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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

Pickup suggestions for a « jazzier » tone

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Danz, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Danz

    Danz TDPRI Member

    Sep 23, 2012
    Hi everyone,

    I’m looking for you recommendations on pickups.

    I’m currently playing a Fender AVRI 58 Telecaster that I absolutely love. I have already improved it with sturdier tuners and a set of Rutters’ Aluminium compensated saddles.

    But I still can’t achieve the tone I’m chasing with my guitar and my Princeton Reverb.
    I find the stock pickups to be too thin sounding despite having the guitar setup and different EQ. They are not ear piercing but just not thick enough.

    I play mainly Jazz/Soul/RnB/Blues and a bit of Psycheledic Rock

    Browsing on the internet I came across some ideas for a new configuration :

    - A set of Lollar Special T
    - A Classic 57 humbucker in the neck ( I have a spare set that comes from my Les Paul ) with a flat polepieces 52ish bridge P/U
    - A Lollar Charlie Christian in the neck + a new bridge P/U

    I’m looking forward to ear suggestions and opions and because a topic needs pictures, here’s the Whiteguard resting on a couch

    Attached Files:

  2. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    I put a Seymour Duncan '59 Neck in the neck position of my '70 Strat. Sounds good for Jazz and lots of other things, too. Liked it so much, I put two '59s in an L-5 clone I use for traveling.
    Dismalhead likes this.
  3. blille

    blille Tele-Afflicted

    I ended up with a Duncan 59 with an A2 magnet in a similar pursuit. Couldn’t be happier.
    Dismalhead and Mincer like this.
  4. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Holic

    Jan 17, 2014
    Bucks Co. PA
    I use Joe / MoJoe PAF's great sound but as you know what works for me may not be your cup of tea.
  5. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted

    Stupid old OV 52s can work wonderfully for that application, and would fit the 50s vibe of your lovely tele. Added advantage (to me): you retain the classic tele configuration.

    But I’m sure that the stock pickups could already do a good job. Turn the volume knob off a little, leave tone all open, turn amp volume up and adjust tone there (nothing extreme… use your ears not your eyes). I’m pretty sure you’ll get a juicy good jazz sound.

    Big strings (.11s) and a big pick also help … no: I’d say that they are essential.

    Before you go into surgery, try less invasive therapy :D

    (BTW: what’s your amp? Big part of the equation, too!)
    MickM likes this.
  6. Danz

    Danz TDPRI Member

    Sep 23, 2012

    I play on a Fender 65 Reissue Princeton Reverb.

    As for the strings, I sincerly doubt my small fingers can handle more than 10-46 or even 10-52. Right now I have 9-46 which feels easy to play but doesn’t sound good enough.

    I’ll try the trick with the amp. I usually set the bass at 5 and highs at 2 with tone rolled off
  7. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

    Dec 12, 2018
    I really like the Fralin Steel Pole 43 in the neck position of my tele for those styles.
    Greggorios likes this.
  8. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    If you think you'd like to explore heavier gauge strings, the best way to do it isn't really just put a heavier gauge on your guitar and struggle. When I decided to move up to heavier strings (.009s to .012s) back when I was younger, I had the benefit of good advice from my cousin who was a great Jazz player. He suggested I put a very heavy gauge on a guitar I rarely use (even if I had to buy a cheap guitar to use for the purpose). I had an old archtop I didn't play anymore, a Harmony. I put a medium jazz set on that guitar, .013s probably.

    For about a month, I practiced on that arch top everyday. When I went to play the Strat, the .009s felt like noodles. I went up to .010s, and they felt very pliable, since I had been practicing on the heavy strings. Like swinging three bats. The heavier strings on the acoustic made the transition on the Strat effortless. I moved up to heavier strings over a period of a few months, using this method. Here's the disclaimer ... I practiced the same style playing as I played on the Strat ... not strumming cowboy chords but attempting all the scales, licks and bends I played on the Strat.
  9. RadioFM74

    RadioFM74 Tele-Afflicted

    Salut! A 65 PRRI will do great. Just don’t set it too bright.

