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

Lowell George/ Mid 70's Tele Pickup

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by fhrussell, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. fhrussell

    fhrussell TDPRI Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Wading River, NY
    Ive been searching for that over-compressed, clean Lowell George slide tone. I know he used the Alembic Stratoblaster and a Tele bridge pickup along with compressors and the Craftsman socket wrench. But what was the general Tele pickup he may have used back then? Can anyone recommend a good replacement bridge pickup that would be similar in tone to a mid 70's Telecaster? Thank you!

  2. Brewbaker

    Brewbaker Tele-Meister

    Mar 18, 2003
    West Bath, Maine
    I'm hearing what you're talking about but I can't help you with any of the gear.


    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Are you wanting to put a Tele pickup in a Strat or are you just looking to come close to a 70's Tele pickup for your Tele?

    I've been a Feat fan since the early 70's. I only found out years later that Lowell used a Tele pickup in the bridge. But, I never would have mistaken his tone for a Tele sound. Tele pickups in a Strat never sound very "Tele" like to me. But, they do sound thicker than the normal SC bridge pickup.

    Unless your building a tribute model, there are several companies that make a "Tele voiced" pickup for Strats. O.C Duff, Seymour Duncan and Harmonic Design come to mind.

    If you are building a tribute model, a 70's style Tele bridge pickup specifications would probably not be a mystery to uncover.

    Don Mare or Rob DiStefano would be two members here I would start with. Either for information or to wind you a pickup to as close to 70's specs as possible, if that's what your after.

    Articles I've read. Lowell had several different guitars due to stolen gear and change just for the sake of change. Did they all have Tele pickups? Lowell would probably sound great on anything.

    Good luck in your quest!

  4. joealso

    joealso TDPRI Member

    Dec 25, 2012
    East Haddam, CT
    I recall reading something a couple of years ago where Paul Barrere discussed getting that classic Little Feat sound by using two compressors. I can't recall if they were in series with each other or one at the either end with other pedals in between. Definitely 2 compressors though. Google "Paul Barrere compressor" and I bet you'll find it. No advice on the pickup, though.

  5. JKjr

    JKjr Tele-Holic

    Aug 24, 2007
    raleigh nc
    Welcome aboard joealso! I recall a Tonequest Report interveiw a few years back. I'm foggy on the details but the two compressor thing stuck. Curiouser and curiouser...

  6. winny pooh

    winny pooh Friend of Leo's

    Jan 24, 2006
    South London
    Start with an authentic mxr dyna comp type pedal...

  7. fhrussell

    fhrussell TDPRI Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Wading River, NY
    I should have maybe stated that I'm a huge LF/LG fan. I know about the MXR's and Lowell's use of a tele pickup in the bridge position, along with the Stratoblaster. I was just curious if the mid 70's tele pickup that Lowell likely used is recreated in anyway by Seymour Dunca, Fralin, or any other pick up manufacturer.

    Thank you for the responses!

  8. hardhead

    hardhead TDPRI Member

    Oct 1, 2011
    annandale va
    you can find the stratoblaster,the dynacomp,a tele bridge pu or tele/strat mix pickup,and plug socket..........I have no clue where you would find that Dumble


    SPUDCASTER Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

    Specifications I've seen for a 70's Tele bridge.

    42 gauge wire

    A5 magnets

    6.4K DC resistance

    Copper plated baseplate

    The Seymour Duncan Antiquity II would be pretty close to these numbers. I'm sure there are other makers that have similar offerings.

    Bear in mind, these are just numbers and you can't base exactly how any pickup will sound until you try it with your own gear.

  10. LightninMike

    LightninMike Tele-Holic

    Nov 30, 2010
    Perrysburg, Ohio

  11. CC53


    Feb 28, 2013
    MXR Dynacomp..level all the way up...Comp all the way down

  12. Doug 54

    Doug 54 Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 12, 2004
    2 of them for live stuff...

  13. PumpJockey

    PumpJockey Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    New Joisey
    There's an outfit that makes a pedal (they advertise a lot on Facebook) that allegedly sounds like George's dual chained Urai studio rig.

