Building first partscaster - looking for pup recommendations

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Miseria, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Miseria

    Miseria TDPRI Member

    Age:
    41
    Posts:
    8
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2019
    Location:
    Ohio
    Howdy - just ordered all the parts (sans pups) for my first tele build (or any build). I haven't ordered the pickups yet because I'm woefully ignorant and keep changing my mind every time I read something new. Hoping I can explain what I'm after and get some recommendations.

    Goal - Tele to cover everything from twang to classic rock. Would love something that could cover Haggard to Paisley and even venture into Neil Young P90 growl.

    Budget - 300ish for a set + controls (pref w/ 4 way switch).

    Considering - Fralin SP42/43 (are these too hot? Will they twang). Lollar Special T/Royal T. Fralin Blues. Fishman Koch Gristletone (bit of a outlier but I have the Devin Townsend HB pups in a single cut and love them)

    Am I trying to find something that will do too much? I have guitars that will get the classic rock tones (PAF style) so am I better just focusing on building a country machine here?
     
    Allatoona Rebel likes this.
  2. PlainAllman

    PlainAllman Tele-Holic

    Age:
    44
    Posts:
    640
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2019
    Location:
    Van Zandt Co, Texas
    I’m making plans to do my first build in the not too distant future as well. I’m no pu expert so I’m planning on probably just buying a loaded strat pick guard. Probably in a hss configuration. Would be perfect if I can find one where the bridge humbucker splits to a single. I know that is the easy way versus doing all the wiring and soldering yourself but it is just an option to consider I guess.
     
  3. Andy Summers

    Andy Summers Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,696
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Location:
    CT
    Get ready to take notes! You’ll probably get lots of recommendations. I usually do the usual suspects of single coil sized humbuckers, because I mostly play “heavier” music in the band(s) I’m in. Anything goes when I’m just playing at home though.

    And yes!!! Hevy f’n Devy \m/
     
    Miseria likes this.
  4. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,237
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2014
    Location:
    Florida
    I recommend Cavalier (I have the Nashville/Lion King and Fat Lion/Fat Lion King sets) or Sunday Handwound (I have an A4 custom bridge and a 23T neck. And do yourself a favor and wire them to a 4-way switch.
     
    Miseria likes this.
  5. Allatoona Rebel

    Allatoona Rebel TDPRI Member

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    12
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2018
    Location:
    Georgia

    Of course, tone is very subjective, and many people are looking for something very special and unique. I personally like the OEM Fender pickups, which should be easy to get, but that's just me. If you want something more, may I suggest Seymour Duncan? You might also want to add a third pickup between the rhythm and lead, just for variety. Also, your amp will play a significant role, since it's an instrument in itself. A good amp will make the most of a decent guitar, but a lousy amp will be detrimental to even the best electric guitar.
     
    Mosstone and Andy Summers like this.
  6. Andy Summers

    Andy Summers Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,696
    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2006
    Location:
    CT
    Lots of people, including myself, forget about the amp factor sometimes. Good thing to keep in mind.
     
  7. Mosstone

    Mosstone Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    103
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2018
    Location:
    I only know my speed
    I say if you want it to sound like a Fender Telecaster, then use Fender pickups. I put a set of CS '51 NoCasters in my double-cut Tele build, and they're the real deal, man... But if you're looking for a "refined" tone, then forget about it... These pickups are raunchy and raw... Great for classic rock and country, but they're not for everybody... Only the stout of heart! :) I wired it with a 4-way switch, and when the pickups are in series, LTFO!
     
    Miseria likes this.
  8. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,327
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Location:
    South Australia
    I like Alnico 111 p/ups. Both Cavalier and Tonerider make them.
     
    Miseria likes this.
  9. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    16,828
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    $300 for two pickups is an awful lot of money when you don't yet know what type you like the sound of.

    I like around 6.5-6.7k in the bridge with staggered A5 magnets.
    Flat poles if the board radius is modern 12-14 though.
    Many seem to want 10k bridge, which is way too dark for me.
    In fact I find lower wind bridge pups snarl better than darker hotter warmer muddier hot pups.

