Tele pickup upgrade - what would you say?

For indie to Foo's, what would you recommend

  • Seymour Duncan Hot Tele

    Votes: 6 11.5%
  • Dimarzio Tru Velvet

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Dimarzio Twang King

    Votes: 3 5.8%
  • Fender Twisted Tele

    Votes: 19 36.5%
  • Fender Deluxe Drive

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • Other

    Votes: 27 51.9%

  • Total voters


I am looking to get a little more balls out of my Tele, which just pales next to my P90 and filtertron guitars. It currently has stock "Alinco 5" pickups and while the bridge sounds good in isolation, it cannot hold up in a band situation without some serious tweaking of my set up. The bridge is ok, the neck is dull AF.

I am look for a Tele sound, not hum cancelling or a high gain humbucker. I am running into a plexi style amp with volumes around 6-7, playing rock, indie, and some heavy passages in those types of songs. Think recent Foo Fighters as the highest gain. I use a Klon type for a boost, pretty much set at noon on all controls.

I am not looking to go boutique, I want to stay within the Fender, Seymour Duncan or Dimarzio families because I have in past and they are available easily in my area. I will probably also upgrade the pots while I am at it too. Mojotone, or Emerson?

What say you?


My experience with SD Quarter Pounds sounds like it may fit the bill of what you’re after. The bridge dirties up really nice but it’s a little too humbucker-y and not enough tele twang for my taste.

Since I’ve another guitar that covers that sound, I ended up swapping for bootstrap pretzels (their take on twisted tele) and found it to be much more versatile than the QPs

I did a little comparison video of the two that might help:


Gold Supporting Member
I've used a variety over the years from Duncans to Kinmans to Fralins to Lollar.

I really like Fralins and Lollars the best. My Nash tele has a Lollar Low Wind Imperial bucker in the neck and Special T in the bridge. I've had guys ask to borrow it to record with it sounds so good.

Happy hunting.


Silver Supporting Member
+1 for starting with Dimarzio Area Hot T's. You can get a set usually for around $125 used if you're patient.

I just put a set back into my Tele, which has had half a dozen pickups in it. They're great for rock, as they are a little hotter and warmer/fuller than vintage style, and they are noiseless. Try them with 500k pots, or what I did is put a 250k no load pot in the tone so you can get either load.

For true single coils, I really like the Suhr Classic T's. The bridge is hotter and fatter and has a nice grind to it, almost like it's a cross between Tele and P90.

On a budget, check out the Tonerider Hot Classics. I've been very happy with the Tonerider stuff I got over the years. Under $100 for a set new, and they are pretty good quality too.

As for pots and electronics, I really like the Mojotone Vintage Taper pots for volume. They definitely roll off smoother than regular audio pots. But I don't like them for tone because they roll off too quickly. I prefer regular CTS pots and usually just get the Fender ones off Amazon. Same with switches, I usually just go for the Fender 3 way or 5 way switches.


thanks for the replies.

I am not looking for hum cancelling, I prefer the sound of a single coil, no matter how close people say a hum cancelling set gets. I am really looking to retain the Tele tone, just with a little more push and girth on the bridge, and a clearer tone in the neck, like the Fender Twisted Tele

I would rule out the SD Quarter Pounders for this guitar. The Bootstrap pickups sounded good, and I may look into Lollars too.

I never even thought of Suhr's, but that is something to think about.


It depends on what style of music you're playing.

Do you need something that's hot or vintage sounding?


Sounds to me like what you really need is a boost or EQ pedal. I like the Lace Sensors on my Strat, but I've never tried a Tele set. My favorite Tele pickups I've owned were the stock pickups on my 94 standard. I liked them enough I never would have even considered swapping them out.


I'm partial to the Klein Broadcaster pickups. The neck is classic Tele but with clarity, not too dark. The bridge can twang or get fat, nasty and venture into humbucker territory. It doesn't fail to put a smile on my face while playing.

Many choices today and most of them good. Let us know where you end up.


Gold Supporting Member
I would look for a used set of Fender Texas Special Tele pickups. This set just really works in a Telecaster for all sounds. I also like Bootstrap pickups. I found a used set that was wound to emulate an early Broadcaster: that is my favorite Tele tone.

dlxtele aka BrentM.
Last edited:


I chose other.

I like beefy higher output stuff.

My tele pickup journey started and ended with harmonic design vintage pluses.

I went back and forth between them, a v+/s90 set, and the emg t set. This was '99/'00 and the internet was still in diapers.


Gold Supporting Member
I have been thinking about putting together a Tele and these are the pickups I would get if I do end up going through with it. I like fat and am coming from a P90 mindset


Humongous Lion
- Tele®/Esquire® bridge pickup. 16000 42AWG over A5 rod magnets and mega tons of mid-range. Everything that applies to a Huge Lion applies to the Humongous Lion, only more, LOTS MORE. Black or ivory/parchment string wrapped, supplied with mounting screws and tubing.

The Fat Lioness - The Fat Lioness offers more output and more midrange that its Lioness sister, for those wishing a bolder Tele® neck pickup tone and output. A5 rod magnets under 10500 turns of 43AWG coil wire. The coil wire is string wrapped in either black or ivory/parchment, supplied with body or pickguard mounting screws and tubing.

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