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

Favorite Tele Pickups for Country?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by CyrusF, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. CyrusF

    CyrusF Tele-Meister

    Nov 12, 2016
    I'm not in the market just yet, but I'm curious! I play in an Americana band, and we spend a lot of time in the country scene, so even as a twenty-something who grew up on punk-pop and metal, I'm growing to appreciate country guitar. But I really don't know what country guys look for in a pickup. Any country players out there, will you enlighten me?

  2. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

    Aug 18, 2017
    I had Toneriders Alnico II Blues in my tele before and they got a nice country twang, the bluesey name aside. I swaped them becasuse I needed a little more output than their rather vintage 6.5K – but for country style playing that would not be a bad thing. Great bang for the buck since they're rather cheap too.
    savofenno and CyrusF like this.

  3. ftbtx

    ftbtx Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    I don't play much country, but I have a tele setup with DiMarzio Twang Kings and they sound pretty good.
    savofenno and Heyitsmejoeg like this.

  4. bo

    bo Friend of Leo's

    Mar 17, 2003
    Arlington, VA
    I generally look for a full sounding pickup (as opposed to simply "bright") with a vintage output. Frankly, the stock pickups in whatever Fender is calling the '52 Reissue these days work great.
    asnarski and Ricky D. like this.

  5. cnlbb

    cnlbb Tele-Holic

    Jun 19, 2014
    United States
    Depends on the country. Who knows what's hot over in Lebanon?

    ...only the second sentence was a joke. If you go with a 50s vintage wind you can get by either great, or amazing in all genres.
    cyclopean and asnarski like this.

  6. gitarjoe

    gitarjoe Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 28, 2003
    Mike Simpson likes this.

  7. jwp2

    jwp2 Tele-Meister

    Apr 19, 2014
    Chicago Ill
    I've been using Lindy Fralin blues specials and really like them for most anything. The do Country really well.

  8. Televised

    Televised Friend of Leo's

    Apr 26, 2009
    Portland, OR
    I don't have much experience with country music but would have to mention Bill Lawrence, (Wilde), "Keystone" pick ups. Great tone, great quality and great bang for the buck.
    songtalk and jwp2 like this.

  9. brobar

    brobar Tele-Holic

    May 30, 2017
    Cavalier Nashville Lion and Lion King set!
    BlueCajun and nervous like this.

  10. dustoff

    dustoff Tele-Meister

    May 23, 2005
    Glenview Illinois
    I play OC Duff's Guardsmen
    Xingshen71 and Mike Simpson like this.

  11. Twang Tone

    Twang Tone Friend of Leo's

    Apr 15, 2005
    Country is in the fingers, not the pickups.

    That said, aim low, like Alnico III magnets in the 6-7k Ohms range.

    A clean tone is what you're aiming for, so weaker pickups work best, IMO.

  12. Stubee

    Stubee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Jan 22, 2007
    Fender Nocasters, AV62, AV52 will all get you there. Plus a whole bunch of others.
    savofenno and Gibson like this.

  13. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Holic

    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    Country music is often played clean, but that's not always the case. Many country guitarists like to overdrive a tube amp to put a little edge on the sound. Higher output helps there. IMO a Texas Special bridge PU is hard to beat for a pure single coil sound. I put Gen 4 noiseless in my Tele because overdriving a tube amp can sometimes give you more hum and noise than you want. Gen 4 is great for overcoming that. I also like the sound. For even more edge, I run my Mesa on the low power setting. The Gen 4 neck PU doesn't overdrive the amp to nearly the same extent and that's also great for country where the neck PU sound is almost never overdriven. Backing off the volume control always cleans things up. With a good amp, the tone from a hot PU can be thinned by backing off the bass and mid if need be. My advice to you is to go to a guitar store and play a few Telecasters to find what works for you. Either bring your own amp with you or do your evaluation through a DLX Reverb so you can hear what the guitar sounds like clean. Either buy the one you like or modify the one you have into something more suitable. In country, you'll use the PU's in combination a lot so a 4 way or S1 switch will give you almost humbucker like power in addition to Tele cleans to produce a creamy overdrive tone when you need it.
    parademe and Lespaulrebel like this.

  14. bottlenecker

    bottlenecker Friend of Leo's

    Dec 6, 2015
    I like 50s country sounds. I like a bridge pickup with a little too much treble, so I have to pull it back with the tone knob a little. How much treble I put out changes by the room and how I'm playing. I'm currently using a cavalier bakersfield and I think it sounds great.
    ndcaster and nicod98 like this.

  15. Endless Mike

    Endless Mike Friend of Leo's

    Nov 2, 2016
    Arlington, Texas
    Another for the Cavalier. I've been using Rob's pickups since 2011. The Nashville, nocaster and fat lion all work great for country.
    Geo and brobar like this.

  16. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

    Sep 24, 2004
    Endicott, NY
    I'm in a trio (2 guitars and a bass) where we cover a lot of "Americana" and old school country, along with some blues and western swing and some rock tunes.

    My favorite Tele's with this band are the 2 that I have loaded with Joe Barden pickups.
    Well, one is loaded with a Barden "Modern" set, the other has a Barden neck pickup paired with Fralin bridge pickup.

    Great clean tones, they respond really well to volume and tone adjustments, and they get into some great OD tones, whether it's just pushing the amp on their own or with pedals in the chain.

    But as you've read above, a lot of different pickups will get you there.
    Really, it's a matter of being comfortable with the tone you have - with whatever pickups you prefer - and just playing the songs.

    There is no single "country tone," especially if you start bringing in some of the newer country styles, which run closer to classic rock tones than what most folks consider "country" tones.
    jwp2 and JL_LI like this.

  17. Wrighty

    Wrighty Tele-Holic

    Aug 17, 2013
    Essex UK
    As JL_LI, Texas Specials seem to most things for me

  18. jklotz

    jklotz Tele-Afflicted

    Jan 10, 2012
    Atlanta, GA
    A lollar t 52 and about 10k hours of practice should get you there.
    AJ Love and jwp2 like this.

  19. CyrusF

    CyrusF Tele-Meister

    Nov 12, 2016
    Good to know! Thanks everyone, I've got a little clearer idea now!

  20. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

    Low output is great for country.

    More twang less beef in general.

    Cleaner and clearer pickups can be thickened up with pedals and amp EQ but it's tough making thick high output rigs sound clean and sparkly.

    This is a valuable pickup truism that can help you shop for any type of pickup.

    Old country and rock and soul was all recorded with lower output pickups. Lower output stuff will help you cop those tones.
    El Tele Lobo likes this.

IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.