Thicker sounding esquire pickup?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by marc2211, Sep 21, 2021.

  1. marc2211

    marc2211 Tele-Holic

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    I bought a Classic Vibe Squier Esquire (ltd SFG) last year. It's a nice guitar to play for the money I paid. I use it mainly as my Open G guitar. It has some 10-52 strings on it, and plays decently with good sustain unplugged.

    The issue I have is that when plugged into any amp I've tried it is very thin and trebly, bordering on icepick. On Teles I always use the bridge PU with the tone rolled back about 50%. Atm, I play through a Supro Blues King or Orange Terror to get classic rock and LZ tones, through to The Clash style rock sounds.

    This Esquire is just harshly thin with no depth at all, to the point that I very rarely play it plugged in at all as nothing I do seems to get the more 'mids' sound I am after.

    Wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a cheapish (within reason) PU that may do the job?

    I put some Tonerider City Limits in my last Strat, which sound great, so was looking in this direction, but open to suggestions to help me unlock the potential of this guitar!

    Or, am I just asking the guitar to do something it can't and I'm best off not trying?

    Cheers,

    Marc
     
  2. carpenter

    carpenter Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    A thought ,Seymour Duncan mini humbucker coil split able.
     
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  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    The Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounder may be just what you want.
    It’s P90-like, and very mid-rangey sounding, IMO.
    Rio Grande makes a great sounding, slightly more mid-rangey Tele pickup called a Muy Grande.
    I greatly prefer it to the Quarter Pounder.
     
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  4. RomanS

    RomanS Poster Extraordinaire

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    DiMarzio Pre B1 - inexpensive, easily available, great for "rock" tones, but still keeping a Tele tone.
     
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  5. puddin

    puddin Tele-Afflicted

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    I have the same guitar, and felt the same as you do about the sound. The pickup is a A5 @7k. I tried hotter pickups, and it made it worse. I took a shot with bootstrap original recipe A3 @6.4 .. was the bomb. The pickup was made for the guitar. Best of luck in your search
     
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  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    .

    Before jumping directly to the big spend on a new pickup:

    -Adjust pickup height by ear. lower treble side, raise bridge side. Put the pickup high, put it low, but use your ears. This fixed vintage Strats for Hendrix (old videos you can see he often lowered the pickups and then raised the bass side on bridge pickups and raised the treble side on neck pickups)

    -Measure and swap the Pots 'n Caps. If your volume pot is 500kohm then putting in a 250kohm pot can knock the sharpness down, and if your actual volume pot is stamped "250k" it could measure at the top end close to 300kohm and still be 'in spec' but not provide what you want. You may prefer the tone you get from a pickup at the low end of the spec for warmer/darker tones. Pots have a 20% tolerance range and it matters. Caps influence the tone even when the tone knob is 'dimed' so try several cap values.

    -Last is swap pickups, but then go back to the top of the list. If you do the first two steps you will rarely need to go to this one.

    Many Tele pickups can benefit from using a steel baseplate on the back of the pickup. Some pickups ship with a plate meant for shielding but get a piece of steel and stick it back there you effectively reflect all the magnetic flux lines you'd lose out the back of the guitar and redirect them at the strings. You end up with a lot fatter sounding guitar. I have used house electrical octagon wiring box covers (they are like $1) and cut the typical shape with a hacksaw then drill some holes as needed to mount. Or one Strat I have I just rummaged for a scrap metal bracket that was 1/8in or thicker and let it just stick to the magnets on the back of the bridge pickup for a Tele-type tone out of a Strat.

    .
     
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  7. naveed211

    naveed211 Friend of Leo's

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    Rio Grande makes awesome pickups. That’d be a good choice.

    I had a Duncan Broadcaster in my Esquire. Definitely a thicker sounding pickup. That thing growled. So that’s another option.
     
  8. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's

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    CAVALIER FAT LION

    CAVALIER FAT LION
     
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  9. littlebadboy

    littlebadboy Tele-Afflicted

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    How about - coil sized humbuckers?
     
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  10. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    Out of curiosity, did you measure the resistance of that pickup? Do you know if it has Alnico rod magnets, or a bar magnet underneath? That might give us a ballpark idea of what's in there (maybe).

    Otherwise, don't overthink it, there are loads of decently priced options out there for an overwound tele pickup. My guess is that you might be happy with a normal tele pickup that has more turns of wire on it to have more mids and less high range.
    (The resistance of these pickups seems to be in the 7-9k range if it's made with 42awg, or 9-13k range if its made with 43awg wire.)


