Building first partscaster - looking for pup recommendations

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

  1. teleforumnoob

    teleforumnoob Friend of Leo's

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    Wilde Keystones, or Nocasters.
     
  2. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    Twang to classic rock? A Seth Lover in the neck, and Jerry Donahue in the bridge. Anything super twangy won't do classic rock/Young tones, and anything hotter won't twang.
     
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  3. Vermoulian

    Vermoulian Tele-Meister

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    Just to mention something that I haven't seen mentioned so far: I did a Tele partscaster build not too long ago and I put a set of DiMarzio Areas in it. They are noiseless pickups, i.e., humbuckers voiced to sound like single coils without the noise, which can involve some tradeoffs. I also have a Fender AVRI 52 Tele, and I used it as the baseline for the tone I was shooting for. The Areas don't exactly nail it, but they get well into the ballpark.

    I went with the Area Hot T for the bridge, just to be confident that there would be some grit there if I needed it, but ultimately, to get the pickups to balance, I had to set the bridge pickup fairly low and the neck pickup fairly high. But, it worked, and the pickups balance and sound like I feel they ought to. I suspect the regular Area T bridge pickup probably would have been okay for me, but I'm satisfied with what I have now.

    Evaluating pickups can and often does get into further and further subtle gradiations of tone. No two pickups (certainly, no two pickup models) will perform exactly the same, but identifying and articulating the difference after a while can get very difficult. The only way to go about it is to start with a broad categorical description of the tone you're going for, try something, and if it doesn't spark joy, try to explain to yourself (and anyone from whom you seek advice, e.g., this forum) what about that particular pickup was too much or too little. That can, hopefully, at least point you in some new directions for inquiry. But there's no way to short-cut the trial-and-error part of it, unless by good luck you hit on something early on that you consider good enough.
     
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  4. Miseria

    Miseria TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions all - looks like I have a lot more reading/listening to do :) I'm super grateful for all the suggestions...

    Seems to be a lot of love for the DiMarzio (Twang Kings and Areas), Cavaliers and Nocasters. None of those were ones that I had been considering.

    In all of my browsing I've found that I REALLY like the visual aesthetic of open top neck pickups (like the Royal T Lollar or the TV Jones Starwoods).

    I keep going back and forth on how much noise matters to me. I play mostly at home through an AxeFX III. On my Strat (CS fat 50s') noise does not seem to be a problem.
     
  5. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Some may think nonsense, but in my experience, the combination of an ash body with a maple neck/board typically influences pickups in a noticeably bright way. And to my taste (and yours, apparently) that's a very good match with the Twang King neck pickup!
     
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  6. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I think it's kind of a nice aesthetic, as well. And a tonal attribute of that choice is additional brightness (vs. a closed pickup cover). Of course, you can just use a Lioness as Rob makes them, without cover.

    In my Jade Pearl American Standard, I mounted an open top cover to a Cavalier Lioness neck pickup. It is combined with a Cavalier 51/52 at the bridge. Open top Tele pickup covers available from philadelphialuthier.



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
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  7. RifleSlinger

    RifleSlinger Tele-Meister

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    I think that a 52ish blackguard style pickup, A3, 42 gauge wire, 7-7.5k, is a sweet spot in terms of versatility. It will twang and it will rock. I went with a Klein Esquire, but Rob’s Cavalier 51/52 is probably just as good and less expensive.
     
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  8. Festus_Hagen

    Festus_Hagen Tele-Holic

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    Look on EBay for SME. The 51's are a little hotter, but do country well too. Blues is their sweet spot IMO .

    Very under-rated PUP from my experience.
     
  9. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Only you can ultimately answer the question of how much noise/60 cycle hum is too much. FWIW, my entrance into the world of electric guitar came through teles with single coils. Until September of last year, I'd never owned a guitar with humbuckers. At gigs, I never noticed the hum with my teles. And even at home/at night, while I could hear the hum, it wasn't loud enough to bother me. After a decade of only single coils and then getting a humbucker-equipped guitar, for me it was almost too quiet. If I put it down on a guitar stand for a minute, it was easy for me to forget it because it was dead quiet.

    At home is a quieter environment than at a gig, and so while the amp may not be turned up to gig volume at night, the hum might be more noticeable. So I just plugged my BSB with its Twang Kings into my Vox Pathfinder 15R amp. And since my wife's at the store and I'm home alone and unsupervised :twisted:, I cranked up the amp. The guitar has a 4-way switch, so I listened to it in all four positions. No playing, no damping of the strings with my palm, just turned up to see how much hum I would get. These are not noiseless pickups; you do get some hum. But even at louder volumes, I could live with the hum. Position #4 (both pickups in series) was the noisiest, but nothing I couldn't live with.

    But again, that's me. YMMV.
     
  10. Miseria

    Miseria TDPRI Member

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    Man that is gorgeous! I didn't realize the Cavaliers came with an open top option. I scanned the site and saw the no cover option, but probably need to give it a closer look. The demos I watched on YT of those pickups sounded amazing.
     
  11. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Miseria... the neck pickup is a Lioness (which I asked Rob to wind with 1000 fewer turns, to add a little more 'sparkle') and I put the open-top cover on it myself.

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Miseria

    Miseria TDPRI Member

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    Would something like that work with a 4-way switch mod?
     
  13. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Friend of Leo's

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    Very nice. Really like what you've done with that tele!
     
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  14. BobbyMac

    BobbyMac Tele-Meister Gold Supporter

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    You can spend more money, but I think the Nocaster pickup set from the Fender Custom Shop cannot be beat. Period!
     
  15. dkmw

    dkmw Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Heck, when I built my first, I spent a whopping $25 on a set of CV 50s pickups - and ended up with something that sounds pretty down-the-middle on what a Tele is supposed to sound like.

    Make sure you spend most of your money on the neck. I wouldn't obsess about pickups because if you hang around here, you'll change them 420 times in the next couple of years:)
     
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  16. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Haha! Good one, dkmw! :lol: And I totally agree with you. It all starts with the neck and what body shape/color you want. The rest of it all is mercurial.

    I was just looking at Fender's new Tomatillo "hand wound" Strat pickup set. They want $400 for the set because they are "hand wound". Ha! Rob hand winds pickups that are every bit as good - for a small fraction of Fender's "hand wound". Don't get me wrong, I love Fender's pickups - but won't be paying $400 a set from them for "hand wound".
     
  17. LocoTex

    LocoTex Tele-Afflicted

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    I kinda like any flavor of Broadcaster bridge, P90 neck.
     
  18. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    Call the good folks at Rio Grande Pickups and read the opening post of this thread to whomever answers the phone. They’ll let you know what you need.
     
  19. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    Actually, an open top Tele neck cover can not possibly provide much more brightness than a closed top, because in the case of single coil pickups, the eddy current path will follow any contiguous metal that surrounds the coil. I performed a series of experiments that make this absolutely clear:
    http://kenwillmott.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Pickup_Cover_Geometry.pdf
     
  20. jamieorc

    jamieorc Tele-Holic

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