Tone Specific pickups

Antigua Tele

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 2, 2014
Posts
3,255
Location
west coast
I found their marketing suspect, and I was dubious. When I saw a giveaway for a set of TS pickups, I entered on a whim, and, surprisingly, I won. I got the set, and they're quite good. I have no qualms about playing them and I like them a lot. I have no financial investment in them, and no emotional investment in them. However, when asked I have been hesitant to say what brand they are, and even when I've done so I felt I had to mention the marketing. It's a lot to overcome in a world where countless builders exist and offer more disclosure with fewer mysteries.

Thanks for your insight, ten day old account.
 

wraub

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2021
Posts
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US
Thanks for your insight, ten day old account.
Yes, I don't post very much, but the account is over a year old. I have a post in the intro section, too.
Everyone here was new, once.

Does that invalidate my opinion?
 
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Chipss36

Tele-Holic
Joined
Feb 20, 2020
Posts
635
Age
59
Location
Texas
Ahhh the internet and pickups….
and people who judge tone, based on money, yet fail at that also,
or a winders experience, that holds have no value? or is the same as gfs, or bootstraps, as is all the rage. The feel of a pickup is a thing only people who have played a set of great pickups even understand. if you know, you know. I do know, no bootstrap set has “it”.

if you can not afford a top shelf winder, that is fair, we have all been in that spot, with few exceptions, however if you make a judgement call of tone based of price, that is not a tone judgment, it is a value to you tone judgment.

speaking of value, my Virgil arlo pickups was “ripped off for buying“ according to the internet are now worth more that the guitars they are installed into. Clearly I was not ripped off, and could make a hefty profit if I sold them, I will not, they are that good.

my Ellis, Holmes, don mare, pickups all sell for more than I paid for them, how much is a used set of bootstraps worth? Or sd, or what ever off the shelf brand people claim to be “ just as good as.”
seems I made sound and wise investments in pickups, ones that yield a net profit if I choose to sell them, I will not, they sound and feel like what I was after, mission accomplished, I was not looking to make profit, a simple search on reverb will back up exactly what I am saying here.

anyone claiming a pickup is nothing but the sum of its parts, is ignorant of a top winders experience, the Reason top winders have long wait times, and high prices is not due to “ ripping off people“ or even marketing, who here has even heard of Ron Ellis? Be honest, and the fact they sell for far more that purchase price puts an absolute end to the whole “ getting ripped off part” it is an false and backwards idea, not based on tone or money, and usually by people who , one are impatient, can not afford , can not wait, and place zero value on a winders experience, as value. Usually have not used the product they are placing judgment on, nor have they even a sound and wise benchmark of what good tone even is. It’s truly based on ignorance, not sound thinking money wise, or tone wise.

the other problem with internet chatter and pickups, is what is a person using as a baseline of tone? A vintage tele? A squire? What amps are they using? And on and on, what do studio musicians use short of real vintage pickups, what do people in the know do, when they have a vintage pickup fail, and need a rewind? What winder do they turn to? what do professionals track on daily? People can learn a great deal here. From professionals, who have access to instruments most do not, and have “ tone” evaluations, from other professionals, producers, tracking engineers….. not just some guy on the internet who owns a mim Tele, that is “ just as good as” or what ever.
using real vintage instrument , also amps as a baseline, is wise, not just the best you can currently afford, or some value judgment based tone idea. Everyone is in a different spot, take a trip play the real thing, it’s a humbling experience, and will serve you well.
a good vintage instrument has value due to tone and feel, it holds that value for that reason. It is used in tracking by professionals daily for that reason.
To be fair it also is in limited supply.

all this said, I have a major issue with tone specific, and the marketing of what was once Virgil arlo, they took that brand, and killed it with truly outrageous prices, well above and beyond anything ever done by any top winder, I will never buy a TS product due to this, and shame on them for doing so. I for sure do not recommend any TS, with a VA label, other winders can reach this level. And not be 2k or whatever they charge now. I have 2 sets of VA white labels, and paid a fair price, and waited my time in line, for them, no one is claiming the TS tan box’s, version is in anyway better. Rethink this TS! That is truly a flat out money grab, not based in anyway of actual tone.
 
Last edited:

Antigua Tele

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 2, 2014
Posts
3,255
Location
west coast
Yes, I don't post very much, but the account is over a year old. I have a post in the intro section, too.
Everyone here was new, once.

