Versatile noiseless telecaster pickups?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by teleking36, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    I put together a really great partscaster consisting of a Marc Rutters body and hardware and Musikraft neck. It's a great guitar, which sometimes doesn't happen when putting a bunch of parts together.

    It's routed for two tele neck pickups (neck and middle) and a reverse tele bridge pickup direct mounted to the body. Using a Rutters hybrid strat tremolo bridge with tele saddles. I've gone through a few different traditional pickups since putting the guitar together, trying to find the right combination for the job. I built the guitar primarily for my wedding gigs - a 'do-it-all' telecaster that wouldn't have me jumping back and forth between guitars all night. I need to play pop, R&B, classic rock, modern rock/country, etc. Due to a constant change in venue, I'm always dealing with power/noise issues and have decided that I need to go the noiseless/hum-canceling route.

    I've tried the SD Lil 59 and currently have the DiMarzio Area T installed, having not messed around with the neck and middle pickups yet. The Area T was definitely an improvement for me over the Lil 59, which sounded too muffled and lacked proper definition when I needed it. The Area T is quiet, but doesn't have the balls to handle the heavier gain rock stuff like Journey (ugh!!) and all that other stuff.

    I'm this close to sucking it up and buying a Barden set with the Modern T bridge pickup and two neck pickups, but it's a lot of money invested in something I'm unsure will work in my scenario.

    Can anyone offer insight as to how I should go about this? I thought a decent compromise was to maybe grab a Barden Modern T bridge pickup and mix and match the neck and middle pickups, but would consider a full Barden set if it's worth it.
     
  2. Wayne Alexander

    Wayne Alexander Supporting Member

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    I have the Barden Modern T bridge pickup in a couple teles, each of those has the Barden tele neck pickups in it. The Barden Tele neck pickup is possibly the best sounding tele neck pickup (noiseless or not) that's ever been made - and the clear hi-fi tone and volume is a perfect match for the Barden bridge pickup.

    The one thing about Bardens is that you absolutely have to use your volume and tone controls on the guitar. The pickups give you a myriad of sounds in response to this.
     
  3. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    The Area Hot T is my favorite noiseless Tele bridge pickup. And the Area neck pickup might be my favorite neck single-coil (work with me on that one), period.

    It's been a long time since I've owned Bardens, but IME they don't get that 'gritch' that pole-magnet singles do. They are excellent-sounding pickups though.
     
  4. mgarrison99

    mgarrison99 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have SD Vintage Stacks in my Tele and really like them. Seymour Duncan STKT1N and B combo.
     
  5. David Garner

    David Garner Member

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    Area T 615 sounds like what you're after. Great pickup.
     
  6. AdmiralB

    AdmiralB Silver Supporting Member

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    Those are great too. I like the Hot better but I've got one of those as well.
     
  7. Trebor Renkluaf

    Trebor Renkluaf I was hit by a parked car, what's your excuse? Gold Supporting Member

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    I haven't tried the tele pickups, but the Zexcoil strat pickups are my favorites noiseless strat pickup I've tried.

    http://www.zexcoil.com
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2015
  8. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    I have the Area 615 in there now. It's not a bad pickup at all, but I feel like I need more 'oomph' especially for heavier rock stuff. I just sold off some pedals to order the new Wampler Plexi Drive Deluxe, which will definitely give me more control over my gain tones than I previously had. I'll wait til that comes in to make the call on swapping the Area 615.

    As for the neck and middle, are the matching Area pickups solid? These two positions aren't as important, but it would be nice to have a well rounded neck pickup that can do jazzier type tones. The middle is engaged for the MJ type pop stuff where I need a little quack.
     
  9. AndrewC

    AndrewC Supporting Member

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    I replaced my Area Ts with Bardens. They take some adjusting to - as noted above you do need to work your volume and tone controls because Bardens are much more full range than other pickups - basically they have more of everything! The neck pickup is great but if I was getting another set, I would probably go for the Modern bridge over the Gatton for a bit more girth.

    Another unexpected bonus of the Bardens is that they seem to sustain far better than other pickups. Maybe there's less magnetic pull on the strings, but the difference is quite striking.

    I was so impressed with the Tele pickups that I put an HSS Strat set in my #1 guitar. The Barden Two Tone HB is the only one I've heard that can do a proper single coil sound as well as a full humbucker without any compromise. As with the Tele, it somehow improved the guitar's sustain too.

    I just wish they were cheaper! :)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  10. doc

    doc Member

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    I have a set of Bardens in one Tele, and they're great. If the cost is an issue but you want similar performance, I'd consider the Wilde MicroCoil set. They're true single coils and not "noiseless", but they're significantly lower noise than traditional Tele pickups. They're powerful and balanced. The Bardens have more edge and bite, the MicroCoils are powerful but smooth.

    I'm sure Mr. Kirn will be along in a minute to restate what I just said in a longer and more entertaining missive!

