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Old August 15th, 2012, 10:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Custom Shop '51 Nocaster Pickups Review

So I finally got around to installing a new set of '51 Nocaster pickups from Fender Custom Shop into my Baja tele. There isnt a ton of info out there on these pickups, but I decided to give them a go based off what I did read.

For reference, I am playing through a Delluxe Reverb reissue. Ill start by saying that previously in this guitar Ive had a '62 Custom(Fender) set, custom wound bridge by Churchill pickups(6.6k), and the stock(CS Broadcaster and Twisted neck). Of these, the '62 Custom set was my least favorite(very bright and harsh), the stock pups were good but still harsh, and the Churchill bridge was all around good but nothing special.

The Nocaster set is heads and shoulders above the others I tried. The bridge is 7.3k, and the neck is 7.1k. A3 magnets, flat poles. Both pups are very, very well balanced and they seem to reproduce a lot of the natural acoustic qualities of the guitar. The bridge is in no way harsh, but it can definitely twang. Its a fat, round twang with body and clarity. To acheive the same treble response as the '62 set, I had to turn the treble up from 3 to a little above 6. The bridge is noticeably warmer, but with similar attack. The neck pickup is pure 50s, in a good way. Very warm, but with great character. Can get a good snap and spank on all strings when needed. Very airy and lush. Both pickups combined produces some of my all time favorite electric guitar tones. The middle position is tight, sweet, quacky and chimey. Makes for a beatiful rhythm and great clean picking.

These pickups are in there for good. I highly recommend this set. They inspire my playing, and remind me why the Tele is the greatest guitar design ever

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Old August 15th, 2012, 10:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I couldn't agree more!
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Old August 16th, 2012, 02:35 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi I just recent;y acquired a Highway One Tele late 2005 and was considering upgrading with full refinish and new bridge and pick ups...these pups are defintely up for consideration but here in NZ go for $299 for the neck and bridge pick ups. The other I was looking at were the Original Vintage which are $159 for a set. I guess either will be good but as you said they are really great leaning this way, and with a butterscotch blonde or Lake Placid Blue new paint job will look and sound awesome!!
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Old August 16th, 2012, 02:57 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hi I just recent;y acquired a Highway One Tele late 2005 and was considering upgrading with full refinish and new bridge and pick ups...these pups are defintely up for consideration but here in NZ go for $299 for the neck and bridge pick ups. The other I was looking at were the Original Vintage which are $159 for a set. I guess either will be good but as you said they are really great leaning this way, and with a butterscotch blonde or Lake Placid Blue new paint job will look and sound awesome!!
Try these...worldwide shipping....

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI...#ht_1550wt_699

http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI...#ht_4161wt_760
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Old August 16th, 2012, 03:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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A Thousand thank you's I have that saved to watchlist and will try and scrounge up the dollars what a saving thanks very much.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 03:33 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Yup no worries

Use this link to search the USA Ebay....

http://picclick.com/Musical-Instruments/
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Old August 16th, 2012, 04:02 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Hi I just recent;y acquired a Highway One Tele late 2005 and was considering upgrading with full refinish and new bridge and pick ups...these pups are defintely up for consideration but here in NZ go for $299 for the neck and bridge pick ups. The other I was looking at were the Original Vintage which are $159 for a set. I guess either will be good but as you said they are really great leaning this way, and with a butterscotch blonde or Lake Placid Blue new paint job will look and sound awesome!!
In AU, I got the Nocasters for around $160 and you should be able to import them from the US for cheaper than what you'd pay locally. Even my Rumpelstiltskin pickups were $150 shipped (priority mail) which is as nice as I could get.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 10:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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my favorite all-arounders too. they can do just about any tele sound one can imagine.
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Old August 17th, 2012, 07:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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These PUs are the boutique manufacturer's biggest competitors.
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Old August 18th, 2012, 04:49 AM   #10 (permalink)
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They may or may not be the best Tele pickups around (opinions vary) but they're most definitely the best Tele pickups Fender offers. I've used them for over ten years.

