Hi, i have a cheap stock Tele copy(Plays well and sounds great).I had every intention of going for the "T-riffic" mod, but that was until I was talking to a friend of mine who has a fender Esquire(seemingly the only one in Ireland). I have yet to try out this guitar, but he assures me that each of the tones from the 3 way selector switch are very good, very different to each other and very unique.(He would be someone who's opinion I would value)
The strange thing about this guitar is that there is only one PUP. It's situated at the bridge:
there's one position that bypasses the tone, one that engages the tone and the third that just has a cap between the PUP and the o/p.
I believe this one to be pre 50s, i have an open invitation to play it(I even had an invitation to look under the hoods!). If the esquire is a tonal system that I like, my thinking would be T-riffic mod via a superswitch, and an esquire mod via push pull switches.
I do have an evaluation to do on the acoustic section but after that I'll give this project a lot of energy.
Again any thoughts on the subject would be warmly welcomed
Last Edit: Nov 26, 2009 8:28:56 GMT -5 by treguiers
It's not "pre-50's", since the Esquire-style guitar was introduced by Fender in 1950. But if your friend has one of the originals in good shape, he does realize (I hope) the value of this? Last one I saw on Ebay was going for about 30K USD- and that was a later model, a '53 I think.
I wouldn't make him let you "look under the hood". There's no mysteries inside, and you can find plenty of wiring diagrams and photos on the web. If he strips a screw taking the guard off, it might hurt the value . . .
Tonally, the Esquire system is one of those "you either love it or you hate it" things. It's rooted in history. The standard setting, with the bridge (only) pickup through the V & T controls, sounds just like a Tele in the bridge position (assuming pickups are the same).
The position that bypasses the tone control was a consequence of the low-output tube amps of the time- meant to give a boost in output by unloading the pup a bit. It can be flipped to for soloing, but nowadays most players would use a volume pedal or footswitch for soloing anyway. It's a bit brighter in addition to the higher output.
The "bled through a big 'ol cap" position was Leo's attempt to market the guitar to Jazz players- it drops the output and darkens the sound a bit, for a mellower Jazz feel. The idea didn't sell to Jazz guys, they kept right on buying hollow-bodies, and still do to this day. Fender's solid bodies in the '50s were mostly sold to Country and Western players (this was before R&R, remember), they wanted the twang and mostly hated the cap position.
You can, of course, experiment with cap values to alter the sound in that position.
I frankly don't see much value in using a switch to switch a guitar from a Tele scheme to an Esquire scheme. The one position you'll already have anyway (bridge only), and if you really like the "tone bypass" position and/or the cap position, these things can be incorporated into the Tele scheme to work with both pickups, rather than having an "Esquire mode" switch.
The real reason for the popularity of the Esquire (IMHO) lies in its simplicity and clean looks. Once you add a second pickup, it's a Tele no matter what it sounds like.
Personally, I like single pickup guitars for their clean looks and simplicity. I have a single pup Strat (see Avatar), wired very simply with a push/pull on the Volume to give it's bridge HB in series or parallel. I also have an "Esquire-ish" one that I built using a dual-rails type HB; the 3-way switch gives series/parallel/coil cut. I like it because it's considerably lighter than my Tele (lighter body as well as fewer electronics). I may rewire it in the future, however, as the coil cut position on the tiny dual-rail coil doesn't really sound a whole lot different than both coils in parallel- just lower output but the same tone. Coil cuts work better with higher-output pups anyway.
So, mine's not really an "Esquire" unless you call any single-pup Tele-style guitar an "Esquire". I call it my "E-type".
It looks like you can work a chisel as well as a soldering iron (and a spray can for that matter!)
Can't claim any credit there- it was a pre-finished body!
You might want to peruse the TDPRI forums (there's a link on our links page- it's an all-Tele forum). If you search" Esquire wiring" you'll undoubtedly get lots of opinions and modding schemes- doing something else with the cap position is a popular Esquire mod!
I can't think of anything recorded with the cap position off the top of my head- with a Tele-style guitar, it's mostly about the twang.