Gonna replace my SG with a 2nd Tele. What pickups could come close??

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by nashsed, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. SweetClyde99

    SweetClyde99 Tele-Holic

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    The Dimarzio Tone Zone T does a great humbucker sound for a SC-size Tele bridge pickup. I eventually routed out the bridge of my Tele for a full-size humbucker, just for fun, but I’ve still got the stone Zone T around in case I ever find another use for it, as I really liked it.

    The Duncan Lil’ 59 gets good reviews too, but I don’t have any first-hand experience with it.

    I’m not a big fan of neck pickups in general, so I won’t be much help there.
     
  2. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    What is ergonomically uncomfortable about an SG, if I may ask? They are about the easiest and most comfortable guitars I've played siting or standing.
     
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  3. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    MilwMark. I have issues playing my SG standing. The strap contact points cause the neck to stick out a bit farther from my body so I have to reach more for open chords. My hands go at a strange angle when doing barre chords close to the headstock and I bend the strings funny and they get pitchy. Not that I don’t love the guitar but I can’t really play it competently standing. Don’t know if that’s what the OP has issues with but the SG is a unique beast and it works great for some but isn’t for everyone. I used to have two of them and with a heavy heart parted with my ‘61 reissue recently for something that I could play in all situations. It was such a pretty guitar, tho, I still miss it.

    To the OP, I agree with the others that if you want a Gibson sound, get an HH tele. More specifically, they make a FMT set neck HH tele for $450-600 range (used) that will get you pretty close to what you are after.

    Played a yellow one at a local shop once, it was a very nice playing guitar. Although I’m not a huge SD fan, that pickup pair sounded really nice through the Blackstar amp they had it plugged into for me.

    Take a look, I think it’s a good fit for an SG guy who tried but likes the tele ethos better:

    https://reverb.com/p/fender-special-edition-custom-telecaster-fmt-hh-2016-2018
     
  4. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I understand your quest completely! I put this together after selling a Gibson Les Paul Traditional - I wanted similar tones, but with a user-friendly Fender Tele body.

    Put a pair of Gibson Classic '57s in a Fender Tele HH body... any of their HH models.

    This is a Blacktop HH with a pair of Gibson Classic '57s. Great Gibson-ish sound from a guitar that feels and handles like a dream, even has the rear contour cut, which I love when playing sitting down.

    [​IMG]

    I did the same with this Fender FSR Sea Foam Pearl Special Edition HH
    [​IMG]

    Fender Player Tele HH in Tidepool finish
    [​IMG]

    Pair of Dimarzio PAF Masters in this Tele HH:
    [​IMG]

    I usually prefer no covers on my humbuckers for two reasons - you get a little more brightness from the pickups without covers AND, I like the look.

    Don't forget the 500k pots with these humbuckers.... they will sound dark and murky with 250k pots. I actually prefer 1M volume pot and No-Load tone pot, to free-up the high-end sparkle from these pickups.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  5. DugT

    DugT Tele-Holic

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    My right shoulder gets sore when I play any guitar that doesn't have a strat like arm contour. Are you sure you wouldn't be better off with a hard tail strat?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  6. jonzer

    jonzer Friend of Leo's

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    If you're trying to make it sound like a Gibson, I don't think you're going to be happy with anything. You can get some great humbucking tones in the Fenders, but they won't sound like a Gibson. Now, this is my opinion but I just don't think humbucking Fenders ever sound like Gibsons.
     
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  7. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    TO my ears, humbuckers in Fenders sound sort of like Fendery-Gibsons, similar to a Gibson, but of course never exact. In fact, no two guitars regardless of make, model, or pickup similarity ever sound quite "the same". They each have a character of their own.

    Throw some overdrive or distortion into the signal and you can get a lot of guitars to sound pretty similar. :lol:
     
  8. Gary in Boston

    Gary in Boston Friend of Leo's

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    Hmmm every SG I've ever played or owned was super light weight and maybe a bit neck dive prone. But that's me. If it's a humbucker sound you seek then adding hum buckers is the easiest way to go. If that's not possible for whatever reasons then there are a bunch of Tele sized pickups that do that humbucker thing.

    Lots of good suggestions above.

    Gary
     
  9. Dmac73

    Dmac73 TDPRI Member

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    I like my HH player series Tele. You could trade the standard in and use the cash to get an HH Tele.
     
  10. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    never played a vintage SG, but I've heard plenty

    fwiw, I've got a tele with a 3.8k neck pickup that sounds very A5: it's wound with 41 awg and uses ceramic poles. its bridge partner is Rob's Fat Lion, which is A5, 42 awg, to 9.25k

    those guys are wired with a 4-way for the series position at 13k thereabouts

    this is plenty of power and oomph for sounding thick and greasy, like a humbucker, great for slide, but with very good clarity. maybe the clarity is a function of the wide pickup spacing, like an extra-wide-range humbucker? I don't know. I just know it sounds good.

