Major neck pickup dilemma!

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Yonatan, May 24, 2019.

  1. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    The background is that I'm building my first Tele out of parts. My only other electric is an LP copy with humbuckers. I've been focusing on jazz lately, but not exclusively.

    Anyway, I'm finally at the point in the build where I have the neck and bridge installed and can play it. The plan was always for a set of Pribora Blues Classics. But the "problem" started because the body I purchased came routed to accept a full size neck humbucker, and I happen to have a Mean90 laying around that was meant for the LP copy but never used in the end.

    • The Pribora sounds amazing, it has bell like chime, great note definition, and strangely, to my ears almost some kind of natural chorusing/phasing that I can't really describe. Maybe this is just the normal vibe of a single coil Tele neck pickup? (Again, I don't have another Tele guitar.)
    • The Mean90 on the other hand has a fullness/richness (more bass/mids...) that the single coil doesn't have, while still retaining clarity, and I can always mix in the bridge pickup to get some single coil tones. But..it doesn't have that unique quality that I'm hearing in the single coil Pribora.
    I also have a couple of unused humbuckers, but they're currently not in the running.

    Thoughts?

    One reason that I need to decide is that It will affect how I cut out the opening in the pickguard..
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  2. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    No matter what you decide, you'll change your mind tomorrow.
    A better dilemma is to have a bunch of guitars with different voices, and try to figure out which one(s) to take to the gig.
     
  3. FerruleCat

    FerruleCat Tele-Holic

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    I have just one Tele, and my conclusion was to keep it in standard pickup configuration. If I had another, I might consider other options. Everyone's tastes are different, though.
     
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  4. jackal

    jackal Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    Put the single coil in the neck position, P90 in the bridge. Would require routing and a different bridge, so it would be a pain, but sounds like a great combination to me.
     
  5. LazyBear

    LazyBear TDPRI Member

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    You might want to focus on adjusting pickup height and new pots/caps first. A bit cheaper and might get you the sound you want.
     
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  6. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    One of the best things about having a Tele body routed for a neck humbucker is that you can swap pickups so easily, for the price of a new pickguard (and of course, the pickup.) My blue Tele has had: stock Tele neck, no neck pickup, full-sized Duncan '59 humbucker, Duncan SSL-1 Strat pickup, and now a Duncan SM-3 Firebird pickup. I have a gallon Ziploc bag in the shop full of extra Tele pickguards, so I can swap whenever I feel like it.

    No need to commit.
     
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  7. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted

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    Only you can solve the dilemma, knowing it’s not difficult to take the other road should you so decide. I’m all for standard configuration personally.
     
  8. el cheapo

    el cheapo Tele-Afflicted

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    Standard tele configuration with vintage wound pickups is the best sounding and most versatile IMHO.
     
  9. YoGeorge

    YoGeorge Tele-Afflicted

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    You seem to be saying that the single coil sounds great, so set it up with the great sounding single coil and play it for a year. If you feel the need for a change down the road, change something. A number of jazz guys play(ed) stock teles and got *their* sound from them.
     
  10. warrent

    warrent Friend of Leo's

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    Buy a couple of cheap pickguards from amazon Musiclily ones are under $10 each. One for a tele pickup and one for the mean 90 and try each pickup for awhile to see which works best for you.
     
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  11. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Tele-Afflicted

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    I'd say if you love the way the Pribora sounds, use it. You can always change your mind later.
     
  12. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I would try them both, and in combinations, wired up without the pickguard; they can be held in place with mounting putty. It can be awkward to test if the guts are hanging out, but you'll know you chose the right pickups. Best to make a recording of each to compare. The P90 is a single coil but I wonder if it would be the better one for jazz.
     
  13. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    For testing, I've been holding the different neck pickups in place with a bunch of masking tape beneath them (works o.k.).

    The idea of making a recording of each one is interesting...

    Anyway, thanks all for chiming in. I've thought about just making two pickguards, the problem is that this is a hybrid thinline body (f hole but vertical control plate), and I don't like any of the ready made pickguard shapes for this configuration, so I'm going to be modifying a regular Tele pickguard. I suppose I can do two, one for a SC and one for a full size HB.

    But then how do I avoid having to take off the bridge when I want to change neck pickups? (The neck pickup wires connect to the control plate via the bridge route.)

    Also, I'm surprised that nobody suggested adding another pickup route behind the neck pickup. Or is that madness setting in?
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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  14. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Meister

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    If you change only the neck pickup, it might not be necessary to remove the bridge. Just un-solder the neck pickup wires on the control plate. You can then pull one of the newly un-soldered wires out and the other one can be taped to a super long single small wire and pulled back through the route from the control plate to the neck pickup cavity. Be careful not to pull the wire completely out of the control plate cavity. Then tape the two wires on the new pickup to the long wire end in the neck pickup cavity and (maybe) use it to pull the wires on the new pickup through the bridge cavity to the control plate. Otherwise the bridge plate will need to be removed. If you plan to change the bridge pickup, you will need to remove the bridge too. I would not go the 3 pickup route yet, especially for a jazz guitar. That middle pickup would be 3 or 4 Teles down the road. :)
     
  15. Yonatan

    Yonatan Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, cool idea, like how electricians snake wires through electric conduits!

    By the way, I wrote in my original post that I had a couple of humbuckers but they were out of the running (as not the sound I'm looking for.) Well, I just discovered that, when split, they sound amazing :)
     
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