Upgrading Pickups And Vibrato

Discussion in 'Squier Tele Forum' started by texasspecial, May 11, 2021.

  1. texasspecial

    texasspecial NEW MEMBER!

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    So I have a 2019 Affinity Telecaster. I am looking to put a b5 type tremolo/vibrato on it but don’t have the money for a genuine bigsby. What are some good alternatives Also I don’t like the sound of the neck pickup it sounds to muddy and unclear, I’ve been looking for new pickups and decided on the Texas Specials by Fender. Should I Only Upgrade the Neck Pickup Or Replace the Bridge too?
     
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  2. Telecentric

    Telecentric Tele-Holic

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    I don't think there is an affordable alternative to the B5. It costs more than the affinity. Pickups are very much a personal preference thing, and 'most' neck pickups will be darker and muddier than the bridge. Swap the neck if you want, see how it sounds, you can always do the bridge later. Before doing either, I would try adjusting pickup height. You can raise the neck until it sounds best, then lower the bridge to match.
     
  3. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    The imported B50 licensed (discontinued?) and the B500 licensed are less expensive than the actual B5 but not by much. On a budget, one can buy what are often referred to as "Chigsbys" - imported knock-offs without the Bigsby name - for around $30 on Amazon or eBay. I have purchased and installed two of these in the past and find they are a good value - and I have had no issues with them. It appears to me they are made in the same factory as the B50/500, but the "Bigsby" logo has been removed. On an Affinity, I wouldn't spend the extra coin for something with the Bigsby logo - especially if you are not certain if you will like it. But not everyone agrees that cheap Asian knock-offs are morally justified.

    If you need an affordable brand-name alternative, you could look at the Moslike family of bridges. I have one on a DuoSonic and in many ways it is superior to a Bigsby - lighter, smoother, and simpler to string. It did require a neck shim because of the tall bridge used. I prefer Jag/Jaz bridges, but decided to give this roller a try. It is so smooth, I left it be.

    https://performancemusic.co/product-category/guitar-parts/vibratos/

    20200923_091132.jpg Tremolo-MosLike-Style-600x600.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2021
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  4. Boreas

    Boreas Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Have you tried adjusting the pup heights? You could try a 500k V pot which should brighten things up. $10 - cheaper than pickups!
     
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  5. GuitarsBuicks

    GuitarsBuicks Tele-Afflicted

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    I can't help you for the vibrato/tremolo unless you just want to search amazon and eBay.

    If you get the pickups as a set I would always replace both as they are often designed to be used in combination with each other. Usually the pickups that come together in a guitar from Fender are designed under the same principle. For pickups you have several other options as well depending on what you are going for. I tend to gravitate toward Alnico III pickups rather than Alnico V's as the necks tends to sound muddy, and the bridges don't have that sound. To me the Alnico III's have a fuller tone and range with that often described "it just has more" aspect to them.

    I recommend the Bootstrap "Original Recipe" or "Original Recipe Extra Crispy" set. I can only speak for the Original Recipe set, but I can say that they are some of the best Telecaster pickups I have ever played. I also highly recommend the '51 NoCaster sets from the Fender Custom Shop, as I have that set in my American Standard and I play it all the time. Its actually my main gigging electric at the moment. The '51 NoCasters are a really nice thick tone. They have that spank and snarl everyone always claims to search for. The neck is a little bit Strat-like but also telecaster neck like. the bridge is just that a telecaster bridge pickup. The "Original Recipe" set I have in a parts-caster I built last winter. They are easily on par with the best telecaster pickups Fender has to offer. Although, the original recipe set's bridge pickup is a little cooler wound than the neck, which is a good thing while still retaining the best of Telecaster tones when its on its own.
     
  6. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm in the same boat as you about the neck pup. I was just going to post something about it.

    Mine is an Affinity made in 2014 in China. I've had the neck in two different positions and I'm not sure it makes that much of a difference. I'm not sure I want to touch it cuz the bridge sounds super good to me now. And the two combined sound real good. But I'm afraid to mess with the mojo of those two settings.

    I used to play the neck almost exclusively in the 90's when I had a mexican Tele. I think for sure had a better sound than the neck on this one. But for me the bridge sounds way better on this Squier. Either that or my tastes have changed. LOL.

    I think I'm just gonna leave it and use my Strat for a neck pup sound. Which I'm starting to love. For a long time I've been like, meh, it sounds too much like Jimi Hendrix. But I think when I put the middle on the neck, it works better.....
     

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