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Tele pickup question

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by alderbody, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    recently i got the bug and maybe i'll build a Tele.

    So i'd like to know which pickups are the best for tele.

    How about the SD antiquities or Callaham's Fralins?

    any others?

    i just wish Jim Wagner made tele pickups...



    thanks
     
  2. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    There is no "best"

    There is a bunch of "great" you just have to find the "great" that is "best" for you.

    Vintage style:
    SD antiquities
    Fred Stuart Blackguards
    Hamel
    Fender Original Vintage
    OC Duff
    Stephens Design
    Callaham
    Fralin
    (edited to add)
    Lollar
    GVCG/Lollar

    Noiseless:
    Kinman
    Dimarzio Virtual Vintage
    Barden

    Hot:
    Harmonic Design
    Bare Knuckle
    Fender Texas Special
    Suhr
     
  3. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    yep tons of pick ups out there all have their own better or worse ..
    I've used and liked a LOT
    Lollars, Kinman and Bill Lawrence
     
  4. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    yes, i agree with you about what is best.

    but i wanted to know what is mostly considered as "best" among tele players.

    btw i want a vintage style set. Is the order of appearence random or a preference rank?

    thanks for your reply
     
  5. mainsale

    mainsale Member

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    I recently reworked my Am. Std. Tele using a Fralin P-92 in the neck and a Blues Special in the bridge with 4-way switching and a PigTail Vintage bridge with compensating brass saddles. It came out GREAT!
     
  6. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    which one is considered to be closest to the classic vintage Tele tone?

    If you had to choose between SD antiquities and Callaham's Fralins, which one would it be?

    thanks
     
  7. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Order was random and I can't say I have tried them all but these are the ones I see getting praised most.

    If you want authentic vintage and the "best" (as in most vintage authentic) then I would recommend Hamel, but they have a long waiting list.
    Fred Stuart Blackguards are right up there too and you can get those in a couple of weeks.

    Forgot to mention Lollar, those are great too, I hear a lot of praise for the new GVCG/Lollar pups, but these are staggered polepiece, if that's an issue for you (it is for me)
     
  8. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    the project i have on mind is about an exact 50's Tele replica.

    wood would be Swamp Ash and maple from Warmoth and parts would be from Callaham.

    So, i intend to order the pickups either from Warmoth or from Callaham because i don't want to get into "super butique" stuff, although i know they should sound "better"...

    I also remember reading good reviews for both pickups.

    anyway, any suggestion would help

    thanks
     
  9. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Can't comment on the Callaham but I've never cared for Fralin's. they always sounded brittle to my ears.

    I would think SD Antiquities would serve you well, plenty of Tele guys swear by them.

    My choice for not "super" boutique would be Lollar.
     
  10. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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  11. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    These are the ones I've owned or played extensively:

    SD Antiquities
    Hamel
    Fender Original Vintage
    Fender Nocaster
    Fralin {various}
    Lollar {various}
    GVCG/Lollar
    Barden
    Harmonic Design
    Fender Texas Special
    Suhr
    Anderson TV

    They are ALL great! I only have one tele and I swap pickups about every year, or so {that's the trend, anyway}. Presently, I have the GVCG/Lollar's and I LUV them. They are probably *it* for me. The Fralin Blues Specials were previously *it* for me. Ironically, my least favorite have always been the Fender's. Never gaga over the Barden's either. The Lollars, Fralins, Suhrs, HD's & Andersons all incoporate an airy sparkle into their neck winds that I dig. If you plan on living on the bridge try the Hamels or the GVCG/Lollars. If you need instant love go to acmeguitarworks.com and cash out with the Lollars. It's just a no-lose situation with so many great offerings.
     
  12. teleblaster

    teleblaster Member

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    +1 on the nocasters. Ive gone through alot of pickups mentioned just to put the nocaster back in!
     
  13. Crazyquilt

    Crazyquilt Guitar Dad Silver Supporting Member

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    Part of the problem, I think, is that there is no one "50s Tele sound."
    Aside from Leo's tinkering, eg changing which alnico in a given pickup, there is the natural variation caused by hand-wound pickups, wood, neck carve, etc., all of which is variable enough, but was even moreso at that time. I think that because the Tele is such an essentially simple guitar that all of those factors are magnified.

    One suggestion might be to find a particular tone and talk to a good pickup winder & ask them if they can give you that tone. If you don't want to be that precise, then you're probably where the rest of us are -- try one of the many good pickups, see if it works for you, and, if it doesn't move to the next one.
     
