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  1. #1

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    For the past few years, all the Teles I've built for my own use have been chambered to reduce weight (I'm old!!) Most have been hollowed out mahogany bodies with 1/4" maple cap. Pickups are pretty much standard Tele with the occasional Bill Lawrence or Duncan. I leave a 4" wide solid center with both sides being routed out. Lately, I've been fighting to get a decent tone and I don't know if it's caused by the chambering or not. Actually the best sounding Tele I ever built was made out of a solid southern yellow pine 2x8 from home depot with a maple cap but it was heavy so I quit using it. Anybody else using chambered solid bodies have this problem or is it just me? I can't seem to get a true 'Tele' sound out of the bridge pickup and the neck pickup tone is .......meh. I'm starting to think it's because I'm trying to get Fender tone out of an Evans RE200 amp and my DV Mark Micro doesn't seem much better. I guess I should take the guitar to a big box store and try a Fender amp but, again, tube amps are HEAVY and I'd rather stay under 30 pounds for something I can gig with. Any suggestions?

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  3. #2

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    Try a Quilter amp. The 101 head is very light, and is Fendery. Quilter seems to be trying for the Fender sound, and that's why I don't like them. You won't get the amps you have to sound like a Fender, so if that's the sound you want I think you need to rethink your amp choices.

  4. #3

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    Pro Junior or Princeton !!!

  5. #4

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    I have a custom-built guitar: 24.75” scale, mahogany, jazzmaster-shaped, heavily chambered, maple capped, Tele hardware, Vintage Vibe CC pickup in the neck, VV humbucker-sized P-90. It gets a nice jazz tone—reminiscent of a 335, but the acoustic resonance reminds me more of a Tele, where you can feel the plank vibrating with the strings. It likes both tweed and blackface Fender amps. I’d recommend you give a Fender Harvard clone a try. Victoria makes the Ivy League, and there are other builders out there as well. At a lower price range, you can’t go wrong with a VHT Special 6, with maybe a speaker swap.

  6. #5

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    So it depends on what you consider a great Tele tone. I generally associate a Tele with it's bridge pickup and tone control. Think Roy Buchanon, Danny Gatton, etc

    But as a more practical platform, the Tele shape and design,are wonderful 25&1/2" guitars, From CC neck pickups to Humbuckers, semi hollow, different bridges etc. The perfect Model T so to speak.

    I have a traditional Tele partscaster: Fat maple one piece neck,swamp ash body, basically a Black Guard with a mini hum neck pickup. This is an extremely versatile guitar

    I also have a modded G&L Asat Super model. Mahogany chambered body, Vintage Vibe custom Asat humbuckers, Musikraft Fat 2 piece replacement neck.
    Again a very versatile guitar but totally different spec.

    Both of these guitars fill the bolt on longer scale guitar that make me happy!

  7. #6

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    Depends entirely on how the chambering is done, how the guitar is actually put together. Plus personal taste and expectations.

    I've heard many maple topped, chambered ash body teles that sound great. Others like that which were nothing special. The single best sounding tele I ever had came with a rare Chandler body ... thin spruce top, heavily chambered ash body. Very different than the more common, thick maple top sort. That Chandler bodied tele sounded amazing through every amp I tried.

    Makes me reluctant to generalize about chambered sounds.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
    For the past few years, all the Teles I've built for my own use have been chambered to reduce weight (I'm old!!) Most have been hollowed out mahogany bodies with 1/4" maple cap. Pickups are pretty much standard Tele with the occasional Bill Lawrence or Duncan. I leave a 4" wide solid center with both sides being routed out. Lately, I've been fighting to get a decent tone and I don't know if it's caused by the chambering or not.
    I have one Tele based on the chambered mahogany/maple body I got from you and one Squier Affinity Tele. The latter is heavy as heck but the body is made from some Asian species of wood rather than ash or alder and the stock (maple?) neck is also really dense and heavy. Pickups were replaced with Dimarzios. The Ellis has a Warmoth maple/rosewood neck, single humbucker neck pickup (Stew-Mac Golden Age) so they're very different and not an apple-to-apples comparison. I've had the Biltoft HCC in the Ellis, too, but switched a few months back due to the noise problems. Also, the Squier has the thick poly finish and the Ellis has a hand-rubbed BLO finish.

    The guitars sound different when played un-plugged. The Squier has a very round bell-tone top end (which a lot of Tele players wouldn't like, I suspect, but for jazz it works great if you're aiming for Bickertland), whereas the mahogany/maple body has more high end sparkle and some mid-low growl. It sounds almost Holdsworthian from his DeLap days when unplugged. That guitar is about 1/3 lighter than the Squier.

    Both sound good to me but the sounds are definitely different due, I think, to the woods and the chambering. The differences in the quasi-acoustic quality carries through to the amplified sound- the Squier sounds Fender Rhodes-ish and is Bickertesque; the Ellis is reedy and almost clarinetish in the low register in particular.

