Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Best Tele neck pickup!

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by DeadEyeRy, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. mnutz

    mnutz Tele-Afflicted

    I've got a tele now with Fender Custom Shop Blackguard pickups in it. Bridge and neck are both great, but there's a lot of great tele bridge pickups.

    The neck pickup though is just fantastic! Definitely the best neck p/u I've tried. Fat and warm with no mud. Gets growly and still cleans up nice with the volume control. Closest thing to a good humbucker I've heard in a standard tele neck p/u.

    These are the pickups that were mis-labeled by Fender and ended up discontinued. The correct rating is 7k neck, 7.4k bridge, similar to the Fred Stuart Blackguards. They are "vintage correct" in appearance.

  2. LP26

    LP26 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Nov 5, 2017
    Earth (Part-Time)
    If you're thinking TV Jones think about his Tele Starwood pickups. I have a set in one of my Telecasters and love them.
    They have some of the fullness, grit and growl of a P-90 yet retain a share of that true Tele tone.
    And... no routing required. They are drop in replacements.

    My other Tele has a pair of Lollar Charlie Christians.
    I play a lot of jazz and the Lollar CC's deliver that thicker/darker/rounder tone you come to expect from a jazz guitar.
    The bridge pickup is a drop in replacement. The neck pickup requires some significant routing to both the body and the pickguard.

    In the end you should make your choice based on the style of music you play.
    I play jazz and 1950's style Chicago blues.
    The Starwoods give me the blues tone and the Lollar CC's give me the jazz tone.

    Follow your muse.
    Tootle likes this.

  3. Elmore

    Elmore Tele-Holic

    Dec 18, 2011
    I put a Gibson mini-humbucker in the neck of my Tele. It really makes the guitar more versatile. But you do have to remove wood. So I did this to a $500 FSR BSB Tele. 500K pots, paper in oil cap. It made me set my Les Paul down for a long time. Very clear and very fat.
    papa32203 likes this.

  4. roknfnrol

    roknfnrol Tele-Meister

    Nov 16, 2004
    Louisville, KY
    Cavalier makes amazing neck pickups. 2-3 different versions I believe.

  5. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005
    Montclair, NJ
    It's truly a matter of taste. I love the Ian Anderson P90 in the neck of my spanish cedar partscaster tele. Loved the Lollar special T (think that was the one) in a chambered Mayes tele. Best of all for me is the Don Mare Joel Foy set in an alder partscaster tele. The neck is Don's standard low wind vintage style, I think the same as the Donocaster neck, as the neck used in the old "Nancy" set. But just a touch hotter. This p/u in that guitar is literally all I need. The bridge is just as good, but I rarely use it. That JF neck responds so well to the tone and volume knob. It sounds as jazz as you could want, or much sharper.
    LAGinz likes this.

  6. Obelisk

    Obelisk Tele-Holic

    Apr 1, 2013
    NW USA
    If you are choosing a pickup based on their cosmetics over tone, then that can be slippery slope. Have you ever even used a P90 in the neck position? It's hardly a thin sounding pickup in my experience. In fact you would most likely have to change your Tele bridge pickup to keep up with a stock P90 in the neck position of a Telecaster. The P90 in the neck is a excellent jazz guitar pickup plus it can get some righteous overdrive through a cranked up amp. I don't like the look them either, but the sound is awesome.

    As others have already said, a Filtertron might not do much better for you in the grit department. They can get some grit, but I think of clarity & twang being their strong points. I like the look of the Filtertron, but never bonded with it on a sonic basis. A Gibson Firebird or Mini-humbucker would do a bit better in the overdrive quotient.

    I like the grit I get out of my Tele Customs or Deluxe with the original Wide Range Humbucker(WRHB). Unfortunately they are a fairly expensive proposition used or the people that make real copies of them. I picked one up a few weeks ago for $300 which is actually a good deal(wanted a backup). The WRHB has great clarity with a wide dynamic range. When driving an amp, the distortion they generate is righteous. They also clean up really nice by altering how hard you pick. They are my favorite pickup, so I am biased.

    Beyond changing to a stock Tele neck or a Strat pickup, any type of change of the neck pickup will probably force some pot & perhaps a cap change. Then you have to factor whether or not it's worth committing to routing the guitar. You might also end up having to change your bridge pickup if it doesn't match up with a different pickup in the neck position. I would go for a 4 way switch to get some more growl out of stock Tele before doing all of these machinations. Another suggestion would be a lower wound Gibson humbucker.
    Gibson likes this.

