Help me upgrade the pickups in my tele...please!!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by leftyaxeslinger, Jun 17, 2006.


  1. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Member

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    I recently purchased a lefty 2002 MIM Fender Tele. This is my first tele. I wanted to get the feel for them and I must say that so far I really like the vibe of this thing. It has a maple neck and probably an alder body.

    The stock tuners are awful and need to be replaced. It also needs a new nut, and could probably use just a general overhaul. I've already purchased new wiring/pots (a tele 4 way switch included to get both pu's wired in series) as the stock stuff isn't very flexible. It seems they have 2 settings - on and off - and no in between. Regarless of all this, it still plays and sounds pretty good - so I know I can get it sounding great.

    I need some pickup suggestions. It has a P90 in the neck and the standard tele style bride pu. Any good combinations you guys can suggest? I love Lollar's pickups and thought about those, but since I am a Tele novice, I need some expert advice.

    I'd love to have it sound like a normal tele would, with a little twang. But I also really love how Jimmy Page used a tele early on with Zeppelin - as machine of doom. So I guess I would want the bridge pu to be hot but not too much and then a good P90 to match in the neck?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Member

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    Anyone?

    I'll abbreviate.

    Need 2002 mexi tele pickup suggestions. Maple neck.

    p90 neck, standard tele bridge.
     
  3. daddyo

    daddyo Guest

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    The Seymour Duncan Jerry Donahue bridge pup gets good reviews. I bought one but haven't finished the guitar yet.
     
  4. OldSchool

    OldSchool Senior Member

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    Email Lollar himself.........He usually gets right back and can probably give you a great pup to match one of his own p90's...........
     
  5. bagpipe

    bagpipe Member

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    I've got a VanZandt set in my Tele and the bridge is fantastic. Its great for heavier stuff and I imagine you could get those early Zep tones with the right pedal/amp conbination. I found that the neck pickup wasnt well matched with the bridge (too low output) so I switched it with a Texas Special neck pickup which I had laying around. Lots of people here and on TDPRI rave about the OC Duff pickups too. I think he will build you whatever you need.
     
  6. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    +1! I had one in a Tele, and it was so perfect...just slightly hotter than some, very well balanced string to string, and still plenty of twang. My current fave for a traditional neck pup is the Fender 'twisted tele'.
     
  7. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    This has become my standard tele bridge pickup. I've put it in a Hwy1, a Muddy Waters, and I'll most likely put it in the American Ash Tele I just bought. :dude

    FWIW, the JD was mentioned frequently on the TDPri as the pickup to get early Page Zep-tone. My son (big Page fan) has the HWY1 Tele that I put the JD in and it's been his favorite guitar for a couple years.

    The only P-90 I would try to pair with the JD is a Fralin P-90 underwound by 15%. It would be nice and clear and should match up well output-wise.
     
  8. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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  9. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    As usual, all the suggestion are good. Of course, it's all subjective. There are so many excellent winders out there, you really have some great choices.

    If you're happy with Lollar pickups ( among my fav's ) by all means go with them. You won't be disappointed. Don Mare is also winding some fab tele pups. His 2324 Roy Wraps are wonderful as are his broadcaster type.

    Duncan has a nice rane of tele pups from Antiquites to broadcaster to 54's to noiseless. Dimarzio Twang Kings are nice sounding, low cost pups and the VV series is great. Fender OV's are also very toneful, low cost beauts.

    Again, lots of nice choices from the low cost GFS to Duncan, Dimarzio, Fender, up to the great botique winders.
     
  10. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    Tough to go wrong with Lollars. A little bit more on the modern side, you might want to look at www.harmonicdesign.net All of his stuff gets great reviews particularly the P-90 (VP-90).

    cmn
     
  11. Brick

    Brick Member

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    +1

    I love Lollars.

    Plus this is good advice about matching the tele bridge with the p90 neck.
     
  12. david henman

    david henman Member

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    ...i have an aerodyne tele with a similar configuration. i want the guitar to scream, so i'm opting for a joe barden bridge and a seymour duncan mini-humbucker neck.

    -dh
     
  13. leftyaxeslinger

    leftyaxeslinger Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions.

    The P90 I have in there now really screams with some distortion and sounds nice. But clean, I find I want more high end.

    I still need to get the inferior stock pots and wiring out of there too. Perhaps I need to make these changes first and then move on to pickups.

    Current pickups are a GFS vintage '62 in the bridge (might be a tad to hot with not enough tele twang) and a Kent Armstrong p90 in the neck.
     
  14. PHC

    PHC Member

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    I've got a set of Bare Knuckle Pickups "Brown Sugars" in my Tele. I really like them - vintage sounding but with a bit of a push.

    I hear that the Bare Knuckle P90s are pretty good too, but never tried them myself.

    http://www.bareknucklepickups.co.uk/
     
  15. jpage

    jpage Silver Supporting Member

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    Are you in the US? How much are the BKs w/shipping and such?
     
  16. PHC

    PHC Member

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    Sorry, I'm in the UK - not sure how much it would cost to get them to the US.
     
  17. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I've got a set of the hot pickups- Super 90 and VP-90, I think... I've had them for 6-7 years or so (maybe longer) I love them, they really are as close as you can imagine to a P-90 in a Tele sized pickup. A LP Jr crossed with a Tele.

    Folks looking for a traditional Tele sound would probably not be pleased.
     
  18. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

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    Contacting Lollar is a great suggestion. I've found him to be very responsive to questions and his pickups are top notch.

    Having said that, I love the pickups in my new Fender Nocaster, though I'm definitely still in the honeymoon phase. I'm not sure what these would be called, maybe Custom Shop Nocaster?

    Bryan
     
  19. MartinPiana

    MartinPiana Supporting Member

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    Into my MIM Tele, I put in locking tuners and a four-way switch. Pots are fine. As for pickups, I went for Bill Lawrence 280N and 290L. The neck on this ax is better than some custom shop Teles, but I still balked at putting Lollar-type $ into a $325 guitar. Especially once I tried another guitar with these Bill Lawrence pickups -- less than $50 each but don't judge them by price -- they hold their own with the $100 boutiques. The 280s are a '50s type sound, but noiseless -- and cleaner sound on the neck, since there's no metal cover. The 290s (available on both neck and lead) have a little less twang (and shriek), a little bit of p90 vibe. And there's a hotter 290TL-E, which might be closer to what you're looking for in the bridge.

    http://www.billlawrence.com/Pages/Pickup_Window/280.htm

    Not that I don't dig Lollar too! As soon as the nitro cures on myMirocaster and I buff it down, in goes a Charlie Christian Tele in the neck and a special in the neck. Can't wait to hear what that sounds like.

    Martin
     
  20. skylabfilmpop

    skylabfilmpop Silver Supporting Member

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    of all the pickups i have heard peter florance comes as close to the real deal as possible. I play my new gibsons with his pickups next to my vintage pat sticker instruments and it is splitting hairs to tell the difference. he is less hyped than holmes and co but makes great stuff. I have heard from Mark Fuqua (motor ave guitars played bt alain johannes and josh homme - eleven, chris cornell, queens of the stoneage) that his 60's tele set are IT. Having a newer, in you case mex made guitar with a poly finish, a pickup like peters, which because its magnets are not excessivly gaussed (like fralin's -the reason for their unusual spankiness) creates a warmth and diffusion. i currently have one mij tele which after 4 tries with different fralins couldn't get to the beck/page place without really overwinding and using alnico 2 magnets, everything else was too bright. another option too duncan has a custom shop tele bridge pickup wound to 10k with a tap at 7.5k for traditional and overwound tones.
     

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