Replacing Telecaster Pickups

i'm looking for some pickup recomendations for my fender usa telecaster. i'm mostly focused on the bridge pick up. I want something a little less harsh. coil tapping would be nice for added versatility. i'm thinking the Duncan Little 59'.

How do these sound compared to the stock pickups when the coils are split.

any other pickups i should look into?

thanks, jon

Gamle John

I think a single coil in the bridge possition is essential to get the Tele sound.

I say Seymour Duncan Antiquity II.


IMHO, The Little 59 is the worst pickup EVER made. You could have a dog take a crap in the pickup cavity and get a more pleasing tone from your guitar. Have him take two craps if you want to coil tap. The one I had (and there were lots of other similar comments in a "worst pickup ever" thread or something like this, though I'm sure there are ppl for whom it works), was so dark and lifeless. It made an otherwise really resonant tele sound like a 2x4 with strings through a crappy solid state amp. I can't say enough bad things about my experience with a Little 59!!! :)

If you want a less harsh, thicker tele bridge, I'd recommend a Lollar Special. I have been loving the Lollars in my tele longer than any other tele pickup I've had, which is not a ton, but around 10 or so.

You can even call jason up and tell him exactly what you are looking for and he might suggest something different, maybe a custom wind.


I've got a Rio Grande Vintage Tallboy in my Tele. I think it sounds great but I like the Little '59 in my Strat, so it may actually sound like crap to everyone else! :D



I have one of my Tele's set up with the Custom Shop No-Caster pickup in the bridge, it is really nice. Good twang factor without the brittleness of some tele pickups.



The three recommendations for Lollar, Antiquity and Rios are all good. Great pickups imho.

You don't state what type of music you paly, only that you want something "less harsh".

If you want traditional tele twang and snap, the Lil 59 ( even in split mode ) is probably not your best choice. I used one in my tele for a few months. While it was OK for the rock/blues thing, there are far better pickups available.

If you want humbucker power and tone with the ability to split to a decent tele tone, the Dimarzio Tone Zone T is a much better
( again, imo ) choice. The Dimarizo Virtual Vintage Hot T is a wonderful sounding pickup. It still has all the twang and spank of a great tele pup, but takes on more of a P-90 character as you roll the tone control down a bit.

The VV Hot T is what I currently use and I'm very surprised I like it so well! Versitile, toneful, quiet and a bargain to boot!


The Bill Lawrence L290's are very good. They are stacked humbuckers but you can't split them.

The GFS Tele Rail pickups are getting some good reviews and they CAN be split. Check for them on Ebay.

One more vote to stay away from the SD stacked HB pickups. I had an SD Hot Rails and ended up just using my neck pickup.


I have Lollar Vintage pups in my Custom Shop Tele and it's simply unbelievable. There are lots of good Tele pups available, but for me, Lollar is a good as it gets.

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