  14. ToneChimera

    ToneChimera Member

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    Hi;

    Nothing wrong with waiting for the guitar to materialize first. Then evaluate its tonal offerings.

    You could identify a pickup that you know from other players nearby, a common pickup. Try it, mabve even borrow one, and compare your guitar with the other guitars with the same pickup. Then you could do some extrapolation about your guitar and dial in your final pickup trials quicker. Tone is the consideration here. Secondary, you may or may not find clues about your guitar's expression capabilities.

    With this knowledge, you may be quicker to accomplish the classic tone that you want by using a nice vintage pickup.

    Of course, if this is a crash project, do what you must.

    Good Luck.
    TC
     
  15. Dana Olsen

    Dana Olsen Gold Supporting Member

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    You're actually in a spot where there are too many good choices.

    I have a '56 Esquire 2/ Lindy Fralin Blues Specials - in that guitar (swamp ash w/ maple neck) they're AWESOME.

    I have a '66 Tele (rosewood w/ ash body) w/ SD Antiquities - sounds AWESOME - different than a Fralin, but AWESOME.

    I've played all the Tele pickups mentioned above, and they're all serious winners.

    You're gonna have to put them in your guitar and hear what they sound like in that particular guitar. It's true, there's not 1 Vintage Tele tone - there's like 5 (somewhat) distinct tones - rockier ones (Beck, Buchannan) more Cowboy ones (Roy Nichols, James Burton). The same pickups DO NOT sound the same in every guitar, though they'll generally be similar. Wood type, bridge & saddle material make big differences too.

    It comes down to what YOU like. To figure that out, you just gotta try 'em in your guitar. When you get to that point, you can sask:
    "OK, I've got ABC pickups in there, and they're too bright for me. What OTHER pickup has this kind of output, but is less bright?"

    But right now, where you're at in the building process, it's all good choices.

    Dana
     
  16. pfflam

    pfflam Silver Supporting Member

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    ALlready sounds like yer sinking a good chunk of cash into it . . .. Callaham parts are expensive IMO . . . . I am going the the slow shop -finding bargains method - eBay etc-

    as far as what I came up with based on second hand research I found that these seem to be the ones to look for in oorder of most coveted:

    J Barden
    Hamel
    Kinmans
    Harmonic Design
    Bill Lawrence
    Lollars
    Frallin


    I woulda plopped on a simple Fender 52 RI Pup or thereabouts . . . but I heard that this homebrew outfit made VERY good Pups for VERY good price:
    TRUETONE

    Now someone hereabouts slagged them, not based on quality, based on CRelations . . . not me though, I had nothing but great service and fast too . . . . but I'm not done with my project yet so I can't tell you about the sound . . . but read the reviews on HC . . . . people make them sound seriously overlooked and undervalued . . . .
     
  17. pbradt

    pbradt Senior Member

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    If you want the BEST Black Guard set, get the Hamels. I have a set in my Tele and another bridge pickup in my Esquire. Nothing better.
     
  18. gjf

    gjf Member

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    One maker that is seriously overlooked is Van Zandt - their vintage style tele (and strat) pickups are top notch. I currently have a Hamel bridge pu in a tele and it is great, but I can't honestly say I like it more than the Van Zandt's I have in a different tele -- not a criticism of the Hamel, just a statement of how good Van Zandt's are. The Van Zandts may be a bit smoother sounding, the Hamel gets a little more Roy Buchanan, almost microphonice tone -- both very good.
     
  19. alderbody

    alderbody Member

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    thanks to all about your posts.

    and i quite agree about testing many pickups to see which ones "fit" in the specific guitar.
    But all i wanna do is narrow my search a bit, based on other peoples knowledge and experience, since i was always a Strat guy and my Tele experience is very little if none(haven't played one for the last 15+ years!...)

    btw, the buchanan tone is indeed something i would like my Tele to do, so which set gets closer?

    thanks again.
     
  20. justicetones

    justicetones Member

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    I have Fralin blues in one Tele and Rio Grande in the other (Muy Grande((HOT)) bridge and Tallboy ((Vintage)) neck).

    I like them both. I would rate the Fralins to be more vintage sounding though. Remember with the Fralins only the vintage wind comes with the chrome cover on the neck.. I tried out the blues and installed the chrome cover but just as Lindy states it was too dark.
     

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