kinda thought the base plates were copper coated steel or brass
    Copper coated steel would make the most sense if the idea is to direct the magnetic field from the bottems of the pole pieces back upwards towards the strings for fatter tone. Thanks! Lew

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar
    Copper coated steel would make the most sense if the idea is to direct the magnetic field from the bottems of the pole pieces back upwards towards the strings for fatter tone. Thanks! Lew
    Like I said, I know Lindy sells some base plates, I don't know there actual metallic make-up; however on a slighty off subject ... has anyone ever noticed that a tele is ... well, a bit better suited to lead playing, what I mean by this is something that was brought to my attention by someone else (call him old school), he made note that the neck is joined in a different place, as far as the balance on the instrument in relation to the body, the middle of the neck, and mid-upper register is easier to get at, so to speak. I kinda get what he was saying, anyone else find this to be the case also. Great topic BTW, seems like the strat gets all the glory when the broadcaster/tele started it all, well on Leo's side.
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  9. #49
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent S.
    Like I said, I know Lindy sells some base plates, I don't know there actual metallic make-up; however on a slighty off subject ... has anyone ever noticed that a tele is ... well, a bit better suited to lead playing, what I mean by this is something that was brought to my attention by someone else (call him old school), he made note that the neck is joined in a different place, as far as the balance on the instrument in relation to the body, the middle of the neck, and mid-upper register is easier to get at, so to speak. I kinda get what he was saying, anyone else find this to be the case also. Great topic BTW, seems like the strat gets all the glory when the broadcaster/tele started it all, well on Leo's side.
    Lindy's Bassplates for waxing onto the bottem of a Strat bridge pickup are plain steel. They work well.

    And I did remove the APSII Tele neck pickup and install the Fralin Blues Special neck pickup. More output and still a warm full tone. I like it better. I wanted to put a covered Fralin Tele Stock pickup in there to compare to the covered NoCaster neck pickup in my 53 RI CS Tele, but I was afraid it'd be out of phase with the Duncan Jerry Donahue and require modding. Since I had the Fralin BS neck that was originally in this guitar handy, I put it back in instead just to check on the phase issue. It works perfectly without having to reverse any wires. So I'll try the Fralin Tele Stock neck pickup in a couple of days...unless the Duncan Antiquity sets get here first.

    This search for the Ultimate Tele Tone has been extremely educational and has undone a few misperceptions I had too!

    Lew
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 04-30-2004 at 07:53 AM.

  10. #50
    Mojo's Minions dr.barlo's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    I love teles, they do both (country and western, LOL ). A fatter tele bridge can get me LPish bridge tones when dirty, and great spank and twang when clean. That is why I am using my tele in my gigs, me thinks it is more versatile for what I do.

    Mine is a 95 american fender maple neck and 1 piece hardash body. I have fender tx special in the middle (flushed! that does the trick) and antiquity neck HB in the neck. Now it has the muy grande in the bridge. I am not that comfortable with it on the stage, makes me do lots of dialing on the amp when I go from the bridge to the neck.

    That is why I bought a SD JD (from John, Lew you did not carry those at that time, I think you came to your senses! hahaha joking of course ) and a fralin blues special from Lew. Am gonna be trying them all this weekend! It will be FUN!

  11. #51
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by dr.barlo
    I love teles, they do both (country and western, LOL ). A fatter tele bridge can get me LPish bridge tones when dirty, and great spank and twang when clean. That is why I am using my tele in my gigs, me thinks it is more versatile for what I do.

    Mine is a 95 american fender maple neck and 1 piece hardash body. I have fender tx special in the middle (flushed! that does the trick) and antiquity neck HB in the neck. Now it has the muy grande in the bridge. I am not that comfortable with it on the stage, makes me do lots of dialing on the amp when I go from the bridge to the neck.

