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Old February 24th, 2013, 04:26 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pickups for newbee to Teles

I'm a total Tele newbee on the front end of building a Parts-caster. The platform starts with me being the 'proud' new owner of a surf green J&D body, bridge, and maple neck that all appear in reasonable shape, after tweaking the truss to lose the bow.

As it clearly will need tuners, strings and electronics, thought I would start with pups. If this is a silly place to start, please advise. FWIW, most of my guitar picking has been in acoustics and round neck Dobro. I picked up an electric a few years back. It has dual humbuckers and serves well for grittier playing, grunge, and heftier blues.

I want this Parts-caster to fill in for twangier single-coil tunes. Stones, Springsteen, Petty, and Buddy Holly. From listening to the YouTubes I'm thinking of Don Mare's 10K 0038 Keefer on the bridge and maybe his STelly or a a GFS Fatbody on the neck.

I recognize that amp, playing style, and such has a lot to do with the sound you get, but accepting that reality:
  1. Will the Keef bridge & Strat neck pups combo work?
  2. Can I expect those pups to put me in the ballpark for the artists mentioned?
  3. Am I nutz to put high-end pups on an inexpensive J&D platform?

BTW, expecting in time to up-grade the neck and go to a Rutter or Glendale bridge with traditional three-piece brass or brass + aluminum (E/A) saddles to help with the twang.

Thanks in advance for any help. From browsing for several days, it is clear that for a newbee like me this site is a treasure.

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Old February 24th, 2013, 04:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Since you already looked at Don Mare sets and like the way they sound, give Don a call and explain what you are looking for, he will wound you something amazing. Owen Duffy ( OC Duff ) is also great and always answers emails within hours and is extremely helpful as well.
http://www.ocduffpickups.com/tele-pickups.html
I know people who swear by Lollar pickups and my experience was always good as well, although I don't own one.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 04:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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There's three things to consider in the overall scheme...

1. A great guitar that's expensive, and already includes excellent quality parts & pickups.

Since we're talking partscaster...

2. A partscaster that goes way beyond the original platform & becomes a great guitar.
3. A partscaster that falls short of your goals-after already costing a hefty stack of cash.

My choice would be number 1. Multiple sets of pickups purchased while seeking the holy grail sound that you want is a waste of time. Find that sound you're looking for in person, or demo videos-combined with careful, patient consideration. Hopefully, you can narrow the choices greatly before buying any pickups.

Good luck on your quest! Based on your post, I'm suggesting seeking a 'set' of Fender pickups that have been featured on MIA Teles from the Corona plant.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 08:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The main two problems with your request are: 1) Your level of playing ability, and 2) People always list artists that they'd like to sounds similar to, but it's entirely possible that those particular artists play completely different guitars, and with different pup configurations, that means you have to refine the sound you're hearing in your head down to its simplest form. If you can say I like "X" artist's tone, set clean for "X" song, as played on the "X" album, now you're getting somewhere.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 08:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southpaw Sam View Post
People always list artists that they'd like to sounds similar to, but it's entirely possible that those particular artists play completely different guitars, and with different pup configurations,
And/Or if you had the exact gear you could/would sound totally different.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 08:13 PM   #6 (permalink)
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For example Springsteen uses Bardens, Tom Petty known for using Mike Campbell's Red Dog Telecaster most probably uses a stock Fender tele bridge pup, see:

http://www.tdpri.com/2010/08/24/14-y...ets-his-match/

Buddy Holly typically used strats, so we're talking about stock Fender strat pups, and the Stones have been known to use both HB and SC pup equipped teles. I'd say a more refined description of what you're looking for tonally is in order.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 09:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southpaw Sam View Post
For example Springsteen uses Bardens, Tom Petty known for using Mike Campbell's Red Dog Telecaster most probably uses a stock Fender tele bridge pup, see:

http://www.tdpri.com/2010/08/24/14-y...ets-his-match/

Buddy Holly typically used strats, so we're talking about stock Fender strat pups, and the Stones have been known to use both HB and SC pup equipped teles. I'd say a more refined description of what you're looking for tonally is in order.
What all this says to me is traditional Fender single coil sound. Without breaking the bank, I'd say Duncan Antiquities are a great place to start. Of course, Lollar, Mare and Duff are also a great, if not confusing, place to investigate. IMO
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Old February 24th, 2013, 09:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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No matter how you spec out your partscaster, you have other major variables that will have a big impact on your sound. Your amp and its speaker, your touch, and the acoustics of whatever space you are playing in.

