Help me replace my Fender Noiseless pickups in my tele

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by amdowell, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. amdowell

    amdowell Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    I have a newer Fender Nashville Deluxe telecaster with noiseless pickups. Honestly, I enjoy the sound, but am considering something with more character and less average sounding.

    I play country and rock through a Mesa Electra Dyne. I’d like to retain all the things that make it sound like a telecaster, but a little beefier with some mojo.

    I was researching the Piledrivers from Bare Knuckle, but I think those might be too hot and farther away from my goal. I’ve also read about some Fralin and Porter pickups that impart a kind of P-90 sound. That’s intriguing, but I still want it to give up the tele goods, too.

    Any suggestions?
  2. p.j.

    p.j. Member

    Dec 28, 2009
    New England
    I have Bardens in my '92 Am. Std. Tele for over 20 years now and have never even thought about any other pickups. They might be worth checking out?
    SG-Slinger likes this.
  3. Humble Texan Fan

    Humble Texan Fan Member

    Oct 20, 2015
    Scandinavian as in 'dynamite'
    Just how vintage do you wish to go? I tend to favour softer/ earlier style alnicos myself.
  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Member

    Jan 13, 2016

    Have you experimented with dropping the pickups as low as they go (level with pickguard/trim ring)? If not try that out for a few days.

    Swap the tone cap for a smaller uF (if 0.05uF now, go with 0.02 or 0.01uF). Test out for a few days.

    Measure volume pot kohms and find one at the higher (for brighter) or lower (for darker) end of the spec range. Test out for a few days.

    Have you tried any series pickup switching? Test out for a few days.
    1-A push/pull tone pot could give you say the middle and bridge in series humbucking mode so you can sound more like a Les Paul for rock. This is an under $10 mod.
    2-I'd disconnect the pickups from the switch (take a picture or put tape and number each wire if you want) so it's easy to replace any time you want to go back. Get a new control plate with new pots and switch and wire it with the Armstrong Blender (this is what I use on Strats), may want a stacked tone knob rather than vol/tone/blender separate. Then try that out. It allows blending from stock SSS into HSH -- and blending allows 'a little thicker character' or to thin back an overly aggressive humbucker drive rather than hard switching from one end to the other. Maybe a $30 mod. If you need Neck+Bridge option, then swap neck and middle hot wires at the switch from what the typical wiring is, you gain neck+bridge but give up the #4 quack position, works like a 3-way switch with two extra middle pickup options at one end of the switch.
    3-Again, disconnect pickups from the stock control plate and build up a second control plate with the Brent Mason Tele circuit. Maybe a $20 mod.
    Any of these control plate swaps you can build up, test, set aside, build up another. If you get clever you can find some wire connectors used by the RC car racers so you can plug-n-play whatever you build up.

    Only after all that would I swap pickups. Because the pots and caps push around the output as much as the pickups -- they are a system. I've fixed some flippers into keepers by just swapping a nickel capacitor rather than a $200 set of boutique pickups...

    MLaVache likes this.
  5. SG-Slinger

    SG-Slinger Member

    May 15, 2011
    Joe Barden pickups
    p.j. likes this.
  6. helrazr84

    helrazr84 Member

    Aug 18, 2013
    York, PA
    Funny you post this as I have a Tele with noiseless pickups and I too thought they sounded OK, nothing special, but there's just something generic about them overall.

    I have a set of Duncans at home I just ordered along with a new bridge plate and wiring harness, the full 9 yards. I went with a SD Jerry Donahue and SD Vintage tone stack for the neck position. Like you I wanted something a little more stout but still has the Tele sound. From what I read- the JDs are supposed to fit the bill.. we shall see. This is my weekend project.

    My other choice would be Bardens. I've played a few teles with them in and they've all been great.
    amdowell likes this.
  7. ChampReverb

    ChampReverb Silver Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2007
    Slightly west of Boston
    The TV Jones Starwood Tele set is really nice.

    They’re richer and fuller sounding than the other more regular Tele pickup sets (Fender, Bill Lawrence, Harmonic Design, Amalfitano) that I’ve tried but they still twang like a Tele.

    They’re made with DeArmond-style pickup magnets.

    The neck pickup is amazing in that you can get very usable sounds at *all* Tone control settings ...unlike most Tele neck pickups which seem to sound fairly muddy.

    Order a set with a lifted ground if you want to wire it for a 4-way switch.

    -bEn r.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
    Daniel Jaquith likes this.
  8. Tzirfigu

    Tzirfigu Member

    Aug 21, 2012
    Im no expert but Don Mare pickups seem to have a lot of love with tele guys... just saying

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