Best Pickup Upgrades for a Squire Standard?

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by Veeseaczar, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Veeseaczar

    Veeseaczar TDPRI Member

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    Last year I picked up a vintage blonde Squier Standard. I was about to do a national tour, and after recording I learned that a Tele just sounded really good for what I needed.

    This Standard is really really great. The neck is as straight as can be for a budget, 7 year old guitar. It plays wonderfully. It looks good.

    The pickups though are just... Well they work. They aren't beautiful. They dont make reach for that guitar as much as go for my Deluxe Modern Player.

    So I need help. So many Tele pickup upgrades out there to choose from. The sheer vastness of choice is paralysing.

    Musical Role

    I find myself playing more and more arpeggiated riff parts, and then switching to articulated rhythm heavy chord work. I suppose a rough analogy would be that I am at times both Peter Buck and Thom Yorke in the same song. Anothet way to slice it: my guitar playing and my mandolin playing are beginning to merge into the same style.

    Desired Sounds
    Bridge
    Aggressive, punchy when pushed, jangly and vocal when dialed back. Acoustic like. Articulate. Twang is good in rational amounts.

    Neck
    Thicker, woodier than usual. Hotter too. Full without being muddy. Something to say! Lots of stock tele neck pickups sound super boring, or downright avoidable. I guess thats what the middle position is for...

    --Side note--
    I've never played a pickup loadout on any 2 pickup guitar with a middle position sound I've liked enough to make it my home tone. Only ever sounds good at moderate instrument volume, delicate playing. Strumming sounds bad to me here. Maybe I'm missing something?
    --End side note--

    I've heard some Broadcaster bridge pickups and am intrigued. I've similarly heard the texas specials are good moves too. Sometimes I wonder if the differences in all the tele pup permutations are really that meaningful, or if its more like "this pickup is better than the one you have. Trust me."

    So I guess aside from recommendations, a walk through of the logic of the choices could also really help me, especially when researching.

    Thanks!
     
  2. MrHamburger

    MrHamburger Tele-Holic

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    I have a MIM Tele that came with texmex pickups. I thought they sounded good enough that I kept them in for a year.
    Now I have a Bareknuckle Blackguard Flat 50s bridge pup installed. I think it’s supposed to be like a Broadcaster but hotter.
    I wanted a hotter bridge pup to match the Gibson Classic 57 Zebra PAF I put in the neck. (Your standard is probably routed to fit a hb in the neck)
    I’m pretty happy with it now.
    I never really fell in love any tele neck pup.
    I had a Telecaster with Texas Specials in it for a short time. The pickups sounded fat & warm. I wasn’t in love with the feel of that guitar though so I swapped it out.
    Another Telecaster I tried a Seymour Duncan Broadcaster in it but I didn’t like the sound. I found it overly bright and it didn’t sound as warm. It seemed tight if that means anything.
    I’ve owned a lot of other teles, Squier Vm Thinline with WRHBs, MIM Cabronita w/Fidelitrons and a G&L tele jr with P90s.
    My current Tele has the best middle position tone to my ears.
    It’s the best pickup combo so far.
    I’m not suggesting that you get the exact same pickups but only that you may like a neck humbucker.
    Just be aware of pickup output as it can be tricky to get balanced volume output with this pairing.
    You also may have to change your pot values or wiring to compensate for the humbucker.
    I went with an uncovered humbucker as they tend to be brighter. I think it sounds fine without changing any wiring.
    Also, if you are going to all that trouble get some full size cts pots, an oaks grigsby switch and spend a couple bucks on a new tone capacitor.
    You might even be happy with your pickups after upgrading all the other cheap electronics.
     
  3. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    I have a Squier Standard Tele that before this picture it was on the sell-off list because the sound was basically uninspiring even though the build was well done.

    I decided to do some mods before I actually put it up for sale. First change I make is the tone cap. 0.033uF 50v in there and try playing and .. it sounded amazing. More presence and that sparkle. Some guitars I have to go to new pots, additional caps, and then maybe new pickups. This one only took the one cap change and it was and is a keeper.

    So start with spending under a $1 on a new cap. When you get the tone sorted out, maybe install a 4-way switch in there for added fun as a humbucker when you're gigging.


    IMG_4510b.JPG
     
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  4. MrHamburger

    MrHamburger Tele-Holic

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    Dude you’re so metal!
     
  5. Edsel Presley

    Edsel Presley Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I just put the EMG set in my Squier Standard. No complaints so far.
     
  6. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    key Q is how much treble you need

    Squier Stds come with what? neck A5 7.1k? bridge A3 6.7k? those are great specs for what you need, so for more treble:

    try a lower cap value
    lower the pickups
    try a 500k vol pot

    for more power, wire a 4-way switch to get the series sound (a very articulate wider-range humbucker sound with punch)

    or use a boost pedal with good EQ

    jvin is right
     
  7. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

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    I got my Squier Std. Tele in 2007. The OEM pickups were overwound and muddy. I got a set of Fender OV's for about $50, and that was it right there.
     
  8. Veeseaczar

    Veeseaczar TDPRI Member

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    For the record, my Squier standard is currently *too* damn bright. I've played fantatic MIM Telecasters with stock hardware and that got the Tele twang with some meat on the bones too.

    Mine however, unless the amp is driven harder and louder, sounds shrill and really toppy with not enough midrange. This is true for both pickups.
     
  9. MrHamburger

    MrHamburger Tele-Holic

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    try adjusting your pickup height too.
     
  10. Veeseaczar

    Veeseaczar TDPRI Member

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    That was step 1.
     
  11. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

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    The dual blades found in budget Peavey 'raptors', late 90's would fit your bill and humbucking to boot.
    Man, those guitars had a well balanced sound.
    If you find one, you can get the whole guitar for what you are already willing to pay for two pickups.
     
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  12. Ira7

    Ira7 Doctor of Teleocity

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    What about changing string type?

    (There's no end to this ever, is there?)
     
  13. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  14. Veeseaczar

    Veeseaczar TDPRI Member

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    The current hardware is whatever is standard in a MIM Tele. My friend gave me the electronics assembly and the neck pickup of his MIM because I liked them more. Now I just need a good bridge pickup.
     
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