Neck humbucker to pair with a 'Lil '59 bridge humbucker?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by KelvinS1965, Aug 6, 2018.

  1. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Last year I bought a used 2008 Classic 50s Sunburst Tele with a plan to route it for a neck humbucker. I haven't got round to the routing yet, but the time is near...

    I already have a 'Lil '59 single coil sized humbucker in my 'test bed' Affinity Tele so I plan to move this over to the Classic 50s one. The question then is what full sized neck humbucker might be a good match for it?

    Would the Seymour Duncan '59 be a good match, or is it just similar in name only? I'm also not sure regarding the values of the volume and tone controls (the test bed Tele has the Lil '59 wired straight through to the output jack, so it really rips).

    I think the previous owner must have changed the pickguard because it should be a 5 hole and single ply. I have managed to buff out some minor surface scratches, so it's near new looking example now (indestructible poly unlike my White Blonde Lacquer 50s Classic).

    Classic 50s white pickguard.jpg

    I want to make it look more like this one as I think Sunburst really suits a black pickguard. This is the Road worn Hot Rod, but I don't get on with 9.5 radius fingerboards hence my project based on the 50s Classic:

    Road worn hot rod.jpg
     
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  2. Crafty Fox

    Crafty Fox Tele-Afflicted

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    Instead of using a full sized bucker, I put a Gibson mini HB at the neck of my Harlequaster, Lil 59 at the bridge.
    I'm very happy with the pairing.

    IMG_1034.jpg
     
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  3. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    I never get tired of looking at that beautiful guitar, Crafty!

    To Kelvin, I really love the SH-1n ('59) in the neck of a Tele but can't comment on how it'll pair with the Little '59 in the bridge.
    Good luck and please report back on what you choose and how it works out.

    Cheers,
    Rex
     
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  4. deadbeat son

    deadbeat son Tele-Afflicted

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    I tried pairing those two pickups together and the full size neck ‘bucker absolutely drowned out the Lil ‘59 in the bridge. I ended up with a Lil ‘59 for Strat neck pickup and that paired with the bridge much better.
     
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  5. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    Generally any neck humbucker will overpower most Tele bridge pickups, except for a Hot Rails. But those that go for a neck humbucker are going for a great tone, even if the balance is a bit off.
     
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  6. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Not necessarily so if you are using a PAF with a DCR of less than 8K for the neck and a moderately hot Tele bridge in the 8K+ range. But that's just my opinion.
    Cheers,
    Rex
     
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  7. Haytheman

    Haytheman Tele-Meister

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    This is madness, pure wow.
     
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  8. Sollipsist

    Sollipsist Tele-Afflicted

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    Seems like the Seth Lover or Antiquity neck would be a good choice. But I'll bet you can find a cheaper alternative that will sound just as good.
     
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  9. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I’ve got Teles with a variety of different humbuckers in the neck position and don’t have any problems with “overpowering” the bridge pickup.

    One of them has a Gibson Classic ‘57, which is my favorite sounding humbucker, bright, clear, rich overtones, clean, sparkly. I replaced the stock A2 magnet (which tends to round off trebles) with an A5 for some extra sparkle.

    Another has a Dimarzio PAF Master, a close runner up to the Gibson Classic ‘57. Nice and bright, too. No mud. This can be a very bright hum bucker, so I replaced the stock A5 magnet in it with the A2 I took from the Gibson Classic '57 - resulting in just the right degree of brightness.

    Also, I have one with a Duncan ‘59 humbucker at the neck, and this one has a rounder, mellower tone than the two I mentioned above. I generally like a more sparkly brightness from a humbucker than the Duncan ‘59 offers.

    I think that any of these PAF-ish humbuckers would pair nicely with the Lil ‘59 at the bridge, but I’d lean toward the Gibson Classic ‘57 or the Dimarzio PAF Master. Dimarzio has a “new” PAF pickup on the market now that you might want to consider as well.

    A mini humbucker or Firebird pickup at the neck would be good options, as well. There are a lot of excellent choices out there.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2018
  10. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Thanks for the feedback everyone, great detail in your post too DHart. :) Some lovely guitars shown as well by everyone. :cool:

    I've had an idea; as I already have Bareknuckle Mules in my Epiphone LP, I'm thinking that I might just borrow one to try in this Telecaster as a starting point. I also have the original Epiphone humbuckers too, but from what I remember they were thin sounding and micro-phonic.

    If the Mule works out then it'll give me an excuse to buy a 'Riff Raff' for the bridge of my LP as it's a fairly common set up in LPs to have a Mule/RiffRaff mix. If not, then it'll give me something to work from in terms of what I'm after for the Tele. The Mule is on the lower output side IIRC.

    It is more the sound that I'm after, though having the neck overpower the bridge might mean the middle position isn't so useful.
     
  11. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Well I made a start tonight and stripped it down ready to route. Turns out someone has been in there before and maybe the pickups aren't original or perhaps just put back in before sale as there were sleeved joints. I'm going to re-wire with some metal braided cable I already have and get some new CTS500K pots.

