Duncan Lil '59

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Swan Song, Jan 22, 2008.


  1. Swan Song

    Swan Song Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    I'm a longtime (15 yearsish) acoustic guitar player who has just recently taken up the electric guitar. I bought a used Highway One Tele off of craigslist for $400 to help get me started. The Tele came with a Duncan Hotrails in the bridge position and I like the versatility it gives me, but I feel like the pickup is just a little thin sounding. Does anybody here know anything about the Duncan Lil '59? I know that it's not entirely reasonable for me to think that my Tele is ever going to sound like a Les Paul, but that's definitely more of the type of sound I'm after.

    Here's what my current chain looks like.

    Tele --> Keeley modded Sparkle Drive --> Ernie Ball VP Jr. --> Boss DD-20 --> Fender Blues Jr. (tweed model with Jensen 12").

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,647
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    I have a 59 in my partscaster as well. Highway 1 body I stripped and spraypainted. Allparts fat neck.

    I changed the pots to 500k, added a vintage .025 cap. VERY fat sounding. Played it at a jam with friends last week (I brought an LP to play some harder rock but never opened the case) and it sounded phenominal.

    You will need to adjust the height/polepieces to get the best sound.


    [​IMG]
     
  3. Swan Song

    Swan Song Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Thanks for the input Johnny! Tell me more about the 500k pots you installed. Who manufactures them and what (in theory) do they do for your tone. Also, is that a vintage tele bridge/saddles you have installed?

    -jordan
     
  4. Stormin

    Stormin Supporting Member

    Messages:
    3,460
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Location:
    Raleigh-wood, NC
    I've had a love/hate with the Tele Lil '59 for years now. It's a decent pickup, but the Strat version (in a Strat) is sooo much better. That being said, I bought a Harmonic Design Super-90 for Tele bridge some years ago and never looked back. It is definately the last word in rocking Tele pickups and worth every penny.

    My Tele definately sounds like a Les Paul (at least one with P90's).

    YMMV,

    Stormin!
     
  5. rdnzl

    rdnzl Member

    Messages:
    1,013
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    :jo

    The KNOBS!!!!!!
     
  6. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,647
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    The pots are CTS 500k audio taper pots. They let more high end through than the 250k, and the 59 definitely needs it, as it is a fairly dark pickup (compared to single coils).

    Thats a $12 Fender replacement vintage bridge with (IIRC) Allparts brass saddles, aged by me.
     
  7. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,647
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    What, you don't like that?:D

    I took that pic before I found a set I liked. I only had split shaft pots, so the Tele knobs would not go back on. They kinda fit the personality of the guitar (bunch of parts thrown together, but WORKS).

    It now sports a pair of aged, black Strat knobs.:AOK
     
  8. shallbe

    shallbe Deputy Plankspanker Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    10,065
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Gulf Coast, AL
    In a Tele, I think that is a horrible, dreadful pickup. It is too dark, doesn not sound like a vintage humbucker. I can't express how dissapointed I was in that product, so much so that I have never bought another Duncan pickup.

    The Harmonic Design Super 90 is SO much better. As are any of the Dimarzio VV Hot T, Chopper or Fast Track for Tele.
     
  9. Swan Song

    Swan Song Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    To be honest, I'm actually looking for something a bit dark. Certainly darker than the hotrails I'm currently using. If those 500k pots that Johnny mentioned give it a bit more high end, that might be a nice versatile combination.

    Johnny, just so I can understand (I'm a total amateur), are you using two of the same 500k pots for the volume and the tone or are they different?
     
  10. HEAVENandHELL

    HEAVENandHELL Member

    Messages:
    458
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2007
    Location:
    McCordsville
    I put a Lil'59 in my USA tele. Now I use that guitar in a cover band for anything from 60's music to modern rock. That pickup definitely made my tele usable in the bands I've played in. (lot's of rock)
     
  11. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

    Messages:
    19,339
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    upyerasskickinfootballs
    HD Super 90 in mine as well.

    It's like a cross of a Tele and a LP Jr.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Johnnytone

    Johnnytone Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,647
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Yes, they are the same.
     
  13. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Member

    Messages:
    16,119
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2007
    Location:
    North Myrtle Beach, SC
    I'm in need of a humbucker guitar, but I don't have the cash on hand for an entirely new axe. I do have a partscaster tele that I'm working on and I'm not happy with the electronics. Do you feel an upgrade to the internals (cheap assed dime sized pots in there currently) and a Harmonic Designs Super 90 might be the ticket? I also dislike and LP or SG shapes, so a TELE with humbuckers (or pups that sounds like humbuckers) would be huge
     
  14. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

    Messages:
    14,594
    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2005
    The lil 59 in a tele rocks. It's fat and chunky but not muddy. I used mine with a 250K. I got comments like- man, that thing sounds like a Les Paul. Did not care for the lil59 in a strat. It seemed sort've anemic.
     
  15. Swan Song

    Swan Song Member

    Messages:
    20
    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2007
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Quick update to this thread. I just recently ordered and installed an RS Guitarworks "Vintage" electronics upgrade kit. It was the best $50ish I've ever spent. My old beat up Highway One sounds so much fuller than ever before. I have amazing clarity of tone and I maintain great string definition at all volume levels. The guitar sounds like a totally different guitar...in a good way! I would highly recommend these kits!

    Also, I had ordered last week a new Dunan Quarter Pound rhythm pickup, my hope is that this will add a nice finishing touch to this guitar by giving me a little hotter output on in the neck position to help match the output of the hot rails in the bridge position. I'll post back once I've had a chance to install and test it.
     
  16. serial

    serial Member

    Messages:
    2,263
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2003
    Location:
    Central Pennsyltucky
    I too found the Lil '59 awful in three Telecasters (it came in my '78 Custom and I installed it in two different AVRI 62 Customs). HATED it. I was also looking for a fatter pickup to gig with and the Lil '59 was anything but. Very blocky for lack of a better term. The pickup I found that covered all of the bases was a GFS Hot Puncher for Teles. Cleans up great, is quiet, fat and can get big, full and dirty like a real humbucker. Cheap too. I now have that in all three of my Teles and it's going in a Tele I'm putting together now. Great gigging pickup.
     
  17. PosterBoy

    PosterBoy Member

    Messages:
    3,047
    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2007
    Location:
    Galway, Ireland
    I didn't like the lil '59 either, I was so glad to get it out of my guitar, I got a set of Bare knuckle Piledrivers installed and now the guitar rocks.
     

Share This Page