The Ultimate "Noiseless" Tele Bridge PU Thread

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by al carmichael, Feb 5, 2006.


  1. al carmichael

    al carmichael Member

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    Hey, somebody's got to start one. I might as well, since I think I've tried so many over the years. Still there are some I haven't tested yet. My post is in no way meant as the definitive answer--I want to hear from all the Tele freaks out there. I'm just gonna write a bit about the ones I have tried and let the thread take its course. My opinions are totally subjective and I expect both agreements and disagreements--its all good. I'd just like to get a reference that might be valuable to other Tele players.

    As a disclaimer, I do love single coil pickups. I have been through a bunch, which I am leaving out of this thread. Unfortunately, the recording environments and the clubs I play wreak havoc with single coils--even when the guitar is shielded. That led me to my search for a quiet (humbucking) Tele pickup that could convince me it is a single coil. Some have come close, but none have perfected a convincing illusion.

    1. Joe Barden. This PU has the tonal range and retains the highs of the single coil, but adds a personality of its own. No longer in production and expensive on EBAY. It has nice balance between lows, midrange and highs. Somewhat punchier than a true single coil though. Sounds great, but yet different than a true single coil.

    2. Bill Lawerence 280-T. Similar in sound to the Joe Barden but with less midrange punch and a slightly different character in the high end. Almost as bright as a single coil, but lacking that effervescence that a true single coil produces. Great value.

    3. Duncan STK-3b--A stacked humbucker that emulates a single coil. Output is close to a standard single coil. This one nails the high end convincingly, but falls short in the low end. It also has some of that sweet humbucker character in its attack--reminiscent of the lead guitar on Southbound by the Allmans. Not humbucker in tone at all--just has a certain voice. If this pickup had more lows and low mids, I'd consider it perfect.

    4. Fender Noiseless. This PU has more midrange and girth than a single coil. The upper octave of highs seems shaved off--lack of high end chime. Might be a good choice for a player who doesn't want the real high harmonics. It sounds good through an overdrive and has plenty of twang left. Imagine a single coil with the tone knob rolled off a notch or two. Incredibly immune to squeal--even in a Tele with a stamped bridge.

    5. Seymour Duncan Hot Rails--Only for the Tele player who wants a hot, dark sounding pickup. This sounds nothing like a single coil. Of course, I didn't expect it to. I have thought about tearing it apart and pulling about 1/4 of the windings off each coil. Might get me into the ballpark.

    6. Seymour Duncan Lil '59--Again, another beast altogether. More meat, midrange and punch that a single coil. Less high end. A PU voiced for rock and overdriven music. Might make a good match with a humbucker bridge PU if one wanted a guitar that leaned toward Gibson character.

    7. Anderson Stacked Tele--All I remember is that I installed it and took it out immediately.

    I have not tried any of the Kinman PU's or the Dimarzio's. Other than the GFS Barden clones, which I have not tested, I don't even know of any other manufacturers making "noiseless" Tele pickups.

    Your additions and comments would be welcome. And--yes--I know that some purists would consider even the thought of a humbucking Tele pickup heresy, but please consider those of us who are looking for as close as we can get without the hum and noise. Thanks!
     
  2. pfflam

    pfflam Silver Supporting Member

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    Good info . . . . want to add to that list another list for Noiseless Neck Pups?

    and do tell when you try those GFS . . . I don't know what to think of the rumors of their supposed good sounds
     
  3. 6stringjazz

    6stringjazz Supporting Member

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    I have the Anderson tele bridge pickup in one of my teles. It sounds good in single coil mode, good twang and snap, and when I have problems with hum or buzz in a certain venue, I can switch to humbucker mode. It does lose some dynamics and twang in humbucker mode, but it works for me. FWIW, I don't like the Anderson full size humbuckers.
     
  4. enharmonic

    enharmonic Old Growth Gold Supporting Member

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    I wonder if there's any chance of Joe Barden getting back into production? If not, he could probably make a nice chunk of change if he'd license the design to another manufacturer. :)
     
  5. Ogre

    Ogre Member

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    Great report! Another pickup to consider(don't think they are sold separately) are the new silent coil pickups that Suhr is putting in his guitars. Early reviews are very positive.
     
  6. Roe

    Roe Member

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    the kinman 1948 broadkaster is good, but I suppose the suhr noiseless system is much better.
     
  7. RGB

    RGB Supporting Member

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    I know a lot of people don't like them, but I have the Fender VN's in both positions and I love them! I play classic rock, southern rock, blues rock etc., and it's just what I have in mind. Good drive without icepick highs and just hot enough to bark when I want them to. I'm really not after vintage Tele twang, however.
     
  8. xroads

    xroads Member

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    >Great report! Another pickup to consider(don't think they are sold >separately) are the new silent coil pickups that Suhr is putting in his >guitars. Early reviews are very positive.

    The SSC system is not available separately for Tele type guitars.
    I have played some Kinmans as well, and while they are *very* good, they don't have the authentic single coil sound in clean mode. If you play one without knowing what's in there, you would think it's a single coil with slightly more mids.
     