    Very pricey of course, and Urais were not his road rig. A Dyna-Comp is much more budget friendly and a fat-sounding tube amp is a must.

    As for the tele pup, I recall an interview in which he said that he and Paul Barrare would shop for guitars at local music stores on the road, find Strats and play them as is. (FWIW)

  14. black_doug

    black_doug Tele-Afflicted

    This has been posted before but the interesting thing is that the strat switch is in the middle position for the lesson. Coincidence?


  15. fhrussell

    fhrussell TDPRI Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Wading River, NY
    Thanks again for the replies. I have been looking at that pedal by origin effects. Pretty cool!
    I have only noticed recently how often LG is in the middle position. It seems he's using that pickup 90% of the time. When he solos on some of the more rocking stuff, he goes to the bridge p/u.
    I've since installed a tele bridge p/u in my strat and find it to be beefier than the strat bridge. I'll post pics when I get a chance.

  16. fhrussell

    fhrussell TDPRI Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Wading River, NY
    So here's my old partscaster with a '62 Fender Tele Bridge p/u installed. The Stratoblaster and Fralin's in the neck and middle positions have been on the guitar for awhile now.. maybe 10 years? Wow, time flies!

    And yes, it's true, Lowell used that middle pickup probably 90% of the time!

    Attached Files:

  17. urizen

    urizen Tele-Afflicted

    Nov 24, 2006
    God, he was so good.... I've seen it before (and beforer) and yet that never gets old (and that demo of Cooder's technique kills too). Bonnie Raitt credited him for his influence on her electric style/sound.

    Saw him and Feat @ The Topanga Corral* back when they were still playing such small rooms.

    * R.I.P. The Topanga Corral ---and here's another footnote to it from an outre source:

  18. Jebrone Lames

    Jebrone Lames Banned

    Dec 25, 2012
    My brother-in-law was one of the sound board operators for Little Feat in the mid 70's.
    He may know his gear setup, I'll ask him on X-mas Eve when I see him.

  19. radio

    radio Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Apr 6, 2008
    New Haven area, CT
    I remember talking with Paul Barrere one day after a show, and he and Fred were joking about each morphing into the other's style during a song when the double compressor topic came up. I don't remember exactly what Paul was using, but I didn't pay much attention because it seemed that the equipment that was coming out then was better than what Lowell had back in the '70's.

    Anyway, I found an article where Paul talks about what he was using after the band re-formed. Here's an excerpt: Yeah, they are. And where does the signal go after your guitar?

    Barrere: After my guitar I go into a pedal board. I used to have a real nice rack with all kinds of rack-mounted gear A Bradshaw kind of thing?

    Barrere: Yeah, with a MIDI switcher and all that kind of thing. But I didn't like the little millisecond delay between hitting a patch and having it come up. So I canned all that stuff and went back to stompboxes. I use two compressors: the old Ibanez DS-10 and the Boss compressor, the blue one - I don't know the number on that one (CS-3). I used to have a Tube Screamer, but I replaced it with a Maxon Overdrive, which is just fat sounding. I love this new Maxon pedal. And I have a tap delay and a Blues Driver. And that's it. And how do you use these pedals? Are the two compressors on all the time?

    Barrere: Not all the time. Sometimes, if I want to get really quiet, I'll just go with one. The secret behind the Little Feat slide sound, if you will, was developed years ago in the studio using two 1176 compressors. With one you're compressing the signal heavily, and with the other one you're driving it up. It tends to get a little noisy, so if we're doing a really quiet song, I'll click one of those compressors off and not really drive that really compressed signal as much. But for the most part, if I'm just playing, I've got the two compressors on, and then I just use the different stages of overdrive depending upon what kind of lead sound I'm looking for.

    Here is the whole interview:’t-fail-you-now-paul-barrere-little-feat

    Not Lowell, necessarily, since PB doesn't use the Tele bridge pup or the Alembic, but probably pretty close to the original signal chain.


  20. MattW1970

    MattW1970 TDPRI Member

    Dec 15, 2013
    Lancaster PA
    Pretty sure all/most? Alembic circuits were active ....imo that affects tone greatly.....I would look at EMG pups as a starting place

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