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Replacement Neck Pickup Options for '68 Tele – Opinions Please

Discussion in 'Vintage Tele Discussion Forum (pre-1974)' started by Luke1026, Apr 6, 2021.

  1. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    It’s the same guitar with an ugly body route featured in the recent thread,

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/vinta...do-it-dont-do-it.1066879/page-9#post-10580310

    Currently, it has a Lollar Royal T in the neck, and it definitely sounds good, however, I’ve been toying with the idea of replacing it with a newer Fender p’up that is either more period correct or is just in a league of its own tone-wise, but doesn’t cost somewhere around $600-$900 like an original ’68 would.

    68 Tele-1.jpg

    To give an idea of the kind of tone that I like, the 2020 Fender 70th Anniversary 50/51 Blackguard p’ups are among the best I’ve heard in a long time. They sound really good clean, but as they approach the point of breakup they have a lively aggressive overdriven tone that to me isn’t just forward and gritty, but is also quite harmonic at the same time. That’s a combination that IMO is hard to beat.

    I guess that sound is likely dependent upon having both the neck and bridge designed to work together as the 50/51’s are, so I’m not sure if that sound will be attainable given that I have, and will continue to use, the original ’68 Tele bridge p’up. So I suppose that will have to be kept in mind when considering neck options.

    All opinions are appreciated.
     
  2. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Your toe is near the bottom of the rabbit hole
     
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  3. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    I suppose it is, but I just don't have enough experience with Telecaster pickups to know which few I should consider.

    Instead of spending a lot of money trying numerous pickups in search of something that I would be happy with (almost certainly a money-pit), I thought getting a variety of opinions from others with loads of experience, would provide information that could help my decision-making.

    At the very least I would have a number of pickup ideas to start my search with. Is there a better way of accomplishing this?
     
  4. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

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    Lindy Fralin.
    Jason Lollar.
     
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  5. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    Well I'm not sure, I thought maybe using a Fender brand pickup might be best, perhaps something like an Original Vintage '52 Telecaster neck pickup. They're still available and not expensive.
     
  6. JeffBlue

    JeffBlue Tele-Afflicted

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    Seymour Duncan Antiquity, Five-Two, Alnico II, Broadcaster or Vintage.
     
  7. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    These are also NOT period correct since they are A3.
    In fact your existing Lolar pickup is more period correct since it is A5...
    If you want to be 100% period correct search for A5 pickups in the 6.3K-6.8K region.
    Still your existing Lolar pickup is a STELLAR pickup and if I were you I would leave it alone.
     
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  8. toomuchfun

    toomuchfun Tele-Afflicted

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    You have to decide if period correct is important to you. 1968 Fender pick ups sound great.

    The Fender '52 reissue pickups are fine sounding pick ups. I think Don Mare "Donnocasters" have a more balanced sound. That's what sit's in my '89 AVRI 52.

    Another Mare pick up to consider is the "Hayride", his take on the '54-'63 Fender pick up. It has twang, spank and a balanced sound without ice pick highs. I have 2 sets of these and they nail the classic Fender sound.

    One more to consider is Manlius pick ups. He offers a pick up created after researching a set of '56 Telecaster pick ups. They are not weaker sounding, but to me have a great "worn in" sound. Also very balanced and reasonably priced too.

    Both the above winders will wind a custom pick up for you, if you know what you want. I go with what they offer stock and have not been disappointed.
     
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  9. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    This doesn’t have to be a rabbit hole.

    Fender makes excellent pickups as you have surmised.

    Their Pure Vintage ‘64 set is outstanding. Is that close enough? Would be for me.
     
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  10. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    I appreciate all the feedback, it's all helpful. I will spend some time with the Lollar Royal T as it would be less complicated just to dial it in and keep using it. The Pure Vintage '64 is a tempting suggestion, as is the Antiquity.
     
  11. Adam Wolfaardt

    Adam Wolfaardt Tele-Meister

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    I have a Don Mare in the neck of my 55 tele and I'm extremely happy with it. His pickups are truly exceptional
     
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  12. Antoon

    Antoon Tele-Afflicted

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    I like m too. They seem to have a smooth treble. Never harsh or brittle to my ears. But Don's are not the only pickups with those qualities.
     
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  13. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    While considering all of the great options suggested here, I have a Larrivee wound neck pickup from a Bakersfield Tele that I'm going to try. I've been told it has great clarity and good output but isn't too bright. It reads 7.39k. I'll be trying it in a different guitar but I should be able to get a good idea of its tonal characteristics.
     
  14. capitalbear

    capitalbear Tele-Meister

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    This thread shows clearly why the PU industry is making a fortune out of almost nothing.
     
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  15. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm a little late to this party but, just FYI, I put those Fender 52's in my Nocaster I built and I absolutely love em. Like you, I was overwhelmed at the number of pup mfg's out there and thought to myself "welp... they are Fender afterall and I'm trying to stay historic so..." and I'm glad I made that choice. As you say, they're not expensive so if you don't like their sound, you're not out much... but I think you'll like em ;)
     
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  16. aadvark

    aadvark Tele-Meister

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    I've had a lot of joy with these Lindy Fralin pickups for a vintage tone:

    https://www.fralinpickups.com/product/stock-tele/

    you can choose the type and output and amount of winding to suit... I'd go with the vintage, low output variety.

    That Lollar should be pretty good, but I understand the urge to go more 'traditional' tele.

    it is a rabbit hole, you can pay a lot more...
    don't go crazy, good luck! You will likely get a hundred different suggestions.
     
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  17. Bartholomew3

    Bartholomew3 Friend of Leo's

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    I have a 68 tele - the original pickups sucked. I put in Dimarzio Area T, huge improvement, no noise, depends on what you play and what sound you need.

    IMO pretty much anything out there these days over $100 per pickup is an improvement.
     
  18. capitalbear

    capitalbear Tele-Meister

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    ...as if the price would be a quality feature. Not.
     
  19. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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    Well under $100 with great build quality and sound.

    https://www.frettech.com/

    The Lion King
    - The Lion King offers unfettered vintage tone for those wishing the aesthetic look of the Tele® covered neck pickup, with more treble on tap than a typical Tele neck pickup. The thin nickel-silver mirror chrome cover is independently grounded from the coil leads, allowing phase reversal and easy hook up with ANY type of pickup select switch: 3-way, 4-way, 5-way, mega, etc. A5 rod magnets under 8500 turns of 43AWG coil wire. Supplied with body or pickguard mounting screws and height tubing.
     
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  20. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    I tend to agree. I know that price isn't always an indication of quality, but it seems there are so many winders out there trying to increase their market share, that they have to produce a quality product in order to stay in business. Those companies that do manage to develop great-sounding pickups know they can charge a bit of a premium which in turn increases their profits and their reputation. I think it might be due to these circumstances that more and more winders are producing decent pickups.

    BTW, I've heard nothing but consistent praise for Dimarzio Area T's.
     
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