Best Mim Tele® Upgrades For The $?

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

  1. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I bought a Fender MIM FSR Ash Tele (the one with the control plate reversed) and I have not changed a thing on it after three years. I love it as is. If I ever change anything, it will be to a Baja neck. That said though, it took me awhile to notice that the neck was not well aligned at the factory, but it took me 5 minutes to fix that, so maybe a guitar tech set-up would be your best investment at this point.
     
  2. caliban335

    caliban335 Tele-Afflicted

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    If you don't like the tone you're getting out of the Tele, follow the advice others have given in this thread and get a set of Bill Lawrence Keystones. I'd also have to agree with the suggestion to replace the jack with an Electrosocket. That would definitely be the cheapest mod. Finally, replace the bridge with a Wilkinson that has compensated brass saddles.
     
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  3. Beachbum

    Beachbum Friend of Leo's

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    I did the following to my MIM FSR.

    1. American Standard neck
    2. Gotoh 6 saddle bridge
    3. Fender "Original Vintage" pickups

    Truth be known the the only real improvement came from the pickups.
     
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  4. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't upgrade if you're happy with it the way it is. I have two MIM guitars, and the only complaints I have had are I replaced the bridge pickup on my Strat 'cause it was just kinda boring, and the bridges on both have height screws that poke my hand if I brush across them.

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
     
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  5. Dan R

    Dan R Friend of Leo's

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    I had a MIM all tricked out. As others have said, it's really just personal preference. There's nothing in the World wrong with a stock MIM tele. That being said, any guitar can benefit from a proper set up. I too like the Bill Lawrence pickups. They're tough to beat for the price. Maybe just play it for a while longer, so you can determine what you might like to change.

    Dan R
     
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  6. TeleFunk Man

    TeleFunk Man Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm sure you got the sarcasm in my post. I too own a MIM and love it as much as my MIA 8502. Everyone seems so hung up on MIA vs. MIM.

    As for the OP; the only upgrades I did to my 1999 MIM was install vintage Gotoh tuners just because I like them and do this to all my Fenders. I also installed a Gotoh modern brass bridge plate with brass saddles which bought from StewMac. I notice an improved sustain.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  7. songtalk

    songtalk Friend of Leo's

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    Sorry!:oops:

    I mistook you for serious.
     
  8. JustEd

    JustEd Tele-Meister

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    I agree that it's mostly personal. My BSB only required compensated saddles because it was a nightmare to intonate so it was a cheaper option than a modern six saddle bridge.

    I also replaced the tuners with Kluson locking ones because I hate restringing and I replaced the ugly looking Butterfly string tree.
     
  9. Stellacaster

    Stellacaster TDPRI Member

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    Strap locks ;) protect your feet!
     
  10. mj6thbuif

    mj6thbuif Tele-Meister

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    Does anyone think a MIM can sound like a Richie Kotzen tele by replacing the stock bridge pickup with a Dimarzio Chopper T and the tone pot with a push/pull coil split pot?
     
  11. Pcaluaru

    Pcaluaru Tele-Meister

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    Stock rocks.. leave it alone.

    About the only thing I would do is shield the guitar.. maybe..... just maybe install some quality traditional single coils (if for some reason those pups are not getting it done with your ears) and...... get some after market compensated saddles like from Rutters... (I'm assuming your guitar has a traditional ashtray bridge ... if it doesn't... make it so!)
     
  12. SpankingThatPlank

    SpankingThatPlank TDPRI Member

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  13. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

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    I don't pay much attention to the lump of wood, provided it feels OK and the fretwork is good, I can live with cheap hardware and low quality electronics, but I'm sensitive to pickup tones. This means that on any guitar I buy, I'm pessimistic about how I will like the pickups through my gear and expect to change or mod (in the case of plastic-bobbin strat SCs) them. - And it isn't about price - my favourite pickups in my collection are also the cheapest by a fair margin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
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  14. SpankingThatPlank

    SpankingThatPlank TDPRI Member

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    That, along with the saddle are the two things I have read the most complaints about, just receiving it, I just wanted the opinion of folks who have a lot of time invested in one, and know what they lack over a Carona, another pet peave, as a soldier, I go out of my way to buy American. Looked for a month, couldn't find anything in my price range, the night before my MIM arrived I found a 05' American Standard Srat® in the original hardshell for $50.00 more! My luck...



