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Telecaster Neck Pickups: Going the other way

Mighty Melvin

Senior Member
Messages
2,711
I'm still perfectly delighted with my new SX Taurus Telecaster, but I think that there's a little dialing-in to do.

The last Telecaster Neck Pickup thread seemed to resolve in solutions to make it sound more like a Stratocaster. This Tele has it covered. You turn the switch to the bridge position and you have a Telecaster, you turn it to the neck position and you have a Stratocaster.

I can certainly see people who would really like this. But I'm not much of a Strat guy. I'd like a neck pickup that's more mellow and melodic. Does anyone have any appropriate (that means not expensive) recommendations for a neck pickup that I'd like better?
 

zztomato

Senior Member
Messages
11,391
What's "not expensive"?
Are you just looking for a nice mellow standard neck pickup? You could get a used one from the parts emporium here. Look for Don Mare, Lollar, Fralin, Duncan antiquity, or any vintage style pickup. Just stay away from the hotter wound pickups designed more for rock.
 

Ron

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,931
I think it depends on whether your Tele is alder or ash. I've found that it's more difficult to achieve a classic "Tele" neck pickup sound with an alder body. I wound up with a Fender Twisted Tele neck pickup in my alder Telecaster, which gave it a more Strat-like sound, but I like it. If your Tele has an ash body, then I like DeTemple Sweet Spots, Don Mares, or other classic Tele pickups - it's just easier to achieve the classic Tele sound with an ash body.
 

Mighty Melvin

Senior Member
Messages
2,711
Yeah, I got the impression that the SX ships with something like what people call the Twisted Tele. I can imagine that looking for an "original" tele neck pickup can be a quagmire, since after all I think that the Twisted Tele pickup was "original" on some Telecasters and who knows what the heck else.

"Smooth and jazzy" appeals to me. But how's to know which original pickup that might be?

It is ash by the way, and very nice.
.
 

fretless

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,794
Yeah, I got the impression that the SX ships with something like what people call the Twisted Tele. I can imagine that looking for an "original" tele neck pickup can be a quagmire, since after all I think that the Twisted Tele pickup was "original" on some Telecasters and who knows what the heck else.

"Smooth and jazzy" appeals to me. But how's to know which original pickup that might be?

It is ash by the way, and very nice.
.
Btw there's someone here in the emporium selling 2 Fender "Original Vintage" Tele pickups for $35 each. (I have no affiliation with the seller). This is the same one that goes in the 52 reissue. I can vouch for the pickup as I had that set in a Tele that was my number one for a long time. It's a great sounding neck pickup for sure. Definitely not "stratty"....much warmer, but not muddy.
 

oildrops

Member
Messages
2,409
I bet that guitar is routed for humbuckers. If so, grab a duncan 59n which is a great relatively inexpensive humbucker for jazz
 

buddyrama

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,137
If I might add the previously mentioned is very good and missing of much due attention from those looking for good old telecaster tone. Not the later tele tone, just plain , rich tone. Amp volume on 8+, guitar volume turned down a bit. While you are there , buy some z-90s.
 

Pedro58

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,151
Yeah, I got the impression that the SX ships with something like what people call the Twisted Tele. I can imagine that looking for an "original" tele neck pickup can be a quagmire, since after all I think that the Twisted Tele pickup was "original" on some Telecasters and who knows what the heck else.

"Smooth and jazzy" appeals to me. But how's to know which original pickup that might be?

It is ash by the way, and very nice.
I would look in the description from the winder. It would say something like "classic Tele tone." Anything that says, "brighter" or "stratty" or the like, is not going to be smooth and jazzy. For example, say someone is selling a Duncan Tele pickup. Duncan Tele p'ups are really great-sounding, reasonably priced, and readily available used. Figure out the model name and go to Duncan's website and look at the specs and description. Like this:
http://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/vintage-tele-neck
 

fitz

Member
Messages
2,638
I don't know a whole lot about SX guitars except for their affiliation with Rondo, but my understanding is that they are good guitars for a import price of <$200 or so, but I could be wrong. That being said, I wouldn't put a higher end boutique style pickup in the neck for $100-120. To me it doesn't make a whole lot of sense unless you really want to go that route.

Why not look into the Vintage Tele set fretless mentions? Cant go wrong there at that price of $35 each. Or a Classic Vibe neck with Alnico III's? I just saw one for $30. Or a new Fender vintage for $60, Stew Mac Golden Era for $54. Many options w/o spending a lot of dough especially for a vintage style Alnico pup.
 

e???

Member
Messages
2,967
Yeah, I got the impression that the SX ships with something like what people call the Twisted Tele. I can imagine that looking for an "original" tele neck pickup can be a quagmire, since after all I think that the Twisted Tele pickup was "original" on some Telecasters and who knows what the heck else.

"Smooth and jazzy" appeals to me. But how's to know which original pickup that might be?

It is ash by the way, and very nice.
.
The lollar tele vintage t neck pickup is pretty smooth and jazzy. My favorite tele neck pickup
 

Rod

Tone is Paramount
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
23,427
If you want a pickup that's noiseless, the DiMarzio Area T neck is a superb sounding pickup, and there is NO HUm.. as nice for rhythum as it is for lead solo work...
 

Rotten

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,451
I went through a bunch of neck pickups in my Nocasters because (1) I did not want to sound like a Strat; and (2) for fun. I ultimately landed on the Don Mare '53 with the brass cover. I also really like the '54, which is a bit brighter -- I stuck that in my ASAT Classic. Both do a wonderful traditional Tele sound and don't try to be a Strat in Tele clothing.
 
Messages
1,679
the OVs that go in the 52ri are amazing imo. I'm obsessed with both pickups and I can't imagine boutique making much of an improvement if you're looking for the original tone.

that said does anyone know firsthand how OVs compare to Ron Ellis. I'm just curious based on the hype. Julian Lage even says they are defining pickups of his sound and tone and are equally as important as the amp to him.
 






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