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

Don Mare 2324s and 54 Neck, Magnificient 7 bridge, and Keefer 10K 0038 Bridge review

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Bickert Fan, May 9, 2013.

  1. Bickert Fan

    Bickert Fan Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 13, 2005
    Cape Cod, MA
    As some of you may have followed in an earlier post, I purchased a "Nancy Heart" set off eBay. Complete with the Nancy Heart. The set included the Nancy Heart proprietary glob of transistors, resistors, push/pull, etc. For the record Don has great disdain for this early attempt at the Roy sound. That being said, I found the nancy Heart set, when installed with the glob of parts, to be fun, yet mostly impractical for normal use.

    To cut the story short I ended up trying just the 2324 pickups (wich, as far as I can tell is the 1953 Neck pup (brass cover, A3 magnets, 6.1K) and the bridge I am unsure of the model. Worth noting is both neck and bridge for the set are labeled "2324 nancy." The bridge has slightly staggered poles and reads a paultry 5.67K on the ohm meter.

    This set sounds fantastic. It is a "quiet" set in that it's not really pushing the amp too hard. But the sound from the neck is very organic and acoustic. Very similar to a 335 neck with the unmistakeable tele bell tones. Woody, slightly nasaly/honkish, and just brilliant. I LOVE this neck pickup. The bridge, though a different read on the ohm meter, is perfectly balanced. it has a nice soft tele bridge sound. No ice pick at all, very resonant, quite microphonic (I resealed the loose baseplate with parafin too), and just a dream. These pickups both push the amp just fine, but love the help of a Ghetto Stomp (Greer Amplification) to help it over the edge. The middle position is just the perfect blend of the two. Again, a bit 335ish. I installed this set with a push/pull for series.parallel and the pulled position gives a nice warmer, relatively overdriven humbucker sound as only a tele can do with the neck and bridge. After much swapping of the following reviewed pickups, this set is the setup I finally left in.

    Having fallen in love with the 2324s (minus the Nancy Heart) I ordered up a set of Hot Bakelite. Wich turned out to be a 54 Neck (almost the opposite of the 2324 neck) which has a nickel chrome cover, A5 magnets, and is wired to 6.5K. This pickup is indeed ever so slightly hotter than the 2324 neck. But it has a lot less of an organic feel to it. Not as "acoustic" sounding as the 2324. This is not a flaw, but is by design. it's a different sound. Closer to, but not at all exactly like, a strat's neck pickup. It's a wonderful sound that is different enough that I will gladly put it in the neck of my next tele.

    The bridge was an A5 magnificent 7. This pickup I was not at all happy with. It sounded very pushed. And yet seemed as though the high and low ends of the signal were clipped. had loads of twang and behaved like a tele bridge pickuo should, and it loved the tweed amp, but it just seemed lacking in a dynamic range to me. After going back and forth with Don, it turns out this is what this pickup is supposed to sound like. its a very specific pickup for a specific sound. I simply didn't know what I wanted. After I explained my problems with the pickup Don said he knew more what I was looking for.

    My replacement was a 0038 wound to 10K - His very popular "Keefer" model. I scoffed at it as it was wound to 10K. And I already was not a fan of the bridge pup wound to 7K. But as we all know, ohm readings are by no means the end-all be-all of defining a pickups sound. As such, I went and installed it. Yay! Love! Thankfully it didn't at all sound like a hotter pickup, but it was indeed hot. Very loud compared to both the 2324 neck as well as the 54 neck. As such, it was not well suited for middle position or the pulled humbucker position. it overpowered the neck and added too much twang (for my tastest anyway) to the middle position. This pickup is well suited for someone who wants that very desireable bridge-only twang. The 0038 10K was much hotter than the Magnificient 7 A5, but retains ALL of the treble and low end that seemed missing in the Magnificient 7. This also means my Twinlux loved the pickup. Easily gave the amp LOTS to play with and was very responsive. The pickup is very sensitive to style and touch, moreso than your typical tele pickups (wich says a lot). In the end, I generally play clean most of the time, and use the neck and middle positions far more than the bridge. So the Keefer came out and is awaiting my next tele with Don's 54 neck.

