Le Tekro Made Too Much Mids Sound Good

January 18, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

LeTekro_Ronni_young_1Part 1

Does this sound like a recipe for good rock tone (or even a usable tone) to you:

> Mismatched pickups, at least one of which was installed wrong
> Boss pedals (plural) – modified and stock – to accentuate mids
> Marshall JMP head modded for less gain in the preamp stage and more mids

Hardly standard-issue stuff for good rock tone. Yet this is basically what Ronni Letekro of TNT did to achieve his signature tone, which melded with his unique machine-gun style to make his playing memorable.

Here’s more detail, culled from various websites including:

> ronniletekro.com, Ronni’s offical website

> rig-talk.com

> harmony-central.com

> dinosaurrockguitar.com (here and here)

> unofficial Ronnie Le Tekro

[This post’s for you, Ray!]


Ronni’s main guitar back in the day was a black ’71 Fender Strat, the one with the big checkered flag decal (not paint). It had an alder body, which IMO has a slight midrange hump, and maple neck with scalloped frets from the 17th fret on up. The neck was bolted on with 4 screws instead of 3 like Fender used in the ’70s.

The guitar had (might still have? a Seymour Duncan “Custom” pickup by the bridge, and an Italian Magnetics pickup in the neck position. A couple things about these pickups:

> No one’s sure whether “Custom” means custom-wound, Custom (Alnico 5 magnet) or Custom Custom (A2 mag), but taken at face value it would seem to be the Custom.

> The Magnetics pickup was an active pickup, apparently installed incorrectly. The following was posted by a user on dinosaurrockguitar: “A few months back I emailed the owner of Magnetics and he told me which pickup Ronni had used: ‘Ronni used a Magnetics SDA [single coil sized, stacked bar, A5 mag] active pickup [but presumably wired] standard passive. He used it using wrong potentiometers (active needs 25K pots, passive 250k), causing an impedance mismatch between passive and active units, but he said the sound was right for his purposes. He also installed it by himself, so I can’t tell you exactly what he did, but when I met him he was really happy about results.”

I think that means the active pickup was wired to the 250K pot like a passive pickup. Either way, something was F-ed up – but it worked for him, and sounded good! (Now Ronni may prefer a EMG-SAs in the neck position.)

The guitar had/has a Rockinger tremolo (Rockinger still exists but I don’t think that trem is made anymore) and Schaller tuners.

A user, I think by the name of Chubtone (sorry, lots of notes for this one), said the following: “I have touched but never played Ronni’s black guitar and that white Kramer he had. I have never, ever, seen action that high. Literally, at the 15th fret you could drop a pencil between the string and the fretboard and it would fall right through.”


> Ronnie has said he prefers older (’80s) Duncan Customs.

> Ronnie likes 9-gauge strings, either Fender XLs or Super Bullets.

Part 2 coming Thursday!

Category: Fender, Magnetics pickups, Ronni Le Tekro/TNT, Seymour Duncan, Strat

Comments (3)

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  1. RAY S. says:

    What can I say? Ronni rocks! Supposedly Ozzy has a portrait of him hanging alongside Jimi Hendrix and of course, Randy Rhoads. When I first heard that E string on the song 10,000 Lovers (In One) opening riff, I knew I just heard magic tone!

    Thanks, Jay!

  2. Björn Broke says:

    Should be noted: the Duncan Custom is CERAMIC.

    A5 magnet in a Custom (called Custom5) was not put into production until 2000s when a magnet swapping buzz was created by sd web forum members modding their SD Customs.

  3. ITheFight says:

    I have noticed over the years that sometimes if you want better tone, all you have to do is raise the action on your guitar fretboard and you get that awesome Eddie Van Halen tone.

    Almost a secret.

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