    I'm going to try a Bill Lawrence Wilde L280TN in the Ellis.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad dog View Post
    Depends entirely on how the chambering is done, how the guitar is actually put together. Plus personal taste and expectations.

    I've heard many maple topped, chambered ash body teles that sound great. Others like that which were nothing special. The single best sounding tele I ever had came with a rare Chandler body ... thin spruce top, heavily chambered ash body. Very different than the more common, thick maple top sort. That Chandler bodied tele sounded amazing through every amp I tried.

    Makes me reluctant to generalize about chambered sounds.
    That Chandler sounds interesting... reminds me of Jonny Lang's tele: spruce BODY (no chambers tho), maple cap. It's the only spruce body tele I've ever heard of.

  10. #9

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    I have three ash chambered teles (two in my avatar) which were built for me specifically to achieve a minimum weight (5.5-6lbs). The first I had rings more than the other two, and also sustains the best. The other two are still good though. First and second are ash with maple necks. the third is ash with body binding and maple neck, ebony board.
    I have played the same builders mahogany chambered model and to me it seems less lively and tele like than my ash ones.
    I have a reissue Vibroverb and two hand-built Princeton Reverbs. The Princetons give me the Fender sound I like and weigh less than the VV.
    I don't get neck dive problems (wide suede strap) and sold my heavier Fenders.
    Just my two pence worth.

  11. #10

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    My Borys Jazz Solid is chambered in a special way to make it sound like an archtop. It doesn't sound like any other chambered or solid body guitar I've ever played.
    I saw the inside of one; it looks like Roger's built his own little city inside of the thing!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9 View Post
    That Chandler sounds interesting... reminds me of Jonny Lang's tele: spruce BODY (no chambers tho), maple cap. It's the only spruce body tele I've ever heard of.
    Ruger: Mine was one of only two such guitars I know of. The other being the guitar used by "Twangy Guitar" on a series of youtube videos. Apparently Chandler had real trouble producing these. The spruce tops were thin ... they ended up with a lot of warpage and returns. Anyway, I lucked into it. Mine had Don Mare p/us, the "Nancy" set. It sounded so good in the neck position, I never moved the p/u selector. Had this crisp edge to the sound at higher volumes. Would feed back. The body was ash, heavily chambered. So a bit different than Mr. Lang's tele.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9 View Post
    That Chandler sounds interesting... reminds me of Jonny Lang's tele: spruce BODY (no chambers tho), maple cap. It's the only spruce body tele I've ever heard of.
    The Brad Paisley Telecaster has a body made with a spruce/Paulownia/spruce tonewood sandwich. Lightweight, sounds great, IMO:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TeleBPRWSSP--fender-brad-paisley-road-worn-telecaster-silver-sparkle

    Fender did a Limited Edition Tele with a solid old-growth redwood body - these are pretty (*&^%$ cool, IMO:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Fen1015RedWTel--fender-limited-edition-american-vintage-hot-rod-50s-tele-natural-reclaimed-redwood

    I'm sure Fender's Custom Shop would be happy to build one for you and utterly hose you on cost. It would be easy enough to have a solid spruce tele body made by any one of a number of vendors for a fraction of that cost.


    Last edited by Hammertone; 09-16-2019 at 02:13 AM.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Ellis View Post
    For the past few years, all the Teles I've built for my own use have been chambered to reduce weight (I'm old!!) Most have been hollowed out mahogany bodies with 1/4" maple cap. Pickups are pretty much standard Tele with the occasional Bill Lawrence or Duncan. I leave a 4" wide solid center with both sides being routed out. Lately, I've been fighting to get a decent tone and I don't know if it's caused by the chambering or not. Actually the best sounding Tele I ever built was made out of a solid southern yellow pine 2x8 from home depot with a maple cap but it was heavy so I quit using it. Anybody else using chambered solid bodies have this problem or is it just me? I can't seem to get a true 'Tele' sound out of the bridge pickup and the neck pickup tone is .......meh. I'm starting to think it's because I'm trying to get Fender tone out of an Evans RE200 amp and my DV Mark Micro doesn't seem much better. I guess I should take the guitar to a big box store and try a Fender amp but, again, tube amps are HEAVY and I'd rather stay under 30 pounds for something I can gig with. Any suggestions?
    I think you should try out a Fender amp at a store.
    You dont have to buy it, and then you´ll find out, before buying wrong things.
    Uffe Steen Music: http://www.uffe-steen.dk

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by mad dog View Post
    Ruger: Mine was one of only two such guitars I know of. The other being the guitar used by "Twangy Guitar" on a series of youtube videos. Apparently Chandler had real trouble producing these. The spruce tops were thin ... they ended up with a lot of warpage and returns. Anyway, I lucked into it. Mine had Don Mare p/us, the "Nancy" set. It sounded so good in the neck position, I never moved the p/u selector. Had this crisp edge to the sound at higher volumes. Would feed back. The body was ash, heavily chambered. So a bit different than Mr. Lang's tele.
    I have to correct myself:

