Plastic Tex Mex Pickups

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Johnny_B, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Johnny_B

    Johnny_B TDPRI Member

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    Just bought a new set of Fender Tex Mex pickups for telecaster. Was all psyched. But when I got home and opened the box I was shocked to discover these pickups are all plastic! WTF? They look and feel so cheap! I didn't expect that. Prior to this I've been mostly experimenting with no-name Chinese pickups (eBay) that have heavy duty brass plates and magnets - feel like good quality. I was expecting something better from Fender...

    Anyway, I haven't installed the Fender Tex Mex tele pickups yet because it just doesn't feel right installing what seems like cheap plastic pickups into my beloved telecaster guitar. What's the deal here? I've read that they sound great but I might not be able to get around the aesthetic aspect of this. Anybody else feel the same way?
     

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  2. photondev

    photondev Tele-Holic

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    No, they are great pickups
     
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  3. scelestus

    scelestus Tele-Meister

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    How are they all plastic? They have to have magnets. What part of the pickups are you talking about?
     
  4. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

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    They "relic" up pretty easy. Check out Fender's roadworn tele for inspiration.
     
  5. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I'd decide whether they're good or not based on how they sound instead of the presence or absence of a part that no one will ever see once the pickup is installed.
     
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  6. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Holic

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    Here's a picture from the internet. The bobbin may be a plastic rather than some other material, but the construction looks pretty standard.

    I've have used Tex-mex pickups in the past and they sounded fine to me. However, my strat pickup search ended once I installed some Rio Grande Tallboys... :)

    [​IMG]
     
  7. FenderGuy53

    FenderGuy53 Poster Extraordinaire

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    Tex-Mex Tele pickups are plastic; however, I believe you can add a metal baseplate to the bridge pickup, if so inspired.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  8. Bootstrap

    Bootstrap Tele-Meister Vendor Member

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    Oh man, this is a topic that keeps me awake at night. Plastic bobbins are objectively better than vulcanized fiber bobbins in just about every way.

    Plastic is stronger under the force of several thousand winds of wire and doesn’t warp significantly over time. Fiber bobbins love to warp, both during winding and long after. Vulcanized fiber also warps pretty wildly under changes in humidity or water content, which makes winding difficult as it’s hard to get a piece of flatwork perfectly flat. One of the steps to preparing vulcanized fiber after it is laser cut is to wash the sticky residue off with water. That really doesn’t help the whole warping situation. Guess what else can cause warping in vulcanized fiber bobbins? Sweat, beer, humidity, rain, time, vibration, heat, pessimism...

    Fiber bobbins need to be insulated with tape to prevent the wire from touching the magnets (This can lead to shorting or corrosion over time). This takes some time to do right. Even after being insulated with tape, there’s still a pretty good chance that a few winds of wire will work their way between the tape and magnets at the edges of the tape. None of this is a problem with plastic bobbins.

    It’s easy to swap out magnets or create a custom stagger with plastic bobbins. Can’t do that with vulcanized fiber.

    To be fair, it’s easier to solder the lead wires to fiber bobbins, and fiber bobbins do look a lot cooler uncovered. If you need to make a custom size or shape of bobbin, you basically have to use fiber or a similar material.

    No one wants to buy plastic bobbins, so I make vulcanized fiber bobbins. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Edit: Oh also, nice pickups! I dig Tex Mex’s. Aesthetics aside, give them a try, you may find you like them.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    All the Tex Mex I have have normal bases, not that shiny abs looking plastic. Not sure it matters though. Although I might worry about how long before the threads strip out of the bases. The newer ones must have changed? These pickups are all over out there.
     
  10. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    Plastic, yes. Fiber bobbins are for vintage type pickups. Most modern type are plastic. Not a thing wrong with it. I have used both Tele and Strat Tex Mex pickups and have the Tele set in my #1. They are tremendous sounding to me. I have used many many different pickups; cheap budget and boutique.
     
  11. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Actually I was thinking Strat ones. Not sure what my Tex Mex Tele ones look like. The strat ones have 016730 embossed in the base like many Strat pickups do. Must be the number for the base only.
     
  12. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    Great pickups. I think the OP is talking about the absence of metallic baseplates on the pickups. All pickups have plastic bases, with or without a metallic baseplate.
     
  13. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

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    upload_2019-10-9_12-1-38.jpeg
     
  14. Butch Snyder

    Butch Snyder Tele-Afflicted

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    I certainly understand that. I used to think that I couldn’t get “real” Tele tone without the metal baseplate. I was proven wrong many times. Some of my favorite telecaster bridge pick ups do not have metal base plates. They do give tremendous Tele tone though.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  15. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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  16. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    Electrical response test comparisons have also shown that the presence or absence of a metal baseplate makes no significant difference. There is no plausible theory to support a difference either, since all differences fall off rapidly as the distance from the strings increases. Such theories are founded on an assumption that effects follow the static (permanent) magnetic field, but it is not true - it is the dynamic (time varying) field near the string (and thus the materials near the string) that largely make measurable and audible differences. The only exception to this principle applies to things that change the coil impedance (inductance and capacitance) because the coil relays the string field response. But, the baseplate is not really in that category. It might increase the inductance slightly, but many other parameters also contribute to that.
     
  17. zombiwoof

    zombiwoof Tele-Afflicted

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    Not so, most Fender pickups have fiberboard bobbins, not plastic. The Tex-Mex are one of the Fender pickups that use plastic bobbins. Not vintage construction, but I recall the Tex-Mex Strat pickup I used sounded better to me than the fancier Texas Specials, despite the plastic construction. And you can adjust the polepiece heights without any worry of damaging the coil wire.
    Al
     
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  18. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    i like the coil wire right up against the rod magnets, insulated with a bit of thin tape, as God and leo prescribed. plastic bobbins separate the coil wire a bit further from the proximity of the magnets. is this important? probably not, but i like uncle leo's thinking better than fmic's. :D
     
  19. sonny wolf

    sonny wolf Friend of Leo's

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    I have them in my Roadworn 50s Tele as well as my Roadworn Strats and classic series Strats and Teles regular pickups which are also plastic.They all sound great actually and not needing any swapping out unless you're chasing a particular sound.The Tex Mex Tele pickups in my Roadworn deliver a very nice Tele sound despite not being vintage correct spec-wise.
     
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  20. Strato50

    Strato50 Tele-Afflicted

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    Rose pickups use Formica.
     
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