Telenator Wide Range Humbuckers

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by chucksmi, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. chucksmi

    chucksmi Tele-Meister

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    I just got a chance to try out the Telenator Wide Range Humbuckers in a live gig situation.

    Let me put it this way - these are not only far and away the best Wide Range Humbuckers I've ever played, they are among the best pickups I've ever played.

    That's saying a lot, so why did I say it?

    First off, I am a gigging player, I've been doing this for many, many years, and I've seen, heard, and read all the snake oil claims enough to see them come and go, and then come and go again. So, I guy hands me a guitar and tells me it has a few hundred dollars worth of pickups, and I'm like "well, that's nice. But does it sound good?"

    I was playing them through my Deluxe Reverb reissue, which is a very nice amp. It's been tweaked and sounds about as nice as any Deluxe Reverb. Speaker is well broken-in and it's a great amp to test things with.

    First off, these thing are so dynamic it took me a minute to get the feel of them.

    Why do I think they are so great? Easy, the Tele had more bottom punch than any I've ever played. But it wasn't boomy or flabby. They were tight and extremely articulate even on the lowest notes on the neck. And even when doing runs that went from the open strings to the high frets, they were uncannily balanced and clear. With or without overdrive, these pickups just stayed rich and offered that perfect mix of grind and cut. They are lively and musical. And honestly, they are inspiring. They are fun to play.

    They are completely responsive to the guitar's controls. Rolling off the volume cleans them up, and they are happy with the tone control turned down. They make the guitar sound big and full at low volumes.

    My hat is off to Telenator, these pickups really deliver. When you play them you can tell a lot of work went into getting them right.
     
  2. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Wow! Thanks Chuck! Glad you like 'em! :D :cool:
     
  3. castpolymer

    castpolymer Poster Extraordinaire

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    Thank god someone decided to mod these pickups. As a stock Fender item, they sound like the unholy union of a Epiphone humbucker and a ceramic Tele neck pickup. Hats off to another TDPRI member taking matters into his own hands.
     
  4. chucksmi

    chucksmi Tele-Meister

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    You don't have to take my word for it. There were a few members of this forum present at the time and they got to hear them out front.
     
  5. gibsonjunkie

    gibsonjunkie Tele-Afflicted

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    I may not gig, but I know good tone. I've also been listening to these pickups as Bob has gone through various versions. The amount of work he put into them finally payed off. They are really good!
     
  6. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'd love to use them for a bit. But for me the cost of the surrogate MIMs and the 500.00 space bucks I think it was to do the MOD on a pair, that makes them close to or at the cost of what you can get real non RI WRHBs for, which will hold their value well. If yo can find them, but you can if you are patients.

    Now having said that, the MP3s of originals and of the Telenator's creations I have heard would have me choose the Telenator's. So hearing both live would for sure be something of interest to me.

    Telenator, did you ever estimate the hours you have invested in the project? It must have been lota and lots, and it show form the finished product in th epics I have seen, and born out in testimony bt all accounts. I am totally envious of the sucess of your experimentation and subsequent fiished product. I usually put in the hours and come with ca ca. ;(
     
  7. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Wow, thanks man. That's very nice of you.

    I think ours cost about $310 on average with the donor pickup.

    The one advantage you get with a new one is, it looks new! A guy can build a brand new Thinline, Deluxe, or Custom with a bright, shiny new finish, and put a set of brand new, sparkling chrome WRHB's in it.

    I have seen several originals go for $400 and more on ebay. I truly wish the retro-fits didn't cost so much but with the development hours considered, it's still not a break even proposition. If I get around to making more, then perhaps it will be worthwhile. But I have a television production internship I'm in the middle of, gigging with my band, a new Les Paul scratch build project, a new band forming, and some more travel coming up so, I probably won't get around to any more pickups soon. Oh yeah, there's my day job too.

    There's a solid 8 months into the project with all the testing, winding, machining prototypes, destroying perfectly good pickups in the name of science, running informal test panels, sifting through all the correct and incorrect information about the originals, developing an assembly method, and just trying several different approaches to the same problems before arriving at the current, (not necessarily the best), solutions.

    But hey, that's the fun of it all. Doing something that has been deemed "impossible." I love a good challenge.

    I know there are a few other people now trying to make these figuring it can't possibly cost so much, and "how hard can it be?" Well guys? How are y'all doin'? :lol:
     
  8. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    $310.00 each with the cost of one MIM surrogate, right ?
     
  9. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    That includes the donor MIM.

    $250 for the retro-fit.

    $60 approx for the MIM donor p'up.

    $310 total.
     
  10. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    One of these trys I will get you to acknowledge EACH. ;)

    Each, right??
     
  11. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Yes, each.

    Originals are going for $400+ on ebay - each.
     
