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Thread: Telecaster Pickups again.

  1. #1
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    Telecaster Pickups again.

    Sorry. I'm sure there has been more than enough discussion about this already but I'm a little stumped non the less.
    I have a Mexican Nashville Telecaster, ash body?, rosewood neck, with what I assume are the original pickups. I'm playing through either a Blues Deluxe or a '59 Bassman reissue. Compared to my ash Strat with maple neck and Texas specials I find my Tele dark and characterless. I'm assuming a pickup upgrade might get me some more spank.
    I've been exploring the Seymour Duncan site which was really thoughtfully setup. Each pickup has sound samples, clean, with some dirt, with more dirt, with and without the backing band track. The guy plays exactly the same parts very time. Now that is the way to be able to truly compare pickups. All the variables besides the pickup are eliminated. Unfortunately I think they just updated the site and there are now a few glitches with some of the sound samples. In any case with good speakers or ear phones you can AB and C, or more, pickups and split hairs until your eyes cross.

    Having done that I've narrowed my list of the Seymour Duncan offerings.

    Why can't Fender do something similar? They have some products posted with pictures of the packaging which sometimes include the graphic illustrating the relative balance of high, mid and low end tones. BUT they don't have that for every pickup. And they can post as many DC resistance/output numbers as they like. It doesn't making things any clearer.

    Yes, there is a question coming. Does anyone have anything to say about the Fender Vintage '64s, Vintage '58s, Black Guards, '51 No Casters and how 5they might compare?

    I realize that Fender has some Youtube videos but unless they guy is playing the same stuff with the same amp set up and the same pickup position what's the point?

    In any case if anyone has any words of wisdom on this I would appreciate it. Just trying to figure out which pickups are going to give me the most classic Tele twang.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    It's a good question, A. T. And, I'm probably just as in the dark as you. A few years ago, I was thinking of replacing the pickup on my little Pignose PGG-200 Deluxe because the sound was just so freakin' awful. But, it's not meant to be a gigging guitar -- it's a travel guitar. And a lackluster one, at that (I've since replaced it with a KLŌS guitar, but I digress). I visited the Seymour Duncan site and was considering the Lace Sensor Red, but then decided against it.

    The truth of the matter is that I'm not a tinkerer. I buy and play guitars that sound "right" straight out of the case. Oh, I've bought some sight unseen, but usually depend on the description to guide me. And honestly, I'm not sure I have ears that are discerning enough to be able to distinguish one component to the next. I do find that when I pick up an electric and plug it in, I usually spend a minute or two setting the amp's dials to where I like the sound (and even though I have a tube amp, I also like the solid-state combo amps, with all the models built in). In essence, I turn the "flavor" over to the amp and use the guitar knobs for just some color.

    So why am I answering a post for which I am completely unqualified to do? Because your question -- perhaps rhetorical more than anything else -- made me immediately think that the last person to think about pickups and the entire guitar "package" at Fender might have been Leo himself! I have seven Fender guitars (four Strats, three Teles), and two G&Ls (a Tribute Legacy [Strat] and an ASAT Junior II [Tele]). While every one of them is a terrific guitar, I personally feel that more thought was put into the G&L pickups (e.g., Paul Gagnon designed P90s on the ASAT) and marrying them to the instrument. My feeling is that Fender is in the business of mass-producing guitars, and their plentiful combinations of SSS, HSS, HHS and all the myriad combinations are meant to put guitars on the shipping trucks and let the Guitar Centers of the world sell them.

    I apologize for being wordy. It's strictly my opinion, of course. YMMV.

  3. #3
    Forum Member phantomman's Avatar
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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    I recommend Fender's Tex-Mex Tele set (or the Twisted Tele set if you can find one) and a bridge pickup from Fender's Fat 50's Strat set for your middle pickup.
    "When injustice becomes law then rebellion becomes duty."

  4. #4
    Forum Member jrgtr42's Avatar
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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    Quote Originally Posted by phantomman View Post
    I recommend Fender's Tex-Mex Tele set (or the Twisted Tele set if you can find one) and a bridge pickup from Fender's Fat 50's Strat set for your middle pickup.
    IIRC the Tex-Mex set is what came in the Nashville Tele stock.
    I have a Mexi standard, and put in the Custom Shop Texas Specials. They were good - it was a difference from the stock, but it wasn't great.
    Then I finally got around to doing the rest of the electronics- I installed a 4-way switch that came with replacement pots - now THAT was a massive improvement.
    So to the OP, I would recommend replacing the pots before the pickups, see if that makes a difference. Maybe with a different value, or just better quality ones.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    A buddy of mine let me borrow his '64 RI tele a couple yrs ago, & I was knocked out by the guitar. When it came time to build my own (w/a curved fingerboard, no less) I opted for a set of the Pure Vintage '64 p'ups. Lots of chime & spank. I'd like to try the '58s, but I'm kind of stuck on the '64s

  6. #6
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    Cogs - what do you mean by a curved fingerboard?
    "Live and learn and flip the burns"

  7. #7
    Forum Member OldStrummer's Avatar
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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    "Scalloped?"

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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    Sorry guys, been out of town this weekend. A "curved" board probably isn't the right term, but what I mean is the type of construction you saw in late-'62 onward. Instead of the "slab" rosewood fingerboards, Fender would put a radius on the neck AND the fingerboard.
    I'll try to find a photo online

  9. #9
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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    "Round lam" fingerboard (Jaguar):

    "Slab" fingerboard:

  10. #10
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    Re: Telecaster Pickups again.

    The Tex Mex neck pickup can sound dark or dull. My Road Worn tele had those pickups. The bridge pickup does not have a plate. But I liked it for
    it's tone when pushed hard.

    I ended up getting a matched set from Budz. His Danocaster set.

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