    WRT neck some like the stock design while other like the more open clear tone of the Stratty Twisted Tele and similar types.
    Just a Strat neck pickup is an option as well.

    Then there's the Strait plate bridge, normal stamped bridge, modern thick bridge, and half bridge with direct mount pickup.

    I wouldn';t drop $300 on a really carefully made random pickup.

    Your description can fit almost every version.
    A factor is that you gan add girth, mids, grit and snarl to a cleaner low wind pup but you can't add clarity to a hot mussy pickup.
    The bass gets muddy quick at 7k or so.
     
    Miseria likes this.
  10. Milspec

    Milspec Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,884
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Location:
    Nebraska
    After going through a long period of using hot pickups I have converted to more vintage outputs. I have had quite a few different pickups and will toss out some thoughts on a popular few for what little it may be worth.

    Seymour Duncan Vintage Broadcasters: A very nice vintage output that is warm and smooth. A really underrated pickup in my opinion.
    Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders: Lots of bite and presence, but no twang. If you are wanting some twang, pass on these
    Fender Twisted Tele: A very stratty tone that is fat and bluesy, but can be a little hot. I find the need to mute the low E more with that pickup than others
    Fender No-Casters: I like these a great deal, but seriously, they were very similar to the SD Vintage Broadcasters to my ears.
    Cavalier: (Nashville bridge and Lioness neck): Vintage tone much like the No-Caster and Vintage Broads but with a little more bluesy tone to me....they are an excellent choice.

    Fralins are always great, but they will also be bright. A good thing normally, but not to all ears and depends on the amp choice as well. Just based on what I have in the room right now, the Cavaliers or Vintage Broadcasters would be my suggestion.
     
    Miseria likes this.
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    59
    Posts:
    16,828
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    I was gonna ask but then realized you mean A3!

    Also Fender Original Vintage or Pure Vintage is A3.
    That's the first magnet type, pre '50 and '51 I guess.
    A little softer warmer sweeter sound.
    Nice but I prefer more cut and clang with A5.
     
  12. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

    Age:
    35
    Posts:
    479
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2018
    Location:
    Denver


    American Special Tele with Fralin High Output Tele in the bridge position. Fralin Steel Pole 43 in the neck position. Roland Cube on the Tweed setting with low gain (except before "Alright Now" I turned up the gain to 5 or 6). That bridge PUP is a bit thicker than the traditional country sound calls for (and my mids were dimed) and I think I prefer it that way. I tend to use that middle position for funky rhythm guitar stuff and that combination of PUPs sounds okay to me (I had to turn the gain down a bit while on that position). I really love that Steel Pole 43 in the neck for blues/jazz. When the texture of my band gets thick, I have to make adjustments to cut through a mix. If there are only 3 or 4 instruments that isn't a problem, but with more it can be.

    With all that said, I am eagerly awaiting a shipment of Bootstrap humbucker-sized P90s (much more affordable). So far to me it seems like, the more I learn about the construction of pickups...the less eager I am to shell out $200-$300 to refit an axe. There simply aren't that many parts to instill voodoo into, so much so that the cost-of-living of the winder is a rather major consideration.
     
    Miseria likes this.
  13. blille

    blille Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,170
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Location:
    Bay Area - California, USA
    For total flexibility I would say SD PRails in neck and SD tapped Quarter Pound in bridge.

    If the neck I would use mostly the P90 sound and both coils in parallel and the bridge full gives you a strong single coil sound in P90 territory but tapped puts you in traditional Tele level.
     
  14. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,865
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    If I were you, I'd order a Cavalier Lion or Lioness (for the neck) and a Cavalier Nashville, about $130 total or so, and just get to playing that Tele! You can easily address pretty much any style of music with a Tele and these pickups.

    Spending $300 on a pair of Tele pickups makes no sense to me.