  12. jivetrain

    jivetrain Tele-Holic

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    ebay sellers are, and have been for some time, trying to get away with costs over $500 for a single old, corroded wide range. getting two new ones that sound the same for that price isn't exactly what i'd call close in value. it is true that the originals will hold their value and be easier to sell, but i don't know how many people would want to sell the telenator version after seeking one out, so resale value could be irrelevant.

    before the tele deluxe reissues came out in 2004 the price for a wide range humbucker was somewhere around $200-300. if they were still regularly selling for that amount then the cost of telenator's repros would be less attractive. but, even if the originals and his repros were available today at the same price i'd still side with telenator's version of the pickup. were the originals were hand wand with materials as good as what telenator has put into his pickups? doubt it. the odds are good that telenator created a better version of the wide range humbucker than what fender produced. and as telenator said, having a nice new pickup that you can count on to work for a long time is definitely a huge plus.

    considering that the originals do not cost the same amount, but are in fact twice as much, makes it pretty clear which version of the pickup is the better choice. i've read at least a few arguments about the value of these pickups on other forums and i've got to say, when you consider all of the factors telenator's pickups come out on top.
     
  13. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    My thoughts exactly jivetrain. Thanks for the vote of confidence!

    The price on the "Telenator Retro-fit" reflects a single run of 30 pickups and the need to break even on the whole project. Should this ever go into production, of course the price would be lower, but not much. I could have the bobbins machined on a CNC set up to save a few bucks. And I could farm out the coil winding but, do people really want machine wound WRHB pickups? Then there's the whole magnet issue. Making alnico V magnets that look like screws is a tedious, laborious process that no one really wants to do. By the time I'd buy the magnets and have them cut and shaped it would account for $80 of the cost for each pickup. Then you still have to add in the cost of the bobbins, hand winding, dis-assembly of the MIM pickups, modifying the MIM brackets, re-assembly, and the simple logistics of taking orders, producing pickups and shipping them out.

    There really isn't a big profit margin in this. And if I keep doing projects that lose money and require more time away from home, the, uh, err uh, "director of finances" (Mrs Telenator) will pull the plug faster than you can say Copper Nickel Ferrite!

    Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I have my '72 Thinline again, (just like the original one I had in '72) and there are still enough parts around, thanks to the current economy, to make more pickups. It will all balance out in the end.
     
  14. winny pooh

    winny pooh Friend of Leo's

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    I think you should just get in touch with someone like GFS and co-design a WRHB that can be made with:

    Alnico 5 rods, non-threaded
    Correct bobbin size,wire type and turns
    Plain chrome cover

    and just agree a small percentage cut of any sold as your part of the deal...
    (whilst correctly stipulating 500k or 1meg ohm posts in the literature :idea:)

    I am lucky enough to have found a mahogany bas@:$d tele with original WRHB's for $130 but would never be a privy to them if I had to spend over $200 on a replica or original pup alone. So i can imagine that there are thousands of players out there who would love a low cost alternative under $100.

    You may have many valid objections so excuse me if my assumptions re farmed out costs/production are not accurate, its just what i would ideally like to see.
     
  15. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Your points are indeed valid. And I have to keep fighting the urge to go commercial with this project. The problems that immediately come to mind though are:

    1) Limited market - Yeah, we all get misty over that 70's tone but in reality, it's a fairly limited market.

    2) Cost - Sure, you can cost cut this pickup to the point that it's affordable, but then you end up with something that just doesn't sound the same as the original anymore. (hmmmmm, if I make a bunch of these, then cost cut it to the point they sound like crap, but are affordable, I could wait a few months and get big bucks for the "rare" hand-made ones! I'll be rich! pffff! Or, I can just keep playing the lottery, LOL!)

    3) Tooling up for injection molded bobbins, machine winding, sheet metal barckets, chrome covers and such is very expensive. Then the assembly methods change and alot more testing has to be done to ensure that the sound doesn't change.

    It all seems so easy until someone actually sets out to do it. Then the reality kicks in and the compromises start coming up.

    At this point, we have a very cool pickup that will make it into the hands of a few people who dig the sound. That's about all I know right now.
     
  16. winny pooh

    winny pooh Friend of Leo's

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    Very true, some thoughts:

    1/ The true test of market demand is how many custom and deluxe re-issues have been sold by fender in total including Japan, If you have a guesstimate of how many fender players overall replace their stock pups then you could get percentages to work with....
    I have no personal nostalgia for the 70's, WR pups have high output and very characterful tone.

    2/Close enough is good enough for most, at least it would be to me. Most guys just want a great sounding pickup in their RI fender.

    You probably have enough to keep you busy with anyway, its not like saving the world from bad tone or injustice, just interesting to speculate.
     
  17. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    LOL! That's what got me into the mess! :lol:
     
  18. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Yea, for sure full circle, that is funny, in an admirable way. :cool:
     
  19. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    And maybe higher too! But being a commodity, they will increase in value always. Just saying...
     
  20. winny pooh

    winny pooh Friend of Leo's

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    :lol:
     
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