    A tele sized humbucker would also get the result you're after, but would change the character of the guitar quite a bit, which may or may not be what you want.

    I see you're in my area! Where are you?
    For European pickup makers, look at Q pickups, Pribora and Leosounds for example. They can probably all do something for you.
     
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  11. Wooly Fox

    Wooly Fox TDPRI Member

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    Try out caps and do pickup adjustments before changing the pickup.

    Also try an EQ pedal to help tame the shrill 1.5K to 3K Hz range, inexpensive GE-7 or MXR 10 Band would be ideal.
     
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  12. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Lots of great suggestions above me. My absolute favorite single-pickup guitar is a Les Paul Jr with a P-90. The Bootstrap Pickups' Pretzel bridge p/up is the closest Tele-style I've found to a P-90. I love the sound, and received several nice comments at a gig last Saturday.
    That said, I also support "playing around" with the height adjustment of your existing pickup. It's amazing what a big difference that can make. ;)
     
  13. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Afflicted

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    When I think of a guitar with good 'mids' sound I don't immediately think of an Esquire or a Telecaster. Maybe an SG would better fit the bill, or a Tele with humbuckers?
     
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  14. Boreas

    Boreas Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have the same guitar and the same issue. I rarely play in the "bridge" position because it is so harsh. BUT, I only play in my living room. This guitar and pickup were not designed for living room noodling. It is a tool to effectively cut through a band mix on stage. I don't play it much for that reason. I am more interested in the 3rd and 2nd switch positions. I get the most pleasing tones in position 2 with the tone rolled off somewhat. I will not swap the pickup, but am considering replacing the control plate with just a V and T pot and no switch, and storing the original. I may put no-load pots in both positions. When done, I am hoping I will bond with it more. Currently, it is like a Ferrari in my garage and I only drive offroad.
     
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  15. YoGeorge

    YoGeorge Tele-Afflicted

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    I've had a couple Esquires over the years; the setup I liked best was with a Quarter Pounder in the bridge. Reminded me of an old P90 in an SG Junior that I played in 1969-70.

    These days, I love the looks of an Esquire but I rely on a tele neck pickup more than I do the bridge pickup. Treble and muffled treble is not a very wide tonal palette--it's not the pickup but the point on the strings where the sound comes from.
     
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  16. John_B

    John_B Tele-Meister

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    Roman S is correct: the PreB-1.

    Naveed221is correct: the SD Broadcaster.

    I am sure any of Cavaliers more mid range Lions will sound great!

    Here is what I did a couple of days ago to add a little more mid range to my Bootstrap Extra Crispy- I paired it with a .068mF orange drop capacitor. Done deal for me! I love my sparkle and clean mid range A3 tone!
     
  17. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    SD Jerry Donahue is much like the PreB-1

    (I have both).

    Either is good, imo.
     
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  18. backporchmusic

    backporchmusic Poster Extraordinaire

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    I also have this Squier Esquire (mine is 60s version) and find it to be limited in tonal range, frankly uninspiring to play plugged in. No meat to it, and yet a dull bright sound. Wondering how much of this is the pickup and how much is the body wood (nato).
     
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  19. regularslinky

    regularslinky Tele-Afflicted

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    This^^^^^

    And if you want something even thicker and more "rock" DiMarzio's Chopper T is a great Tele-sized blade humbucker that retains a surprising amount of Tele-ness.
     
  20. mexicanyella

    mexicanyella Friend of Leo's

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    I will jump on top of the “adjust your pickup height and tilt first, might be all you need” pile.

    I have a one-HB Squier Bullet Strat, not an Esquire, but as received it sounded great unplugged; lively, zingy and sustainy, but like a harsh chainsaw plugged in. Really bright, spiky and weak in the lows.

    I ended up lowering the pickup quite a bit, farther on the treble side than the bass side, and it made a huge improvement. It sounds more balanced with dirty sounds and as a huge bonus, it brought out nice clean sounds too...not something I’d ever associated with one-HB rock guitars before.

    I have yet to play with pot values because I’m happy with it as is, but I finalized its transformation by trying a bunch of strings and listening carefully. I ended up liking a D’Addario set of .011s that is slightly heavier in the B and G strings and slightly lighter in the A string. That made a slight sonic improvement and a definite playing feel improvement.
     
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