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Pickup upgrades for the Bullet and Affinity models?

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by GeekPriest, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    50
    90
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    It's perhaps a silly question for such budget guitars as the Squier Bullet and Affinity models, but wondered if anyone had changed out pickups and in favor of which models?

    I don't have particular goals in mind at present. One of my two Bullets is the HS one, and the bridge Humbucker isn't as growly as some I've heard. I wouldn't drop MSRP on Duncans or Dimarzio on such a cheapie, but maybe something used would be worth considering.
     
  2. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 6, 2014
    kamloops bc
    I have an affinity Tele and the pickups were the only thing I didnt change, I first ripped out all the crap wiring and replaced it with gibson pull back wire , CTS pots , TBX tone a Fender 3 way knife switch and I rteversed the plate , but the pick ups ,action and intonation were outstanding.

    Ild just make the guitar your own how ever you see it

    I have a set of lace alumatone HB's Im dieing to drop into a guitar my lace singles are fantastic (in my 96 strat)
     
    awasson likes this.
  3. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2006
    Near Athens GA USA
    Guitar Madness and GFS are popular choices. You can often, but not always, order the same or similar pickups direct from China if you don't mind the wait and the lack of customer service.
     
    Nickadermis likes this.
  4. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    50
    90
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    How does one know which of the "direct from China" models are equivalent?
     
  5. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2006
    Near Athens GA USA
    Some are easy to figure out based on design and specs. They are the ones that are rebrands of models the manufacturer sells to everyone. Others are ordered and made to a specific spec and you usually won't see them available elsewhere. For example, GFS's Burns style single coils.
     
  6. hippychip

    hippychip Tele-Meister

    125
    Dec 7, 2015
    Florida
    I'm sure the cheap, made in china pickups that you buy direct are much better than the cheap, made in china pickups that came in the guitar---buy a decent amp that has knobs on it, and you can get any sound you want from the ones you have!
     
    GeekPriest likes this.
  7. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    50
    90
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    Currently using a Frontman 25R. (Anticipating a VOX AC15C1 by mid-November.)
     
  8. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2006
    Near Athens GA USA
    They usually are because you aren't concerned about save 25 cents per unit on an order of 1000+ guitars.
     
    GeekPriest likes this.
  9. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    954
    Jul 7, 2014
    Belgium
    Not a silly question at all.... Basic quality of the guitar itself is good. Put in any set of your preferred pickups, upgrade the electronics and you could have the number one tele of your life. Does it really matter if the body/neck were Squier? Does it really matter that the neck might have needed some fretwork? I don't think it would.
    So there is also no good reason why you shoulnd't or wouldn't use high end pickups! (you probably won't sell that guitar anyway)
     
    Bobby73 likes this.
  10. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Tele-Holic

    761
    Jan 26, 2012
    Troy, MO
    I have a one-HB Squier Bullet Special and I've thought about changing out the stock HB for something that looks cool, like a chrome PAF-type humbucker or a GFS Mean 90 or something. But every time I pick it up I am reminded that I don't have any complaints about how it sounds. All it took to make it tonally versatile instead of a super-bright, super-present chainsaw was lowering the pickup in small increments and listening carefully...then spending some time with my amp settings.

    I ended up with the pickup closer to the strings on the low E side, because the guitar was so bright. It's still bright, but it sounds more balanced now. Overall the pickup's lower than it was as purchased, and now it sounds nice clean and it snarls and growls when I turn up the gain. The pickup is not a weak point for me.
     
  11. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
    313
    Dec 19, 2014
    Paris, IL
    Can't beat Rob DiStefano's Cavalier pickups in price or quality.
     
    FrontPU and GeekPriest like this.
  12. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    50
    90
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    It's weird to me. This model sold for maybe $100 at the store. I paid $70 for this one at a pawn shop, with the plastic still on the pick guard and tuners. I switched out the stock tuners for some used black chrome Ibanez Gotoh-style ones just because the originals had some lash that made tuning a bit of a pain. Otherwise, I simply bonded with this instrument. I like its light weight, and, compared to the other couple of guitars I have (gifts etc), I find I have an easier time playing it. It holds tube just fine, and has, to my inexperienced mind, very nice sustain.

    It sounds great through my instructor's Blues Junior amp and pretty decent through my Frontman 25R.

    I just don't necessarily want to be the guy that buys a cheap guitar and then puts $500 or more in upgrades on it while bragging about the deal he got.

    Hence, I figured I'd ask.
     
  13. StuartJames

    StuartJames TDPRI Member

    Age:
    40
    23
    Jun 10, 2018
    Australia
    I’ve shown my mods to my affinity in another thread. If you like the guitar it can make the world of difference. I put a set of cheap donlis pups in, the bridge sounded fantastic but wasn’t wrapped in the neck. So I got a custom shop Texas special neck pup to go with the donlis bridge. I couldn’t be happier with it now, it’s sounds better than my 3 other more expensive guitars!
    Definitely consider a used pair of Texas Specials
     
  14. nicod98

    nicod98 Tele-Holic

    954
    Jul 7, 2014
    Belgium
    What I can't understand is that people seem to think that everything they change on a guitar is an "upgrade". Even pickups can be an upgrade for one person, and a downgrade for another, no matter the price you pay. Sometimes the original has the highest value. I'm all for adapting a guitar to ones wishes, but those are always very personal.
     
  15. GeekPriest

    GeekPriest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    50
    90
    Feb 9, 2018
    Central Texas
    I don't want to be the guy that puts $500 in changes into the guitar, then. :)
     
    nicod98 likes this.
  16. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Meister

    Age:
    62
    313
    Dec 19, 2014
    Paris, IL
    Rob's pickups are a very reasonable $60 (not including a small shipping charge) for most models that are not coil tapped. A bargain. They are easily equal and in many cases better than more expensive priced pickups.
     
    chemobrain, FrontPU and GeekPriest like this.
  17. preactor

    preactor Tele-Meister

    Age:
    60
    251
    Nov 27, 2009
    gainesville, ga
    Maybe Bootstrap Pickups. A set is very inexpensive. I have not tried them yet however.
     
  18. BryanLB

    BryanLB Tele-Meister

    Age:
    41
    111
    Feb 3, 2018
    Ontario
    GFS rail, Dimarzio Super distortion rail. The GFS sounds as good or better. $100 vs $30.
    IMG_0133.JPG
     
  19. Stiv

    Stiv TDPRI Member

    Age:
    49
    23
    Jan 31, 2018
    East Lansing, MI
    I recommend Bootstrap Pickups - I cant speak directly for the tele pickups, but Bootstraps alnico '54 Vintage set made a very noticable improvement on an affinity strat. Glassy sounding but not harsh, unlike the stock pickups.

    I liked the quality of the parts and wire used. The cloth covered solid core wire leads are very easy to shape for assembly and to solder.

    Bootstrap took about two weeks but they are good with communicating the status, and it's hard to beat the quality vs. cost.
     
  20. gip111

    gip111 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    64
    37
    May 5, 2016
    New Jersey USA
    For about 60 bucks you can go on the bay and find a set of Fender Tex Mex pickups. I put them on my Bullet Tele and it sounds awesome.
     
    nicod98 likes this.
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