Squire '52 re-issue Telecaster
is in the style and butterscotch blonde color of the classic model played
by Bruce Springsteen on the cover of "Born to Run" and at least half of
his other albums. This guitar sounds and looks great. It is
easy to play. The finish is semi-translucent just like on its much
more expensive look-a-like, and you can see the grain of the wood beneath.
With just two coils, two knobs,
and one switch to work with, there wouldn't seem to be a lot you could
so with this guitar compared to, say, a Les Paul.
However, I'm never one to settle for limitations.
Lace Sensor pickups
The stock pickups are very weak
and, unfortunately, have that cursed 60 Hz hum common to all cheap single-coils.
I have been very impressed with the Gold Lace Sensors in giving a classic
sound in my black Strat, so I expect I will upgrade
to the Tele versions shortly.
Modification: 4-way pickup selector switch
Control: pickup selector
Function: Gives series and parallel
combinations between pickups. Typically, the standard 3-way selector
gives only a parallel combination.
Modification: Phase switch
Control: Push-pull under
volume knob (switch portion)
Function: Throws the middle pickup
electrically out of phase with whatever other pickup it is combined.
Modification: Treble Booster
Control: Push-pull under
volume knob (potentiometer portion)
Function: Boosts the high end by
keeping as much of the signal from going to the ground.
Modification: High-pass capacitor
Function: Placing a very low value
capacitor (.001 microfarad works for me) across the appropriate lugs of
your volume knob (or knobs) will keep your tone from loosing the high frequencies
(i.e., getting "muddy").
Control: Tone knob
Function: This is a fancy tone control
built onto a push-pull knob. With the knob in the down position,
it's a standard tone control, but with the knob pulled up, it does two
things: Turn it towards 0 and it pulls out the midrange frequencies to
give you a glassy sound somewhat like an amplified acoustic. Turn
the knob to 10 and you get thicker, hotter sounds as if your pickups had
some extra windings added to them. In the middle setting (i.e., "5"),
it's the default sound. They're available from Griblin
Engineering for less than $20 and take less than 5 minutes to install.
The basic ("stock") Tele only
allows only 3 combinations of pickups.
The configuration in this guitar allows 3
more combinations in addition to the 3 above:
Neck + Bridge
|with the extra series combination on the
Neck + Bridge (combined in series)
|with the phase switch on:
Neck + Bridge (out of phase... duh!)
|with both the series config and the phase
Neck + Bridge (in series, combined out of
vintage Bridge and Saddles
- The original version cames with a standard bridge. In order
to bring it up to the level of the true '52 re-issue, I swapped out the
bridge for the vintage style. I was fortunate enough to find a hybrid
(i.e. top- and bottom-loading) bridge that allowed me to avoid having to
drill holes through the body and adding string ferrules to work with the
tradition through-body design. The string saddles are also brass
on this vintage version, which are a harder metal. This typically
results in better sustain and a brighter tone (more characteristic of the
classic Tele sound). Remarkably, the guitar stays in tune much better
than before even though I haven't yet replaced the tuners.
(future) Tuners -
(Note that this was written before the bridge replacement discussed above.)
The original tuners are pretty poor. I don't think I have ever owned
a guitar that was worse about staying in tune. Consequently, they
absolutely have to go! Ideally, in keeping with the vintage
approach, I would like to replace these with Klusons. I have had
a lot of luck in using these on my red Strat, so
they're probably the way to go as far as quality.
1 push-pull pot (250k Ohms)
Advanced midrange/tone control
Depending on the manufacturer,
different 5-way switches have different configurations of contacts.
This diagram doesn't specify which way is "up" or which direction is forward
(i.e., position #1 vs. position #5, not that anyone is ever consistent
in using these designations anyway). When you prepare to assemble
your own circuit, use a multi-meter to test the continuity between the
common of each pole and the other lugs so you can determine which position
selects the neck pickup, etc.
In this diagram, the gray
wires go to ground. Other colors were chosen arbitrarily. Different
pickups will have different color codes for the wires. If you wish
to add a 4-conductor humbucker, consult the manufacturer's website for
which wires feed from which coils.