Tele Neck Pickup Swap

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by jigncraw, May 19, 2018.

  1. jigncraw

    jigncraw TDPRI Member

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    Hi all, I have a 2016 American Standard and wish to switch the factory neck single coil to a humbucker. I'm leaning towards a Seymour Duncan Vintage as a replacement.

    Just wondering if there are any particular sizes/styles etc. that fit a Fender Humbucker pickguard better than others.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    Just keep in mind that Fender's pickups are out of phase with Seymour Duncans. So you would have to swap the hot and ground on one or the other.
     
  3. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I have three Teles with humbucker at the neck position: (my favorite setup with Teles)

    1) Fender Blacktop HH with Gibson Classic 57 (with A5 magnet swap to open the high freqs)

    2) Amer Standard with Dimarzio PAF Master (with A2 magnet swap to tame hi freq harshness)

    3) American Special with SD '59 humbucker (with stock A5 magnet)

    They all sound great in Teles (with the magnet swaps that I did). I do enjoy them all.

    The Gibson Classic '57 has the richest complexity of tone and is my favorite.

    The PAF Master is bright and sparkly with the A2 magnet (was too harsh in the highs with the stock A5 magnet), just not quite as tonally rich as the Gibson Classic '57.

    The SD '59 humbucker is warm and sparkly, just not quite as tonally rich as the Gibson Classic '57.

    Consider going with 500k volume pot and, perhaps, a 250k No-Load tone pot or a 500k tone pot.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
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  4. AbisFjord

    AbisFjord Tele-Meister

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    I use SD Seth Lover SH-55n exclusively. It's a vintage-voiced PAF-style humbucker. I think the Fender humbucker covers are a little bigger, so you'd need to order a pickguard.
     
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  5. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    He's replacing a single coil, so a new pick guard is going to be necessary.

    OP... some pick guard pick up holes are sized for humbuckers with covers and some are sized (slightly smaller) for humbuckers without covers. Decide what way you want to go and order your pick guard accordingly if you're very picky about the space around the pick up.

    Covers on pickups do tend to reduce the highs a little, so consider that as well. I like sparkly bright highs from humbuckers, so I usually go without covers. The tone control can warm up the tone a bit, if need be. And, I like the look of humbuckers without covers.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    You might consider a vintage configured Firebird neck pup as well. Think Johnny Winter.
     
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  7. jigncraw

    jigncraw TDPRI Member

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    This is exactly what I was looking for! I never thought about a mini humbucker, Johnny Winter is a huge inspiration, 70's rock, blues etc. is what I love.

    I was also thinking of finding a P90 or a Fender Wide Range. I am sticking with my Custom Shop Twisted Tele Bridge pickup, so I feel a warm neck pup will work well, maybe with a slight mid range bump.....
     
  8. naneek

    naneek Tele-Meister

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    I have a seymour duncan f-spaced 59 humbucker in the neck position of my pine tele. can't recommend it highly enough, sounds amazing and very well made. You can find them used for a very reasonable price.
     
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  9. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    If you go with a Mini Humbucker, consider that they vary a bit in size from one maker to another. And there are two very different types (NY style and Firebird, which are completely different designs in how they are constructed).

    The New York style is what Gibson has been making and selling over the years as a Mini Humbuker (the design is essentially the same as a full size humbucker, but smaller).

    One of Seymour Duncans is made in that design also, the Antiquity II Mini Humbucker. SD also makes some in the Firebird construction design.

    Dimarzio makes a New York style Mini Humbucker and a Firebird style. The New York style is generally a little cleaner, clearer sounding. The Firebird style tends to be a little hotter and has a little more edge to it, generally speaking.

    Make your decision on the Mini (NY style or Firebird style), then on the manufacturer, then get the dimensions of that pick up, THEN order the pick guard based on those dimensions.

    I just went through this whole process in setting up one of my Teles with a Mini-Hum. I decided to go with a New York style from Seymour Duncan.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
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  10. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    For my tastes, a Firebird pup wound to vintage specs is brilliant in both the neck and bridge. I recently bought a Polymist Gold Joe Bonamassa Firebird I. Epiphone and Joe nailed the pickup in this guitar and I have wound a lot of Firebird pups. The pup is officially called a Probucker FB720. I can’t find them on line yet but if Epiphone does decide to sell them, definitely but a set.

    Concerning P90s, again, I have wound a lot of these and I don’t think they work well in the neck position unless they are very underwound and fitted with A5 magnets. In the bridge position, they rock. Think Leslie West.

