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

Esquire for rock: SD Broadcaster or Jerry Donahue?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Guitar Rat, Jan 30, 2013.

  1. Guitar Rat

    Guitar Rat Tele-Meister

    Sep 29, 2009
    Nashville, TN
    I have an MIM 50s Esquire with cocked wah mod, and it's a great playing guitar--but I've found the stock pickup is too harsh and trebly for my liking.

    I cannot get the guitar to sound "warm" for what I'll describe as hotrodded '50s rock clean rhythm playing, no matter how I ride the knobs. I also want a bit more of a nasal, raunchy overdriven tone than this guitar provides--a classic rock-leaning kind of pickup: Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, etc.

    I've narrowed it down to these two, because they seem to have the right kind of '50s clean tone to them in clips I've heard, while still having twang that isn't overpowering. But I can't find nearly any solid opinions/clips on them overdriven for the direction I'm looking. Can someone chime in?

  2. Yodhan

    Yodhan Tele-Meister

    Jan 27, 2009
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I was in the same boat as you, with the same guitar, and I was turned onto the Cavalier Lion from Rob DiStifano. I think it is a bit fuller and sounds incredible.

  3. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    The Lion was designed with an Esquire and rock 'n' roll in mind. :)

  4. EllenGtrGrl

    EllenGtrGrl Tele-Holic

    Mar 13, 2009
    Greenfield, WI
    Yep, I agree. Put in a Broadcaster derived pickup - they're darker sounding than your typical Tele pickup, while still keeping that characteristic Tele punch and note clarity. I put a Don Mare Twangzilla in my Esquire, and the amount of sonic beef it now has is fantastic. It also sounds a lot more aggressive. It's become quite the hard driving rock machine.

  5. oldteleguy

    oldteleguy Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 19, 2011
    ++++1 Cavalier Lion

  6. YoGeorge

    YoGeorge Tele-Holic

    Mar 16, 2003
    Of the 2 pickups you are considering, I like the Duncan Bcaster because it has more rock and roll "growl" in the mids than the Donahue--I have used both. The Donahue is more "polite" with the Alnico II magnets used.

    I also personally love the Rio Muy Grande for the kind of effect you're after. It also sounds like the Lion will do it very well.

    The Muy has more bottom end and girth than the Duncans--and a bit more "scooped" than the Bcaster, but with more push to the front end of the amp. I have used all three of these pickups extensively.

    I have a cheapo Squier set up as an Esquire and have used a Broadcaster in it as well as a Harmonic Designs Vintage Plus (which is a bit more gutsy).


  7. indiobravo

    indiobravo Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 14, 2009
    Raleigh NC
    i've never tried the Lion, but i have tried the JD, and if you are trying to stay away from trebly, and squeaky clean, i'd stay away from the JD. i just tried some original vintage in one tele and loved it.

    I say Broadcaster-ish pups for sure.

  8. getrguy1

    getrguy1 Tele-Holic

    Bare Knuckles: The Boss

  9. elelpe

    elelpe Tele-Afflicted

    May 1, 2008
    APTL1 with proper height adjusment will get you closer to that classic rock sound. That and Marshall amp.

  10. motorfin

    motorfin TDPRI Member

    Mar 12, 2012
    florence Or.
    You really should give the cavalier a try. I'm using them in a couple of teles for the type of rock your doing. The type amp your using will play an important role but the cavs are truly outstanding for hard drivin rock.

  11. straightface

    straightface Friend of Leo's

    Nov 17, 2006
    What he said. Another vote for the Lion.

  12. warthog

    warthog Tele-Meister

    Aug 5, 2011
    My personal choice for rock are D Allen's Hot vintage set. You can get just the bridge pup. I only play rock and this pup is awesome. Articulate and punchy that handles drive really well.

    Sorry to throw out more choices! ;)

  13. max_twang

    max_twang Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 8, 2009
    New York
    I have two identical (as possible) Teles. Both are MIJ Jerry Donahues. I put a JD in one and a Broadcaster in the other.

    To my ears, either pup will do what you want. Neither is overly bright or harsh, but they can both twang when necessary. I think the JD is slightly hotter, but only slightly.

    I've used a variety of dirt boxes with them -- Tube Screamer based ODs, Boss BD-2 and OD-3, a Timmy, MXR 108 (SI fuzzface clone). In my hands, both work well with these dirt boxes. They could sound overly bright if you set your guitar, pedals and amp wrong, but I think I get some nice ballsy, juicy, thick sounds out of them.

    There's a guy selling a Broadcaster pup in the classified section. No affiliation. $40. Give it a try and if you don't like it, flip it.

    p.s. Say hi to upstate NY for me. I used to live in Ithaca :)

    pps You might also check to make sure your pots are 250K. If they're 500K, that could be the cause of your problem.


    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire

    Squeaky clean?, trebly? and polite?

    Sure am glad my SD JD doesn't sound anything like that. I must have been lucky and didn't get one of those.

  15. braderrick

    braderrick Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 27, 2006
    Me too. Seymours are my favorite tele pickups so far and the JD model is my pick of them. All great tele tones with none of the ice pick. I love em.

  16. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    with true single coil tele/esquire bridge pickups in mind, and vintage builds with a5 mags and 42awg coil wire, the "tone key" is in the coil wire turn count. less for more treble and twang, more for less teble and increased mid-range.

    the duncan broadcaster is wound to about 10,000 turns for around 7.8k dcr (yes, dcr is not a good "tone/volume" indicator, but it has comparison value if the builds are the same and only the turn counts differ). the broadcaster just puts out more mid-range than those other 7k (or less) dcr pups.

    once you get above 10,000 turns, the mid-range growl emerges - yeah man, perfect for rock 'n' bluez.

  17. Hoodster

    Hoodster Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 3, 2007
    +1. I've had 2 SD JD's, and that "Squeaky clean trebly" description is not my experience either. It's the best bridge pup I've tried, of many, and I currently have one in the Esquire below.

    I've also owned the SD Broadcaster and there's no question in my mind that it is brighter and thinner than the JD. Look at the SD tone charts--they rate the Broadcaster as 3/10 in the bass. I found that accurate--very weak in the bass and low mids. The JD drives much better, thicker and chunkier.


  18. indiobravo

    indiobravo Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 14, 2009
    Raleigh NC
    nice vid - considering everyone else's posts here about the JD i definitely must have gotten a lemon JD. I would considering trying it again - it sounds great on the youtube :)

  19. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

    Mar 3, 2003
    NJ via TX
    when you hear a pickup in a sound byte, please don't ever forget that there's more to tone than just the pickup itself ... your brain and fingers, pickup height adjustment, pickup circuit, the amalgam of the guitar's build (MAYBE, but usually doesn't matter at all), cords 'n' plugs, modulation used?, amp/speakers/etc.

    most of the pickups up there these dayze are very good and will get the job done for ya - if you let them.


    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire

    Great job on the guitar/amp combo Hoodster!

    The JD and the Broadcaster are both very good pickups. Either one would work in the Esquire format just fine.

    With that said. I'm really begining to like Rob's Lion. From reviews and clips I would definitely give that one a serious look.

    Have fun and good luck with whatever you land on. Post a clip when your done.

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