November 21st, 2009, 08:58 AM
Up to now I've been fairly happy with the combination of GFS Vintage Alnico 50 (bridge) and Fatbody (neck) pickups in my ESP 400-series Tele with the 4-way switch mod. The neck pickup in particular sounds great but the bridge item now seems rather too thin and bright compared with the one in my AV62RI, which is a superb-sounding guitar all round.
I've been reading some good stuff about the Tonerider Hot Classic set. Does anyone have experience of this set compared with the GFS pickups I have? Ideally I seek a more "muscular" bridge pickup and a neck one that is clear and full-sounding. I'd also like both pickups to have similar output levels, i.e. no volume drop when switching from bridge to neck.
November 21st, 2009, 12:36 PM
I haven't tried those particular models but I have ToneRiders in three of my guitars and one GFS and it will probably come out. I am impressed with the build quality of the TRs and they seem to be more consistent. I had another GFS at one time that I thought was awful. Don't remember what it was or what happened to it.
November 25th, 2009, 01:30 PM
Thanks, Paul. Nobody else replied, possibly because nobody knew the answer to my specific question. Ah well, having found out as much as I could, I went ahead and bought a set of the Tonerider Hot Classics anyway. They only arrived in today's mail and have not been installed yet. But when they are, I will seemingly become the world's leading expert on the comparison between the particular pickups I mentioned...
December 23rd, 2009, 06:42 AM
Right then, I've now installed the Tonerider Hot Classic pair in the ESP Tele. When I first fired up the guitar at home I was a bit whelmed - neither over nor under - because the bridge pickup didn't seem a huge improvement over the GFS VA50 it replaced and the neck pickup, though good and full in output, sounded... well, ordinary, and lacking the somewhat Stratty character of the superb GFS Fatbody.
However, since then I've used the guitar on a few gigs and I have to say that these pickups actually perform very well indeed under working conditions. In particular, the parallel and series combined positions are very, very good and rather more usable than with the previous pickup installation. The neck pickup sounds smooth and mellow while the bridge one is still bright but perhaps just a little less sharp and piercing than the GFS item.
A major benefit for me is that with the conventional covered neck pickup I no longer get the problem of the high E string occasionally catching under the top bobbin plate as it used to with the uncovered neck-position Fatbody, which however I still feel has greater character to its sound when used by itself.
There's still quite a difference in tonal character between this guitar and my AV62RI Custom Telecaster, which I attribute not only to the pickups but also to the timbers, hardware and general physics of each instrument. I'm now happy with both guitars and, where a Telecaster is called for, between them sound-wise they seem to have most bases covered.
By the way, it seems that the Tonerider Hot Classics are pretty much the same as, or at least very close to, the OE pickups fitted to the Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster, about which I've read some very complimentary reviews and which won its category in UK "Guitar & Bass" magazine's "Gear of the Year" feature.
December 24th, 2009, 04:34 AM
I've used the Hot Classics - love the neck, but the bridge was a bit thin. Way better quality than GFS stuff. I've just bought some Tonerider Alnico II Classic HBs for another guitar.
BTW, I just got a Duncan Hot Stack bridge on a whim - not 'hot' at all, just fat sounding. Nice clean sound - surprisingly nice.
December 24th, 2009, 04:57 AM
I use Toneriders quite a bit as they are very good pickups .I have a hot classic in the bridge of my Thinline parts caster and love it .I put a P90 in the neck and also installed a 500K pot just to try it out and improve the P90 .It also gave the bridge pup an even more barking bluesy tone than it had before .I love the sound but I do have to try it cranked up at a session to confirm the head phone and lower volume performance .Nothing beats a good loud play to get the tone out of pickups .The Tone rider alnico humbuckers are superb ,I had them in a Dot but might load up a 2 bucker Strat pickguard and put it in my strat .I'll probably use Rocksongs .I tend to think Keystones for country and Toneriders for blues and rock.
December 24th, 2009, 04:16 PM
I've tried the GFS hot 60's and Fatbody. They both sounded pretty harsh to me. The Hot Classics are my fav tele set in all three positions. Lots and lots of character with zero harshness.