Recommend a Tele replacement pickup set

skoora

Member
Messages
777
I have a Mexi 50's roadworn Tele and it sounds pretty good. Especially as a single coil guitar is new to me being a long time Gibson player. It has a darker and thicker sound than what I've experienced in traditional tele's and think I wouldn't mind a more raw/bright mid and top end without getting into plinky scooped territory. I play Marshall type amps and don't play clean all that much so the typical bell like clean, country tone is not for me. I've played Fender CS NoCaster's before that I thought sounded pretty good on an overdrive tone so I lean towards that pickup but saw Fender also had the Blackguard pickup set which maybe has a little more output? Don't want to jump down the rabbit hole of quirky, small boutique winders. Interested in opinions on Fender, Duncan, Dimarzio and larger boutique type guys...but don't need to be getting into big money ($175+) for a what is basically a fun at home Mexi Tele. Any opinions, suggestions appreciated.
 

Lewguitar

Member
Messages
5,665
I really like the Fralin Blues Specials for a hotter than vintage sound but one that's still clean.

They work great with a Tubescreamer or Rat too!
 

songtalk

Member
Messages
3,483
Wilde keystones. 72 bucks. Way better than all the rest. Small operation so it takes 1-2 months for an order to get to you, but they are beyond worth it.

I don't think you need to spend more than that for good tone.

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but it's the internet and this is my best advice as a tele nut that has played with a lot of different classic single coil tele pickups.
 
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dazco

Member
Messages
14,630
Fender makes a bridge pickup that they still sell that was made for the discontinued AVRI 62 custom doublebound tele. It;s great. I have tried a bunch of respected models in the bridge including a couple other fenders like the original vintage and nocaster. The 62 custom is great because it has everything. Tuirn up the gain and it gets smooth and fat. Turn the guitar down and it gets chimey and sparkly. Never sounds muddy or tinny or harsh. The secret is the A2 magnets. I generally don't like A2 at all. The duncan donohue has A2 and it's a dark lifeless pickup compared to the 62. I've never found a A2 i like except this one, and it doesn't just break the rule for me, it's my all time fav tele bridge pickup. I have them in 2 of my 3 teles, the third being a humbucker tele or it would have one too ! It has the advantage of sounding good in very tele i have tried it in, and for me thats unheard of with tele bridge pickups because i am super anal about them. They also happen to be dirt cheap at about 40-43 bucks shipped on ebay. Can't recommend it highly enough.

For the neck i use a dimarzio twang king. They get big kudos from a lot of guys so it's not just my opinion. But I personally prefer strat neck sound so i may not be the guy to recommend a neck model. It doesn't sound like a strat but it sounds better than others i have tried. Tele necks are often muddy and thats one of the things people try and avoid and the TK avoids that perfectly. (tried a known great strat in the neck once after slightly modding it, and it sounded super scooped in a tele) But i haven't been thru near as many as bridge pickups because thats my fav position by far on a tele.
 

Lewguitar

Member
Messages
5,665
My fave neck pickup in a Tele is also a Strat pickup. I use a Duncan Surfer but that required enlarging my Tele's neck pickup rout.

One reason I especially like the Fralin Blues Specials is that the neck Pickup is Tele size but sounds a lot like a Strat neck pickup.

More output than a vintage Tele neck pickup.
 
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songtalk

Member
Messages
3,483
The 62s are my favorite fender wound pickup at the moment. They sound pretty incredible with gain and have damn good cleans.

The keystones I recommended earlier also have alnico II which does indeed have magic in teles.

Honestly though the lower output tele pickups are going to sound the best overdriven because that is THE sound of R&B, funk, surf, rock and all the other stuff that used teles awesomely back in the day.

Steer clear of overwound pickups if you want it to do what teles are supposed to do, IMHO.

Fender makes a bridge pickup that they still sell that was made for the discontinued AVRI 62 custom doublebound tele. It;s great. I have tried a bunch of respected models in the bridge including a couple other fenders like the original vintage and nocaster. The 62 custom is great because it has everything. Tuirn up the gain and it gets smooth and fat. Turn the guitar down and it gets chimey and sparkly. Never sounds muddy or tinny or harsh. The secret is the A2 magnets. I generally don't like A2 at all. The duncan donohue has A2 and it's a dark lifeless pickup compared to the 62. I've never found a A2 i like except this one, and it doesn't just break the rule for me, it's my all time fav tele bridge pickup. I have them in 2 of my 3 teles, the third being a humbucker tele or it would have one too ! It has the advantage of sounding good in very tele i have tried it in, and for me thats unheard of with tele bridge pickups because i am super anal about them. They also happen to be dirt cheap at about 40-43 bucks shipped on ebay. Can't recommend it highly enough.

