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Ron Ellis / Julian Lage pickup alternatives

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by ConsiderMeMiles, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. ConsiderMeMiles

    ConsiderMeMiles Tele-Meister

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    Because Ron's waitlist is historic, and completed sets fetch astronomical prices on Reverb, I wanted to solicit the group's opinion for current production pickups that best match Ron's specs below.

    “The JL (Julian Lage) neck pickup is what Julian is using in two of his Nachocasters. It is based off his blackguard. It is a lower wind, just lightly potted to give it a nice scoop in the mids, a harmonic and clear sound. For a Blackguard sounding bridge, the 52T nails the woody and wiry style early '50s sound. The neck is 6.17k and the bridge is 7.39k.” - Ron Ellis

    Julian says of his '53 Blackguard: "I think, of the Blackguards I’ve played, it’s a little bit darker than a lot of them." So...
    So, are the Pure Vintage '64 Telecaster PUPs going to be the most comparable current production PUPs to Ron's, or am I looking at this too mechanically? I know there are many, many other variables to discuss (for example, I have no idea if Ron's PUPs are Alnico 3 vs 5), but I hope this can at least start the conversation.

    __________

    For audio samples, here's Julian playing Ron's neck PUP:


    ...and Ron's bridge PUP:
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  2. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire

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    Sounds like the 64's might be the way to go, assuming the magnet types and wire are the same. If different wire or magnets (for example A3 vs. the 64's A5) are used, that could make a difference. Most likely they are the same magnets though. I don't recall seeing many A3 pickups with numbers that low...those are low even for A5s which are usually wound lower than equivalent A3 that I've seen. It's hard to say...early blackguard pickups were A3 mags, if I recall, and after a few years, the switch was made to A5s, but they were still not the same as mid-60s Fender pickups, which were typically much brighter. Anyway, the 64 set sounds gorgeous and would probably be great for jazz. I saw a YouTube demo by a big bearded guy who described them as almost too warm, but not quite and they sounded beautiful. He seemed to really like them too. They get a lot of love around here as well.

    You could also try reaching out to a winder like Rob from Cavalier. I'm sure he could wind you a set to those exact specs if you didn't want to take a chance with the Fenders. Good luck. Let us know what you decide, how it turns out and maybe record and post a demo when you get them in.
     
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  3. Iago

    Iago Friend of Leo's

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    The Fender 64 Tele bridge pickup is actually 6.4-6.6k not 7.4k. Fender has mistankenly stamped that ohm reading on the website and on the box of the product and apparently, never corrected that. Check the reviews here on TDPRI of people who actually took readings of theirs.

    Julian's tone always seemed mostly dark to me, his amp settings play a huge role here, and possibly, he also rolls down the tone control on the guitar. From the looks, he also uses thick-ish strings...that's another factor.

    That said, his playing and that ambience he's got going on are also key. I'd just go with something in the ballpark like the fender '52 Tele bridge pcikup and an average Tele neck pickup that's not too dark and do the rest with amp settings, reverb, guitar's tone control and so on.
     
  4. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    Ron Ellis didn’t invent pickups new...But why 7ender pickups?

    Try Barfuss pickups. They’re completely handmade and they sound fantastic. Realistic prices and only a few weeks from order to delivery.

    https://www.barfuss-pickups.de/t-style-tonabnehmer/#content-content-inner

    His Telly Neckpickup is made of 42 AWG, AlnicoV and that classical 6.2 k output. Sounds amazing, a bit like a Stratpickup but still Telly. Very vintage tone and simply beautiful.

    Julians tone is amazing, I love his playing. But:
    Don’t forget, 90% are in the fingers, he would sound nearly the same with the cheapest Telly copy out there...

    His Nachocaster got Ellis pickups, his 1953/54 (?) got of course her vintage pickups. The tonal differences (live) are close to none.

