"Making" an Esquire - Recommendations?

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by SixStringSlinger, Sep 7, 2019.

  1. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,888
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    I'm picking up a Craigslist find later today that I posted about here...

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/need-information-on-a-squier-tele-model.975236/

    ...with the intention of making a typical (that is, bridge pickup only [though Bigsby-fied]) Esquire out of it. So I'll certainly be removing the neck pickup and changing the pickguard, as well as re-wiring. I'll need to live with it a bit before I decide whether to replace the wiring/pots/etc., as well as the pickup. But in the event that I do decide to do that...

    Any recommendations on a (bridge) pickup? The guitar has (and will keep) a Bigsby set-up that includes the Jazzmaster-esque rocking-back-and-forth bridge. I'd like to keep it a typical single-coil. My idea is for the guitar to be a hot-rod rock n' roll machine. I'm not looking for anything super hot (definitely not hotter than my late MIM Standard Tele's stock pickups), just something that will get along with some overdrive. I'd also like it to be able to twang, but my MIM does that just fine, so that's not the main concern.

    How about switching options? So far I've mostly seen (from rear switch position to front) pickup to volume to jack, pickup to volume and tone to jack, and pickup (with Eldred mod) to volume to jack. Any other options I should look into? Also, I'm unclear on the Eldred mod. When I read about it it sounded somewhat like a JM's rhythm circuit, albeit without a separate volume control and with a fixed tone "position" (which, as I understand, is something like early Tele's had before the middle position came to activate both pickups together). But on YouTube videos it sounds like (and is described as) a cocked wah sort of sound.
     
  2. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    438
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    I’m not sure what I would do for switching options on a single coil Esquire. The tele I recently Esquired has a Chopper T rail pickup with Series/parallel/split options on the switch and I love the setup - three different and usable tones.

    For a medium hot single that has some classic rock attitude, healthy mid-range cut and still has a classic tele flavour to the tone, try a GFS Hot Alnico Premium pickup - I had one in a tele that I tried several other dimarzio, GFS and Fender pickups that didn’t do it for me, but the Hot Alnico premium nailed what you are describing - that pickup stayed in that guitar for about 10 years before I switched it out for the Chopper T recently. But before you ask, I’m not selling it - it will almost certainly end up in my next tele ;)

    Oh - and it is not really that hot - it sounds medium-modern output to me. Alnico 5 magnets. It loves overdrive and doesn’t get harsh sounding, but it is still very articulate and twangy when played clean.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  3. fendertx

    fendertx Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    6,959
    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2008
    Location:
    Houston
    I'm a broken record when it comes to pickups, Cavalier is the way.
    Talk to Rob, he has several options at great prices.

    I put a Don Mare "green onions" PU in my esquire because I was building it as a nod to Cropper.

    I've got Caveliers in a couple other Tele's. Check out the fat lion.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  4. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,458
    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2005
    Location:
    Williamsville NY
    A Fender Texas Special can produce an in-your-face rock tone if you play that way. It’s solid and midrangey. Not a real twanger, unless you drop it down low.

    Otherwise, you won’t go rong with Cavalier as @fendertx mentioned.

    Edit: My Esquire-of-the-future will have a Cavalier Hydra pickup. These are tapped at 2 places to yield 3 different winds and, thus, tones. A 3-way switch, and two controls, and I’d have a different type of versatility compared to the Eldred wiring.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
  5. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    438
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    Double tapped! That sounds sweet - I keep hearing about these cavaliers - I might have to give them a spin in my next build (which may be a while - too many guitars!)
     
  6. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,888
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    Just as a matter of clarification, the middle ground I'm looking for here is something that would be at home with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. That's the kind of rock n' roll that should be its wheelhouse. Starting there, I'd like it to also be able to dial back for some twang, as well as get raunchy if it wants to.
     
  7. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,887
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    I found the Arlo Cocked Wah mod more to my liking than the Eldred mod.

    Steel baseplate under the stock bridge pickup will fatten it up a lot. Measure pots and caps in it and choose new ones to make the guitar brighter/darker rather than pickup swaps.

    I'd spend the $25 or so on new caps and pots, switch, and jack before any other discussion of pickups. You may not need to swap the pickups with careful selection of the controls. If you know about the reasons to choose 250k over 500k then you know why to measure and choose where in the 20% tolerance range a pot actually runs...

    .
     
    Ricky D. likes this.
  8. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,935
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Any pickup you want, Eldred or Arlo wiring.
     
  9. sleazy pot pie

    sleazy pot pie Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,218
    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    Location:
    austin
    I like doing straight to jack/vol and tone/cocked wah better than pickup to vol to jack

    I have a cavalier Nashville that would fit your sound. Not too hot but has some heat on tap

    You could check out bootstrap pickups too. I have a custom wind from him that I like a lot and his prices are great.
     