    If you don't know yet whether your Tele body is "warm-toned" or "bright" this would be a sensible, economical approach. This is a pair of pickups that will be very enjoyable and useful in any Tele.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
  15. Art VanDelay

    Art VanDelay Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    989
    Joined:
    May 20, 2018
    Location:
    Arcata
    I put SD Five-Two's in my build and I love them. I too wanted Bakersfield twang to Abbey Road.

    https://www.seymourduncan.com/pickup/five-two-tele-bridge

    Edited: sorry, felt the need to unf**k the link. FWIW, these pickups sound amazing and I've had guitar techs ask me what they were (they raved about the cleans...a Tele without good clean tone is just a baseball bat with strings bolted to a plank).

    When it comes to pickups, there is A LOT of hype out there. YouTube videos are misleading. In the end you need to go with your gut.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    Miseria likes this.
  16. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,480
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    I believe there are lots of options available to you. And I don't think you're trying to cover too much ground. I think you can get pickups that are versatile enough for twang and Classic Rock, and without spending a bundle. I've heard good things about Fralin and Lollar, but haven't played them myself. Aside from listening to demo videos, as you no doubt are doing, I only know what I've heard first hand or have played myself.

    The Twisted Tele pickups are really good. A friend has a set in his Tele. I forget which model he has; he moved away a few years ago, so it's been a while since I've played his Tele. But the pickups were Twisted Tele, and they sounded really good.

    I have 4 teles, with three different brands of pickups. Two of my teles have Wilkinson brand pickups, and while they're more generic sounding (for lack of a better term), they get the job done. And one tele has a Wilkinson P-90 in the neck position, paired with a vintage style Wilkinson tele bridge pickup. Easy to get good growl from that, but it can do warm jazz tones, too.

    One of my teles has Bill Lawrence Keystone Telecaster pickups. This set is praised for its transparency, and rightfully so. But to me they are so transparent it took a long while to get used to them. This tele also has a 5-way switch.

    My fourth tele (my BSB) has what are my current favorite pickups: DiMarzio Twang Kings. They live up to their name; they definitely have plenty of twang on tap. I play a lot of classic Country, including Haggard, and the bridge by itself or both in parallel are great for that. But I play classic rock with these pickups, a bit of blues, and even some jazz standards (or what passes for jazz when I'm playing :oops:).

    Oh, and in my BSB with those Twang Kings, I also have a 4-way switch. This is my favorite set of pickups with my favorite switching configuration. Very versatile. And the DiMarzio TKs will cost about half of what you've budgeted.

    I have a plan in mind for another tele, built for me by Bob Logan of Logan Custom Guitars, that I'm saving up for. If I don't go with the same Twang Kings, I'm thinking hard about using Rob DiStefano's Cavalier pickups. But that's my own dilemma for another thread. :oops::twisted:
     
  17. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,865
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Location:
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Regarding the Twang King... they do have a strong following. And I like Dimarzio pickups very much, in particular the Area-T noiseless set for Teles, which I think sound great when you want noise-less single-coil pickups.

    I also bought a Twang King neck pickup and found that it is comparatively a bit warm-toned. When installed in a very warm-toned Tele that I have, the Twang King neck pickup was no where near bright enough for my liking. But, when installed in a comparatively bright-toned Tele body, I am enjoying the pickup.

    So... consider the inherent tonal-nature of the actual guitar you will be installing this pickup (or any pickup) in.
     
    LGOberean likes this.
  18. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,327
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2009
    Location:
    South Australia
    Miseria I forgot to say Welcome.
    Also, if you like real bite and Alnico V you could try Fender Texas Specials. I like them and have made a partscaster that really leapt ahead when I installed them. Good luck in your venture.:)
     
  19. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    65
    Posts:
    10,480
    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Location:
    Corpus Christi, Texas
    Yes, Miseria, welcome. :)


    Good observation about the Twang King neck pickup. It is warm-toned. And I really like that. As I said, Twang Kings my favorite set of pickups to date, in no small part because of the neck pup. But then it's installed in my BSB (the one I'm playing in my avatar pic), which has a swamp ash body with a Birdseye maple neck & board. The guitar as a whole is certainly bright and snappy. If that same neck pickup were installed in my solid body mahogany, it might very well sound too dark.
     
    DHart and Miseria like this.
  20. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Meister

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    321
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2016
    Location:
    Boulder Creek, Ca
    Cavalier

     
    Milspec and Miseria like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.