    Wideranges rock but to get a modern repro done right with the correct magnet gauss levels and custom neck wind would be expensive unless you can do the surgery yourself. They also need a really big route in the wood and pickguard. Unfortunately the vintage prices have gone crazy over the past 5 years.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love a humbucker in the neck position but have found underwinding necessary to get the set balanced and the neck clear. There is just so much more string movement over the neck pup vs the bridge pup. My favorite neck PAF recipe results in a resistance value of around 6k! It just sings like a huge, quiet single coil. My $.02.
    Rob
     
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  11. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Rob... I'm a big fan of a PAF-level of output humbucker in the neck position of a Tele. They do sing full, bright, and sweet! Not dull, dark, nor muddy at all. Sparkly and no hum! Gotta love that.

    Some humbucker designs need an A5 magnet to really sparkle in the highs (like the Gibson Classic '57 and SD '59) and some designs need an A2 magnet to reign in the highs a bit (Dimarzio PAF Master). That's all speaking of being in a Tele, of course, which is a bright guitar to begin with - largely owning to the bridge design.

    I've found Les Pauls to be darker guitars, generally, and the PAF Master with its stock A5 magnet sounds very good in a LP (not too bright, nor harsh in the highs).
     
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  12. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    Hey D,
    The issue I’m addressing isn’t so much the tone but output imbalances. Take a vintage set of PAFs both wound to 8k on average. The string amplitude is much less in the bridge position than in the neck position. It gives you a big volume drop when going to the bridge position. In the old days they just used to slam the neck pups to try and even things out. This is solved today by tailoring the wind counts appropriately by pup position to ”balance” the set.

    In relation to the OP’s question, he wants a good neck match to his Twisted Tele bridge pup which averages 10k of resistance, 4.2H of inductance and A5 rods of unknown gauss. This is a meaty pup. These numbers are from an inductance perspective, right there with a P90. In other words this pup will push the front end of an amp into break-up very well. When choosing a neck humbucker pup, I recommend to try to have its resistance (k) about 7k or less with A5 mags a plus.
    Rob
     
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  13. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Rob... I understand needing output balance with a guitar that is played live.

    For myself, I no longer play out and just play in my home studio, so there isn't a great "need" for significant output balance between the pick ups. In my particular situation, as long as the output imbalance isn't terribly dramatic, my primary interest is tone quality.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  14. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Friend of mine/ our lead player had a 61 Epiphone Casino with Gibson mini-humbuckers as in the elitist Riviera. Worth a thought as that Casino screamed.
    Unfortunately it was cursed, all it's owners have died from heroin .
     
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  15. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    There is another very worthy neck pup choice. Gibson/ Epiphone mini humbuckers wound to vintage specs sound fantastic.
     
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  16. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    Interesting thoughts, here, on the P-90. Johnny Winter had a Telecaster with a P-90 at the neck position. I’ve seen pics, but have never heard a recording of it that I know of.
     
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  17. Barncaster

    Barncaster Doctor of Teleocity

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    So much of this comes down to personal preference. For P90s I’ve done extensive winding and listening experiments and learned a lot about the beast in the process. A standard wind is about 10,000 wraps of 42AWG min build. Measures about 8k of resistance. It’s brilliant in the bridge but just hopeless mud in the neck. I had to dial back the wraps severely before the clarity came. When this was done, it became an absolutely brilliant neck pup.

    This subject touches a little on history as well. Factory winding back in the day was not an exact science. The effects of this were very pronounced, especially with the early PAFs and all of their micro permutations. Some hit the wind target, some went over and others under and by how much could vary substantially. When the happy accidents of a guitar accidentally getting an over-wound pup in the bridge and an under-wound one in the neck, that one was special.
    Rob
     
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  18. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Gibson Mini Humbucker is an awesome option, especially for someone who has the other options (neck humbucker, neck single coil, etc.) pretty much covered.
     
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  19. jigncraw

    jigncraw TDPRI Member

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    I appreciate everyone's 2 cents!!! Reading this thread has made my day
     
  20. Zepfan

    Zepfan Poster Extraordinaire

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    I love P90's, Firebirds, WRHB and regular HB's.
    I'm going to give you another possibility that won't require a pickguard change, that would be a GFS Lil' Puncher. It's a dual rail HB the same size as your Tele single coil pickup and sounds good for a cheap price. Other than that I would probably go with a Firebird.
     
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