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Tele pickup madness continued: Donahue vs Little 59

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by rooboo, Apr 15, 2020.

  1. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

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    I just popped in the third pickup in my favourite tele. I swapped my Duncan Jerry Donahue lead tele pickup for a Duncan Little 59. Not sure yet if it's better or just different. I love the Donahue in many ways but have been lacking a little meat in the tone. The 59 got more meat, but I lost the brittleness of the Donahue. I guess you're never fully satisfied.
    I'll keep this for a month or so. So I'll get accustomed to it. Then I'll decide if the 59 stays or not.

    I made a comparison video – what do you guys think? What pickup do you prefer?

     
  2. Colo Springs E

    Colo Springs E Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I used the Lil 59 for years gigging, with good results. I was always surprised that it had a ceramic bar, given that it was called the "lil 59" thought for sure it would be alnico magnets.
     
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  3. hamerfan

    hamerfan Tele-Meister

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    You should use the lil59 with 500k pots as with humbuckers ... and the briteness is back.
     
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  4. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

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    Ah! This was news to me, thought it was made as a drop in replacement for teles and designed with 250k in mind. Maybe I'll try that. Thanks!
     
  5. Verne Bunsen

    Verne Bunsen Tele-Afflicted

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    Tasty playing! For my part, it’s the Jerry Donahue hands down. I agree that the 59 has a meatier sound, but the JD had the spank that I just love out of a Tele bridge. The high parts toward the end of your piece sang with the JD, but sounded much less colorful with the 59. I’ve had both of these pickups in one of my Tele’s so I do have some opinions going in, but I did my best to just use my ears here. That’s my take.
     
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  6. bullfrogblues

    bullfrogblues Friend of Leo's

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    I also preferred the JD over the 59
     
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  7. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

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    Thank you for your input (and kind words on my playing)! I think I maybe agree on this. But then on the other hand I know I have to wait and see. I get used to things, and how they sound. For now the 59 is just different. I can't really decide if its better or not, for now. But I have band practice coming up tonight. And a gig Saturday – live on Facebook because of Corona-crapola, but anyway. It'll be fun to test the 59 in battle situations so to speak.
     
  8. roycaster

    roycaster Tele-Holic

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    I put a Lil 59 in a partscaster and used the 250k volume and tone pots. I thought it was pretty dull and uninspiring. I switched out the 250k for 500k and the pick up came alive. It could be designed and intended for 250k, but I wouldn’t use them without 500k…
     
  9. hamerfan

    hamerfan Tele-Meister

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    Humbucker, even the Lil' ones, are designed to go with a 500k vol. pot. If you want it even brighter, hook off the tone pot.
     
  10. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    Another thing you can do instead of switching out the pots, is lift the ground lug on your volume and tone pots and put a series 250K ohm resistor to ground. Your volume and tone controls will only have half their ususal range, but the pickup will think it's looking at 500K ohm pots. If you think it's really better, you can switch them out for 500k pots. A wire with alligator clips on either end will allow you to shunt out the 250K resistors so you can tell right away if it's making a difference.

    I just bought two Rogue RLS-1 lap steels. The original pickups aren't horrible, but they hum a lot if you add any serious gain. No problem, I have an old SD Everything Axe Set in the basement, a JB Jr., a Duckbucker, and a Lil 59. I'm thinking I'll put the JB jr. and the Lil 59 into the lap steels, and add the 250K resistors so I don't have to replace the pots. I mean, the volume and tone control are usually open on a lap steel anyway.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2020
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  11. Mr Gunny

    Mr Gunny Tele-Meister

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    I have one in a tele with 500k pots and it’s a bit bright for my taste if you don’t roll off the tone, but 250k definitely makes it too dark imo.
     
  12. ScottJPatrick

    ScottJPatrick Friend of Leo's

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    I have tried the lil '59 about three times in my Tele's, do like the sound but it's limited, even with a series/parallel switch. Replaced the last one with a SD JD. Raise the height of the JD and roll the tone off slightly, not quite the '59 but close enough, and then you can roll the tone back up again when you want it to be more Tele.
     
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  13. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

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    I have played the JD in this guitar for about two years. And that's exactly what I've done. I got the pickup really high. And I always start low on the tone. IMO lack of treble is never an issue in a telecaster. To tame the highs and get the pickup to that sweet spot is the hard part. Took me years to get the hang of. Now I do it without even thinking. Small adjustments comes a long way when we're talking about tele and tone controls.

    Another thing I like about the JD is the ability to roll off the volume and still have a good sound. A vintage tele bridge at 60-70% vol is really thin. The JD at 70% sounds pretty much like my vintage styled Tonerider Alnico 2 Blues at full swing. So the JD at 70% sounds like a classic tele. I play all my rhythm parts like that. Then I have an extra 30% volume boost to add when I crank it up to full during solos. That's why my board don't have a boost pedal – with the JD I don't really need it.
     
  14. RoyBGood

    RoyBGood Doctor of Teleocity

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    Jeez that's painful playing. Nice tones though.
     
  15. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

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    Thanks … I guess?
     
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  16. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    I have been debating 500k vol and 500k tone pot for a bit.
    I have 250 and they do not sound bad for bridge.but,
    I dont want too bright?
     
  17. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    If you are dropping big money on cycling new pickups; especially if searching for a tone you want vs just experimenting; get several volume pots at nominal and max/min spec (pots have an industry standard 20% tolerance range spec) and tone caps in most common types (0.068 down to 0.01uF) and clip in with alligator clips to test. They can push around a guitar's tone as much as swapping pickups -- all those parts are a system.

    .
     
  18. rooboo

    rooboo Tele-Meister

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    Yeah I know. It's almost silly. We have different pickups. We have different potentiometers in the guitars. We have different overdrive pedals, which can be tweeked in different settings.We have different amps, which also can be tweeked in different settings. …and don't get me started with EQ pedals :)

    Haha all this is enough to drive you crazy. When I played Les Paul I heard the sustain would be better with an aluminum stop tail. There are miles of forum threads on this topic. So I bought one and realised I could just nudge the 400k slide on my EQ pedal and the difference in sound was WAY more than any zamak to aluminum swap could ever do.

    But all this is part of the fun too, right. Just that we're all registered to this forum makes us all nutty professors in regular peoples minds. :)
     
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  19. That Cal Webway

    That Cal Webway Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    rooboo

    Good video really good playing!

    I would love to hear a total clean example of the two if you ever had time.
     
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