    10s would already make a difference I think. They did for me. But easy things first … rolling the volume off a bit on the guitar goes a long way towards making the tone mellower. Trademark suggestion by one who sure knows how to play jazz on a tele… (yeah, I know, I posted it many times… be patient to an old man…)

    All the best with your tone quest!
  10. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Meister

    Dec 19, 2017
    Seattle, WA
    Doubling down on this. For jazz, the telecaster really wants heavier strings. If you're using 9s or 10s, and/or you've only twisted knobs on the amp but not the guitar, this is the cheapest, easiest, and probably most productive place to start.

    And that Tim Lerch video above is great. It's one of the things that actually persuaded me to give the telecaster a chance!
    RadioFM74 likes this.
  11. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

    I agree. before you perform guitar surgery and go amp shopping:

    * heavier strings -- try 12s. And try flatwounds. (I recommend Thomastik-Infeld Swing or George Benson).
    * stiff pick
    * play closer to the neck

    If you play other styles, you may want to string up one guitar just for jazz.
  12. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Holic

    Jan 17, 2014
    Bucks Co. PA
    A lot of people mentioned heavier strings ... yes you should try them first. I have been using them for so long the thought didn't occur to me ... half rounds maybe ... I haven't used flats in years.
    Pure nickle also helps ... I used to use Pyramids and DiAngelica Electric Gold (no longer available).
    Leaving your action a little on the high side also helps (JMHO ... YMMV).
    Every body is different.
  13. NewKid

    NewKid TDPRI Member

    Oct 30, 2011
    If you want a fatter sound with 9-guage strings I would also try a boost pedal to get that fat tone you want. Josh Smith uses the Tchula from Lovepedal, but you could try a less expensive option.

    I have Thomastik Jazz Flatwounds on my Tele: 12-50 guage but they really feel like 11's to me. These larger strings allow me to get the action down so they are quite comfortable to play. I can't imagine ever going back to 10s.

    Good luck!
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2019
  14. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    Heavier strings like 10s or 11s help, but IMO, flatwounds don't play well with string-through guitars. Nickel sounds mellow enough for that use.
  15. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

    Apr 4, 2008
    A lot of tone is in the pick. Dunlop jazztone give you a warm tone but are difficult to play with skinny strings. Dunlop jazz II is a nice compromise. How about using your thumb and fingers?
    Henry Mars likes this.
  16. strat a various

    strat a various Friend of Leo's

    May 9, 2008
    That is so true. But, even more, if you use proper pick technique, the guitar sounds fuller, louder, and there is more sound for the pickups to transduce ... problem is, it requires practice (like any technique), and so, most aspiring players would rather throw hardware at their tone issues, rather than technique.

    Many times I've been asked to sit in at a gig where I was offered to play someone's guitar impromptu. Usually, the player will say, "How'd you adjust my amp? That was a really thick, loud tone!" I didn't adjust anything, I transferred more energy to the pick by holding it correctly, and delivering the power from my forearm rather than my wrist or fingers. The difference is remarkable.
    Henry Mars likes this.
  17. fozhebert

    fozhebert TDPRI Member

    Oct 19, 2017
    Trying using your fingers to get a rounder tone. play a bit softer and closer to the neck, maybe cut the tone know down a bit. drop a volume a tiny bit too. technique is half the battle (or more) to tone... I'm still trying...
    Nickadermis likes this.
  18. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    How jazzy of a tone are you going for? I think a stock Tele neck pickup works great for jazz.
    But I'm thinking of tones more in the range of guys like Scofield. But man, roll the tone knob back and use the neck pickup and adjust the
    amp EQ and I would think you would be there. You could also use an external EQ pedal to adjust even further, I suppose, such as a GE-7.
    Don't know if you have a 0.022 uF tone cap. A 0.047 uF tone cap might allow you to roll it back even darker. That's about a 25 cent mod
    assuming you can work a soldering iron.
  19. Lobomov

    Lobomov Friend of Leo's

    Jul 15, 2013
    I find it hard to believe that your pups need changing ... Try picking closer to the neck and maybe try raising the pup a bit.

    The rest of advice here is great, but I'm guessing the above is sufficient
  20. adjason

    adjason Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Jan 9, 2010
    If you want a good jazz tone it should already be there- I chased my tail for years with lollar charlie christian, humbuckers etc but the first time I plugged in a true hollowbody with humbuckers I found it
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