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First time buying tele pickups

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by blindedbysilenc, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. blindedbysilenc

    blindedbysilenc NEW MEMBER!

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    I recently bought a CIJ 50s Tele with Bigsby and have been ordering replacement electronics, Mojotone pots, CRL switch, Switchcraft jack, and a new control plate. I seem to have hit a wall with pickup selection though. I have spent hours on forums, and searching the internet, but the more I look the more indecisive I become lol. Originally I wanted the Micawber sound, so I'm pretty set on A3 bridge wound with 43awg wire. I've always used Duncans in my Humbucker equipped guitars and my Strat. After consulting the tone wizard on the Duncan site it suggested a Jerry Donahue bridge with either a Nashville Studio or Antiquity neck. I know the Donahue isn't A3, so should I trust the Wizard or maybe look for something from Lollar, Klein, Don Mare, etc....Any help would be appreciated because I'm about to lose my mind looking at all these different pickups.

    BTW, ash body, I think, and Maple board. I mainly will use it for Bluesy based rock stuff with a bit of country mixed in.
     
  2. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

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    OV neck for the blues and a Nocaster bridge for the rock and country stuff!
     
  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    The magnet material itself is just one of the properties of a pickup that has an influence on it's tone. Others can have as much or more influence and you probably realize this as well.

    The suggestions you're getting from the SD site are probably as good as the many you'll get here as well. Maybe you can blend all of them into a decision that works for you.

    Hopefully one of the winders who post here often will chime in with a suggestion as well but they're also likely to say the same regarding the magnets themselves. The rest of what goes into the wind is just as important or more so in many cases.
     
  4. sbpark

    sbpark Friend of Leo's

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    I'd like to add to what I wrote previously and what Soulman said...what the SD site told you IS probably as good as any advice you'll get here! What you'll end up with is suggestions from everyone based on what they currently have in their guitars. There's no right or wrong answer. With pickups it's a combination of going with your gut, doing a little research, letting the general consensus taint your own personal opinions to the point where you're unsure if you're making the right decision, finally committing to a set and buying them, installing them, then coming back to the internet for prasise and feedback on said set to make sure you made the right choice!

    As an example, I know Soulman loves the Bill Lawrence Keystones. I've heard him play his Tele that has Keystones in it, and is sounds FABULOUS! Seriously, when I heard it I was like what the heck is in that guitar? A few months later I bought a set and put them a Tele. I couldn't stand them and thought they sounded awful. WAY to clean and way to polite for my liking. COuldn't get them out of the guitar fast enough! I discovered I like a pickup that would be clean when I wanted it to, but when I dug it it would growl and have some hair on it. Could not make that happen with the Keystones, but others swear they can. Just didn't feel or sound right to me, but I still feel like when Soulman played his Keystone equipped Tele it sounds really, really nice! What works for one guy doesn't always work for the other.

    I recently went through a similar decision with an Epiphone Casino. Not as many choices out there compared to Tele pickups, but I read and watched tons of replies, clips, videos, etc. and still couldn't decide. Finally went with the pickup maker who seemed the nicest to talk to not he phone and had the best customer service. I figured, heck, any set I drop into the Casino will be lightyears better than the overwound stock pickups! Just be careful to not start slipping down that proverbial slope of second guessing yourself and wondering "what if". When approaching Tele pickups I tend to look at it in three categories: under wound and pretty, regular wound with a touch of hair/bite (great for rock, twangy stuff and blues) or over would and heavier/harder rock stuff. Yes, this is a HUGE generalization, and it's not set in stone, but I just try not to overcomplicate things personally. I guess it's like the pedal snobs out there who ponder over swapping out a resister, has to be true bypass, etc. When I got caught up in al that I found that I spent way too much, if not more time worrying about those things and less time actually playing. I've discovered if all a person does is play and noodle around at home (which there is nothing wrong with doing at all!) you tend to dissect and criticize every little nuance of your sound. Once you start cranking it up and playing louder, and/or along with other musicians lots of those little subtleties start vanishing and not mattering.

    Seems like every pickup you suggested would fit the bill great. It appears you are leaning toward a pickup that covers a few different styles, which is easy to do and perfect for a telecaster. You just have to fine tune your choices to get a set that's maybe geared more toward the style you favor the most.

    I made my suggestions based on my experience with both the OV and Nocaster set. Both sets seem to get a lot of love around here. Both are considered 'classic' Fender Tele sets, but sound different from each other. Both are also VERY reasonably priced. I think in the price range of what both those sets cost, you really cannot go wrong, and rival sets costing much more. The OV set has a wonderful sounding neck. Nice and fat and round, just asking for blues licks. The bridge is a little more thin and has a little less girth than what I like, but still a great sound. Compared to the Nocaster set, the bridge has more oomph and slightly thicker, but still plenty of top end and twang. I also feel like it just has more body on the low end and a more 'woody' tone; think along the lines of Luther Perkins/Johnny Cash type stuff. The Nocaster Excels at this and with rock music. But so does the OV bridge! I just have not really been that impressed with the Nocaster neck pickup. It sounds good, but sort of like a not as good sounding OV ned pickup.

