|Awesome Guitars TCP-T2 Telecaster Control Plate
Summary: Want to expand the tonal possibilities of your Tele? This solderless control plate assembly will give you six distinct tones.Pros: Undoubtedly, the pros here are that you’re going to get tones that you’ve never heard from your Tele.
Cons: Not quite as easy to install as advertised – but what is? One of the bridge settings created a far too thin and reedy tone for my liking. As there were no instructions to be found as to what switch does what, it took awhile to figure out the different switch settings (though note that the wiring diagrams are all available online).
Features – Check out the link above…
Price: $127.97 direct
Tone Bone Score: 4.5 ~ Though I didn’t like that one setting for the bridge pickup, I do like the fact that I have a couple more very usable tones for my Tele.
I’m pretty wary of hyperbole, especially when it comes from a manufacturer. So when Awesome Guitars contacted me about their products, I was a little dubious, especially since the original email read like an Adam St. James guitar lessons spam. It’s not that I doubted what their Tone MultiplierTM could do, it was the delivery that made me a bit wary. But having an open mind, I replied to see if they’d send me a control panel replacement unit for my CV Tele. I got a very quick reply saying they’d send one right away. That was about six weeks ago. Due to vacation, and leading a busy life in general, I didn’t get the unit installed until recently, but since then, I’ve been messing around with my Tele a lot, and have played it in a couple of gigs.
So what’s the verdict? The manufacturer’s claims of the products being life-changing aside, this is a solid product, and something that I’ve been able to put to use. To be fair though, the unit I tested will only give you 6 different tones. But with dual humbuckers, the other products they offer will give you up to 68 different tones! Pretty amazing stuff.
Ease of Use
Okay… so you lose the sliding 3-position switch, which is replaced by three mini-toggles. On the surface, that might seem to be a burden, but once you’ve played around with the system, it’s fairly easy to get to the tones you want. Even without the instructions, I was able to figure out the functions of the switches relatively easily, and was up and running- and gigging – in a matter of an hour. By the end of the gig, I knew where I wanted the switches. Admittedly, it will take a little more time to switch on the fly during a song, but I was still able to do it pretty easily, if not completely cleanly.
How It Sounds
Sounds like my Tele, but with a couple of more very usable tones. I wish I had the instructions that charted what switch does what, so I could tell if the pickups were in or out of phase or serial or parallel when both are on, but I did manage to figure out the two different sounds for each different pickup combinations. In a way, I’m sort of glad I didn’t have the instructions because it forced me to explore what tones worked for me, which is probably more important than the actual knowledge of each switch configuration. That would probably be a different story if I installed the six-switch model on a dual-humbucker guitar. For that, I’d want to know what each switch is doing.
In any case, here are six versions of the same phrase with each different configuration:
With both pickups on, and switching between parallel and serial configuration (mind you, I still don’t which is serial or parallel), the tonal difference is extremely subtle, and admittedly the recordings didn’t seem to capture that, but suffice it to say that I heard a difference; but also, and more importantly, the dynamics were different. Bridge 1 setting was pretty thin – too thin for my liking, but I my favorite is Bridge 2, which gives me the full power of my bridge pickup, which I love for playing leads.
At least to me, this upgrade isn’t life-altering, but it does expand the tonal palette of my Tele, and that’s a great thing, and who knows, I may find a use for the thin tone of the Bridge 1 setting. With the Neck 2 setting, I get a similar sound to the neck/middle setting of a Strat, which is jangly. I dig that sound for playing finger-style rhythm. So all in all, I’m pretty satisfied with this unit.
As for the lack of instructions, as I mentioned that’s not a bad thing, necessarily – at least the wiring diagrams were online. The site does mention that two of the switches control the pickups, the other switch controls whether the pickups are in parallel or serial. But which two and which one? 🙂 Doesn’t matter because it was easy to figure out.