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P90 neck/Telecaster bridge

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  • P90 neck/Telecaster bridge

    Hi,
    First post here.
    I am in my early days of making guitars and pick ups as a hobby. I am learning as I go about wire gauge, magnets, what pots and capacitors and that can be a bit slow and painful.

    I have just finished a tele style body and have wound a tele bridge pick up (Alnico 5) and neck P90 (Alnico 2).
    Pots 250k (log for vol, linear for tone). 42 awg enamelled wire for pick ups.
    I have a 3 way toggle switch. It is a wooden body/no pickguard and I am limited to that 3 way toggle rather than a blade switch that might offer more options.

    I don’t think it sounds too bad but worried that it sounds a bit too bright. I have changed out capacitors for 22, 33 and 47 and am not really getting the change I’d like

    I am thinking of wiring up another harness to put in (250k log vol, 500k lin pot) and seeing what that is like.
    I am also vaguely aware that an option involves putting a normal resistor in there “somewhere”.

    Can anyone offer thoughts on this or a link to a wiring diagram?
    I do want to retain the ability to adjust tone for all 3 positions
    Happy to hear any general thoughts or tips on this.


    I hope this makes sense

    (Might this be better in the pick up maker section??)
    Last edited by AntoGlover; 04-23-2022, 10:03 AM.

  • #2
    Originally posted by AntoGlover View Post
    I am thinking of wiring up another harness to put in (250k log vol, 500k lin pot) and seeing what that is like.
    Welcome to the forum.

    Replacing the 250k lin tone pot with 500k lin will make it brighter sounding when the pot is above '5' on a scale of 10

    Comment


    • #3
      Tele's are bright in general. P90's are the brighter (and noisier) option over humbuckers for guys that like it (I do). But combine that with an acoustically bright guitar and maybe it's just a bright guitar and needs a player that likes that sort of thing. Dave has it right that a 500k tone pot won't do you any favors. The different capacitors in the tone circuit will only significantly affect tone circuit operation. So, tone full up would mean no note worthy change in tone. The resistor you speak of is not something I've heard of being used with 250k volume pots. Sometimes when a guitar has both humbuckers and single coils a resistor is included in the circuit to change the final load from 500k when humbuckers are in use to 250k when the single coils are in use. But with a 250k volume pot as the only control I haven't seen any extra resistors.

      How are you testing it for tone? Amp? Cable? It's length? It all makes a difference and the guys that love Tele's know this. Typically no George L cables for those guys. And brighter amps are used as an effect for a bitey tone. Otherwise there's usually some measures taken to avoid getting too bright.

      EDIT: Pickup height adjustment can be important. Pickups that are too low can sound "thin" (not necessarily bright). And if you have too much response from the treble strings you can always lower the treble end or raise the bass end of the pickups for balance. A guitar that cuts through on the bass strings but is still balanced on the plain strings can be a very useful instrument for the right player.

      So you made a bright sounding guitar. I know the ideal would be a perfect tonal balance on every instrument you create. But does that mean they all sound the same? What sort of world would that be? I like playing different guitars and exploiting their specific potentials. Maximize this instrument and sell it to someone that will love it for what it is. Then build the next one. And keep evaluating the experiences as you are now. If it's a good guitar in most respects like quality, stability and reliability then it may well turn out to be a happy accident. Someone may play it and love it and a marriage is born.
      Last edited by Chuck H; 04-24-2022, 03:37 AM.
      "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

      "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

      "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

      Comment


      • #4
        You could tune the resonance of your PUs to a lower frequency by wiring a small capacitor in parallel with each.
        Start with 330p and change value to your liking.
        You can use different values for each PU and also might make them switchable.
        - Own Opinions Only -

        Comment


        • #5
          This^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

          Can be very effective. Though it's admittedly not typical. It lowers the frequency of the resonant peak of the pickup and can bring that peak into a range that is more pleasant to the ears (if it's too high now). Worth a try.

