Should I upgrade the pickups on 1994 MIJ Telecaster?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Smedley, May 24, 2020.

  1. Smedley

    Smedley Member

    Messages:
    125
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2020
    Location:
    New Mexico
    They look to be the stock pickups (I'm not the original owner). Will Seymour Duncan (or similar) likely make a very noticeable difference? If so, I play mostly 70s classic rock and pickup recommendations would be appreciated.

    Also, I'm a novice, but it appears to me that a Tele would be one of the easier guitars to do the pickup swap. Any truth to this?
     
  2. two fingers

    two fingers Member

    Messages:
    235
    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    Location:
    Eastern NC
    I own an 84-87 MIJ P bass. It was perfect in every way except tone. Swapping out for some EMG Geezer pickups brought that bass to life. In my experience that's the only area in which MIJ Fenders are lacking.


    And, yes, there should be zillions of choices for Tele pickup upgrades. The experts on six strings will be along any second now.
     
    fretless likes this.
  3. DrumBob

    DrumBob Gold Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,459
    Joined:
    May 25, 2008
    Location:
    NW NJ
    Please realize it's pretty hard for us to tell you what you should do and what tones you would prefer from a Telecaster. What is it about the sound of the guitar you don't like? Let's start there.
     
    Humble Texan Fan, TL;DR and JLee like this.
  4. JLee

    JLee Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,608
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    I kept the stock pickups in my old 90s MIJ Telecaster Custom. I just removed the bright cap. They sounded great to me, but I was after more of a rock tone than spanky, country twang.
     
    Humble Texan Fan likes this.
  5. Boonda

    Boonda Member

    Messages:
    373
    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2017
    Im sure they’re fine but some Duncan Broadcasters might be sweet
     
  6. EarleG

    EarleG ® Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,786
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2012
    Location:
    Nashville TN Area
    Depends on which model or variation it is. Some had factory US Vintage or Texas Special
    pickups factory installed. You can probably check for cloth like insulation on the pickup wires
    and/or the output resistance with a volt/ohm meter.
    With that still it depends if you like the sound anyway. Seymour Duncan Broadcasters are in a
    good output range for classic rock and blues. Fender Nocaster ones are popular also
    and in this video.
     
  7. RicOkc

    RicOkc Member

    Messages:
    1,765
    Joined:
    May 1, 2010
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    I replaced the stock pick-ups in my MIJ Custom Telecaster to Duncans and it made a great difference.
     
  8. USMarine75

    USMarine75 Member

    Messages:
    1,197
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2017
    Location:
    Middle East
    Do you like how they sound?
     
  9. Smedley

    Smedley Member

    Messages:
    125
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2020
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Do you mean you desoldered the capacitor that connects the volume and tone pots? You simply just god rid of it? And if so, did you have to connect a length of wire in place of it?
     
  10. TL;DR

    TL;DR Member

    Messages:
    649
    Joined:
    May 17, 2020
    He’s prolly talking about the treble bleed cap.
    I’ve got TX specials in mine. They’re a great rock pickup
     
  11. EL 34 X2

    EL 34 X2 Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,286
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2004
    Location:
    Southern Indiana
    I've got a Duncan Broadcaster in the bridge and a Duncan 5/2 neck pickup. Those are a great combination and very reasonably priced. I added a 4-way pickup selector which is a nice addition to the tonal palette.
     
  12. JLee

    JLee Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,608
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Yes, sorry, meant treble bleed. I just clipped one of the leads.

    Generally not a fan of treble bleeds.
     
  13. Jabby92

    Jabby92 Member

    Messages:
    3,193
    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    It really depends on the model in question. From my experience the older MIJ Fenders and the cheaper models have mediocre pickups and pots. The newer ones have better pickups/electronics for the most part (with exceptions). If you don't like how they sound, it could be worth upgrading them.
     
    '56 Merc and Blue Lizard like this.
  14. Smedley

    Smedley Member

    Messages:
    125
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2020
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Are Telecasters one of the easier guitars for the average person to replace pickups and tone/volume pots?
     
    Humble Texan Fan likes this.
  15. Smedley

    Smedley Member

    Messages:
    125
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2020
    Location:
    New Mexico
    And simply snipping one end of the capacitor improves the tone? And is the tone control still fully functional after doing so?
     
  16. JLee

    JLee Supporting Member

    Messages:
    2,608
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Not sure if it was stock, but my Tele had it. It was a tiny cap soldered to the volume pot, not the larger cap soldered between the volume and tone pots.

    It only affects the tone as you roll back the volume pot. Retains the highs. I thought it sounded artificially bright.
     
  17. F.H. Bradley

    F.H. Bradley Member

    Messages:
    41
    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    I'd say yes because all of their wiring is attached to surface mount guards which can be easily removed. Simple design also allows for easy modding
     
  18. Hack Prophet

    Hack Prophet vile mighty wretched

    Messages:
    6,975
    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Location:
    sunglasses
    I say absolutely. One of the few tiny drawbacks on those excellent guitars. Stock is fine, though
     
  19. Nigel Davenport

    Nigel Davenport Member

    Messages:
    282
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2017
    I like the Suhr Classic T in the bridge of my Tele style guitar.
     
  20. treedroppings

    treedroppings Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    SD Alnico 2 pro are a real nice sound through a Mesa mark style amp see the avatar
     

Share This Page