Replacement of Texas Special Pickups on Amercian Special Telecaster

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Onairangel2, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Onairangel2

    Onairangel2 TDPRI Member

    Nov 11, 2015
    New York
    Hi again, I want to thank each and everyone of you for your input. As I had mentioned on a previous thread of mine, the Texas Specials pickups were too low sounding, didn't have the same bite that my MIM FSR Special Edition has. I took other people's advise, went to Guitar Center and the tech adjust the pickup height up a little, but now they sound much too bright! I really like the jumbo frets on it, I am just not digging the Texas Specials I am thinking of returning the guitar, strongly considering it. If I decide to keep it, what pickups can people suggest that I replace them with? I don't play metal, obviously, I play Class Rock, think Stones, Beatles, Skynyrd, Green Day, AC/DC, some sabbath, but I have a humbucker guitar to play sabbath. Can anyone help? Thank you again...
  2. Slim Chance

    Slim Chance Tele-Holic

    Mar 1, 2011
    Beltway, USA
    If after adjusting the pickup heights, the sound went from dull to overly bright, you should try a height in between. Measure as you go along so you so can more precisely adjust the height to find the sweet spot. The difference may only be a small amount so go slowly. (i.e 1/64"-1/32" at a time.) You can do this by your self. Just take your time. Youtube is your friend.
  3. JodanOrNoDan

    JodanOrNoDan Tele-Meister

    Jan 2, 2019
    It took me a long time to like telecasters. They are "picky" guitars. You really have to be "in tune" with your equipment to get the sounds out of them that you want, but once you do it is a beautiful thing. They seem to be a lot more "hand sensitive" than my Les Pauls or my Strats.

    I run my american special through a tube screamer into a Marshal and it would handle your genre just fine. That said I can do ACDC type stuff on a Tele but I prefer to use a les paul for that type of thing.

    Depending on your setup, you may want play some set neck guitars with humbuckers and see if it is easier to get the sound you are after.
  4. KC

    KC Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Missoula, Montana
    I would go ahead & return the guitar before I started replacing pickups. That's an expensive way to chase tone, and the Texas Specials that are in there (assuming they're set same as mine) are perfectly good pickups. If you like the sound of the MIM ceramics better, why not just stick with them?
    JodanOrNoDan likes this.
  5. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

    Dec 12, 2018
    Replaced the pups in my American Special Tele with Fralins. High output in the bridge and a steel pole 43 in the neck. Pretty happy with the neck pup and would prolly put another steel pole 43 in the bridge if I did it again, but I wanted to retain something akin to classic Tele sound in the bridge. Ya, I really like those jumbo frets, too. My only gripe with my guitar is it’s weight. 9 lbs feels heavy after a couple sets.
  6. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Holic

    Sep 20, 2011
    I hope this doesn't come off as condescending, because I don't mean it that way. It took me longer than it should have to figure this out, but just slightly rolling the volume knob on the guitar down a little can do wonders for you on this guitar.

    I have an older Special--the one that came with the super hot bridge pickup. Later versions came with actual CS Texas Specials. I eventually replaced mine with a CS Nocaster pickup, but with the tone circuit on these, rolling back the volume just a hair tames the high end better than rolling back the tone knob.
  7. JL_LI

    JL_LI Tele-Afflicted

    May 20, 2017
    Long Island, NY
    Bendercaster is absolutely right about turning down the volume. You have a tone control too. Everything doesn't have to be dimed. If the best possible settings for tone and volume are still too bright, start with the pickup that's the most problematical and lower it 1/4 turn at a time until you get the best possible tone. Then adjust the height of the other pickup for balance. Adjust the treble side versus bass side for string balance if necessary. You'll need to adjust all three screws on the bridge pickup. There's nothing wrong with Texas Special pickups for rock. They'll drive a tube amp nicely. Be aware that you'll need all the treble you can get to be heard in a noisy (bar)room. Still too bright, even for that? The next thing I'd explore is the tone cap. If it's a .01, try a .033. If it's a .033, try a .047. Personally, I wouldn't change the pickups until I exhausted all other options unless noise and hum are an issue. Too much gain will bring audible 60 cycle hum. You may also notice hum if you play at bedroom levels in a quiet room. If hum is a real problem Fender N4 or SD stacked pickups are very close to the Texas Special sound. Still, the smart money says get the most out of what you have. Other people probably love the sound of your Telecaster just the way it is. Why not ask them.
    JodanOrNoDan likes this.
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