    I used the new pickguard as a guide to mark where the wood needs to be removed, though I expect it might need to come a little further out. I can fit one of my Epiphone humbuckers to the 'guard to check if I've removed enough wood. I guess take it level with the top and bottom of the existing single coil route, it'll all be hidden when the 'guard is back on anyway.

    Bare body.jpg

    Wiring before I took it apart:
    Wiring.jpg

    Think I prefer the single ply black 'guard with 5 holes like the Hot Rod Road worn in my earlier post. I think this Tele had the guard changed as it shouldn't be an 8 hole or 3 ply for a 50s Classic. That accounts for the chipping around the extra 3 holes (and the dull marks that I previously polished out).

    This was a trial fit of the 8 hole 3 ply 'guard that I got in error as a Christmas present. I feel bad not using it, but I just prefer the single ply, so will buy a Bakelite Esquire one I found and I'll use this one as a guide to cut the humbucker hole in it. I haven't found a 5 hole, single ply black 'guard with the humbucker cut out at a sensible price.

    Classic 50s black HB pickguard.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2018
  12. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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  13. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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  14. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    I did the route today and put it back together. I had already given the frets a polish yesterday so it now plays really nicely. I put my old neck humbucker from my Epiphone Les Paul in for now; it's actually not a bad match in level terms compared to the 'lil'59 but I know it's quite a microphonic pick up as that's one of the reasons I changed it in the Epi.

    I will order 500K CTS pots and a 0.22uF tone cap as it seems slightly dull compared to when I had the Lil '59 in my Affinity Tele (wired straight to the jack).

    As side issue: I fitted my usual 9.5 gauge strings (as I have on my White Blonde 50s Classic) but on this one they seem a little too slinky, so I will go up to 10s next time I restring it. Even so it plays very nicely: I've had it a year and haven't changed the strings from whatever it came with. :oops:

    Neck route completed:
    Routed for humbucker.jpg

    Trial fit of pickguard:
    Trial fit.jpg

    Finished (well for now, pending the 500K pots):
    Finished.jpg

    I think it'll look better with a single ply Bakelite 'guard, but I'm pretty pleased with the outcome. :)
     
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  15. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Very nice! And, I think that you'll enjoy the 500k volume pots and .022 tone cap very much. While you're at it, you might try a 250k No-Load tone pot... a lot of us love them!
     
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  16. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    I already ordered the 500K CTS pots before I saw your post. I might have a no load pot somewhere anyway, so will see if I can dig it out.

    Still getting used to the feel of this Tele. It has a much lower action than I can get with my White Blonde (using the same 9.5 strings). If anything I'm raising up the action further to give it a bit more 'fight'.

    I'm going to try it through my new Fender '64 Custom Deluxe reverb amp later today. It'll be a good comparison with the single coil White Blonde.
     
  17. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    Still waiting on the 500K pots and 0.22uF cap to arrive, so I've been taking time to tweak the set up of the action and intonation, plus generally getting used to the feel of it. The frets are really low (luckily that's something I like). I've raised the action further so I can really dig in, but it's still nice and light to play and bend strings (it was fretting out at first, but that's part of the balance setting up a 7.25" radius).

    I'm really getting into it now after nearly putting it up for sale rather than modding it and playing it through my Marshall Mini Jubilee I can get some great crunch and lead sounds out of it. I sold a pedal today and the buyer had a go of it and seemed to like it too. :)
     
  18. KelvinS1965

    KelvinS1965 Tele-Holic

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    The 500K CTS pots. 0.22uF cap and single ply Bakelite 'guard turned up today, but I'm enjoying playing it so I might wait for a few days to do the work. I'm going to an open mic tonight, so might take it along, so probably better not to start stripping it down now anyway.

    I restrung my White Blonde 50s Classic last night (same brand and 9.5 gauge) and spent a couple of hours tweaking it and the Sunburst guitar so that they don't have any fret buzz and feel pretty similar when swapping between them.

    The Sunburst one seems to be able to take a lower action, but I raised it up a touch to match the White one. I think there is some differences in the neck (Sunburst is a 2008 Classic 50s and the White is about 2015 Classic 50s). They both sound quite different acoustically as well; the White has steel saddles and the Sunburst has some (upgraded by previous owner) brass compensated saddles. The White one sounds much louder too, wonder if the neck humbucker is dampening the strings due to the magnetic field?

    In any case it's good to have two similar/familiar feeling, but different sounding Telecasters: I've never been a fan of the idea of having lots of the 'same' guitar, but I feel I can justify this pair.
     
  19. sothoth

    sothoth Tele-Holic Platinum Supporter

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    Curious what cheaper ones you recommend?
     
  20. Sollipsist

    Sollipsist Tele-Afflicted

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    I'd personally go for one of zhangbucker's woodbuckers for the neck. It's not much less expensive, but there's a lot of nice clean detail and depth. Best low-to-mid gain neck humbucker I've ever heard. But I haven't even come close to trying them all :)

    For a more classic vintage sound, I'd definitely recommend the Antiquity. If you can find a used set, it's not really all that expensive especially compared to "boutique" pickups.

    I just assumed someone with more experience would object to the cost and say "x is just as good." :)
     
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