Tele pickup recommendation please...

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by DHart, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I am about to equip a newly acquired MIM Standard with all-new pickups and electronics.

    I'm not looking for a country-twang, nor am I looking for heavy distortion tones, but something in-between. I really like bluesy mild-overdrive tones, but I also like clean, brilliant, sparkly "Fender" highs. So, warm and full overdrive, but still the capability of clean, bright Fender tones. Am I asking too much from a pickup set?

    I think I may be looking for something like CS Texas Specials?, Duncan's "Hot Teles"? or perhaps a Cavalier Huge Lion & Fat Lion King set?

    I have several Strats now, which cover the Strat tones well, and guitars with P-90s and humbuckers. I have three Teles at present (one with HH PAFs, one with two Fidelitrons, and the third with a PAF at the neck and a Fat Lion at the bridge.

    So, this next Tele will be the only one I have which will have both pickups in the form of traditional Tele pickups, but I don't necessarily want the vintage Tele tones. I think what I want is something fatter and hotter, but without giving up a rich, clean, clarity of tone. Is fat, hot, warmth and crystal clarity something that can be had with one complimentary set of "Tele-style" pickups? I know I don't want any muddiness, that's why I'm planning to upgrade the electronics to premium grade components.

    Any guidance would surely be appreciated. I don't know if the pickups I mentioned would be too "hot" for brilliant clean clarity of tone, or not? Obviously I need some advice on this pickup selection.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
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  2. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    Well, for the bridge, I'd recommend the Jerry Donahue, as it has more power and sounds fatter (and still looks like a Tele). The neck is harder as there aren't a ton of pickups that look like Tele neck pickups but do something different- I always swap it out for a Seth Lover humbucker, but that might be too big of a change for you.
     
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  3. Televised

    Televised Friend of Leo's

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    Bill Lawrence, (Wilde), "Micro-coils" or "Keystone" Pick Ups

    Cavalier Pick Ups

    Don Mare Pick Ups

    Is what I'd recommend
     
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  4. acrylicsuperman

    acrylicsuperman Tele-Afflicted

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    All of the above.

    Also check out the mojotone two face.
     
  5. Rod Parsons

    Rod Parsons Friend of Leo's

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    Cavalier, 'Nashville Lion' fits the bill,,, I love mine
     
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  6. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Listening to Darrel Braun’s YouTube video on CS Texas Specials was inspiring, so I’m including them as a possible set.

    The SD Jerry Donahue bridge pickup sounds good to me, from what I’ve heard.

    Already having two Teles with PAF humbuckers in the neck position, with this Tele I’d like to stick with a true Tele-format pickup at the neck. I do like a full, thick tone, but as with most of us, I don’t like muddy at all. And I don’t appreciate a thin, biting tone, either.

    I like a low volume, bluesy, lightly over-driven tone also. I guess the best way to get that is with a mild over drive pedal, rather than trying to get that kind of tone specifically from the pickup?
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
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  7. Derek Kiernan

    Derek Kiernan Friend of Leo's

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    If you're not stuck on a particular era of Fender sound but do want that versatility, Bill Lawrence's microcoils would be perfect.
     
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  8. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    No caster bridge and antiquity neck.
     
  9. Bruxist

    Bruxist Friend of Leo's

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    This would be my recommendation. Fat or Huge or even Nashville would all do it I think.
     
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  10. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    You're not asking too much of a pickup set at all. I have N4 noiseless in mine and they are exactly what you say you're looking for with the added benefit of no hum. Seymour Duncan stacked Tele pickups are a little brighter and more traditional sounding. I played a Thinline with those pickups two weeks ago and really liked them, maybe enough that if I'd heard them first I would have chosen them over the N4's.
     
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  11. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks, folks, for the suggestions.

    At present, I have a SD Antiquity II Mini humbucker in the neck position. I love it! Though I may move it to another Tele... I will be playing "musical chairs" with some of my pickups and guitars, for a while, until each finds a long term match.

    I still have the ceramic MIM bridge pickup in place, with every intention of replacing it too. It's not bad sounding, of course, but I know from comparison to a number of other guitars that I have that it can easily be replaced with something that sounds a LOT richer and more articulate!

    Various Firebird mini hums and also several Bill Lawrence pickups are being considered for this and other guitars. As are Dimarzio Area T (the Area T bridge that's installed in my American Special Tele sounds great!) And it sounds like I should be considering SD stacked Tele pickups, as well.

    What an embarrassment of riches we have available to us in the way of pickups! And, what fun this all is! :D
     
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  12. nic'o'caster

    nic'o'caster Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

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    All of the above.

    I also would recommend the Dimarzio Twang King set : Neck is excellent, a bit on the Strat side. Bridge is totally Tele twang but not ear piercing, and the middle position is perfect for rhythm work.
     
  13. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    I did wind up getting a Cavalier Lioness (neck) and Huge Lion (bridge) from Rob for my Tele Mahogany '69 Thinline. They really do sound fabulous! Clear, clean, and sparkly!


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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  14. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

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    I’d recommend the Cavalier set options as well. That said I have a Hwy 1 body with DiMarzio Twang King bridge and True Velvet neck that would be great for what you’re describing. Contact Rob at Cavalier, he’ll steer you right.
     
  15. DHart

    DHart Friend of Leo's

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    Indeed. Rob has steered me right for a couple of orders now.
     
  16. Geo

    Geo Friend of Leo's

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    Cavalier Nashville Lion and the mating neck Lion King or Lioness are great all around medium output
    pickups and very versitile music style wise. The fat bridge version is more like a Texas Special though
    not exact soundwise but close in type output.
     
  17. Funkysmell

    Funkysmell TDPRI Member

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    This might not sound as sexy as going for a set of the above mentioned aftermarket brand pickups, but I think the stock A3 pups in my VB 50s classic vibe tele sound a lot like what you're describing. They sound great played clean, very fenderesq. To my ears they have tons of clarity and with distortion maintain that clarity without becoming muddy. A bit of overdrive gives you a nice blues tone. The bridge pup can really bite and the neck pickup has a beautifully warm sound, clean or distorted. You can get them to twang but I've found that unless you're playing country licks and trying to coax that sound out of them they're relatively un-twangy. I paired a 4 way switch with mine and in that 4th position they have a nice fat tone to them. Would work great for lead tones, blues or jazzy clean sounds.... I've heard rumors that they're made in the same factory as tone riders, perhaps they would be worth looking into too. Although I've never played or heard them firsthand.



    This guy gives a pretty good demo of em from clean to higher gain. Maybe too high gain for what you're talking about at some point, but it gives you an idea.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
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