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Fender CS pickup options

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Focusbob, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. Focusbob

    Focusbob TDPRI Member

    Aug 18, 2011
    South Carolina
    Hi Forum!

    I'm trying to understand the relative tonal options available to me through the Fender custom shop. I will be appointing a few (likely 2) teles (a thinline and a black guard) at some point, and I already have on hand 2 Fender bridge pickups: a Broadcaster (Baja pull) and an Original Vintage. I have 2 questions for you tonal titans:

    1) How does the Nocaster bridge pickup compare to what I already have? What am I missing out on by not having one?

    2) What neck pickups should I be looking at for black guard tele tones? I know that I do not want the Baja bridge companion (Twisted Tele) as I am looking for something more "authentic" sounding (i.e., I have a strat for stratty tones). I have read that the texas special neck pickup makes for a good companion to the OV, and I've also read that the Baja Broadcaster is essentially a Texas Special (can't vouch for that claim though). That's as far as I've gotten in my thinking. I don't know whether there is an official Broadcaster companion, other than the Twisted Tele (what did they put in the neck of the CS Broadcaster guitar? Listings are vague...). And, I'm having a hard time contextualizing the OV neck pickup relative to other options.

    In terms of what tone I'm hoping to achieve... that's a bit tricky, as I like both the spanky, cluckin' cleans and the classic rock (ala Page) overdriven tele tones (which may not be 100% compatible with one another). But, overall, I'm looking for something that sounds traditional. Like a '52. Doesn't have to be exact. And, please limit discussion to Fender brand options; just my preference.

    Thanks in advance for your sage wisdom, and cluck on!
  2. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    Ah, the tone quest. The following are my opinions. There is no "'52 tone." Fender's winding process was inconsistent and did not follow any specs for number of turns or tension. A '52 pickup could range from thick and fat to bright, thin, and wimpy. Now days we've settled on ideal tones that we wish those pickups had if they were consistent. This is not a bad thing, at all.

    Neck pickups:
    1. The OV is Fender's match for the OV bridge pickup and should match either the Broadcaster or OV in the bridge.
    2. The Texas Special is a great match for nearly anything. Possibly the most versatile "traditional" Tele neck pickup I've used. The TT is also versatile, but has non-traditional tone.

    The above pickups, actually any late-model Fender neck pickup, have a major difference from any 50s Tele neck pickup. They have a nickel silver cover instead of brass. They wll be brighter and more defined than an old pickup with a brass cover that rolls off the highs. The tone control can fix this.

    The Texas Specal bridge pickup is not equivalent to the CS Broadcaster. The TS has a higher DCR, is darker, and has more of an in-your-face rock/blues tone. It's not a twanger, like the Broadcaster, unless you run it very low. I'd say the Broadcaster would be more versatile, as you can always get "darker" with the tone control.

    If you want overdriven and traditional tones from the same pickups, you'll need to go with traditional tone and get your overdrive from the amp or a pedal.
    Focusbob and rigatele like this.
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