    That is why I bought a SD JD (from John, Lew you did not carry those at that time, I think you came to your senses! hahaha joking of course ) and a fralin blues special from Lew. Am gonna be trying them all this weekend! It will be FUN!
    Cool! Can't imagine anyone not liking the Jerry Donahue...but as I mentioned, the key to getting the tone I like out of it is adjusting it very, very close to the strings. It's great for me to hear that tone again after missing it so much for over 30 years. As mentioned, the bridge pickup in JD's '52 Tele must be very similar to the bridge pickup in the '51 Tele that I sold so many years ago when the neck twisted, because the Duncan JD took me right back to that tone. After all this time, I'm no longer sure it's the ONLY great Tele tone for me, but it is one of my very favorites: more mids and more of a compressable Gibson-ish squawk that lets me shape the tone more with my picking hand. Lew

  12. #52
    Mojo's Minions dr.barlo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar
    Cool! Can't imagine anyone not liking the Jerry Donahue...but as I mentioned, the key to getting the tone I like out of it is adjusting it very, very close to the strings. It's great for me to hear that tone again after missing it so much for over 30 years. As mentioned, the bridge pickup in JD's '52 Tele must be very similar to the bridge pickup in the '51 Tele that I sold so many years ago when the neck twisted, because the Duncan JD took me right back to that tone. After all this time, I'm no longer sure it's the ONLY great Tele tone for me, but it is one of my very favorites: more mids and more of a compressable Gibson-ish squawk that lets me shape the tone more with my picking hand. Lew
    I love it, adore it! Mine is also quite close to the strings, so that it is overpowering the neck antiquity hb!!!! What the heck, I don't love that much neck tone in the middle anyway, now it is more quacky anyway.

    JD RULES!!!!!

  13. #53
    Super Toneologist Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Well thanks to Lew and the rest of you for the wonderful information about these pickups-many questions have been answered and much learned.

    I'll have to reconsider the pickup height of my JD. I don't have the measurements, but mine came from the shop very close to the strings, and I couldn't really get into it-I thought I'd made a mistake. I found JD ecstacy when I lowered it down a bit-(measurement unknown-I'm at work). But all this talk has me itching to raise it up a bit and see what I'm missing-if anything at all.

    It is, after all, about getting tone you're happy with.

    Cheers to Seymour for a truly outstanding pickup, and once again to Jeremy for the recommendation! Too bad, however, because it's the last one I'll buy for that guitar!


    ...but not for my strat (soon to come)...
    Rambler + Tele + Stylish Chords = Heaven!

  14. #54
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    ive been hearing alot of good things,...well ONLY good things about the JD pups, are they more fatter rock tone or more twangy country
    [B]"For Those About to Rock, We Solute You"
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  15. #55
    Mojo's Minions Hellion's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    You have to understand that I have a love/hate relationship with my Tele. It's a late 90's Mexi Tele that I've swapped parts out on until it's user friendly. I think it's probably the ultimate bastard guitar, hence its nickname, the "bastardcaster". At the same time, would you like to take a guess as to which guitar goes with me to EACH AND EVERY job? Yup, the bastard.
    When I think of ultimate Tele tone, I think of Don Rich (guitar player for Buck Owens), Roy Buchanon & Danny Gatton (although they just had ultimate tone, never mind the Tele part), Albert Lee, Albert Collins (possibly the most powerful blues player ever to pick up the instrument), Lindsey Buckingham (yea, I know he played a Paul and later that Turner model 1, but it still sounds like a Tele to me) and Joe Walsh.

