Upgrades to 1999 MIM tele?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by poolpog, Feb 28, 2020.

  1. poolpog

    poolpog TDPRI Member

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    Hi. I just bought a 1999 MIM tele. I *think* it is a "classic 50's" tele. It was in nearly new condition (like seriously, it looked like it had just had the plastic protection pulled off it and I was confused whether the "9" in the serial number meant 2019 or 2009 -- but nope, it really meant 1999).

    It plays and sounds great. small radius, chunky "50s" neck, and very standard-sounding tele pickups. It is basically exactly what I wanted in a telecaster.

    The same store I bought it at also carries new Suhr Classic T's and also had a used Am Standard tele. Both of which I played for comparison. The Am Standard frankly didn't sound as good. (It played nice, and had a modern neck, though) The Suhr sound, however, totally blows away any other tele I've ever played, period.

    So, with that in mind, I was wondering:

    * If I put suhr pickups in this MIM tele, would that improve the sound? (mind you, this tele already sounds *exactly* like you'd expect a classic tele to sound)
    * If I put a better bridge on, would that improve the sound/playability? (The bridge is like, "ok")
    * Is there another adjustment I could make?

    I don't *need* to adjust anything, but, you know, i like tinkering.


    Thanks
     
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  2. Si G X

    Si G X Tele-Holic

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    Looking at the picture.. I would just leave it alone.

    Looks and sounds like a classic tele isn't a bad thing.
     
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  3. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    The Suhr pickups are stronger, around 8.1, and noiseless. They sound great, as you would expect from a guitar just a hair under $3k.

    But, your Classic 50's is pretty good at getting a classic Tele sound. You might try tinkering with the pickup heights to see how that works for you. A boost/EQ pedal can also give you a lot more tonal differences without changing your pickups.
     
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  4. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

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    I always give the stock pickups a chance for a month or two before pulling them. You may fall in love with the tone you've already got. Classic Series guitars are pretty nice right out of the box.

    No experience with Suhr pickups.
     
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  5. Kreepy

    Kreepy Tele-Meister

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    First thing I would try swapping if I was swapping parts on that guitar is brass saddles vs the steel ones. Congratulations on your purchase. That's a beautiful instrument.
     
  6. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    If you already have the Suhr pickups, swap ‘em...if not, leave it be.

    nice guitar, BTW.
     
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  7. tah1962

    tah1962 Tele-Afflicted

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    FWIW...I have a Fender American Deluxe Tele, and a Suhr Classic T Pro. The FADT sounds more like a traditional tele. The Classic T Pro is not as present and sounds a bit warmer than the FADT. I love them both and I’m happy they don’t sound exactly the same! If you can afford it, I’d recommend keeping your current tele and adding the Classic T Pro to your collection.
     
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  8. beagle

    beagle Friend of Leo's

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    Leave it alone for at least 12 months. By then you might have learned how to get the guitar to sound like you want it to.
     
  9. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Friend of Leo's

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    See if you can get along with it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    I bought my MIM tele new in '99. It's a standard. There was also one like OP's with the old bridge. I remember it sounded more traditional, but the output was weak in comparison. So I bought the standard. Not having grown up on twang, I was happier with the standard.

    I still have it and love it. But while it definitely does tele, it doesn't twang quite as much. I can see myself now getting a tele with a 3-bridge and traditional pups, as my tastes have evolved. YMMV.
     
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  10. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I like tinkering with guitars too. I have changed saddles, pickups, bridges, etc. on countless guitars to make them different, but not always better, necessarily. And I will keep doing this because it is fun and satisfies my curiosities :). Assuming the work is done carefully, there is nothing preventing you from going back to "stock" later. If you like to tinker, I say go for it!
     
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  11. poolpog

    poolpog TDPRI Member

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    Thanks for the advice! "Leave it alone for a while" sounds like pretty good idea.

    Mostly, I think I am just excited to have a new guitar and wanted to show it off/talk about it :)

    I already have a 1990 am tele deluxe plus but that guitar, while *great*, is not really "classic tele". I wanted a "classic tele"

     
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  12. poolpog

    poolpog TDPRI Member

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    ahm, hey, one more thing -- i paid $499 for it

    Good deal or not good deal?
     
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  13. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have a 90’s MIM tele that I picked up pretty cheap, and I have no doubt that there are better alternatives for every single part on it, but the thing just sounds EXACTLY like I wanted a tele to sound that I haven’t changed a thing. Gets some decent twang while still managing to channel some Keef as well as some honky blues with minimal amp-tweaking fuss. Live with it for a while to figure out what you want from it, then see what you need to get that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 29, 2020
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  14. Lies&Distortion

    Lies&Distortion Tele-Afflicted

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    Sounds like a good deal to me.
     
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  15. Fendereedo

    Fendereedo Poster Extraordinaire

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    I would do what @beagle says and leave it until you are used to it. Very nice guitar and welcome aboard. Great deal too.
     
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