    So that's my experience with 5 of Don's pickups. Oddly enough I ended up keeping the ebay 2324s in my tele. At a 6.1K neck and a 5.7L bridge they are indeed quieter than typical, but only by a small margin. And this margin can be overcome with virtually any pedal if desired. For my sound I generally run straight into a Tweed or my Fishman Loudbox Mini. The 2324 neck, with the Loudbox Mini gives a jazzbox sound that is to die for. It out 335s a 335.

    The Nancy heart mess is in my parts bin as a momento. I know Don has orphaned this thing, and I guess I understand why, but it's still cool. It represents Don's quest for a specific sound and sure has a lot of thought and creativity in there.

    Side note is that Don is definitely a character. A very direct way of talking, extremely candid, never rude. The pickups are expensive, but he makes it a personal note of pride to make sure you the customer get exactly what you're looking for. And when you explain to him the sound you want, and he suggests a pickup - the guy is usually dead-on right.

    Hopefully this review can help some of you. I have a 0038 Keefer 10K and a 54 Neck that are just waiting for my next tele so I can slap 'em in there.

    Cheers guys!

  2. ripgtr

    ripgtr Tele-Holic

    Oct 12, 2012
    Austin, TX
    I have a set of his on my strat and they are just amazingly good sounding. I also have a set of the HayRide tele pups. I haven't been able to give them a full on test drive with a band like the strat, but what I hear so far is really, really good.

    The guy has the touch that is for sure.

  3. mad dog

    mad dog Friend of Leo's

    Jun 27, 2005

    I have the 2324 set with Nancy circuitry in a partscaster. Never use the Nancy stuff, but these pickups are some of the best sounding I've ever heard. The neck is so sweet. Bridge too, and I never even liked tele bridge sounds for the longest time. But with this set, I began to get the idea. Very responsive to tone change.

    As you say, not the loudest. On stage, with a 35 watt or so amp, the sounds could not be better. It's also the guitar, a not too common Chandler body, chambered with spruce top, steel saddles. That plus the Mare p/us adds up to something that always satisfies. I've had more than one person come up to me after a show and remark on how fine the sound was. (Not my playing ... the sound!!)


  4. GuitarJonz

    GuitarJonz Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Do all of Don's girlfriends wear these?

    Do all of Don's girlfriends wear these? Saw on ebay, sorry, couldn't resist :lol:


  5. fakeplastic

    fakeplastic Tele-Meister

    Feb 24, 2007
    How do you like the 0038 for clean bridge playing? How is the midrange?

  6. Bickert Fan

    Bickert Fan Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 13, 2005
    Cape Cod, MA
    fakeplastic, I generally play clean all the time. The magnificent 7 bridge seemed (to me) to be far too middy. It seemed to overemphasize the midrange at the expense of the high and lows of the overall signal.

    The 2324 Is perfectly balanced compared to the magnificent 7. It cuts the mids slightly and has a lot of high and low bottom end. And it's not too hot to be mixed with the neck pickup which means I got useable middle-position sounds.

    The 0038 10K Keefer is almost exactly like the 2324 bridge in that it has the highs and lows. It does have slightly more mids in that I do notice more midrange than the 2324. It's a much hotter bridge pickup than the 2324 and the magnificent 7, which is the only reason I don't have it in my tele. I like the middle positions and with such a hot bridge pickup it colors the middle position too much towards the bridge-sound.

    Now, if I were a straight bridge player (I use bridge the least) I would easily get the 0038 at 10K a.k.a. "Keefer." it's got the telecaster signature sound down perfect. Lots of twang, nice dynamic range, and yet if you leave your guitar's volume knob at 10 this will help drive your amp's preamp into dirt unlike a typical bridge pickup. If you roll the volume down to 8 or 7 you'll get the typical tele volume.

    When I say the 0038 is "hot" it's not Satrani/Van Halen hot...not at all. It's just hotter than a typical tele bridge pickup by a noticeable margin. When you turn the tele's volume knob to 10 the sound dosn't overdrive itself and become unuseable or undesrireable. In fact, I would imagine that this is the sound 80% of tele players are actually looking for. Seriously. It's all televaster bridge plate, with all of the tele's stereotypical personalities and traits, with the added bonus of being able to push a preamp. Something I feel most players want. And if not, turning the volume down a pinch gives you the totally traditional twangy bridge.

    Hope that answers your question. lol

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