  16. #56
    Gear Ho Gearjoneser's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    I was wondering what some of you guys opinion is of the G&L Z-3 pickups?
    I've heard many statements about Leo's Z pickups being one of his proudest
    pickup designs. Some have said that Leo designed them years ago....
    dubbed the magnetic field pickups, but Fender resisted the idea, maybe
    because of the non-traditional look of them. Kinda funny, since they resemble
    P-Bass pickups. I've been playing this new silver sparkle alder/rosewood
    Z-3 everyday since I got it 3 weeks ago and love it! I haven't inspected the electronics yet, but they retain their tone, even backed way down.
    Same with the tone control. I guess the best way to describe them is that
    the traditional Tele tone comes from having the volume backed down to
    7 or 8, which is where they retain more crispness. As soon as you put the volume full up, they get a lot thicker, a bit compressed, and have a tone
    that resembles P-90's or mini hums. It's almost like having two guitars in the same Tele. After I got the guitar, I pulled up the pickguard to look at the baseplate. They seem to have a copper plate that is separated from the bottom of the plastic covers - kind of odd, actually. This thread got me thinking about the resistance values, so I just measured them.
    They read B-5.4, M-5.17, N-5.25. Keep in mind the poles are pretty large
    allen key polepieces, which have a lot of string pull - maybe why they were called magnetic field pickups. It's an interesting design to have that low of
    a value, but have larger than average polepieces. They retain that vintage tone when backed down and cleaned up, but exude a lot of thick growl when maxed out. Also, having 3 pickups gives beautiful notch position sounds,
    but Tele toned. Have any of you tried the G&L Z pickups. What did you think?
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie Bill View Post
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  17. #57
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by blake da teleman
    ive been hearing alot of good things,...well ONLY good things about the JD pups, are they more fatter rock tone or more twangy country
    The JD has mids that allow me to shape them with my pick like modeling clay!

    That makes them superb for blues as the tone has alot in commen with a vintage paf humbucker or P90...tho not as hot. The JD still has the output of a Tele.

    For Country, the NoCaster has the brighter, clearer, sharper twang...but I much prefer the JD. It's MY tone.

  18. #58
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by dr.barlo
    I love it, adore it! Mine is also quite close to the strings, so that it is overpowering the neck antiquity hb!!!! What the heck, I don't love that much neck tone in the middle anyway, now it is more quacky anyway.

    JD RULES!!!!!
    It does...and quacky is a perfect description. It reminds of the quacky tone Eric Clapton got with his SG or Eric Johnson gets when he's imitating Clapton with Cream. I just can't recommend it highly enough. Thanks Doc! Lew
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 05-04-2004 at 06:44 AM.

  19. #59
    Lewguitar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hellion
    When I think of ultimate Tele tone, I think of Don Rich (guitar player for Buck Owens), Roy Buchanon & Danny Gatton (although they just had ultimate tone, never mind the Tele part), Albert Lee, Albert Collins (possibly the most powerful blues player ever to pick up the instrument), Lindsey Buckingham (yea, I know he played a Paul and later that Turner model 1, but it still sounds like a Tele to me) and Joe Walsh.
    Right: but all of those guys used differant Tele with differant style bridge pickups probably with differant magnets and raised vs flat polepieces.

    Don Rich and Albert Collins definately used Teles with raised pole pieces for a brighter, twangier lead pickup tone.

    Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton both used '53 Teles with flat poled "Broadcaster" style lead pickups...tho Danny switched to the Bardens.

    From thier tones, I don't think either Danny or Roy had the a2 style 51/52 Tele lead pickups like Jerry Donahue has in his 52 and I had in my 51...thier tone is brighter and more ice picky and not as quacky.

    Albert Lee I'm not sure about, but I think his Tele is a later 50's one (1954 or later)...probably with the raised a5 polepieces like the lead pickup in Don Rich's, Jame's Burton's, Steve Cropper's and Jimmy Page's Teles.

    Lew

  20. #60
    Super Toneologist Dave's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ultimate Tele tone!

    Lew-

    In case you haven't done this already, here's a comment on my Blues Special Neck paired with the JD bridge: To me, both pickups are very focused and with both activated, I am able to hear the effects of each pickup as if they were played in unison on 2 different guitars through the same amp. I wasn't able to achieve that with the other neck pickups I"ve tried with the JD, or with other guitars (teles) for that matter. Maybe my buddies Anderson could but that was a while ago since I played it...

    So, they're very articulate and complement each other very well with cleans and certainly under a bit of gain, they're fantastic.

    I think my holy grail is throwing a blend pot in my Tele with these pickups. Anyone got the parts/schematic?
    Rambler + Tele + Stylish Chords = Heaven!

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