Best Mim Tele® Upgrades For The $?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by SpankingThatPlank, Mar 24, 2016.

  1. SpankingThatPlank

    SpankingThatPlank TDPRI Member

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    I would appreciate some of you guys who have been caresing a Tele® for many years to share with me not only where to start, but what are the absolute best upgrades i can do without having to do any structural changes to my Tele® that I purchased used, but litterly has only been picked-up maybe a dozen times.
    I seen a YouTube vedio on changing the pickups as "The" single best money you could spend to improve the MIM? Living on VA comp, raising two teen/tweens, I rarely spend a dime on myself.
    The vedio I watch showed where this guy changed his bridge to something called like a "Hot 59'" (not sure that was exactly the name? But I belive that is close, he said there was a lot of contriversy about over powering, so he changed out the neck pick-up for one that was know for being extra mild. When he played, there sure didn't seem to be any nocticeable differance?
    Other than pick-ups...any suggestions for this ol' po boy would be greatly appreciate! Thank you and keep on....
    Bendin' and slidin'!
     
  2. crossroader

    crossroader Tele-Afflicted

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    Let's start with the basics.
    1) What don't you like about the guitar?
    2) Why have you only picked it up a dozen times? (asked only to gain more insight into question #1)

    I'll also add this - as the owner of several MIM-built Fender guitars - most of them don't NEED upgrading. Modding for personal preferences is a whole 'nother thing! :D
     
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  3. rebelwoclue

    rebelwoclue Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    If you haven't done so already, I'd find a good guitar tech and have him check it out and set it up for you. Make sure everything is the way it should be and it's easy to play. Then go to the woodshed. That's pretty much what I've done with my MIMs.
     
  4. Ira7

    Ira7 Doctor of Teleocity

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    I find that my guitars play much better when I'm wearing new boots.

    Clean underwear too, but who can go to that kind of trouble?
     
  5. MarkJB

    MarkJB TDPRI Member

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    Not an upgrade per se, bug the four way switch mod is fun - adds another tone to play with.

    My MIM has relatively cheap Irongear OW pups, CTS pots and a wilkinson vintage bridge... But, as has been said by far the best money spent was sending it to my guitar tech to give it a decent setup, fret level etc. Now it plays so smoothly that it's become my go to.
     
  6. DannyJustQuit

    DannyJustQuit Tele-Meister

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    I have a guitar that I swapped the bridge plate for a vintage ashtray, the saddles for brass compensated saddles and added locking tuners. These few "upgrades" made a tremendous difference in my guitar's play-ability, tuning stability and my overall interest in the guitar. I have since upgraded to a set of Fender Noiseless pups and consider the guitar "finished" and one of the two I bring to every gig :)
     
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  7. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    A set of Keystones from Bill and Becky Lawrence/Wilde.
     
  8. john_cribbin

    john_cribbin Tele-Afflicted

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    Without knowing what model you have, we don't know what's already fitted. Many people are more than happy with what's fitted at the factory. What do you hope to gain from making changes?
     
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  9. Televised

    Televised Friend of Leo's

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    Yep!
    1. Pro Set Up by a good guitar tech.
    2. 4-way switch
    3. Bill Lawrence "Keystone" pick ups
    Money very well spent and great bang for the buck.
     
  10. mrgp52tele

    mrgp52tele Tele-Meister

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    I bought a used Fender MIM FSR Ash Tele (the one with the control plate reversed) and did the following:
    1) flipped the control plate back around (after routing out cavity)
    2) Installed a SD Mini Humbucker in the neck along with 52 Hot Rod Tele black pickguard
    3) Installed a SD Jerry Donahue pickup in the bridge
    4) Installed Fender Locking Tuners
    5) Installed Barden compensated saddles
    6) Had excellent local luthier (Mark Kaiser) install a bone nut and set up
    7) Bought a Fender Tweed Hardshell case
    8) and shielded with copper shielding tape

    I also have a AVRI 52 Tele and a AVRI 64 Fiesta Red Tele, but love playing this MIM. It plays great and sounds great. Final total for all listed above was approx. $775.00. A lot to have in a MIM, I understand, but it ended up being a killer guitar.
     
  11. Treeface

    Treeface Tele-Meister

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    An electrosocket jack, at $5-7, has to be the best bang-for-the-buck upgrade out there. In fact, it's one of the few changes you can make to a Tele that is invariably an upgrade, and not merely an alteration that may or may not suit any particular player's taste.

    It's incredible to me that Fender hasn't long ago switched to this obviously superior design.
     
  12. Bones

    Bones Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Buy a Baja and be done with it. With the prices of MIMs and parts to mod them, it makes more sense.
     
  13. sjruvolo

    sjruvolo Tele-Meister

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    The first mod I made was to swap out the PUPs to Texas Specials. The stock bridge PUP squealed like mad with overdrive. Since I'm a rocker who tends to prefer the heavier side of rock the squeal had to go. The other mod which I had done and that made a huge difference in play-ability was a fret level, crown and polish by a fellow TDPRI member Kokotele. Those are the two biggies that probably made my guitar an excellent player. Mind you the PUP swap was the first and the fret L/C/P was one of the last mods I made, there were many mods in between.
     
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  14. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Pro set up esp fret profile and polish. Makes a huge difference.
     
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  15. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

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    Learn to do a great setup, complete with a fret level crown and polish.

    Wilde Keystones are incredible pickups for only 70 bucks.

    Those are pretty much the big ones.

    I like vintage bridges and saddles a lot but there's nothing wrong with the MIM 6 saddle and MIM electronics are generally top notch with exception of the pickups in 2006 and beyond MIM standards. That's just a personal opinion though and if you like the pickups, you should leave em alone.
     
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  16. TeleFunk Man

    TeleFunk Man Tele-Afflicted

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    Replace the neck, body, pickups and all hardware with USA made parts. :D
     
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  17. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

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    That actually wouldn't do much for quality IME with many US made and MIM Fenders as reference points.

    My favorite Fenders have been MIM so far.

    But nice MIA elitism.
     
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  18. preactor

    preactor Tele-Holic

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    If it is set up good, play it long enough "stock" to really know and prioritize what you need. You may find you don't have to do anything. This is from a person who is very cheap!
     
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  19. JustEd

    JustEd Tele-Meister

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    This will be the quote of the day for me.
     
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  20. Georox

    Georox Friend of Leo's

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    Only if you like the chunky neck on the Baja. Some do, some don't.
     
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