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2014 MIM what would you upgrade?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Flat6Driver, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I have a bone stock MIM telecaster. I like it pretty well but I think it could sound better. It has a bit of a "honk" sound when playing single note stuff that I don't care for. Maybe it's my all settings or technique but assuming I wanted to make a simple, cheap upgrade to a bone stock MIM what would you do? I don't have a specific "tone" in mind...I like rock, blues and country. Just looking for an all around "better than MIM". What say you?
     
  2. vintage clubber

    vintage clubber Friend of Leo's

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    I believe that came stock with ceramic pickups. I would suggest a better set of alnico pickups that are rw/rp from each other, i.e. CS Nocasters, and a 4 way switch.
     
  3. Jonzilla

    Jonzilla Tele-Meister

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    I had a 2011 MIM standard that I upgraded with the 51 Nocaster pickups and they were great. Very affordable too.
     
  4. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    2 votes for the nocaster and nothing else. :). What kind of music do you all play? What kind of amp? Will I notice a drop in output initially? Other than actually spending of money I have no idea how to buy pickups. How to choose. Did you all change caps as well?
     
  5. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    Oh yeah. My all around setting for single guitar band work is usually the middle position. Bridge 75% of the time when I play with other guitar players.
     
  6. hymiepab

    hymiepab Tele-Meister

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    You might look at Bill Lawrence Keystone pickups.
    There are many positive reviews here on the forum.
    I love mine and tend to play in a clean alt-country style.
    The stock MIM pickups I had were a bit too edgy for my tastes….
     
  7. vintage clubber

    vintage clubber Friend of Leo's

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    Not sure what you don't understand about how to buy pickups...:confused:

    I got my CS '51 Nocaster set from Darren Riley's shop:

    Out of Stock at this time...:(
    http://darrenriley.com/store/fender-51-nocaster-pickups-0992109000/

    He does have the Twisted Tele set:
    http://darrenriley.com/store/fender-custom-shop-twisted-tele-pickups-0992215000/

    and the Blackguard set:
    http://darrenriley.com/store/fender-custom-shop-blackguard-telecaster-pickups-0992216000/


    When I re-wire my teles, I generally add a treble bleed on the volume pot and upgrade the tone cap to a paper-in-oil cap. This is my preference. There are tons of people out there whose opinion is that this is a complete waste or they don't like the treble bleed circuit, etc. It's all subjective.
     
  8. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

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    I should have said "select". I guess it's really all trial and error. Like pedals And amps.

    How to describe what I want. As if I even know.
     
  9. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    I recently got a 2014 MIM Tele, myself - and my answer to your original question is, "Not a thing."

    I was pleasantly surprised when I plugged this guitar and I loved it! And after playing a couple gigs, I still have no plans to change anything....at least not right away.

    But if you're looking to change/improve your tone, there are plenty of affordable choices for pickups. A couple suggestions already made - Nocaster and Twisted Tele - would fit the bill, especially if you want to tame the high end and get a little fatter sound. And they'll cover rock, blues, and country just fine.
    I like adding the treble bleed circuit myself, but as vintage clubber said, that's a matter of personal preference.

    And, yep, it really is a matter of trial and error.
    You can read all the opinions in the world, but you won't know what works for you until you hear it in YOUR guitar - through YOUR rig.
     
  10. mRtINY

    mRtINY Friend of Leo's

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    I put a set of Keystones in my MX14xxxxx Tele. It sounds a lot more like a 60's tele now. I also put on an aluminum pickguard and replaced the ceramic tone cap with a PP-type.


    -tINY
     
  11. Monotremata

    Monotremata Tele-Afflicted

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    Im of limited experience in the Tele pickup world but I would say, grab one of the 'cheapo' $30 pickups Fender puts in the Classic 60s and give it a try. My first Tele was a 2006 Standard, right after they changed the alnico pickups to the ceramics. I always wanted a Tele, and that thing just didnt do it for me. The sound was so 'off' from what I had expected I gave up and ripped out the bridge and threw a GFS Lil Puncher in it and just made it a full on heavy metal machine. The Classic 60s is a world of difference. I can do my snarly doom/post-punk noise with my pedals on, and the clarity and note definition is out of this world, there is actual Tele magic going on. But at the same time, I can also do some pretty gnarly Zeppelin classic rock crunch stuff with an overdriven amp or a nice booster up front. Its the first guitar Ive had that actually gets along with my Fuzz Face too. The Keystones are supposed to be a 60s type pickup as well, but the Fender is fairly cheap, and Ive got nothing but love for the thing. I like it so much Im not even willing to risk messing anything up to try anything else. Ill get another Tele if I want to try another pickup in it. FWIW you can also get the USA made Fender 62 Custom pickups from Darren Riley for about the same price, maybe $5 more. Ive heard nothing but good things about those as well.

