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Upgrade MiM pickups to American?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by homerkp, Oct 20, 2020.

  1. homerkp

    homerkp TDPRI Member

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    So I've been playing a MiM Tele for a some 15 years. It's a 1988-2003 model. Last year I bought some Twisted Tele pickups and after a month or so I took em back out. Sometimes you need to lose something to realize its value. Anyway.

    I've been trying to sell the Twisted Teles for months now. I got an offer and I think the guy is willing to take em for €130. Then he mentioned that his Tele is a 2008 American Standard. So I said I'd be willing to trade the TT for his stock pickups.

    My question is, is it a good trade for me? I currently have a friend's American Tele that I borrowed specifically to see how much better the American Tele pickups are. I haven't had much time to try it but I jumped at the trade opportunity today. I'd appreciate some guidance.
     
  2. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Gold Supporter

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    I don’t think it’s a bad trade. You likely won’t be able to sell them for 130 pounds if you don’t like them, though. Hard to say if the pickups will be the same a your friend’s, though. Fender has used so many different pickups in their MIA guitars.

    But it will give you a chance to hear a different set in your Tele. If it were me, I’d do it just to hear the difference and not be worried about a small loss - but that’s me.
     
  3. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    AS pickups bridge pups up to 2012 ,when they were replaced by REAL tele bridge pickups,are very mediocre (IMHO they are awful), they lack a baseplate so they aren't even tele pickups they are shrill and thin sounding.

    But you prefer the cheap ceramic pickups of your MIM,also with no baseplate,to the Twisted Teles so YMMV...
     
  4. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

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    I'm not sure the year they changed but early MIM Teles came with Alnico pickups
     
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  5. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    "Upgrade" of 2006 when to the bar mags.
     
  6. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I think the stock MIM's from that time are a higher output, designed to do both clean, but also overdrive amps of that time. The twisted tele's are even higher output, so they might give up too much clean and sparkle for you. If so, then I think the Am Std pickups will be the opposite direction, probably lower output, cleaner than the MIMs. I'm a big fan of the ceramic MIMs. Once you know how to use them, they are very versatile. Its incorrect to think Fender used them to save money - it was to sell guitars, and in the showroom, they did flatter a lot of different styles, and amps. They still do.
     
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  7. TwoBear

    TwoBear Tele-Meister

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    My buddy Jim who is a very accomplished pro, had a made in Mexico pick up that he absolutely adored and would move from guitar to guitar. I recently picked up a squier Affinity I think it is and loved it in the store even though it was very inexpensive. It had stock pickups, and I think changed tuners and Bridge saddles. I've been kicking around a set, well a old Seymour brass plate Tele Bridge pickup (about 6.5k) wax dipped with rope around it, and the Chrome rhythm pickup is actually in my strat. I put the Seymour in the bridge and I just don't like it as much as the cheapy. Only problem is the stock pickup was microphonic. The stock rhythm pickup sound damn good too but they are both microphonic

    Right now I think I'm going to try potting the cheap ones, and slapping them back in. I've got an old humbucking Ibanez, I think it is, back from the lawsuit days? Super 70 or something like that in the rhythm slot, as the guitar was routed for either. It sounds pretty good but it overpowers the rear and I think the guitar sounded just great with stock pickups so I guess they're not always crap. Plus I pried off the old magnet and stuck a piece of bar alNico from one of my old humbuckers on the rhythm, so I need to give that a listen. But the takeaway is I guess good can come in all different shapes and sizes. Come to think of it my made in Japan yellow large headstock three bolt strat was one of my biggest kick myself in the butt sales. Everyone used to want to buy it off of me, even drummers that didn't play guitar... one guy just said I try to buy great instruments whenever I see them. I ended selling for 600 bucks to a young kid starting out... Both his mother and he were ecstatic, I think she helped him with the last hundred dollars, and it really inspired him to move to a next level, so that was cool. And saves me from kicking myself, ha!
     
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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Marketing and prices have convinced guitar players that ceramic and laminated wood are tonally inferior to the point they never even try them. Marketing teams love this control over the buyers and sell higher margin products to them, laughing about their manipulation all the way to the bank.

    The secret trick with ceramic magnet pickups is set the pickup heights low and use your ears. Those who use 'the specs' are setting ceramic pickups too high/too close to the strings because 'the specs' were made for weaker Alnico magnets. Strong ceramic magnet pickups need to be lower/further from the strings. Then all is ok.

    I place MIM dual bar ceramic neck pickups flush to the pickguard and then only raise the bridge pickup from the pickguard/bridge plate enough to get volume parity with the neck pickup when switching back and forth between them. On the neck pickups I find even an 1/8th inch height change can go from good to poor sounding so you just need to work with them.

    .
     
  9. homerkp

    homerkp TDPRI Member

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    My own tele has alnico v pickups. It's actually a 98-06 model. I should have mentioned that before. How do those compare? I guess the gist of what most people are saying is that it comes down to taste. I figured American made pickups would be superior to these alnico ones. However I don't have the ceramic ones that seem to have been used on other years.
     