    I've also heard that SG's sound the way they do partly because of their shorter scale length and their mahogany, which mellows things a bit

    can you achieve the result you want with a 4-way switch and some EQ? I'm guessing you could come so close as to make the differences disappear live

    but the scale length, you can't get around that difference
     
  11. bftfender

    bftfender Friend of Leo's

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    Vey good response..and holding an SG right now & a tele...uh..strap that SG in close..you wont even know you have it on..then keep enjoying what that tele..no matter what you do to it..it will never be on the level with the SG
     
  12. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Holic

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    I don't think a Standard Tele is your best option for reasons a lot of people have already mentioned. I once sold a Blacktop Jaguar to someone who mentioned he wanted it specifically for a shoulder injury. The offset body & shorter scale meant not needing reach as far. A Blacktop version already is routed for HBs as well.

    20180731_174834.jpg
    These are typically not expensive and you could just put Gibson pickups in it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
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  13. Cysquatch

    Cysquatch Tele-Meister

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    I will say, I think the SG is a guitar made to be slung low. I play everything else high enough to be goofy looking, but the SG felt great like thigh low a la Page or whomever comes to mind for you. The thing I miss about my SG is how comfy it was to play standing up IF you had a good strap that stopped the neck dive, otherwise the Affinity HH Tele I replaced it with is a better player. Gonna stick a fatter neck on it, but that's just preference and still leaves me with about a $300 gain on what I sold the SG for.

    Also, have you considered any of the D'Angelico solid bodies? The Atlantic is one hell of sweet guitar and the lower line (I always get if it's the Deluxe or Premier mixed up) is about a $600 grab new. That or a Reverend Charger is my next buy. Just gotta decide on the day I feel like spending the cash, I guess.
     
  14. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    I don’t get neck flip for some reason, it just stick out too far. Maybe slinging low is something to try, but then barre chords will suck. Anyway, it’s otherwise such a cool guitar.
     
  15. Controller

    Controller Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I had an SG for many years. Loved the look and sounds it made but was just never comfortable playing it. First time I strapped on a Tele I knew I was home. Go with what you are comfortable playing.
     
  16. zanerd

    zanerd TDPRI Member

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    I’m in the opposite camp here: my SG standard feels like home but I love the Tele sound. Every time I think I’ve gotten extremely comfortable with my players Tele I switch to the SG and realize the SG is just right for me.

    I’m certainly frustrated by the cost and fact that my Fender stays in tune better though.
     
  17. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Nothing sounds just like a real humbucker except a real, full sized, regular humbucker. HH Tele if you want a HH sound. There are compromises like series wiring and blade pickups if you don't really care that much if it sounds like your SG - it might sound great, but it won't sound like your SG.
     
  18. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    @nashsed the idea of a 4-way switch in the Tele has been suggested. I have that switch in two of my teles, and it's my favorite switch/wiring scheme (bridge, both in parallel, neck, both in series). In that #4 position, both pickups in series, the impedance of both pickups is summed, and it provides a definite volume boost and a thicker tone.

    However, be warned: that #4 position is louder in more than one sense. There's more output, but there's also more noise, as in hum. With single coils, the hum is most pronounced in this position. It didn't sound like you would want that.

    As for single coil sized hum-cancelling pickups, I would look to DiMarzio pickups. Others have already recommended the brand, and I concur with the recommendations. I have DiMarzio Twang Kings in two of my guitars (same two with the 4-way switch, BTW). The TKs are not hum-cancelling, but if I were looking for that, I'd look at DiMarzio's Chopper T for the bridge and the Area T for the neck. Both pickups would run you about $180, so these are right around the top end of your budget.

    Richie Kotzen of The Winery Dogs has the Chopper T in the bridge of his signature Tele, with a Twang King neck pickup in the neck position (again, the TK is not hum-cancelling).

     
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  19. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    That FMT telecaster is pretty close. Mahogany body, glued mahogany neck, very similar to a Gibson. Maybe a little more LP than SG but it’s kind of half way between the two Gibson’s. It’s a very unusual Tele. Pickups aren’t exactly a SG but there again... close.
     
  20. navigate40

    navigate40 TDPRI Member

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    teles6.jpg

    I modded a Fender HH tele in sea foam pearl with a set of SD Alinico II Pro HB's. These are very similar to Gibson 490's. Alnico II magnets, Great tone.

    Then, got a 3 hole control plate and wired it similar to a strat: 1vol, 2 tones. 500k pots. It is about as close as a tele can be to an LP or SG, as you can get, I think. Really works for me.

    [the white tele has a strat pup in the neck and a piezo bridge, stereo output jack to split the signal between the magnetic and piezo pickups]
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2019
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