New Tele, hate the pups, any suggestions

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by revgsmall, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. revgsmall

    revgsmall Member

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    I picked up a new japanese tele with the Bigsby tremelo. I like the guitar but it has too much bite. Perhaps the extra metal of the bigsby is adding to it. I would prefer more mid range and warmth.

    Whats say you?
     
  2. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    There are lots of PUP choices for more warmth but let's start with the basics before spending relatively significant money on PUPs.

    Is this your first (or almost first) Tele?

    Have you spent any significant time with the guitar experimenting with PUP heights and liberal use of the tone control?

    Answers of yes and no mean give the axe a chance for a week or so and work that darn tone control to the max before changing the PUPs.

    That being said, after many PUP changes and much $$, I settled on a 10K Fender Custom Shop Nocaster Reissue bridge PUP and a Harmonic Design Vintage Plus neck PUP for much the reasons you describe.

    But I still work my tone control liberally - "it's a Tele."
     
  3. revgsmall

    revgsmall Member

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    Very experienced with alot of guitars (30 years plus) but this is only my second tele. I have been using a Gretch 6129 with De Armonds. Love the guitar sound etc. And using a strat for the Robert Cray kind of stuff and the texas rockin blues although we don't do that schtick much anymore. I was looking for a guitar in between the two and I love the Bigsby.

    I am not into the Tele bridge sound as most tele fans would be.

    Using an old Fender Pro Reverb.
     
  4. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    I wasn't into the Tele bridge sound so much at first, either, but over the years, man oh man has it grown on me (or more likely, I've grown on it). The key for me was getting a hot/fat but still Tele-voiced bridge PUP and I'm always fiddling with the tone control while I'm playing to voice it exactly right.

    Just leaving the tone control up full always on the Tele bridge PUP setting is a recipe for unhappiness for most of us.
     
  5. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    I'll give the advice I always give on this subject. A great combination of fat and twang can be had by using a Duncan Jerry Donohue bridge and, get this, a Duncan Antiquity Mini-Hum in the neck. Still sounds TOTALLY tele, but with a bit more fat and sustain in the bridge, and a much more usable neck. A competent tech can easily install, and it'll make it a 'go-to' guitar for a real variety of applications. PS...gotta give props to my buddy (and tech) Philtone for this one.
     
  6. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    Don't those come with Texas Specials? NOT TELE.

    If money is no object, and you're a little patient, contact Ron Ellis at t2ellis@pacbell.net and get yourself some Hamels. You will NEVER regret it.

    Another good choice for that guitar are Fralin Blues Specials. If you do the blues special thing, keep the Texas special neck pickup. they are a GOOD combo.
     
  7. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    If you're playing blues with your Tele {which I'm betting you are} then I think you'd be real happy with a set of Fralin Blues Specials. Affordable, Accessible, and Amazing. The neck pick up sounds Strat like big but with a hollow tone that's almost P90-esque and the bridge pup is warm with plenty of chime. Good times.
     
  8. Jon Silberman

    Jon Silberman 10Q Jerry & Dickey Gold Supporting Member

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    This is why I was hesitant at first to recommend specific Tele PUPs. Because as is so often the case in life, there isn't one "right" answer. There are tons of Tele PUPs out there capable of meeting your requirements and satisfying you completely (and not all of them cost an arm and a leg, either!).

    One thing's for sure, though - can't go wrong with Phil Jacoby installing 'em! (Though I'll add that I learned how to install and solder PUPs on my own Tele and although I never really enjoyed it and bring all my stuff these days to Phil, it's a skill worth having).
     
  9. AaeCee

    AaeCee Member

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    You bet Jon! We're lucky to have Phil (and his legendary Plek) within driving distance. He makes everything right with my guitars, and on occasion, unscrews my screw-ups. AC
     
  10. revgsmall

    revgsmall Member

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    I have been scouting the SD website and listening to the sound clips. I thought this was a nice combination as well.