Wilde Keystones are also a great sounding vintage style pickup and about half the cost of the Nocasters. A little less bold and more transparent but all the twang and chime you could ask for.
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Old August 18th, 2012, 09:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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These PUs are the boutique manufacturer's biggest competitors.
yeah. i've got fred stuart blackguards, lollars, and don mares too.

the fred stuart bridge pickup may just have the nocaster bridge beat, but the nocaster neck pickup is significantly better than the stuart neck.

my don mare EnglishGuards are the coolest pickups ever, but they're not "classic" tele pickups.

lollars just aren't quite as good sounding, IMO.

for all around best set of tele pups, i'd say the nocasters win. i haven't tried don mare's hot bakelites, though, and i'll bet they'd be damn good contenders.
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Old August 19th, 2012, 12:11 PM   #12 (permalink)
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They are good ones. I personally favor the O.V.'s that came in my 52ri.
I've got Nocasters in 2 CS models and they sound great, the O.V.'s just have a little more snarl.
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Old August 19th, 2012, 12:32 PM   #13 (permalink)
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That makes me think if it would be an option for my CV 50´s, but i´m pretty happy with these Alnico V magnets....
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Old August 21st, 2012, 10:07 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I put a set in "The Sow". I like them alot. They made me keep a Epiphone Valve Special I was going to sell. The Tele and the amp sound great together.
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Old August 21st, 2012, 07:30 PM   #15 (permalink)
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+1 on Nocasters-next in line:CS Texas Specials
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Old August 22nd, 2012, 08:59 PM   #16 (permalink)
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+1 on Nocasters-next in line:CS Texas Specials
I'm running a Nocaster in the bridge and a Texas Special in the neck in my favorite Tele. it's a perfect combination for me.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 07:58 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I've had Nocaster pickups in my Nocaster (of course) for a few years, and while I like them, I'm planning to try something different.

I've compared a few different types of pickups, including the Nocasters, though no-load wired guitars (the Nocaster with the blend function, and an Esquire in position 1), and played them through amps that have no tone circuit (like the 5F1) or that had the tone circuit bypassed.

My conclusion (and I understand that this is based only on my subjective perception and biased preferences, and that YMMV, of course) is that in these unloaded circuits, the Nocaster pickups are the brightest by far.

I'm not suggesting that Nocaster pickups are bad - at all. But I am saying that in an completely unloaed circuit - with no tone knob in either the guitar or amp, they're really bright (based on my perception) compared to other pickups.

In addition, based on the materials, the Fender Nocaster neck pickup is not super close to authentic, since it uses Alnico III, and the original, early Blackguard pickuips used Alnico V. Can I hear a difference between Alnico III and V? Maybe, but maybe not. However, I think that Fender should address the use of Alnico III rather than V for the Nocaster neck pickup, and if they've addressed it, I haven't found it.

.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 08:55 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I appreciate that review "H". I guess I'm a alnico III guy. I love the sound of the Nocaster neck PUP. Even more than the bridge : (. I wonder sometimes if that makes me a non-Tele guy almost.

What are some examples of The alnico V? If you don't mind?
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 09:10 AM   #19 (permalink)
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This is what Fender has to say about the Alnico III in the neck and V in bridge.

the Alnico III is the weakest of the three because it actually contains no cobalt. Since it exhibits the least amount of magnetic pull, it’s the type that impedes free string vibration the least, hence making it a great choice for neck pickups (over which there is usually the greatest amount of string vibration). This is the type used in the first Stratocaster® guitars in the mid-1950s, and use of this particular alnico blend is one of the reasons why their neck pickups sound so amazingly good.

Alnico V is the strongest of the three; more powerful in tone and response. Its greater output makes it a good choice for bridge pickups, over which there is usually a smaller amount of string vibration. Good for an aggressive, punchy sound.
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Old August 23rd, 2012, 10:08 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I agree, bluesmanmartin. The Nocaster neck pickup sounds good, and the bridge does too.

I became interested in authenticity from Nacho's Blackguard book, and just decided to experiment.

The Alnico 5 neck pickups I tried were a Texas Special, and a Bare Knuckes Flat 50. Each sounded a bit different, and both sounded different than the Nocaster neck.

All 3 sounded really good though, and the differences were more like "Ginger or Mary Anne" and were not night-and-day. Not a bad one in the bunch!
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