  7. Strato50

    Strato50 Tele-Holic

    Mar 30, 2017
    Port Arthur TX
    I like the TS and another one I have I got from a member here is a Custom Shop Duncan 52 wound to 7.2 k...very clear and almost like a Charlie Christian sound....they are pricey though but what a great tone.
    LAGinz likes this.

  8. Doctorx33

    Doctorx33 Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 8, 2014

  9. Colors

    Colors Tele-Meister

    May 12, 2016
    Fatter and thicker than a P-90? The P-90 is the standard of mid heavy or fat and thick in the single coil world. I'm afraid you'll be barking up the wrong tree if you use anything but a full PAF style bucker. I've not play Charlie Christians though. Maybe a TV PowerTron, but thats practically a PAF in filtertron clothes.

  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

    Nov 14, 2013
    how about using an EQ pedal

    here's the thing: a pickup is like an antenna. ideally, you want it to hear everything, from lows to highs. you want range. then, you can sculpt that range. but if you get a pickup that has built-in limitations when it comes to range, you can't magically add frequencies to it.

    in my neck positions, I've got:

    - a ceramic/steel single coil of 3.8k
    - a Charlie Christian type of 4.98k
    - an A3 single coil of 7.1k
    - a '59 style humbucker of 7.2k
    - a high-sensitive filtertron (that I haven't metered)

    I can push all these pickups around pretty well tone-wise, so I don't feel strongly at this point about switching any of them out

    just to have an A5 neck as an option, I'll probably hit up a reputable maker for something around 6.6k

    why? because sometimes I just want to plug STRAIGHT in, and that situation makes the neck pickup choice more consequential

    I'd want a versatile neck pickup in that situation, which leads me straight back to:

    the traditional tele setup

    Trust the Tele(TM)

  11. igor5

    igor5 Tele-Meister

    Nov 28, 2016
    For me, fender custom shop twisted tele pickup.

  12. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

    Jul 10, 2005
    Madison WI
    While I tend to just like Bridge pickups so much that I usually convert my Telecasters into Esquires, there have indeed been some great Tele neck pickups over the years...

    What Rob posted is, indeed, true, but this stuff is fun (and fun to discuss!) so
    I'll dive in for a bit:

    Not counting spending Unobtanium Money on an actual Vintage Fender pickup from the 1950's, there have been a few builders who have investigated the "secret sauce" of the original pickups and come out the other side winding greatness:

    Alan Hamel and Fred Stuart from the Fender Custom Shop, along with Ron Ellis, were able to study dozens of vintage pickups to see what ticks.... Alan designed the Fender Twisted Tele pickup. Alan & Fred started A&F Pickups briefly, went their separate ways and Alan started putting out his own pickups with help from Ron Ellis, while Fred Stuart started building Stuart Blackguard pickups. Fred is still winding them today, but Alan stopped after a few years and completely disappeared. Ron Ellis took what he learned working with Alan & Fred and began winding amazing pickups of his own. So, along that
    lineage, you have:

    Fender Twisted Tele pickups
    A&F Design Pickups
    Hamel Pickups (in particular the "Hamel Tall Neck" pickup)
    Stuart Blackguards
    Ron Ellis pickups

    (That is in no particular order btw)

    Don Mare has also been able to wind incredible, vintage identical sounding pickups.

    Please note: that is just who I'm familiar with. There are likely (many) others

  13. dougstrum

    dougstrum Tele-Holic

    Oct 6, 2015
    blu ridge mtn cabin
    It's hard to beat the CS Tx Special neck pup.

  14. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 25, 2016
    Midwest, USA
    Seymour Duncan's stacked neck such as the STK-T1N?

    But, I am so happy with my cheap GFS Overwound LOUDER Repro Vintage which is not in their list but can find it here for less than $20. It has 9k output and I pair it with a rail humbucker bridge.

  15. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Meister

    Dec 19, 2017
    Tampa Bay Area
    My favorite Tele neck pickup is a Seth Lover.

  16. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jun 30, 2007
    Swanton Ohio
    Rose Bourbon...Nuff said..

  17. Andy B

    Andy B Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Mar 16, 2003
    Duncan Vintage Firebird is my favorite. 2nd favorite is an original DeArmond Dynasonic.

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