what's with tele neck pickups?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by jbert, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. jbert

    jbert Member

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    i've owned a number of teles and strats both vintage(50's/60's) and more recent custom shop models as well. without fail the tele neck pickups can never keep up with the bridge pickup in terms of output/volume. sure, some of the strat neck pickups had more umph then others but the overall balance was there between the pickups. is this always the case? ilove the sound of the neck pickup on the tele but it doesn't seem to get it's due. please advise.
     
  2. pfflam

    pfflam Silver Supporting Member

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    Try a Texas Special pup in the neck and get it set at the right height - IMO, excellent pickups.

    But with Teles, I have noticed, the neck position does have a real effect in terms f the darkness of the sound more so than with other guitars
     
  3. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    Pretty sure it's intentional. :p
     
  4. Seegs

    Seegs Member

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    Yes esp. when the neck pickups have brass covers...they will have a volume discrepancy as the brass attenuates volume and highs...you have to set the bridge pickup lower but that can also be used to great advantage as it produces a very warm and woody clean tone...want more bite switch to the middle position....plus this gives you three very different and distinct tonalities that you can learn to work with...

    If you have a neck pickup with a nickel-silver cover that becomes a non-issue IME as the ns doesn't attenuate the highs or volume as much...in general I find that the difference between the positions is not as great as when you have a brass cover...

    Chow,
    Seegs
     
  5. jbert

    jbert Member

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    i had a wonderful '53 w/form-fit case years ago which had the original wiring so i never knew what the middle setting (both pickups) sounded like til years later when i got to play one with modern wiring. i can't believe i was missing out on that middle sound. it almost sounds out-of-phase. jangly-beautiful for rhythm
     
  6. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

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    Sounds like a hot bridge pickup. You can raise the neck pickup up pretty high, that will help balance it better. MAybe grab a Lollar Special neck pickup?
     
  7. jimmyj

    jimmyj Member

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    I agree with the others that say to raise the neck pickup higher and slightly lower the bridge but that volume difference works well for me.
    I set the amp so it sounds just right on the neck pickup with the knobs on the tele wide open and then it sounds just right on the bridge pickup with the volume and tone knobs on the guitar just slightly rolled back. That's how you get that crisp but smoother bridge pickup tone out of a tele anyway. This is with the modern wiring without the dark capacitor on the first switch position.
     
  8. Devin

    Devin Low Voltage Supporting Member

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    the difference in output lends a unique quality to the middle position imo
     
  9. SFW

    SFW Member

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    I have yet to find a Tele neck pickup that I like. So I just remove them and go with a single bridge pickup. Between the volume and tone knobs I can get any sound I need with just a single tele bridge pup.
     
  10. jaycee

    jaycee Member

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    I've only had one tele, with 2 different neck pickups, and neither one of them had any bit of that neck-pickup roundness/chime/whatever-you-call-it, no matter where i set them. Don't know if i'm going to try another in this particular guitar.
     
  11. Dave Orban

    Dave Orban Gold Supporting Member

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    There are a slew of really great-sounding neck pickups out there these days... Duncan Antiquities, Fralins, Lollars, and Don Mare's pickups come to mind.

    But the stock neck pickups that Fender puts into, say, their re-issues, is not particularly useful to most contemporary players.
     
  12. vibrasonic

    vibrasonic Member

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    The middle position works for me. I very rarely use the neck PUP by itself.
     
  13. JPF

    JPF Member

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    A pair of Fralin Blues Specials can do the trick
     
  14. Whiskeyrebel

    Whiskeyrebel Member

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    Remove the cover and readjust the height. Or cut a slot in the cover to expose the polepieces. I found this to make the tone much more to my liking, even with a steel pole / ceramic bar magnet pickup that sounded cheesy in its stock condition.
     
  15. stilesg57

    stilesg57 Member

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    The stock A5 neck pup in the '08+ American Standards is SICK. Raise it up a tad and drop the bridge a bit till the output evens out and you'll love it. Definitely more modern than vintage, but still VERY sweet and a steal considering you can get them for <$40 on eBay.
     
  16. Windup 43

    Windup 43 Supporting Member

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    I agree, the Ame. Standard's stock neck pup is simply fantastic.
     
  17. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    the best thing i ever did with my tele was ditch the dull tele neck pickup for a strat pickup.

    now the neck vs. bridge contest is a "draw" like on my les paul, and the middle setting is much stronger and more jangly as well.

    IIRC, the tele neck pickup was kind of an afterthought on the original broadcaster; the cover made it sound quiet and smooth, so that (leo imagined) it could be used to "fake" a bass sound (remember, the electric bass was still a couple years away).
     
  18. jbert

    jbert Member

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    i know . my '53 had that capacitor in it. technically it was the first fender bass. that's why they changed to 'modern' wiring in '54 when the official fender precision was introduced. thanks for the suggestion. i see lots of teles now with strat neck pickups. do any mods have to be done to fit a strat pickup in the neck position?
     
  19. saf_1

    saf_1 Member

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    I'd agree with whoever said they'd never heard a Tele neck pickup they liked - but I'd amend that to say "I've never heard a traditional Tele neck p'up I liked". The only Tele neck pickups I've ever liked are a Joe Barden, and a TV Jones - which is what I currently have in the neck of my Tele (Powertron neck) - routed of course. The perfect Tele neck pickup, IMO. The Barden is a close second. Had one before the TV, but broke a wire in one of the coils (long story). Tried a multitude of more traditional types before and after the Barden. Had been thinking about the TV for awhile, and finally decided to take the plunge. Haven't regretted it for a millisecond.
     
  20. serial

    serial Member

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    SFW says it best.

    Get an Esquire or just never move it off of the bridge pickup.
     

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