Telecaster for metal

11 Gauge

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Yeah, for NWBHM (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Def Leppard's 1st album) and upward (Speed, Thrash, Death, anything ending in "-core") I would definitely recommend humbuckers. Need that extra punch and body in the midrange.
I just wanted to point out that both Dave Murray and Janick Gers have been using SD Strat pickup-sized humbuckers for quite a few years now.

I think Dave primarily uses Hot Rails while Janick uses JB Jrs.

Listening to newer IM vs. the old stuff with PAF-sized humbuckers, I can't really hear much of a difference. Maybe Adrian Smith has some rhythm bits that sound a bit punchier and fatter (and I know that he primarily uses a DiMarzio Super Distortion), but that's probably more attributed to his choice of amps.

Anyway, IMO, that whole 'galloping rhythm' that is kind of like an IM trademark at this point - it sounds fine with a Hot Rails or JB Jr. (and the right amp).
 

northernguitar

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I just wanted to point out that both Dave Murray and Janick Gers have been using SD Strat pickup-sized humbuckers for quite a few years now.

I think Dave primarily uses Hot Rails while Janick uses JB Jrs.

Listening to newer IM vs. the old stuff with PAF-sized humbuckers, I can't really hear much of a difference. Maybe Adrian Smith has some rhythm bits that sound a bit punchier and fatter (and I know that he primarily uses a DiMarzio Super Distortion), but that's probably more attributed to his choice of amps.

Anyway, IMO, that whole 'galloping rhythm' that is kind of like an IM trademark at this point - it sounds fine with a Hot Rails or JB Jr. (and the right amp).
Can confirm the SD Hot Rails bridge pickup for Strat is VERY hot. It ended up too hot for playing Classic, Garage, Punk and other ballsy genres. I’ve since replaced it with a SD Red Devil, supposedly a Pearly Gates in a sc pickup. Very smooth, yet also quite punchy with the right dirt. I was enjoying it at my last band practice.
 

11 Gauge

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Can confirm the SD Hot Rails bridge pickup for Strat is VERY hot. It ended up too hot for playing Classic, Garage, Punk and other ballsy genres. I’ve since replaced it with a SD Red Devil, supposedly a Pearly Gates in a sc pickup. Very smooth, yet also quite punchy with the right dirt. I was enjoying it at my last band practice.
As someone who's had both a Hot Rails in a couple of Strats as well as a JB in the bridge position of a couple of HH guitars, I thought they were both very similar sounding.

I just don't think that the Hot Rails is very good for anything other than metal (personally), unless it's like the lead guitar fills (all that whammy stuff) in The Toadies Possum Kingdom, but then you can't get the crunchy rhythm guitar sound with it. Well, at least I couldn't/can't.

If we were to rewind things back to '84 or so when the Hot Rails came out, it's kind of a wonder that more of the metal guys who didn't want to cut up their Strats didn't end up using one. I guess by that point, the damage was already done, or switching to Charvel/Jackson/etc. didn't require it, as they came with something PAF-sized in the bridge by default.
 

Blues Twanger

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As someone who's had both a Hot Rails in a couple of Strats as well as a JB in the bridge position of a couple of HH guitars, I thought they were both very similar sounding.

I just don't think that the Hot Rails is very good for anything other than metal (personally), unless it's like the lead guitar fills (all that whammy stuff) in The Toadies Possum Kingdom, but then you can't get the crunchy rhythm guitar sound with it. Well, at least I couldn't/can't.

If we were to rewind things back to '84 or so when the Hot Rails came out, it's kind of a wonder that more of the metal guys who didn't want to cut up their Strats didn't end up using one. I guess by that point, the damage was already done, or switching to Charvel/Jackson/etc. didn't require it, as they came with something PAF-sized in the bridge by default.
I find this interesting because I've also played both a ton and found them quite different in the mids.

The JB has the famous upper mid honk whereas I found the Hot Rails was simply more mids all over.

Maybe it's subtle, but depending on the metal genre the right mids can be make or break to good tone.
 

11 Gauge

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I find this interesting because I've also played both a ton and found them quite different in the mids.

The JB has the famous upper mid honk whereas I found the Hot Rails was simply more mids all over.

Maybe it's subtle, but depending on the metal genre the right mids can be make or break to good tone.
You make a good point, and it's probably since I don't personally play much metal that I'm not very discerning between upper mids vs. more mids throughout.

Really the only amp I own that might come close to being usable for anything metal is an old 2204'ish build, that I recently redid with the 'unofficial' Jake E. Lee mods. I really only bring that up because it was somewhat recently that I found out that his main Charvel from the time featured a JB at the bridge.

Well, I do also have one of those EVH 5150III lunchbox heads (the original model), but only ever use it on the blue channel with the gain set more for crunch than anything, so the metal guys would probably laugh at my tone.

Probably my favorite metal tone would be from Voivod's album Nothingface, released in 1989. IMO it's almost more like a hard rock tone than a full-on metal one. I think the late Denis D'Amour primarily used 2203s that he occasionally pushed with a Boss SD-1.

I probably also need to clarify that I had my Hot Rails from like '85 until the late 90's, but didn't first get a JB until like maybe '03 or so, so I was partially going by memory regarding the Hot Rails. Having said that, I did get a couple of HR clones during the time that I had the JB, and thought that the clones sounded what I remembered that the real deal did. I also could pretty much interchangeably use either the guitar with the JB in it (I actually had it installed in 2 or 3 different HH guitars), or the Tele or Strat with the HR clone in them.

I actually just pulled the JB from the HH guitar it was installed in, because I thought it was just too thick in the lower mids, if anything. I actually prefer the JB clones by GFS (Fat PAT) and Tonerider (Generator), because they are wound a bit less hot, so they sound more open and articulate to my ear.
 




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