    Afaik he rolled back the tone knob, he‘s playin‘ mostly a champ and uses a slightly distortion, I guess a morning glory. String gauge are 11’s. Julians playin style is marked by his dynamic picking which is the basic of his signature tone.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  5. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    "Unlike the bridge pickup, Tele neck pickup specs remained fairly consistent. Since the dimensions were tight, Fender used thinner 43 AWG wire so it could get enough turns onto the bobbin. The magnets might have changed from alnico III to alnico V, but they were always flat rather than staggered. The change from wax potting to lacquer dipping occurred around 1967." (from guitar.com)

    Uh, and Julian plays most times the bridge pickup, his nachocaster got a 4-way switch.
     
  6. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    ...especially when you are fingerpicking, or playing with the thumb like Wes Montgomery, Jeff Beck, and a whole lot of other great players
     
  7. d-rock

    d-rock Tele-Meister

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    Your rationale seems to be on. I've been fiddling trying to get Julian Lage tone from my Tele right now as well. This clip is the standard I'm searching for...



    But I don't think you have to hold out for Ron's pups to achieve the tone. I think his tone is a perfect combo of these things...

    (1) Pickups
    (2) Small Tweed Fender amp
    (3) Extra Heavy Picks
    (4) 11 gauge strings
    (5) JHS Morning Glory
    (6) Roll off your tone a bit
    (7) Playing in a trio and not having to fight with other instruments like a second guitar or piano

    I switched recently to a Heavy Fender Tortuga pick (much like the blue Dunlop Tortex) and seem to get a smoother, mellower tone to the Fender Celluloid Mediums I've played for 15 years. I've rolled the tone down further than I have in the past with other Tele's and it seems to be making a difference.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2019
  8. rjtwangs

    rjtwangs Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Call Don Mare....


    RJ
     
  9. twangjeff

    twangjeff Tele-Afflicted

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    Ding, ding, ding! IMO, his sound seems to be influenced by touch. If he was playing in an organ trio for instance and had to crank, the sound would be totally different.
     
  10. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Afflicted

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    Even with Julian’s entire rig, none of us would ever sound like him.
     
  11. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've got PV'64s in a telecaster and love the clear sound they give. I'm not really hearing anything in this guy's tone that can't be achieved. In fact it sounds like a pretty standard telecaster tone from a jazz guy. The amps he uses will affect it some, the pedals, the mixing, the room, etc. But if you are happy with his tone, PV'64s will get you in the ballpark.

    Virtuosity being the real X factor, YMMV.
     
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  12. maggieo

    maggieo Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    That's great advice.

    Oh, and Duncan Antiquities, Fralin Blues Specials, and Vintage T Lollars are strong contenders, too.
     
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  13. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    Cavalier Pickups
     
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  14. Jerry_Mountains

    Jerry_Mountains Tele-Holic

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    Contact Rob DiStefano from Cavalier Pickups ;)
     
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  15. speranza

    speranza TDPRI Member

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    Blue Chip picks matter a lot too — they feel slippery on the strings, with way less picking transient, especially on the wound strings. You can definitely get mellower and darker just by switching picks.
     
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  16. caspersvapors

    caspersvapors Tele-Meister

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    Did you ever settle on a pickup?
     
  17. ConsiderMeMiles

    ConsiderMeMiles Tele-Meister

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    I have a Tele loaded with CS Nocaster PUPs that I adore. They have a flat (no mid-scoop) EQ that I've always described as "woody" (whatever that means). They capture Jules' dark Tele tone fantastically — but also serve as a reminder that tone is (*gasp*) all in the hands. That said, I still expect to pick up a set of Pure Vintage '64 Telecaster PUPs sometime this year.

    In contrast, I also own Tele's loaded with Callahan, Kinman and Novak PUPs. I love each of them for different reasons, but each set is too modern voiced (i.e. mid-scooped) to capture Jules' tone.

    Hope that helps.
     
  18. branbolio

    branbolio Tele-Meister

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    I saw a vid from last year and his tele had a Humbucker... anyone know which one he had in there?
     
  19. caspersvapors

    caspersvapors Tele-Meister

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    Gonna go out on a limb and say its an Ellis
     
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  20. ConsiderMeMiles

    ConsiderMeMiles Tele-Meister

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    That's his second Nachocaster. It's a Fralin Alnico Rod P90 (not humbucker).

    Julian Lage_Fralin Alnico Rod P90_01.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020
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