Highway One Telecaster -- Version 1 pickups

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by Barrenone, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. Barrenone

    Barrenone TDPRI Member

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    Hey all,

    Good to e-meet you.

    Long-term lurker, first-time caller here. I've been playing Telecasters for about 25 years and reading these forums regularly, but not posted before. Hi. I have a few questions I couldn't find answers to recently and I'd appreciate your combined expertise, so it's time for me to wade in at last.

    I recently bought a 2006 Highway One Telecaster. It's the first version with the spaghetti logo, but the bridge has been swapped to a six-saddle (almost certainly MIM Standard) bridge (sacrilage on here, perhaps, but I prefer six saddles and have the original bridge to swap back to should I choose) and the pick-ups have been swapped to a Gibson PAF Classic '57 in the neck and a Seymour Duncan Lil' '59 in the bridge.

    I actually love the standard Tele neck pick-up usually, like on my MIJ Squier Tele, but the PAF in this Highway One Tele sounds beautiful, and I play a lot of rock, so they are staying in place.

    ANYWAY, the point of my question is that the guitar came with a set of single coils (that were replaced by the humbuckers) and I was thinking about putting them into my old 1991 MIJ Squire Tele (which is my favourite guitar to play, in spite of the cheap electrics -- the neck is gorgeous) as an upgrade.

    However, I've heard terrible things about Highway One pick-ups. Looking at mine though, they don't look the same as the ones I've seen on eBay and Reverb, etc. I don't know if they are different because they are from the Version 1 Highway Tele, but mine have got waxed, cloth wiring, and each measure about 7.2 - 7.3k resistance.

    Are these standard Highway One Telecaster pick-ups (from either version 1 or version 2 -- mine is a 2006 model so there might be crossover of parts), or are they another beast entirely? And if they are Version 1 pups, are they any good?

    I'm not great with a soldering iron, so I don't want to swap them if they are unlikely to be any good.

    Also, please have a look at the wiring job under the pots of my 2006 Highway One, if you don't mind, and let me know if the greasebucket circuit is absent (looks like it is to me) or if anything weird has happened under there. The PAF still comes through ever-so quietly even when the volume knob is all the way down to zero(!) Not true of the SD '59 though. Weird.

    Many thanks in advance for your help, all. If anyone has any questions about Squier MIJ Teles, I can reciprocate. :)
     

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    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  2. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    The bridge pickup is a REAL telecaster pickup,it has a base plate,so it definitely isn't a ,horrible, HW1 pickup.
     
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  3. Fenderdad1950

    Fenderdad1950 Tele-Afflicted

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    Ah ...... curiosity could kill the cat, but yours truly has several 'dead cats' in his closet, for things I tried putting on guitars. But once in a while, the latest cat you installed will meow just the way you want it to:D
     
  4. Barrenone

    Barrenone TDPRI Member

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    Did HW1 pups not have the base plate? I did not know that. Thanks
     
  5. Barrenone

    Barrenone TDPRI Member

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    Erm... eh? ::Baffled::
     
  6. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    From what I remember they had the same crapy bridge pickups with the American standards
     
  7. Barrenone

    Barrenone TDPRI Member

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    Am Standards had crappy bridge pick-ups? Surely not. ;-)
     
  8. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Poster Extraordinaire

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    Not sure about the different styles of Highway One Telecaster pickups, but I do know something about the first generation Stratocaster ones. This is all from memory, so I might have some of it wrong, but here is what I remember.

    The first generation Hwy One Strat pickups were alnico 3 powered. They had what most would call a “vintage“ wind. But they used modern style molded plastic bobbins. They are some of the best sounding Strat pickups I have ever heard. I always wished they were available separately. Or maybe they were, and I just missed it.

    After Fender went to the second style, the pickups got more hot. Never owned one of these second generation types, so I don’t know how these hot pickups were constructed. But I could tell that they had much more wire on them than a “vintage” wind…and they didn’t seem to be powered by the weaker alloys of alnico, e.g. A3 or A2.
     
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  9. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    Without seeing pics of the guitar I'm going to guess you have a "Texas Hwy 1 Tele" & not the first version. I have the first version & mine is from early 2003 & I'm not impressed with the pickups.

    Does your guitar have 22 frets or 21 frets?

    If you have an Ash body & 21 frets, then those are the original Texas Tele pups.
    If you have 22 frets and an Alder body then those are not the original pickups, but likely much better the the originals.


    Edit. I'm going to say either way those are not original pickups but better in either case. Also, I don't think there are any Texas Hwy 1's with a rosewood board.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  10. Barrenone

    Barrenone TDPRI Member

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  11. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    Honestly, I would probably re-assemble the HW1 and buy a set of aftermarket replacements for the squire. depending on what you are looking for you can get a set of Vintage pickups from someplace like bootstrap pickups for $50 total. The bootstraps are a really nice set of pickups. The original recipe set I have really have that blackguard thing going on...or you could go the big-name-brand/Fender/Fender Custom Shop route and get exactly what you want. A set of CS '51 NoCasters will run you about $150, and they are d2mn good pickups at that. I put them in my '96 Am. Std. Tele, The stock ones were crap, now it roars with my Anniversary Broadcaster.

    If you go that route you will have two awesome guitars. Or you could reassemble both and still have two awesome guitars.
     
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  12. Barrenone

    Barrenone TDPRI Member

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    Cheers for the tips.

    No, mine has 22 frets and a 9.5 radius, (I think), which makes it a Mk 1 HWY1, correct? Do these not look like HWY 1 pups then? I'd be delighted if they are an upgrade (there was a three-saddle bridge and brass saddles in the bag too). My MIJ Squier Tele will be very happy.

    Here's a pic of the HWY1, in the middle. :)
     

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  13. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    Upgrades I think. Seriously, the factory Hwy pickups are the weak point of those guitars.

    Yours looks like a normal Hwy 1.
     
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  14. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    You know it really makes a difference whether your bridge pickup has a plate on it. That totally changes the character of the pickup. I wish I had known that years ago.
     
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  15. Barrenone

    Barrenone TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the ideas. I'm actually really happy with the '57 Classic PAF in the neck and the Lil' 59 combo in the HWY1 though. I'd been looking for a second Tele with bigger rock, humbucker vibes. I was considering a Deluxe, but found this while looking.

    My MIJ Squier has THE BEST neck I've ever played, but -- being a '90 Tele Standard rather than an '84 JV Tele, the pups aren't all that amazing. I thought HWY1 pups might be an upgrade, since I have them hanging around, but these don't appear to be a HWY1 set. They have cloth wires, a brass-coloured base plate, and black fibre-wrapped bobbins.
     
  16. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    The nice thing about this set is you can use a 4 way switch if you so desire.
     
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  17. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    Just curious what's wrong with them? I looked at them at a few them when I was looking for my first Tele and thought they were pretty good. To be fair I was looking at new and used back right before they were phased out.
     
  18. Barrenone

    Barrenone TDPRI Member

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  19. G.Rotten

    G.Rotten Tele-Afflicted

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    There's nothing "wrong" with them, there are just so many better pickups. I find them somewhat harsh/ shrill sounding. Of course everything is personal opinion.

    For the most part the American Special is basically the same guitar but the Texas Special pickups are so much nicer.
     
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  20. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    Just curious that's all.
     
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