    Hopefully all that wasn't too much to read and doesn't complicate your search any more than you already are. Keep us posted on what you end up with and the results!
     
  5. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    Can't go wrong with Lollar, Don Mare, Zhangliqun, Fralin, Pickup Wizard, Klien, and many of the other talented winders out there.

    Also, check out Cavalier Pickups wound by TDPRI member Rob D. Contact him and he'll lead you (as will the others) where you need to go. A bonus (at least to me) is the fantastic value of his pups. Hard to find a better sounding pickup for twice as much money.

    The Duncan JD is also a great pickup and I've been happy with Dimarzio Twang Kings too.

    Don Mares 0038 is a great pup for Stonesy stuff as well as anything else! Zhangliquns Paul Bunyan is an amazing pickup too. For my ears, the two best bridge pups I've used.

    Bottom line is we all hear things a bit different and for some it's all about the bass, no treble.....and for some it's all about the treble. Get ready for a fun ride in the world of aftermarket pickups!
     
  6. el cheapo

    el cheapo Tele-Afflicted

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    I'll throw another set into the mix. Tonerider Hot Classics are seriously good, very versatile pickups that will do what you are looking for. I also think the CV 50's A3's would do well for you in a pinch, and right now there's a set for sale here in the forum classifieds.

    Many have argued that modern wax potted pickups sound the same no matter what guitar they are in. I haven't found this to be the case. I've tried pickups in one guitar and they sounded like crap, then put them in another and they sounded wonderful. So the bottom line is, pickups have to sound good in your guitar, through your gear. All the quality pickups mentioned so far would be good candidates, but you have to experiment and let your ears tell you which ones are best for you.
     
  7. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    +1

    Tonerider Hot Classics are very nice pickups - and very recently re-tooled for even better string-to-string balance on the bridge pickup. $85/set from MacDaddys!

    News Flash! The CV50's A3 pickup's look and sound the same as the Tonerider Hot Classics set, and are made in the same factory! Hmmm... :eek:
     
  8. Coop47

    Coop47 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I know what you mean in terms of going to all of the pickup choices and starting to lose your mind - I went through the same thing. In the end, I spoke to Don Mare and couldn't be happier with what I got. I just ordered my third set of pickups from him and can't wait. (The first two are A3s, and now I'm trying Hayrides with A5s.) If you have a particular tone/song/artist you can point to, he will get you there. And if you simply want I great sounding pickup, I love hearing the two I have loaded with Mares - they just make me want to keep playing.
     
  9. Djohnst1

    Djohnst1 TDPRI Member

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    Pickups

    Well after about 50 years of playing all kinds of Teles, and trying all kinds of pickups, it seems to totally depend on the guitar itself, and the sound you are looking for. I have several Teles right now and I keep coming back to the Seymore Duncan 52's. That seems to be a favorite with the Nashville studio guys too. I play country, rock, and blues and these pickups can twang, jazz, bite and scream!
     
  10. barker

    barker Tele-Meister

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    It's really hard to beat the Original Vintage set from Fender. They're cheap and make a tele sound like a tele. The neck is clear enough while maintaining the tele warmth and the bridge can be both twangy and gutsy. Only downside is no noise canceling in middle position.

    I also absolutely positively believe the acoustic tone of the guitar will come through regardless of the pickup. If your guitar has a strong fundamental power, sustain and definition unplugged then it will sound absolutely beautiful through the OV's. If it's clangy, bright, and lacking sustain, it won't sound that great no matter WAHT pickup you put in there.

    Good luck!
     
  11. blindedbysilenc

    blindedbysilenc NEW MEMBER!

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    I called the Duncan CS and talked to MJ about what I'm wanting. She is gonna wind me something for the bridge and I'm thinking I'll put an Antiquity II in the neck.
     
  12. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

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    Original Vintage sound just a little more bright and polite to my ear than SD Broadcaster set or Fender CS Blackguard Telecaster (Broadcaster) set. I prefer the Broadcasters. To be honest I would have to open up my current favorite partscaster to confirm whether I went with the Seymour Duncan or the Fender broadcaster set...I just don't remember anymore.

    I agree with the poster that said if you're going single coil you have three basic flavors-- light wind, medium wind, and heavier wind. But of course there are hundreds of variations and you can go down a serious rabbit hole and second guess forever. FWIW, just some basic wiring adjustments like using Fezz Parka wiring or a treble bypass resistor/cap circuit across the volume pot can make a tremendous difference in the pickup response to knob settings as well, even more difference than pickup changes.

    I buy something that is the type of pickup I think I want at a good price, dial it in with height and wiring adjustments, and then live with it. And if I get a guitar and really like the sound of it I try not to look at the pickups and start questioning it. One of the best Strats I ever played in terms of sound was a MIJ Squier with what are supposedly crummy pickups....so let your ears, not your eyes or the price or the official specs, be the judge.
     
  13. xhqm4457

    xhqm4457 TDPRI Member

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