     
  15. johnnyha

    johnnyha Tele-Afflicted

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    I changed out the pups on my MIM BSB FSR to 51 Nocasters, Gotoh vintage tuners, bakelite 5 hole pg, compensated brass saddles, and Graph Tech TUSQ nut. All proved to be nice upgrades and except for the MIM black truss nut collar it looks and sounds like a classic vintage Tele. With the skills I gained from that I built a killer Strat hardtail partscaster that is better in every department than my Fender JM Sig Strat, which is a GREAT guitar I am now going to sell - leaving me $400 ahead. And now I'm scavenging all those upgraded parts off my MIM BSB FSR (except the TUSQ nut and Nocasters, I got handwounds for the new build), for a killer Tele partscaster build, and I'll put the original parts which were fine back on the MIM Tele (except the weird sitar-y sounding nut it came with and the ceramic pups altho they were pretty good). Probly keep that one it's a great backup guitar but I could just as easily change the pups back to original and sell it. So there's one way to do it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
  16. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .
    Play it as-is for a while with your various amps and locations to get a feel for what you like/don't like about the guitar. I've had a five cent tone capacitor change open up a guitar before so I'll start with changes there before getting into pickup swaps - bad electronics will still be bad electronics with new pickups.

    -Change the pots and tone cap, they can push around the pickup tone, $10 in parts. 500kohm volume pot can brighten up the pickups quite a bit, or even a 1Megohm.
    -Electrosocket is nice but if you have the 'cup' fender jack then just drill two holes and put small screws in just like the Electrosocket has. If you install the Electrosocket be sure to drop the jack threads just below the cup of the socket so when you jam the cable in there the tip will slide right in.
    -If the guitar has a twisted pair of wires from the control cavity to the output jack then change them out for a shielded two-conductor cable. This will clean up a lot of noise.
    -Buy a roll of 'aluminum flashing tape' at the hardware store and shield all the cavities. Change the output wire first though.
    -Put a steel plate on the back of the bridge pickup (cut up a 37cent electrical box cover that you get at the hardware store). This will reflect the magnetic field giving you more output for rock and blues. If you want a twang-machine then don't add this.
    -4-way switch to get pickups in series (adds the humbucker LP tone).
    -If your pickups are hotter high-kohms you may benefit more from a treble-bleed and a grease-bucket addition to the wiring.
    -Add a middle Strat pickup and a blender pot to turn it into a 'Nashville' tele used by a lot of session players.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016
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  17. jdm61

    jdm61 Tele-Holic

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    The great thing about the MIM guitars is that Fender makes so many version of them that the factory has arguably done a lot of "mods" for you. With that said, years ago, my mother bought a used early black /maple MIM Tele for my youngest brother. It was very nice to begin with. As a birthday present, I had it upgraded with a traditional 3 saddle bridge, Wilkinson IIRC, a set of Duncan Broadcasters and the RS "vintage" upgrade kit. The tech who did the work for me, who was also a player in a local band, said that if I ever decided to sell it to call him first. Suffice to say that the mods worked very well. ;)
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  18. Colin

    Colin Tele-Meister

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    The only improvements on my MIM Tele were new strings, the TDPRI sticker on the body and the old Champ ampifier I traded a Variax for.
     
  19. RussBert

    RussBert Tele-Holic

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    I have a MIM '72 Thinline thing that is a most amazing guitar. I installed a set of Mojotone pups in it, and it has become far and away my favorite guitar. I also switched the pickguard from pearloid to black

    Pic is my avatar, but here's another


    [​IMG]
     
  20. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

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    Best upgrade is guitar lessons and practice.
     
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