WRHB Pickups - Any changes in last 11 years?

Glitch Magnet
April 7th, 2011, 08:48 PM
Does anyone know if Fender changed the design of the Wide Range Humbuckers between 2001 and 2005? Here's why I ask...

In ~2001 I purchased a 72 Tele Thinline RI mail order on a whim from one of the big online stores. Perhaps I got lucky, cuz I got a great playing, great sounding, great looking instrument. It is 100% stock, with a nice open tone. I use it constantly.

Recently I started wondering if a 72 Tele Deluxe RI would give me all the same great sound with better playability and maybe a tighter low end. From what I've read, most people find the two guitars to sound almost identical. So I scored a super clean '05 Deluxe on Ebay. As soon as I got it, I set it up the same as my Thinline with DR MH-10 (10-50) strings. It plays great, but has a very different sound compared to the '01 Thinline. Not as open sounding, more middy, less highs. Also, while the low E seems a little tighter sounding, the A and D are notably deader.
So, is it just a bad piece of wood? Or is it the pickups? Could Fender have changed the saddle material? I'm inclined to change out the pots for 500k, but as far as I know the Thinline has the same 250k pots (I haven't opened it up to verify), so that shouldn't be the cause of such a drastic difference. The pups in the Deluxe each measure ~8k, so they seem normal. Should I get the Telenator MOD1 pickup mod? What to do?!

Anyone else have a similar experience?

April 7th, 2011, 09:09 PM
First off, welcome to the board! All of your Tele questions will be answered here.

I had a 77 Tele Custom with the original WRHB, and I can tell you that the new ones are nothing like the originals. Wrong magnet material, not the same design.

Telenator is the resident expert here on the WRHB, and he makes a real replica of the originals, one of the few available. He can do a better job of explaining it than I. His ain't cheap, but neither is the original magnet material.

Glitch Magnet
April 8th, 2011, 07:11 AM
Thanks e-merlin. Glad to be here. I understand about the new ones being quite different from the original 70s. I'm not necessarily trying to capture the sound of the originals. All I know is I really like the ones in my 2001 Thinline, but not the ones in my 2005 Deluxe.

I just don't know if its actually the pickups that sound different, or something else. I expect a solid body to have a different character than a hollow body, but wasn't expecting this much difference. That's why I'm wondering if Fender changed the pickup design between 2001 and 2005. Or is it possible they would have used 500k pots in 2001? I may have to open up the Thinline and check.

BTW, both my Teles are MIM.

April 8th, 2011, 09:15 AM
A guitar sound is the sum of it's parts. You're simply experiencing that condition with your latest guitar.

It has long been my understanding that we should buy pickups based on listening to our guitars and then buying pickups that will enhance the qualities we like, while down playing those qualities we don't like.

In your case I would first try changing your volume and tone pots to 500K. Then, flip the pickups over and draw the 6 hidden steel pole screws out 2 turns each. leave the ones that pop through the cover alone.

When you put it all back together, the sound will be more open, brighter, and a bit louder.

If that still doesn't sound good to you, there are several options out there to get it sounding killer.

If I were you, I'd want the guitar to sound different. Then it's more useful alongside your other guitars.

April 8th, 2011, 10:41 AM
I too had a thinline and currently have a Deluxe, and yes mine also sounded vastly different... The Deluxe is solid alder while the thinline is semi hollow ash... Huge difference there. My thinline was articulate, bright and pretty twangy, while my Deluxe is a lot thicker sounding with more midrange. I actually liked the stock wide range pickups in my Thinline with 500k pots, but not my Deluxe! Lol

Glitch Magnet
April 8th, 2011, 11:31 AM
Wow, thanks guys! What a huge help! Telenator, I will get some Superpots on order and do the polepiece adjustment. BTW, do you know if RS has a solution for making their split shafts into solid shafts?

If that all works, I might still opt for the MOD1 - even with 500k pots. I figure a little extra high-end can't hurt, and I can always dial it back with the tone controls. Am I off base?

I also need to investigate a physical buzz in my bridge pickup. Hopefully it's just a mounting spring, but I think it might be something beneath the pup cover and maybe need repotting (which I'm capable of doing). I'll leave that for later since it's probably only an acoustic anomolie - although an annoying one.

Hey geetarfreek82, I just drove past Moosic on my way to/from Chicago a couple weeks ago. How's the music scene round there?

April 8th, 2011, 02:30 PM
If you're going to try our MOD1, I would leave the 250K pots in there. MOD1 is bright and sounds best with the 250K pots.

April 8th, 2011, 04:44 PM
Eh, the music scene here is great if you are in an emo pop punk band or a hardcore band... Other than that it kinda sucks. Between Scranton and Wilkes-Barre there are lotsa colleges so that means the area is mainly comprised of broke college kids lol