For the neck i use a dimarzio twang king. They get big kudos from a lot of guys so it's not just my opinion. But I personally prefer strat neck sound so i may not be the guy to recommend a neck model. It doesn't sound like a strat but it sounds better than others i have tried. Tele necks are often muddy and thats one of the things people try and avoid and the TK avoids that perfectly. (tried a known great strat in the neck once after slightly modding it, and it sounded super scooped in a tele) But i haven't been thru near as many as bridge pickups because thats my fav position by far on a tele.
 

skoora

Member
Messages
777
The 62s are my favorite fender wound pickup at the moment. They sound pretty incredible with gain and have damn good cleans.

The keystones I recommended earlier also have alnico II which does indeed have magic in teles.

Honestly though the lower output tele pickups are going to sound the best overdriven because that is THE sound of R&B, funk, surf, rock and all the other stuff that used teles awesomely back in the day.

Steer clear of overwound pickups if you want it to do what teles are supposed to do, IMHO.

I'm ok with lower to moderate output as to me it's more about the EQ curve the pickup is putting out. The amps I play have plenty of gain available so I don't need a hot pickup per se. Looking for more clarity without it tearing my head off. The roadworn comes with tex-mex pickups.

do you mean this pickup re: 62
http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-Fender-...387946?hash=item5b220e52aa:g:yzgAAOSwAuNW7XTl

Has anyone tried the Antiquity Tele pickups?
 
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John Hurtt

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
18,973
Former Fender CS dude Alan Hamel makes the best tele pickups IMO. Finding some...or getting him to make some for you...is the trick. Fred Stuart does great sounding tele pickups, also great choices from Fralin, Don Mare...plus, there are some great choices from both Duncan and Fender CS. Something a bit different would be the Thorn stapletops...gotta try a set to believe how good they are.
 

songtalk

Member
Messages
3,483
Those 62s are the ones.

And keystones are about as flat as you can get in terms of EQ. They are a clean slate that gives you exactly what you put in to them. Very clean. Not scooped at all.
 

shallbe

Deputy Plankspanker
Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
11,723
The Suhr T set is a great upgrade and not expensive.
 

rollyfoster

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
16,095
Dunno if @Ron Kirn sells them separate but the set I have in my tele is awesome. They sound great clean and can get mean as hell with some gain if I want them to. Really well balanced and versatile.
 

gkoelling

Member
Messages
17,175
Don Mare Super Sport bridge/S-Telly neck. It's a little more than your self imposed spending limit but worth every nickel. I've had the CS '51 NoCaster set and it doesn't come close to the Mare pickups. He also has a great reputation.

If you can't go over $175.00, the SD Antiquity pickups are very nice!
 

Binaural

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,849
Fender CS Tele Texas Specials with a 4way switch, or a Tele Texas Special neck pick up paired with a Nocaster bridge pickup, again with a 4way switch, both are awesome.
 

Rick51

Member
Messages
3,740
Don Mare Super Sport bridge/S-Telly neck. It's a little more than your self imposed spending limit but worth every nickel. I've had the CS '51 NoCaster set and it doesn't come close to the Mare pickups. He also has a great reputation.

If you can't go over $175.00, the SD Antiquity pickups are very nice!
I have the same Don Mare set, and I concur 100%.
 

rummy

Supporting Member
Messages
8,572
I'm very happy with my Fralin Blues Special set. They're ever so Tele, with a little more balls.
 

Lewguitar

Member
Messages
5,665
I'm very happy with my Fralin Blues Special set. They're ever so Tele, with a little more balls.
Yep. They're my faves.

A little more balls, a little less of that ice pick in the ear tone of some Teles, and the neck pickup is uncovered and a little stronger sounding than the one in a vintage 50's or 60's Tele. Sounds more like a neck Strat pickup.

To me, the Fralin Blues Special neck pickup gets closer to what I wish the neck pickup in a vintage Tele sounded like than anything else I've tried.

I am not a high gain guy, BTW. I like it clean - especially when I'm playing chords or accompaniment.
 

kludge

The droid you're looking for
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,107
If you want a raw sound, I'm totally digging the Zhangbucker Paul Bunyan. It strikes an excellent balance between "rocking" and "Tele". A lot of "hot" Tele pickups have dull, rolled-off highs. With the Paul Bunyans, the highs are still there (and still react properly to tone and volume knob rolloff, like a Tele should), but it snarls. It's also very inexpensive for boutique, in Duncan/Dimarzio territory price-wise.

Broadcaster-type pickups are also popular, but if you think your guitar is too dark already, that's probably going the wrong way.

A third option, although expensive and it'll sound odd... EMG. The EMG Tele pickups are insanely good! You have to set aside any EMG prejudice, because they're different (believe me, I also use EMG 85 and 60 in other guitars). The neck pickup is absolutely my favorite Tele neck pickup, and one of the best pickups I've ever heard anywhere. The bridge pickup rests very nicely in that slightly-hot Tele bridge space, able to do country clean or rock. It's better than a lot of boutiques. And of course, they're dead silent, no hum or interference problems. Better yet, add the SPC control in place of the standard tone control, and you get a midrange boost that is perfectly dialed in to goose hot amps or drive pedals. I've had this combination in my longtime #1 for many years. It's a guitar I can count on to work well in any situation.
 




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