Good Cheapy Pickups

fenderchamp

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Bear with me...
The AlNiCo pickups, both the 3 and 5 models, as used in the Chinese manufactured Classic Vibes, are really rather good.
They need the heights dialling in. As the CV models came from the factory, they were not set well. As a result, they crop up second hand for peanuts. They're not the highest output out there, but ( to me ) that makes them super controllable.
They work very well with drive/boost/fuzz too.

Other than that, $75?, go for it. That's peanuts too.
I had an older MIC classic vibe thinline, with traditional tele pickups, that guitar sounded great. I'd get some in a minute if I could get a good deal.

Lawrence keystones are also a great deal as a Cavalier's as are bootstraps as are Q's pickups as are that fender '64 set. There are many more, just keep looking.
 

Festofish

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I’ve got a CV Jazzmaster and the pups are great sounding. She’s a beauty. 3 tone sunburst on a great selection of wood. It’s a fantastic axe!
 

Matt Sarad

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I gave my MIM Sunburst Strat to a friend. She replaced the Duncan Everything Axe set with Bootstraps. Now it sounds the way a Strat should.
Great pickups.
 

drumtime

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I guess I'm not sensitive enough, or maybe just too lazy, to learn the subtleties of different pickup sounds. There are so many variables that contribute to how a guitar sounds, I can usually get something I like from about any guitar/amp/pickup/pots/string/pick/ combination.

I've used Artec, which is a good, solid, possibly utilitarian pickup that sounds fine to me. A lot of the "cheaper" brands, like Guitar Madness (last I heard), are rebranded Artec. It was a good replacement for the original Tonerider in my CV50s. I only replaced the Tonerider because it died.

They're not a lot cheaper than Bootstrap, though, and I'd pay the extra few bux to support a small business.
 

Kevin Wolfe

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I guess I'm not sensitive enough, or maybe just too lazy, to learn the subtleties of different pickup sounds. There are so many variables that contribute to how a guitar sounds, I can usually get something I like from about any guitar/amp/pickup/pots/string/pick/ combination.

I've used Artec, which is a good, solid, possibly utilitarian pickup that sounds fine to me. A lot of the "cheaper" brands, like Guitar Madness (last I heard), are rebranded Artec. It was a good replacement for the original Tonerider in my CV50s. I only replaced the Tonerider because it died.

They're not a lot cheaper than Bootstrap, though, and I'd pay the extra few bux to support a small business.
And I dare say you’d be well pleased. Don’t let the price fool ya’, they’re extremely well made.
 

Happy Enchilada

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I've had stellar luck with Bootstraps.
They deliver the tone I want at a price I can afford.
Go poke around their website - they will tell you what magnets, wire, and even bobbins they use.
They ask you if you want 'em RWRP too!
Best of all, made in a garage in OHIO, USA.
Linda Lou has a Pretzel bridge and a Hot P90 neck.
Bridge delivers all the firepower I need for leads.
Neck has its own P90 vibe - not "mellow," but not like the bridge.
Together they're aces!
1664151595593.jpeg
 

telemnemonics

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I like used, always used.
I also like Fender in the 1000 varieties made over the decades.
Every brand gets installed removed and sold by some shoppers because we all have our own idea od a good pot o' chili.
Buy those used pickups.
Wait, never mind nope keep the used prices low buy new buy new!
 

Dan German

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Bill Lawrence Keystones: Keystones
It’s pretty obvious from the responses that we are spoiled for choice when it comes to affordable pickups. It’s nice to see a shout out for Keystones; was a time, they were the flavour of the month, then people seemed to move on. My #1 for the last ten + years has Keystones, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, at any price. Lately, I’ve bought Bootstraps (which I see you have) and they have been exactly what I wanted. It’s kind of hard to go wrong, really. (The advantage to buying from a small maker is the ability to consult before buying.)
 

PCollen

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One of the things that always kills me about my CIJ Tele is the pickups. I'm generally a stock sympathizer; some of Fender's OEM pickups are pretty good to my ear, but wow. The stock pickups are absolute trash. Sure, they're almost 20 years old, but they have such uniquely frustrating characteristics that I don't think age excuses. The neck pickup is way too dark; it doesn't have that thick, creaminess of a Tele. It's just hollow like someone put a blanket over the amp. Does sound alright with distortion though. The bridge is ear-piercing, not even in the classic "ice pick" kind of way. Yeah yeah yeah, should've expected that from a Tele, but it's not twangy or musical at all. It also has a weird thing going on in the vocal midrange, so it makes my dirt pedals sound like they're broken. The in-between position is also terrible; it's flat and I swear the pickups aren't properly phased.

I should probably say that I'm a blues/alt-rock player (weird influences, I know), so I live in every position. I'm also rarely playing clean: my amps are usually turned up and I ride the volume if I need to clean up.

I've been looking at a new set of pickups under $100 to swap in and want the opinions of some seasoned players. Not a ton of options, but I'm also not against spending a little extra (closer to $130) for hopefully a one-time purchase. I've had my eyes on a set of Pure Vintage '64s or Yosemites, which Stratosphere has for $75. Nothing but good things about both of them, so it makes it hard to choose.

UPDATE: I went for the Bootstrap "Pretzel" set for no other reason than I liked the name. For $50, I was really impressed by the demos I saw of them. The stock pickups are now livable since I have the promise of something better showing up in 4 weeks.
Please give us some feedback on the Bootstrap Pretzles once you get them installed and take them for a test-run. There are not a lot of reviews on them as there are of the more well know pickups.
 

PCollen

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It’s pretty obvious from the responses that we are spoiled for choice when it comes to affordable pickups. It’s nice to see a shout out for Keystones; was a time, they were the flavour of the month, then people seemed to move on. My #1 for the last ten + years has Keystones, and I wouldn’t have it any other way, at any price. Lately, I’ve bought Bootstraps (which I see you have) and they have been exactly what I wanted. It’s kind of hard to go wrong, really. (The advantage to buying from a small maker is the ability to consult before buying.)
I just received a set of Bootstrap Golden Ale pickups to load into my Classic Player 50 Strat, for no reason other than I am curious about them.
 
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