  9. clothwiring

    clothwiring Supporting Member

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    I have a set of Kinman AVn 60s in my Gold Tele I built, they are great in the guitar. I have some Kinman Broadcasters coming...hopefully this week...I'm really looking forward to hearing how they sound in my Gigliotti.

    Barden pickups are great, they sounded phenominal in my Gigliotti, but I had one die on me (and had issues with others), and I've had a handful of people talk about how delicate they are. I'm currently purging my collection of Joe Barden pickups on Ebay. I have a pair of clean Tele pups I'll probably throw on there (but might sit on them for a few years and sell them).
     
  10. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    A lot depends on the tones you're looking for and style of music you play. Vintage? P-90? Humbucker?

    For classic style tele tones with a bit of P-90 ooomph, the Dimarzio VV Hot T does it for me. This one doesn't seem to be that highly thought of, but for my needs, it works better than many other pickups I've used. I still may opt for a Tone Zone T, but right now, I'm very content with the Hot T.
     
  11. al carmichael

    al carmichael Member

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    I totally agree and that's the point of this whole thread. The more information we can give that defines the various models of Tele pickups, the better.

    Compared to your average single coil,, what does the Hot T sound like? I think the more descriptions of the different pickups, the better. I'm curious to hear more about the Kinmans and the new Dimarzio prototypes too.


    Eventually, a list of all the available PU's and a general description for each would be the goal here. Then players could make better choices for their specific needs.
     
  12. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    I have two sets from WCR-The Broadcaster set,The Wagcaster set and they are both extremely quiet-not noiseless-even the Bardens were not noiseless.When one speaks of Tele pickups,one generally is talking about a single coil in vintage true to tone instruments.The WCR offerings are quieter than the Bardens and sound more authentic than the Bardens-I suspect it's the shielding.
     
  13. al carmichael

    al carmichael Member

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    How does WCR make single coil pickups that are quieter than Bardens? This I gotta hear. Not doubting, mind you--just wondering. I have done extensive shielding on single coils and the benefit was only maybe 10-20%.

    I thought of one other noiseless Tele pickup I have used--the EMG. It was the gold label one rather than the silver. My feeling was that it had great balance and snap, but after a bit it sounded homogenized. For a rhythm player who wants full bodied clean, it could be the ticket. What it misses is the greasy grind of the real deal. Almost too hi fi somehow. Generic personality.
     
  14. gtrnstuff

    gtrnstuff Member

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    Been a few years, but I tried Duncan stacks, EMG, Joe Barden, DiMarzio Virtual T, Bill Lawrence, Fender Noiseless, and Kinman. Kinman Broadcaster is what I use. Lawrence was second place, a bit harsh for me.
     
  15. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Love the Kinman Broadcasters nice and fairly hot.
    I also like Langcaster Pick Ups but it is not mounted like a Tele at all.
     
  16. big mike

    big mike Fixed Bias Moderator Staff Member

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    My favorite was the Duncan Vintage Stack. I had barden's for awhile. They were cool, but really just not 'tele' enough for me. Worked for Danny Gatton, but I'm not as good as he is. :D

    Really, I would like these to be noiseless, but I haven't found one that REALLY sounded perfect. The SD is really close. But I'll deal with the hum to get the right tone.

    In MY particular tele, the Rio Grande Tallboy set gets it done.
     
  17. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    +1 on the Kinman Broadcasters. Set close to the strings and they get very nasty, back away a bit and the mids mellow a lot. Very good pickups without the noise.
     
  18. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    The guitar these were used in is a USACG Chambered mahogany tele.

    Compared to other more traditional tele bridge pups I've used....and each had their own great points, similar, yet different from each other.... ( Van Zandt Flat Pole, Duncan Broadcaster, Dimarzio Twang King, Electrokraft Vintage & Blues, Trutone Esquire, Fender OV, Fender Esquire, Novak vintage, GFS Hot TC Alnico ) the Dimarzio VV Hot T first of all has more output and matches well with the neck humbucker. While a few of the above had a bit more snappy twang, the Hot T more than held it's own in that department with others.

    Where the Hot T excels for my needs is in the medling of twang and snap with P-90 type girth. The Hot T responds very well to the guitars tone and volume control and has the versitality that I need for this guitar. The tone is very liquid ( for lack of a better word ) and smooth. Rolling the tone down a bit and taking a smidge off the volume control provides a clear, fat, articulate and touch responsive tone that works well for blues solos or chunky rhythem with no ice pick. With overdrive, the Hot T retains individual note articulation and does not turn things to mush or mud as a few of the others did.

    I really did not want to like this pickup, but it works so well in this guitar
    ( I have not tried it in any other tele ) I can't see it being replaced anytime soon. It's not a pickup for everyone, but I'm glad I took a chance on it.
     
  19. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Hey Bonedance what you are saying kind of goes in line of my thoughts that in a hollow Tele you'll need hotter pick ups .. Did the Duncan Broadcaster or GFS Hot sound like a better option then the others (besides the VV).
    If you have the chance ... try some Lollas, Fralins or Kinmans :)
     

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