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Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #1 

Does anyone know how high/low ted's telecaster's action general was at ?
Especially at the 1st fret near the nut.

And is it true that Ted seldomly uses bends?



Posts: 98
Reply with quote  #2 
I would love to start a thread on how Ted setup his Tele's?...I remember very low action and thick strings...he did have some techniques that he use to teach his students on setting up their guitars...I'd love to see that documented



Posts: 251
Reply with quote  #3 
 I remember Ted showing me a new 52 reissue tele that he had just gotten back from James Tyler for a set up etc. He was enthusiastic about this guitar. I got a chance to play it and remember Ted's comments about it. As I recall he had it set up with a 12 on top (I'm not sure about the other gauges but it was a very balanced set with a plain G. He said that it was set up to be tuned to concert pitch but could go down a half step without any problems or adjustments. He had the frets replaced with larger but not huge frets and noted that Tyler did excellent fret work.  The fingerboard was sanded a bit (but not replaned) so the finish would be less glossy and wear through quickly as he played it. The nut was cut very low as he explained he used a light touch and felt the feel and intonation on the lower frets was better with a low nut. The action in general was very low and he explained that with heavier strings we could get away with a much lower action if we used a light touch. He also mentioned that low action on a 7.5 radius was a problem if you did a lot of bending but that wasn't what he was going for. He then demonstrated how if he hit it hard it would buzz but with his regular touch is was very clear and singing. He also explained that although he had experimented a great deal with added pickups and wiring schemes  etc. he was leaving this one as it was, except for changing to the "modern wiring" setup that we all prefer. I would imagine that this guitar remained in Ted's rotation over the years but I'm not sure.
 Hope that is helpful or at least interesting for some of you. It sure made a huge impact on me at the time and as a result of playing that guitar and hearing Teds perspective I have generally kept to that basic set up for my guitars.
 The one thing I don't recall is whether he changed the bridge to a more modern six individual saddle type. (I suspect that he did) I have come to prefer the brass barrells and am very happy now that there are a few companies making replacements that allow perfect intonation (I prefer Glendales)

Any body else have any similar conversations about setup etc.? I'm sure there is a wealth of info floating around.


Posts: 63
Reply with quote  #4 
More for the legend of Ted.  As I have mentioned before, I believe Ted was a genius, and the kindest man I've ever known.  He was my dearest friend, best uncle to my dogs and kids.  But, his main job and requirement of our friendship was that he was my guitar tech.  I gave him all my guitars to set-up.  (What else was he to do in his down time.)   He could somehow get the strings to sit right on the frets; it was unbelievable.

LOL when I heard "bends".  Did that mean "string bends"?  He could take a 16 on the high E and push it off the neck.  He would have won Gold Medals if string bending was in the Olympics.  "Ted, Ted, stop please your going to break my guitar!"  I gets real ugly looking when you bend an "A" up an octave.

I've had two Malamute, and contrary to legend they can bark, but what's the point.  Ted could bend strings, but...why?


Posts: 1,769
Reply with quote  #5 
Tim, thanks for the note about the '52 Tele reissue.  I've never owned a Tele, and have been toying around with getting one, but not sure which year or issue to get.  I know that the old '52s are legendary, but didn't know if the reissues measured up.  And what about the other Tele reissues... I'm confused already!  If I knew that Ted liked the '52 reissue, that would give me reason enough to seriously check them out.


Posts: 121
Reply with quote  #6 
I believe that Fender used one or more of Ted's Teles when they did the reissue, and he was involved in that development.  Here's the thing, though.  I suspect he approved of the final product, but if you had a stable of 50's model Teles, would you even WANT to play the reissue?  I have one and I am more than satisfied with it (though I do like the Nocaster neck better and hope to change that as finances allow).  I have a Deluxe as well, but the reissue is just so sweet.  Mike Lull did my setup and PLEK'ed the thing, and I am almost satisfied.  I want to work just a bit less (lower action), so that is the direction that I'll head now.  If you're looking at a reissue, I would say that if it is anything like mine, you'll be happy.  When I play mine, the body has this great resonance against my chest, like it is a tuning fork.  It also has pretty clear acoustic tone.  (I've been informed by my teacher the above T. Lerch, that I'll never develop my tone if I keep playing the thing like an acoustic guitar, so I've been plugging it in of late.)  Don't know if this helps, but thought I'd give an opinion.


Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #7 

Thanks TLerch for the indepth details of that setup.

I always had this impression that Ted's action was medium or higher, since he uses his flesh to play (softer volume) and from the videos it _seems_ like he plucked the strings rather hard.
Coupled with reading from various places that higher action equals better tone, which I find is true at least when playing unplugged since you can move the top more by plucking harder.

All these "ideas" coming from an acoustic experience, since I've mainly been playing on a nylon classical guitar.

In fact I happen to have a Epiphone Emperor (which I bought at the end of 2007) setup similarly by a local luthier, which I was kinda upset about, since I kinda liked the acoustic tone but it would buzz on frets 2 or 3 on the g,b,e strings if I played just a tad bit harder.

And I was without an amp until very recently, my first amp the VOX Pathfinder 15R was sold since it has this annoying very high pitch whine on and off, which I unfortunately can hear.
Anyway, so with my new (2nd) amp I've been playing electrically just a bit more, and notice it's quite a different "instrument/playing" concept with regards to tone and volume(heavy plucking/picking), reinforcing markjens opinion about having to play the electric guitar, plugged in.

I was able to get a tone approximating Ted's on my Strat-like guitar (Yamaha Pacifica 112J, 5 springs to do a "trem-block"), the secret is to play with the meat instead of nails, great tone meaty/jazz tone even with the guitar's volume and tone pot at full. Was using 11s flat chrome from D'Addrios. The action is high as hell though... compared to my properly setup archtop.

As a side question, what's an average setup (truss rod,nut height, intonation, action/bridge height) cost in the states?

Posts: 1
Reply with quote  #8 
Played Ted’s 52 Teli . Purchased a reissue (from Ted’s original). John Carrurhers set it up on Ted’s recommendation with compensating saddles and 3 position wiring. I still don’t sound like Ted
The world is less kind without Ted in it.
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