    My first Tele as I recall, was modded with SD Quarter pounders but it seemed a bit much and I couldn't back it down to clean up on the volume control.

    the above recommendation may be a cool combo. Of course who knows until they are installed (and you have spent the non-returnable money on it).

    I have been fortunate, my PRS Santana III is great for the Bob Marley/Santan vibe, my Gretch 6129 is fat, and sassy, my American Strat is the best strat I have ever owned. I have not touched a screw on any of them. So I am a little reluctant to go down the replacement pickup path on this Tele. Especially after so many great guitars right off the rack.
     
  11. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    +1 on the Jerry Donahue, which I installed in a Warmoth Tele I put together for a bandmate. Very nice, warm, full tone but still Tele territory.

    I've also been investigating Tele bridge pickups for a hybrid Strat/Tele project where I'm looking for a warmer, punchier, hotter tone, and I think I'm going to go with the DiMarzio Virtual Hot T that so many people recommend.
     
  12. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    If you want lots of midrange bite without the noise get Kinman AVN-48 Broadcaster pickups, they are really great. The bridge pickup is borderline P90ish. The Frailins I have heard were real bright but I think they were the stock tele pickups so the blues could be different.
     
  13. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    +1 on the Kinman Broadcasters
    Might check out Lollar pick ups as well
     
  14. MojoHand

    MojoHand Supporting Member

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    If you're looking for warmer, hotter, punchier pickups that still sound like a Tele, I can vouch for Harmonic Designs Vintage Plus. They make your guitar sound like Tele, only more so. Big and powerful but very balanced. No excessive mids, nice clear highs without being piercing, good warm bass without being muddy... just very, very balanced. Reasonable prices, too.
     
  15. Jim Collins

    Jim Collins Member

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    I've experimented with nearly countless Telecaster pickups, and I have found that I prefer my Telecaster pickups to have alnico II magnets. (There is one exception, and that is the 10K bridge pickup of which Jon Silberman spoke. That has alnico III magnets.)

    The many alnico II pickups I've tried -- and this holds for Strat pickups, as well -- have an excellent blend of brightness and smoothness. I stll get the twang, when I want it, but it doesn't poke holes in anyone's ears. The Tele and Strat alnico V pickups can be more strident. (I can truthfully say I've never met an alnico V Strat pickup I've liked.)

    The Jerry Donahue pickup happens to have alnico II magnets. So do the Antiquities (my favorite aftermarket Tele pickup), and, of course, the Alnico II Pro. There are several others, as well.
     
  16. EADGBE

    EADGBE Member

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    Stock pickups on those type of guitars tend to be on the thin side. I guess they're middle of the road pickups. You might want to try some tele sized humbuckers. I'd suggest something kind of hot, and with alnico 5 magnets if you can find them. I think DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan both make them.
     
  17. thintele

    thintele Member

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    I've got a set of vintage vibe pick ups in my American 90s Thinline Tele and I love them. I've since recommended them to 2 friends who bought 'em and loved 'em...
    here's a link:
    http://www.vintagevibeguitars.com/
     
  18. Sir EL84

    Sir EL84 Member

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    Hi,
    First thing to check out is what value pot you have in there for the Volume control. If it's a 1meg pot, that's your problem right there. A 250K is the traditional value. The 1 meg come stock on the single-coil equipped Thinline Tele and it's painfully bright.
     
  19. revgsmall

    revgsmall Member

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    Well I ended up putting something in that will make most Telefiles cringe, A Seymour Duncan Lil' 59 Humbucker. It sounds very warm and a bit more like a soapbar than a tele pickup.

    I guess I am not a fan of traditional tele bridge for my style of playing. Certainly there is a long list of fantastic players that work wonders with that sound.

    When I touch it, I just hear ice-picks. Thanks for all the suggestions. I haven't replaced the neck pick up yet but I ll likely get one of the Duncans that will drop right in without modding/routing.
     

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