If your budget is an issue, try to buy used pickups. That way, if your first try doesn't get you what you want, you should be able to sell them for about what you paid, keeping your capital more or less intact.

Fender Original Vintage pickups (OV's) are excellent and pretty easy to get used. They are Fender's best shot at recreating what they were selling in 1952, and they are the OE pickups in their 52 reissue model. If you can, try to play a set to get yourself a baseline on what good vintage Tele pickups sound like. I think these would do a nice job for you.
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Old February 24th, 2013, 10:42 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input. Regards how good a player, as I said I'm new to electric, so more a plunker than a player. That said I get by with the Dobro & 00 in open G for blues slide (Son House, Gary Davis, Jack White) and Keef licks. The 000 and twin humbucker I generally keep in standard tuning, with occasional dropped D for some Neil Young moments.

I get that Holly played a Strat, typically with a match stick to jam the 3-way between bridge & middle, so was thinking (got to learn to stop that, gets me in too much trouble) middle on a Tele would be in that direction. I have a 5-way toggle with the twin humbuckers, but That'll be the Day comes out a bit grungy. Moar a Nirvana take on it than the Crickets. And even coming from an acoustic background I get I've posted a sloppy definition of tone. I can do a credible job with Pinball Wizard, but played on either the mahogany 00 or spruce rosewood 000 the tone is not there. I need a spruce maple J200 to nail that, but they are not cheap even on eBay.

Even with a Dutch wife, budget isn't a deal killer on this project. That said, perhaps would make sense to try a used vintage pup as Ricky and Waylon suggested. This is a project for fun on the building side, not just playing after the body and neck get pickups, tuners, and strings.

Thanks again for your patience with a newbee.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 04:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Even with a Dutch wife, budget isn't a deal killer on this project. That said, perhaps would make sense to try a used vintage pup as Ricky and Waylon suggested. Thanks again for your patience with a newbee.
Weejee, apparently those of us who are single and gearhounds, all need to be on the lookout for Dutch wives lol. I don't think that anyone, including myself intend on giving you any guff for being a newbie, we all had to start somewhere. If you go for a used pup (it could be iffy) especially if you buy sight unseen, but I believe the recommendations for stock output tele single coils are your best bet. Myself, I've never liked hot pups because they seem to be limited to just that sound, and are usually one trick ponies.
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Old February 25th, 2013, 12:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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+1 on the hot wound pickup point. Hard to un-ring that bell.

I am using some pulls from a Fender Floral MIJ, around 6k each. Not hot, but just need a little coaxing in the front end of the amp [just like Jimmy Page's tele needed on I&II]. Any number of pedals will coax the front end of the amp, but for clean and sparkly these are great IMO. It is my #1 Tele actually.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 02:17 AM   #12 (permalink)
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I hear great things about Don Mare, however, I have never tried his pickups and all that I can offer is a couple of my experiences. Two of my favorite Telecasters of which I still own, and will always own, are set up with pickups from Rose Pickups, a "Bourbon" in the neck (Stratty sound), and a slightly over wound "Aphrodite" in the bridge (Stonesy sound). And, the other with a Fralin P92 (P90-ISH sound in the neck and an original slightly over wound Cavalier Lion pickup in the bridge (thick and Keef-like).

The tone is a combination of your fingers, the guitar, the pickups, and the amplifier. I am fortunate enough to have a couple of great amps (a DRRI and Peavey Delta Blues) to go along with my feeble fingers and perfectly fitted guitars.

Good Luck.
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