  10. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    It's not really about "better" it's just about what you like. The pickups in your MIM have a certain sound, which you obviously do not hate. They might be just perfect for you. There are plenty of fancy boutique pickups which are made in exactly the same manner and using the same materials as your "cheap" mim pickups, by the way. Will you like these other pickups better in your guitar? Who knows? it sounds like a good trade for you, given your desire to swap pickups. But you'll have to install them to be sure.
     
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  11. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    +1 I stayed and was happy with my MIM stock ceramics for 10 years until I played a Baja and fell in love with the twisted tele/Broadcaster combo, but I actually played them first before making the swap. I think otherwise, it is a crapshoot if you are going to like them or not.
     
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  12. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    This might be true, but one thing to consider is that if you take a 6k AlNiCo Strat pickup and replace the pole pieces with steel, the inductance increases about 50% (the ceramic magnet having no effect), and so those stock MIM pickups are always "hot" unless they were to be underwound to around 5k. So it's possible that they are "hot", but might not have been intended that way. There are some MIM pickups wound up to 7k, which is probably deliberate.

    Also, I don't believe that hotter pickups these days serve the purpose of pushing the amp so much as attenuating treble, so that the distorted sound they produce will be smoother.
     
  13. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Friend of Leo's

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    I can see that, all of that. Attenuating treble is a good way to class a pickup for smoother distortion. I think mine are like 10k and 8k? I know that may not mean "hot" or higher output, but they do behave as if they are higher output, in they provide a strong signal, and don't require high gain to build volume, and therefore are pretty good at noise rejection for single coils. I've got low output humbuckers that aren't much quieter, if at all. PS - they also put out a strong enough signal, that I can operate the volume in the 1-2 range, and have plenty of volume. What exactly is the measurement, or units for pickup output?

    I'm a geek, but it might be useful for the OP, to determine if the MIMs are the ceramic ones, which are the ones I'd suggest are pretty versatile and do a convincing clean, and a smooth distortion? I'm not trying to skew a selection, but it can help the OP gage if he needs a hotter output, or a cleaner output?

    I better qualify something about my point of view: In a head to head, these MIMs might sound a little duller than lower resistance, brighter pickups usually associated with teles. But what I found, is treble is like ketchup. More isn't better, when its added to a band/burger, even if it tastes brighter/sweeter compared only with other pickups/ketchups. When added to a band/burger, the extra treble/sweetness not only overpowers the band/burger, but sounds/tastes like an icepick/syrup.

    Yet another PS - I roll the treble off a good bit, at my 1-2 volume setting.
     
  14. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    You don't mention your playing situation.

    Are you playing in a band at gig level volume? Dirty? Clean?

    Do you play mostly to recordings at "home" volume levels? Or completely alone?

    This makes a difference.

    A guitar played in the context of other instruments has completely different sound requirements than one that is played solo at home.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
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  15. 8trackmind

    8trackmind Tele-Afflicted

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    Thank you. I wish more people understood this fact of life.
     
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  16. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Holic

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    i think my 96 ceramic mag MIM strat pickups sound pretty phenomenal. i think the classic player jazzmaster pickups sound awesome too. darker and ballsier than vintage spec without being overbearing screamers. no one seems to complain about steel pole pieces when they're on humbuckers or p90s. "ugh, this junior could never cut through a mix!" - said probably no one. just sayin. if you only want a little change, then buy some alnico mags and slap them on the underside. all you need is glue.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  17. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    I loved the pickups in my 09 MIM std, but wondered how they would be with something "better" - so put in a set of Mojotone 52 Clones (A3). They don't sound any worse, but sure don't sound like $150 better!
     
  18. Telenator

    Telenator Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    Sorry for the typos. I fixed it.
     
  19. Matt Sarad

    Matt Sarad Tele-Holic

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    I didn't like the stock pups of my MIM Strat. I replaced them with the Duncan Everything Axe set. Very different sound. I gave the guitar to z friend. She replaced the Duncans with the Bootstrap '57 set which she loves

    My used MIM Tele came with Fender Noiseless
    Pups. Lifeless junk. I replaced them with Harmonic Design. Tremendous improvement.
     
  20. homerkp

    homerkp TDPRI Member

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    Musekatcher:

    I don’t think mine are ceramic, as it doesn’t seem to mention it in the specs which I pulled from this same site:

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/mim-standard-tele-changes-2000-2010.245204/



    Telenator:

    At home I’ve consistently found a sound I like. In bands I was always struggling though. I used to feel a lack of clarity on the neck, especially if I rolled the treble off to cut the bridge shrillness. That’s why I got the Twisted Teles, but although the neck was brighter, I felt it had less soul, and the bridge forget about it. It had none of the menace of the original bridge, was just louder. I also battled “thinness” quite often.

    I had stopped playing in bands for a year or so. I had a small gig the other day with just a bass player and a drum machine, and my guitar sounded so small and thin. I had my Superchamp X2 at 2/3 volume plus some line-out to speakers. I figured I would up the mids via Fuse but the app stopped working, making the mids inaccessible. So now I added an EQ boosting the low mids to the pedal chain.

    I’m gonna try it in rehearsal today since I have another gig Sunday. Again, small.
     
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