          Also, since you mention that you're learning as you go, have you tested the guitar with different pickups of known tonal qualities? Conversely, have you tested the pickups in another guitar of known tonal qualities? Either or both may clear up whether it's the guitar, the pickups or both that are seemingly too bright. I think this test should be done just to be sure, for example, that the bridge pickup you've wound at least compares tonally with the Tele bridge pickups players are familiar with.
          "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

          "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

          "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

          Comment


          • #6
            I question why the use of linear pot for the tone. Personal preference?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by mozz View Post
              I question why the use of linear pot for the tone. Personal preference?
              There's a lot of lore out there about what taper to use. I typically read on gear forums that the "right" taper for the controls is audio for volume and linear for tone. Though I seldom see why. And whenever I do it doesn't make sense. Anyway, no idea how or why this rule or standard got started but it does seem to be common knowledge now for some guitars, Tele's among them, a linear taper is the proper choice for the tone control.

              I would have used an audio taper.
              "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

              "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

              "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

              Comment


              • #8
                I think the lore you speak of is backwards, vol have been linear on cheaper guitars for a while, hence bedroom players. But, it's personal preference so i won't get into any debates. I'm old school and it was audio taper for both vol and tone. Any guitar i build or mod will get that setup. One thing i did notice was, when i started making my own pickups, the tone control was much more active than i can ever remember it being on a factory setup. Just put pots in a 94' LP studio, volume was supposed to be 300k. I measured 240k on the neck volume which is 20% less than 300k so they made that spec barely. New pot measures 530k , works great, no more darkness on that one.

                Back to the original question, i think a P90 with A2 in a tele neck with 250k will be dark. Unless it is a lower wind and i mean under the 10k turns.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mozz View Post
                  Back to the original question, i think a P90 with A2 in a tele neck with 250k will be dark. Unless it is a lower wind and i mean under the 10k turns.
                  Agree.

                  - Own Opinions Only -

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yes. Could be the pickups. Hence post N5 about trying to discern the cause. Tele's are already bright guitars. Players know this going in. If the pickups are making it brighter (or thinner) than typical then this should be addressed at the source. Try the guitar with different pickups and/or (more so and) try the pickups in another guitar.
                    "Take two placebos, works twice as well." Enzo

                    "Now get off my lawn with your silicooties and boom-chucka speakers and computers masquerading as amplifiers" Justin Thomas

                    "Being born on third base and thinking that you must have hit a triple is pure delusion!" Steve A

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Massive thanks for all the input. Busy day yesterday so I have only just logged on again. (And I wanted to read back through what am thought as knew!)
                      Really useful information here. There are several quick “go tos” up above I can quickly adjust and check.
                      The tele neck PU is 9000 winds and (I committed the sin of not writing down immediately) the P90 is approx 8500-9000 winds. I wanted to keep the output quite close to each other.
                      I’ll go through a few of the above suggestions but I do have another tele bobbin lacquered and ready. I plan to wind another but make a tensioner and go for a more even wind.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just an update as I was able to spend a bit of time on this today. I found all the info above invaluable so thanks again.
                        First thing I did was to swap out the tone pot for one that read 230KOhm. Audio taper (because it is what an had) but it did sound better. The motion on this pot was much better too.
                        I had ordered a single pole rotary switch and so was able to cycle through 22/33/47 value caps in the tone circuit. Again and again and again!
                        I also did my best to find out about putting a capacitor in parallel with the PU (mentioned above). I don’t do electronics so pretty clueless about it. I found info referring to it but not really clear on how to it!
                        In the end I fitted a capacitor between the hot of the switch for the bridge pick up and ran the other leg to ground.
                        22/33/47 caps all lost too much of the tele treble.
                        I had a treble bleed cap (I think that was cap and resistor in parallel, .001uf and 130k) that I placed in the same place - the hot from the switch and other leg to ground. This was the best so far but not quite there. At this stage I was just trying lots of anything!
                        I tried other permutations but I didn’t have enough bits to really explore it much further.
                        I eventually settled on a 100kOhm resistor, (no cap), one leg to the switch (hot to pick up), the other to ground. It might be that I had just lost the will to live by this stage but it was significantly better, not quite as harsh but still keeping the tele sound. The cap for the tone circuit was .033uF as it seemed the best point between softening the tele bridge a little whilst keeping the P90 from getting too dark.
                        In general I upped the amp volume (laney cub 12) and reduced the vol on the guitar.
                        I am happy now but will go back and listen afresh as I think I was oversaturated by the end.
                        Before I turned it all off, it was very clear to me that it was the best sounding guitar in the world in every pick up selection.

                        Comment

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