Does that invalidate my opinion?
You're right I was off by a year, but you fit a suspicious trend of people coming out of the woodwork to come out in favor of these strange pickups, as if the heavens called out to you.
 

hopdybob

Friend of Leo's
Joined
May 28, 2008
Posts
2,390
Location
netherlands
Ahhh the internet and pickups….
and people who judge tone, based on money, yet fail at that also,
or a winders experience, that holds have no value? or is the same as gfs, or bootstraps, as is all the rage. The feel of a pickup is a thing only people who have played a set of great pickups even understand. if you know, you know. I do know, no bootstrap set has “it”.

if you can not afford a top shelf winder, that is fair, we have all been in that spot, with few exceptions, however if you make a judgement call of tone based of price, that is not a tone judgment, it is a value to you tone judgment.

speaking of value, my Virgil arlo pickups was “ripped off for buying“ according to the internet are now worth more that the guitars they are installed into. Clearly I was not ripped off, and could make a hefty profit if I sold them, I will not, they are that good.

my Ellis, Holmes, don mare, pickups all sell for more than I paid for them, how much is a used set of bootstraps worth? Or sd, or what ever off the shelf brand people claim to be “ just as good as.”
seems I made sound and wise investments in pickups, ones that yield a net profit if I choose to sell them, I will not, they sound and feel like what I was after, mission accomplished, I was not looking to make profit, a simple search on reverb will back up exactly what I am saying here.

anyone claiming a pickup is nothing but the sum of its parts, is ignorant of a top winders experience, the Reason top winders have long wait times, and high prices is not due to “ ripping off people“ or even marketing, who here has even heard of Ron Ellis? Be honest, and the fact they sell for far more that purchase price puts an absolute end to the whole “ getting ripped off part” it is an false and backwards idea, not based on tone or money, and usually by people who , one are impatient, can not afford , can not wait, and place zero value on a winders experience, as value. Usually have not used the product they are placing judgment on, nor have they even a sound and wise benchmark of what good tone even is. It’s truly based on ignorance, not sound thinking money wise, or tone wise.

the other problem with internet chatter and pickups, is what is a person using as a baseline of tone? A vintage tele? A squire? What amps are they using? And on and on, what do studio musicians use short of real vintage pickups, what do people in the know do, when they have a vintage pickup fail, and need a rewind? What winder do they turn to? what do professionals track on daily? People can learn a great deal here. From professionals, who have access to instruments most do not, and have “ tone” evaluations, from other professionals, producers, tracking engineers….. not just some guy on the internet who owns a mim Tele, that is “ just as good as” or what ever.
using real vintage instrument , also amps as a baseline, is wise, not just the best you can currently afford, or some value judgment based tone idea. Everyone is in a different spot, take a trip play the real thing, it’s a humbling experience, and will serve you well.
a good vintage instrument has value due to tone and feel, it holds that value for that reason. It is used in tracking by professionals daily for that reason.
To be fair it also is in limited supply.

all this said, I have a major issue with tone specific, and the marketing of what was once Virgil arlo, they took that brand, and killed it with truly outrageous prices, well above and beyond anything ever done by any top winder, I will never buy a TS product due to this, and shame on them for doing so. I for sure do not recommend any TS, with a VA label, other winders can reach this level. And not be 2k or whatever they charge now. I have 2 sets of VA white labels, and paid a fair price, and waited my time in line, for them, no one is claiming the TS tan box’s, version is in anyway better. Rethink this TS! That is truly a flat out money grab, not based in anyway of actual tone.
somehow, but maybe i am wrong, i read that things like real vintage, real pro winders etc. is something that is unquestionably better and those that have not had the pleasure owning those things and are negative about it by saying pickups are just combo of parts are just jealous.

but i could be that my brain conversion of the written English text is way of ;-)

a guitar is nothing more than a construction of wood and other materials, just like pickups are.
the so called vintage instrument, say fender tele's were made from different kinds of quality parts, because Leo Always wanted to go as cheap as possible, That was he main reason for change specs. (and off course not only Fender but Gibson to)
so were they better? who knows? they were cheaper to produce so the profits were higher.

that many well known, 'godly players', put them on the map and players are so conservative make those old instrument expensive, even when a guitar is not sounding that great, its a vintage expensive piece of parts.

but the quality of all that money can buy depends on only 1 thing.
the quality of your ears.
and what your ears may find grand sounding, someone else may find it dull, harsh, etc.

the only worth wild is when you have some gear that challenges you to play and have fun doing so.
That gear is priceless ;-)
 

wraub

TDPRI Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2021
Posts
65
Age
42
Location
US
You're right I was off by a year, but you fit a suspicious trend of people coming out of the woodwork to come out in favor of these strange pickups, as if the heavens called out to you.

Yeah, I've seen that in TS threads, but I am not associated with any of that. I have no affiliation with TS or anyone associated with TS. I'm just a guy with some gear and some years in the music game, making noises with wood and wire, my post here was just unfortunate timing. I'm on a lot of forums and when TS pickups come up I usually avoid the subject, or mention the pickups with a disclaimer about their marketing, which I find really silly and embarrassing. If a product is good, it'll sell with some push. I think it was an attempt to add sizzle to the steak, as it were, but definitely not a sound business decision. I'm generally pretty averse to hype and sales tactics anyway, but anyone who is would have questions that TS couldn't (wouldn't) answer.

The set I have is good, as I said, but not so much that I'd pay the asking price for them- or anything close to that, honestly. My most expensive other pickups cost less than $200 for a set (Hi-A/Bartolini, Velvet Hammer, Seymour Duncan) and they're pretty great imo. Some outliers aside, most pickups generally aren't all that complicated to build, and unless chasing specific vintage parts and values they needn't be especially expensive imo.