    Lang's tele was a THINLINE, so it WAS chambered.... spruce body, maple cap, thinline.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone View Post


    The Brad Paisley Telecaster has a body made with a spruce/Paulownia/spruce tonewood sandwich. Lightweight, sounds great, IMO:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TeleBPRWSSP--fender-brad-paisley-road-worn-telecaster-silver-sparkle

    Fender did a Limited Edition Tele with a solid old-growth redwood body - these are pretty (*&^%$ cool, IMO:
    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Fen1015RedWTel--fender-limited-edition-american-vintage-hot-rod-50s-tele-natural-reclaimed-redwood

    I'm sure Fender's Custom Shop would be happy to build one for you and utterly hose you on cost. It would be easy enough to have a solid spruce tele body made by any one of a number of vendors for a fraction of that cost.


    I've played the Paisley tele (silver sparkle). Not only does it sound GREAT, that neck FEELS GREAT. If it had 22 frets, I would have bought one. That's just one of my "things" at this point... if it doesn't have 22 frets, I pass (this does not apply to archtops). I use the 22nd often enough.

  17. #16

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    I have a Warmoth chambered strat I built last year. The body is chambered alder that weights 3 pounds. So aside from the chambering, it has a particularly light alder wood to begin with. I have mixed feelings about the tone. Compared to my American standard strat, it's much brighter and lacks body. It has a more airy round attack which is welcome but the tone overall isn't complete winner. I swapped necks between the strats to eliminate the neck factor. It did improve matters a bit (neck seems to have contributed to the brightness), but a lot of the characteristics of both guitars remained.
    I don't know if it's the chambering or the extra light and porous alder body, but the result was a bit disappointing. May be it could use a rosewood neck (current necks of both guitars are maple). I installed heavy flats and use it as a substitute jazz guitar. Works fine for that.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruger9 View Post
    I've played the Paisley tele (silver sparkle). Not only does it sound GREAT, that neck FEELS GREAT.
    Looks kinda gross though! Tinfoil guitar ...

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by pcjazz View Post
    Looks kinda gross though! Tinfoil guitar ...
    I wouldn't mind the silver sparkle, except for:

    -it's rough. you can FEEL the sparkles. I'd prefer a heavy smooth gloss.

    -the relicing job is a joke, looks terrible.

  20. #19

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    So following up on putting the Bill Lawrence L280TN pickup into the neck position of my chambered Telecaster, I have to say that it is astonishingly good. It is better in this guitar than the Biltoft HCC and the Stew-Mac Golden Age which preceded it. Somehow the pickup manages to have a very wide and seemingly linear response to the strings with warm mids and bass and yet a clear top end do which is not harsh or strident in anyway. IIRC there is a 500K volume pot and possibly a 250k tone pot with a .033 cap. With all controls full up it's big, warm and clear; with the tone backed off about 40% it thickens up nicely. It gets a bit muffled after 60% rolled off but nowhere near as much as the PAF style humbucker- more like the HCC in that regard. Response to pick dynamics is amazing. I have not liked any pick up in this guitar as much as I like this one. It is mounted using a humbucker-size adapter plate with a Tele neck pickup sized cutout. As for hum, dead silent.

    Bill Lawrence/Wilde pickups seem largely to be the province of metal and shred players but if this pickup is any representative of their products there is a lot of scope for fine jazz sounds. Now I'm wondering what the L90 sounds like. I have a Strat partscaster which has a single coil in the neck position and humbuckers in the middle and bridge positions (inspired by Jerry Garcia's Tiger, without the OBEL and buffer because I didn't know about those in 1989), which currently has Seymour Duncan pick ups (JBJ and DDJ) in there. I've never been completely happy with the sound of the humbuckers in that guitar and the noisiness of the Quarter Pound neck pickup is annoying too.

    And now I want to put together a Tele partscaster with the Micro Coil pickups. The demos I've heard of those seem really nice.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  21. #20

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    Oh, and amps- Polytone Baby Taurus. Just an amazing jazz tone machine. I didn't like it with the Tele with the PAF style humbucker, but with the Lawrence L-280TN and also a Dimarzio True Velvet it is amazing. Also with the Biltoft HCC floater on my archtop. But not with PAF style pickups on my guitars.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  22. #21

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    Fender Champion 40 19 lbs. 1x 12 or 100 weigh 41 lbs 2x 12 they will give you a clean fender sound like a black face or tweed.

  23. #22

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    Instead of trying new amps you could try adding a tube preamp like the Effectrode Blackbird to your setup. Not sure if it will take you all the way to Fender tone heaven but it should improve your tone very noticeably and add some great tonal options.

    Blackbird Vacuum Tube Preamp - Effectrode