  10. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,888
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    Yes, yes, I've seen your advice on many other threads ;) I'm going to do a set-up (including pickup height) before I decide to replace anything.

    What's the difference, effect-wise?
     
  11. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,935
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Eldred is like turning a tone pot with a low value cap all the way down. It's kind of a low pass shelf filter, but with a relatively high frequency cutoff point, so the mids remain. It's snarly and middy and girthy/fat sounding, kind of Les Paul/Gibson-esque.

    Arlo is Eldred (which is a low pass filter), plus a high pass filter on the low end. So you are sharply cutting off both low and high end, and leaving the mids. It's a thinner and more honky tone than the Eldred mod. It doesn't sound so Gibson-esque as the Eldred setup. It cuts better, but is less warm.

    IME, Arlo is better for higher volumes and dirtier tones, but can sound unusably clean and sterile when used with a super clean tone. Eldred works better with lower volume amps and cleaner tones, but gets muddier with lots of breakup.

    I favor the Eldred method, but Arlo sounds good if you don't mind losing the low end (i.e. if you play with a lot of breakup all the time).

    The two are similar enough that you could wire it for Eldred, and then bring the extra Arlo components in or out with a switch. Then you'd have both available.
     
    SixStringSlinger likes this.
  12. gkterry

    gkterry Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    586
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2014
    Location:
    the Telecaster Forest
    Cavalier pickups Nashville or 1952 model-both are superb in an Esquire!
    Speaking from experience!
     
  13. sleazy pot pie

    sleazy pot pie Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,218
    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    Location:
    austin
    The two are similar enough that you could wire it for Eldred, and then bring the extra Arlo components in or out with a switch. Then you'd have both available.


    This is an interesting idea.
    Could you explain how you would do that?
    Can’t quite wrap my head around it.
     
  14. VWAmTele

    VWAmTele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,178
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2005
    Location:
    FL
    Cavalier Fat (or Huge) Lion is a great pickup for an Esquire. I also like the 'cocked wah' mod.
     
  15. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,935
    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Location:
    U.S.A.
    Eldred:

    Eldred Mod.png

    Arlo:

    Arlo Mod.png

    As you can see, the only difference is that the Eldred mod eliminates the series cap and resistor. So what you do to switch between the two is to put those two additional Arlo components on to a switch.

    Switch one way: low pass filter (Eldred)
    Switch the other way: low pass and high pass filters A.K.A band pass filter (Arlo)
     
    studio1087 likes this.
  16. sleazy pot pie

    sleazy pot pie Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,218
    Joined:
    May 31, 2014
    Location:
    austin
    So you would just use an on/off switch that only connects to that throw of the 3 way?
    On adds the arlo and off doesn’t?
    Could you also do an on/off/on switch with one on either side and the off be no tone control only volume?

    I feel like I am over complicating something simple.
     
  17. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,888
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    :lol: Get your answers, man. I've recently gotten into wiring and different options, so I'm curious.

    For this guitar, though, I think I might go with the Eldred. It sounds similar in effect to a Jazzmaster's rhythm circuit, albeit without an adjustable tone control. Sounds as though it would be useful on a bridge pickup-only guitar. I use a wah, anyway, so if I want a cocked wah sound I can get it the old-fashioned way.
     
  18. IMadeYouReadThis

    IMadeYouReadThis Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    206
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2018
    Location:
    Somewhere in the Rockies
    How do you feel about P90s?

    Otherwise, Alnico III tele pickups are great for Esquires. Mine goes straight from the pickup to the jack and is an absolute rock 'n' roll machine. I run that into a brownface Princeton copy, which only has 4 knobs. Pair that with an 8 foot instrument cable and I believe I must have the shortest signal chain around. :cool:

    The issue with having no volume knob is the lack of control when playing live. You can't stop feedback easily, nor can you kill the volume between sets. No volume swells either, if that's your thing. To solve this, I installed a SPDT switch so I can completely kill the signal. I use a pedalboard with a tuner anyways, so I don't know how important it was.
     
    SixStringSlinger likes this.
  19. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    2,888
    Joined:
    May 21, 2006
    Location:
    Space
    I've actually never played P90's! Pretty sure I want the classic slanted Tele single-coil for this one, though.

    I'm tempted by the thought of having one position wired straight to the jack, but I rely on my volume control a lot, so I'm not sure how I feel about losing that. It's an option, though.
     
  20. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    438
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    It funny - when I did my Esquire, I was thinking “man, what am I going to do with the pickup selector switch - there’s only one pickup”. Then you start looking at all the possible variations and mods and pretty soon your thinking “how can I do all this with just 3 three positions”. Then your thinking about putting in a second switch or a 4 or 5 way switch!
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.