Well, this weekend I learned alot. I still suck at guitar but at least I have an ear.
My Esquire Build originally had an EMG-RT with SPC controller. This sounded very clear, twangy and truly was noiseless. I highly recommend this setup to anyone that plays well and is looking for really clear tele tone. The SPC control (I had 3 knobs; vol, tone,spc) gives a fatter, humbuckery sound that I preferred to the EMG-RT without it, I guess at my level of playing a little "mud" can cover alot of errors.
The 52AVRI pickup was what I expected, very tele sounding, clear and flexible with your standard 60hz hum. It responded will to the tone control and made me think more "country/gosplel" than "blues/rock". but definitely better sounding (to me) than an MIM standard or MIA standard, although the super fat neck probably changes the tone too.
The "Don Mare Zep-O-Tone Graf Airship One" (whew) sounds EXACTLY like it should. I ripped out some Yardbirds and Zep on it and It was on the money where with my other guitars I have to play with pedals to get in that ballpark.
It's bright, airy and raunchy all at the same time. It's also much louder than I expected from a 5.?k PU.
Though these PUs all do what they are supposed to do quite well (especially the EMG and DM) I will be singing the praises of Don's mythical pickups for a long time. It's a joy to hear this guitar just ring with the right amount of agression and still sound like an Esquire should.
I wired it with Acme CTS 250k pots, CRL 1452 switch (vintage tip) and Luxe 1950-51 reissue/replica caps and resistor (I know...money grows on trees
) using the vintage correct circuit supplied by Luxe (same as the one here on TDPRI).
Topped with Hightech Tools knobs (same as Glendale's) everything just sounds and looks right.