The pickups themselves, at least the ones I have, are actually pretty good, a neck HB with clarity and no mud, a bridge HB that's distinct and clear without shrillness, and solid tone at all settings. All the other shenanigans aside, that's still true. The pricing and the marketing rightly will keep them out of many hands, so I thought the sound was worth mentioning.
 
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Tenderfoot

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 8, 2014
Posts
1,352
Age
75
Location
Katy, TX
Last week I got a new unused set of the TS 52 Twang telecaster pickups for $250 shipped (TS price is $396 Plus Tax & Shipping). I will be installing them in my FCS Tele sometime next week when I get it back from a local Fender authorized service center who's doing a warranty fix. At that time, I will compare the original 51 Loaded Nocaster pickups with the TS 52 Twang set. Insofar as price, I have no issue putting $200 - $500 pickups into my FCS Tele that cost $4100 before tax when I got it last July (current price is $4300 plus tax). Quality deserves Quality IMHO.
 

timbgtr

Tele-Meister
Joined
Mar 21, 2012
Posts
341
Location
Maryland
TV Jones Classic + Fralin Tele Vintage bridge (see avatar) works fine for me for half that price.
 

tho618

Tele-Meister
Joined
May 25, 2012
Posts
117
Location
Swampscott, MA
I won’t buy from winders that don’t list pup specs. How do you know what you’re getting as a starting point for your guitar and rig?
 

JIMMY JAZZMAN

Tele-Holic
Joined
Mar 26, 2019
Posts
988
Age
71
Location
Baltimore
I think it's tone specific songs, but I could be wrong. See: Honky Tonk Woman, Midnight Rambler,
Hot Rod Lincoln, Hey Bull Dog.
 

Antigua Tele

Friend of Leo's
Joined
Jun 2, 2014
Posts
3,255
Location
west coast
A lot of people shop to price. You can have the same pickup cost $50, $150 and $500, and some people will buy the $500 one because they don't know much about pickups one way or another, they just know they want "$500 worth of guitar pickup" for their guitar. Knowing that they're all the same under the hood, I can sympathize with the idea that it might feel wrong to put a $50 pickup into a $3,000 guitar. It's a very emotion based hobby, because so few of us "need" guitars so much as want them. That's why some people aren't happy with capacitors that cost less than $20 a piece. It used to be more about the vintage, but more often it just seems to be about price point.
 

GratefulDean

TDPRI Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Posts
10
Age
50
Location
Rocky Mountains
I hear they are good pickups but, unless I suddenly become wealthy, I probably won't ever have those in any of my guitars. But, I have it on good authority that if I buy something expensive I will love it like one of my children, regardless of how much it may let me down.
 

Tenderfoot

Tele-Afflicted
Joined
May 8, 2014
Posts
1,352
Age
75
Location
Katy, TX
Last week I got a new unused set of the TS 52 Twang telecaster pickups for $250 shipped (TS price is $396 Plus Tax & Shipping). I will be installing them in my FCS Tele sometime next week when I get it back from a local Fender authorized service center who's doing a warranty fix. At that time, I will compare the original 51 Loaded Nocaster pickups with the TS 52 Twang set. Insofar as price, I have no issue putting $200 - $500 pickups into my FCS Tele that cost $4100 before tax when I got it last July (current price is $4300 plus tax). Quality deserves Quality IMHO.
Update.

Well, the TS 52 Twang set is not bad, and sounds very close (direct into my 65PRRI) as in this video:

In comparison to the FCS HW Loaded 51 Nocaster Set that came with my tele; they sound very close with TS pickups having a slightly more compressed tone and more touch sensitive. Compared to a set of Onamac Windery Nocaster Broadcaster set previously installed in my tele, the twang is crisper and less shrill. The TS52 comes close to matching a set of Don Mare pickups I have. The DM set consists of a 54 neck, and the bridge is an underwound Bakersfield. Either of these sets are equal in tone btw DM does have the reputation as a premier winder and cost less (expect 6 months wait time however).

The build quality is excellent. The lead wire is waxed and twisted for easy installation and the ends are precut with just enough exposed bare wire to solder to the selector switch and grounding point with a very clean and professional appearance.

Insofar as value. At the price I paid, I feel I got my money's worth in spades! Would I pay $396 + Tax & Shipping? If I haven't already bought them and went by the (majority of negative) reviews - No! So, would I now buy a second set at the retail asking price? Well, that remains to be determined; I need to see how they perform during this weekend's jam session. For now they are keepers.

While TS doesn't publish specs here is the readings, I got insofar far as ohms of each pickup. If, as TS states, they have a tight tolerance between pickup builds, then other sets of the Twang 52 pickups should be close to these readings.

Hope this helps those wondering about Tone Specific pickups.

IMG_5459.JPEG IMG_5460.JPEG
 




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