    :munch
     
  11. s2y

    s2y Member

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    I kinda figured Fender's Noiseless might not be all that great when I ordered my B-Bender guitar. I was pleasantly surprised, especially given the price. An added bonus is that somehow Fender figured out how to get a balanced output on the neck and bridge.
     
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  12. jbd3

    jbd3 Please Don't Sell Me Any More Gear Silver Supporting Member

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    I love Barden Tele p'ups, and would recommend them as well. I've got them in two Teles. You've got two bridge options, which is nice. And the neck p'up is wonderful; anyone who doesn't like Tele neck p'ups should try one.

    Having said that--let me put in a plug for EMGs as well. They get a bad rap here on TGP, but they're wonderful. I put them in a Suhr Tele and had my tech drill a hole between the volume and tone knobs for an EXG SPC knob. (This is the bottom knob in the Strat DG p'up set) It adds midrange and greatly enhances the versatility of single-coils. At 1 it's bypassed, which enhances the naturally scooped quality of the EMG single-coils; and 10, it sounds almost like a humbucker.

    Are you going to keep the middle p'up? If so, you'd probably need to mix EMG Strat and Tele p'ups, unless they do a "Nashville" kit, which I don't think they do. Maybe they've got a signature Tele set w/3 p'ups.

    I've got both Barden Modern and EMG bridge single-coils; I'd say the Modern has more beef than a regular EMG single-coil, but an EMG single-coil with the SPC knob dimed is much fatter still; almost sounds like a humbucker.

    But yeah, Bardens are great! Got them in a bunch of guitars; single-coil hum at gigs is the worst.
     
  13. 62Tele

    62Tele Supporting Member

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    I get a fair amount of oomph out of my 615/Area neck set, but I'm using pedals to push the amp so I can keep a more vintage guitar tone.

    Might have to try the Bardens again in my next build.
     
  14. jamester

    jamester Silver Supporting Member

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    My vote is the Area T's, Hot T in the bridge. Crank the Hot T up pretty close to the strings, and roll the tone knob back about halfway. It' becomes a nice fat "humbucker", great for classic rock tones. My tele has a neck PAF style 'bucker, so I have the tone knob wired only to the bridge pup. It's perfect, you can make the Hot T a broadcaster or a PAF and not mess up the neck sound.

    You would likely be doing the same tone adjustment with a Barden bridge pup, even the modern one is still pretty bright. They are great pups, but have a different overall kind of sound than the Area's, which are more traditionally "tele-like" IMO, and way less money...
     
  15. teleking36

    teleking36 Supporting Member

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    I appreciate all the replies so far! I have a tough decision to make! Spend the $$$ on the Bardens or keep it budget-friendly with the DiMarzios.

    Keep the suggestions/experiences coming!!
     
  16. bigtone23

    bigtone23 Member

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    I will also throw a vote for EMG. I have a T set/SPC (circa 1985) in my 1988 Am Std Tele. No tone control-just the SPC as this is a rocker guitar and I have tone controls on all the rest of my guitars.
    Just as mentioned above, the stock tone of the T bridge is really nice, not too bright, but cuts. The neck pickup is arguably a little better sounding than the bridge pickup, it's kind of a clearer Strat neck tone. Ramp up the SPC and it's a thick, powerful machine.
    I haven't tried them, but the TC set is ceramic and a touch brighter for those who prefer the cleaner, spankier Tele sound. Add the SPC and that would also be a really versatile spank to chunk toned guitar.

    The X series of EMGs are a little more open, less compressed to my ear. If I was to swap out for EMGs again, I'm leaning towards the TCX set, but I have owned that T set for nearly 25 years and no need to spend the $ to swap just yet.

    On paper, a TX set with a TCX middle pickup and SPC control might just be the most versatile set up. You get the punchy bridge, warmer neck and a bright middle to quack it up. Turn up the SPC and punch through like hot humbuckers. All without noise nor tone loss when rolling down the volume control. Gig on!
     
  17. gtrgene

    gtrgene Supporting Member

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    I love the zexcoils in my tele.
     
  18. oldtelefart

    oldtelefart Member

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    I've had Bardens for about 8-9 years now. As someone else posted, the best Tele neck p/u of all.
    I fitted the Modern T bridge p/u a few years ago, a great improvement on the original, with more mids and less ice-pick.

    As noted before, they'll get you using the volume and tone pots a lot. Endless versatility and range of tones, equally great clean or overdriven.

    They might cost a bit more, but it's actually great value for money. If you want a good Tele, why not get the best p/u's there are?
    I can't recommend them highly enough.
     
  19. nerdbot

    nerdbot Member

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    Zexcoil TF3. Have it in my parts-esquire. Quietest pickup I've owned and it sounds great clean and distorted. It sounds in between a single and a humbucker but not as nasal and mid heavy as a p90.
     
  20. rowdyyates

    rowdyyates Supporting Member

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    If you want it to sound like a Tele, get the Dimarzio's. They are great.
     

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