    Aside from the pickups, after having the Classic for 3 years now, Id probably swap the whole bridge with a three saddle one too. I like the six saddle bridge on my Strat, and the one on my Tele standard was good too, but I am pretty sure that the three saddle bridge adds alot to the Tele sound..
     
  12. Jonzilla

    Jonzilla Tele-Meister

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    I changed the cap to .047 uf. Didn't notice any drop in output with the switch. The nocaster pickups are more clear and I think brighter than the stock ceramics were. Especially the neck is clearer and more useable on its own compared to the ceramic. The middle position is fantastic. Very full and rich. Very woody but cuts through the mix well.

    I am using them to play a variety of styles from rockabilly to zeppelin.
     
  13. lineboat

    lineboat Friend of Leo's

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    If you're wanting to get away from the "honk" or "twang" of a Tele, look at Cavalier pickups Fat Lion for the bridge. Very "middy" less twang, exactly what I'd always wanted, but never could find. I paired it with a Cavalier SRV Tiger neck pickup. Now it's the perfect set up for me. I'm not crazy about the traditional Tele sound, and this took me right where I wanted to be with tones. And it's all from fellow member Rob DiStefano.
     
  14. bender66

    bender66 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Everyone was keying me up to "upgrade" on my MIM. Why would I change the CTS pots? The bone/faux-bone nut was great. A little truss adjust & it had great action & no buzz. The ceramics weren't so bad, but I found my 1st, but not last, set of Keystones for it.
    That's it.
     
  15. Truvor

    Truvor TDPRI Member

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    I did the exact same upgrade on my '99 MIM Telecaster: Nocaster 51 pickups and the 4-way switch. I also cracked a screw hole on my pickguard, so that was replaced as well. Another tiny upgrade was an "American Series String Guide." Amazon.com: Fender American Series String Guides: Musical Instruments@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31ORgFRpa6L.@@AMEPARAM@@31ORgFRpa6L Surprisingly this made a nice aesthetic enhancement. Although when I bought the pair it was $5.49.
     
  16. adjason

    adjason Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    another vote for pickup swap only- Fender nocaster or Fender 62 reissues are both great sets
     
  17. barker

    barker Tele-Meister

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    I transformed my 2010 MIM by:

    Putting Dimarzio twang king pups in it
    Replacing the bridge with a Rutters bridge and 3 brass saddles
    Replaced tone pot with a no-loader

    The above ain't cheap but will put your tele up against a vintage model or an American Standard. Mine ain't perfect but snarls and barks like a good tele can. If you do the above the guitar won't sound anything like before the mods, electrically OR acoustically.
     
  18. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    There are lots of good replacement pickups, new and used, but no one but you can decided what "sounds" good for your needs.
    Have you tried adjusting the pickup heights? that's a free mod and can make dramatic changes in the tone.

    A different set of alnico pickups will change the tone but it might not be what you're after.

    There are SO many different types of Tele pickups out there, 50s style 60s style, Broadcaster, modern, hot rodded, single coil size humbuckers, noiseless, a lot to choose from.

    Another thought is maybe you can find a friend or go to a music store and see if you can play a similar guitar that sounds good to you and then see what kind of pickups are in it before you start changing things.
     
  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    One guitar that I didn't bond with I replaced the tone cap with an 0.033uF and it bonded a lot better. Sometimes it's a little mod that will do it for you. Measure the actual kohms of your volume pot and find one that is a higher value if you want brighter or lower value if you want it darker sounding.

    4-way switch on its own is a good mod.

    Get an Esquire pickguard and run with just the bridge pickup for a while, even if you like the middle position currently. Use the 4-way switch with some Esquire mods on phostenix's page of guitar wiring diagrams. You'll find with one pickup you'll actually use your tone knob.

    Flip the control cavity around so the switch is to the rear and the volume knob is forward. Watch Bill Kirchen videos he does of The Hot Rod Lincoln.
     
  20. YoGeorge

    YoGeorge Tele-Afflicted

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    One other change you might consider is putting on a traditional ashtray bridge when you do the pickup swap... And one cool thing about a MIM is that it is routed for a big bucker in the neck position so if you do want to go hotter, you can get a bucker pickguard and a big bucker for the neck, and choose a hotter pickup for the bridge (Rio Muy Grande, Texas Special, etc...) You could also use a minibucker in the neck slot.

    Lots of possibilities. I love the Nocaster set as a great basic tele pickup pair but thought I'd bring up the bucker possibility.

    George
     
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