van zandt stays, pretzel is gone

fender4life

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Well, i had the VZ bridge pickup now about a month and at first i thought it was too bright till i started tweaking my amp for it. Now i feel it's one of the best tele bridge pups i've used. very bitey and ric sounding with good tight lows. But i also had a pretzel bridge on order and i tried that one out a few days ago. I guess i should listen to my gut because i never seem to like anything wound with 43 gauge and the pretel was no different. Theres just something about that wire gauge no matter how it's wound or magnet type etc etc that i never seem to like like and can't put my finger on it. I had to try it tho because i love the pretzel neck and thought maybe they'd be a good match and sure enough i DO like the middle. But by itself the van zandt (A5/42/7.3k) just sounds much better. I also have a bootstrap A5/42/6.4k that was in there before the van zandt and the VZ sounds better. Just more alive and a bit brighter which must b due to the magnet supplier i would guess because at 7.2k it should be darker than the BS at 6.4 and same gauge.

Anyways i thought it was interesting to hear those 3 pickups and how they compared. The BS 6.4k one is now in my thinline tele and sounds great in that, and the pretel bridge is going back for exchange for a ex crispy bridge. I figure may as well try one of those since otherwise the pretzel would just rot away in a drawer forever. It's a similar wind to the newer fender nocater bridge pickups which i like so i thought i'd give it a try and maybe i'll prefer it in one of my 2 teles. But that VZ will definately stay in one of them. If you like a somewhat but not too much overwound A5/42 sound in a tele bridge, i think you won't likely find better then the flat pole true vintage VZ. I tried the vinateg plus with staggered too, but that one WAS just too bright to deal with for me. You can get either of them in flat or staggered and i chose flat for the true vintage knowing it would likely be less bright after my experience with the vintage +.
 

fender4life

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By the way, just got an email from Ryan and holy *&^%, their return policy is unbelievable ! He's sending me the extra crispy right away, no wait, and sending it in a box with a return label so all i have to do is put the pretzel in the box an drop it off at the post office. No extra shipping cost and i should have the crispy in a week or less ! Somebody needs to give this guy some sort of trophy or something for best customer service on earth ! Add to that killer prices and Bootstrap is unmatched by any business i have ever dealt with. No wonder they are so busy. Thanks Ryan !
 

fender4life

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It’s been a while but I’m pretty sure it was the true vintage telecaster set.
Like i said, i tried both and unless u r into extreme brightness unlike any tele bridge pickup i've tried, the TV is the way to go. And you are probably right that u had the TV because the TV is plenty bright but in a good way and easy to tweak. The vintage plus i just could not tame the top end, it was too much. Plus when i researched them i found reviewss aying the TV is great and not a single review praising the plus. To anyone considering them i'd say go for the TV for sure. I know pickups are subjective but i also know most don't want extreme brightness to a degree that makes other very bright tele pickups cower away with their tail between their legs. Also, if you want a great low wind A/42, the bootstrap is great and 1/2 the cost. It's a bit less bright but still plenty bright and sounds great. I put it in my other tele and it might even fit that one better because it's a maple ash while the one tha the VZ is in is darker soundiing rosewood alder.
 

fender4life

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@fender4life... how do the Bootstraps compare to the Fender '62 Custom bridge / Twang King neck pickup combination that you are fond of?
Neither is better, they are just different. The 62 has a sound that removes some of that brightness many teles are overboard on. And even if not it;s a great pickup for a all around tone thats never too much of anything or too little of anything else. The bootstraps,.....well, you gotta ask which model because i have had a few and they are all good, it;s just a matter of what fits. Lately my requirements have changed and i want more brightness so i have been using these A5's like the VZ and boostrap palo duro. And in the neck i have a pretzel in one tele and twang king in the other.

So what it comes down to is the spec WAY more then who made it. Assuming of course the materials used aren't cheap crap from asia that may compromise the result. IMO bootstraps are great and with the cost and return policy they are all i will likely buy anymore aside from van zandt which i have been a loyal user of for 30 years. (strat pickups) It's only now that i finally tried their tele pups. Theres just something i like about the VZ sound and they are the only pickups i've used where i think theres something different than most others. But again, not necessarily better, just better to me. (for THAT particular spec) But far as i'm concerned bootstraps are great not just for the money, but you simply have to get the right spec for your ear and your guitar. There in lies the dilemma. Gotta do the legwork and spend the $ till u find the one. Lastly, then 62 custom is a great all arounded that works in almost every guitar i have put them in unless it was a darker sounding tele like my 60s build. That one needs A5 IMO and the 62 was too dark in it.
 

ptrnyc

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Is there a way to tell the TV from the V+ visually ? When I got this tele the previous owner said the pickups were VZ but didn’t know which model. They sound awesome, whatever they are.
 

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fender4life

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Is there a way to tell the TV from the V+ visually ? When I got this tele the previous owner said the pickups were VZ but didn’t know which model. They sound awesome, whatever they are.
It can be tricky because the only real difference i think is the magnet stagger, and you can get either with flat or staggered by request. So i dunno what the difference is because i talked to him and he wouldn't reveal exactly what the difference is. I think he hides some of the recipe but they are both A5, both the same DCR, and as far as wire gauge i *think* they are both 42. I say i *think* because he wouldn't tell me that, yet i told him i never met a 43 gauge pickup i liked and that i was afraid to buy w/o knowing and he assured me in so many words not to worry regardless of which one i get. So he more or less seemed to be saying it's not 43 but wouldn't say it's 42. Unless he's using an uncommon gauge?

So what i think is the difference is the stagger and beveling of the magnets on the plus and flat unbeveled on the true vintage. Thats what the pics on the VZ site show too. But when u buy from the VZ site theres an option when buying to drop down a menu that allows you to choose flat instrad of stagger for the plus and stagger insteadb of flat for the TV. But then would't you just then be buying the other one if thats the only difference?? Bu the plus but with flat unbeeled mags and then wouldn't it just be the same pickup as the TV? So yours is a true vintage since the bridge has flat poles. Unless someone bought them and chose the non default magent. Unlikely tho. So quite surely true vintage.
 

fender4life

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Oh boy, the plot thickens....i just looked at the VZ site and even the true vintage pic shows staggered/beveled! Si dunno whats going on. But pretty much every review i have seen of the TV shows and often mentions flat pole. I still believe yours is a TV tho. I think the pic on the VZ site may be wrong or something.
 

ptrnyc

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They might have added the staggered option for TV recently. My guitar is from 2013 and I got it a few years ago, so most probably you're right.
 

Timbresmith1

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Oh boy, the plot thickens....i just looked at the VZ site and even the true vintage pic shows staggered/beveled! Si dunno whats going on. But pretty much every review i have seen of the TV shows and often mentions flat pole. I still believe yours is a TV tho. I think the pic on the VZ site may be wrong or something.
You can select flat polepieces. Same price.
 

kingvox

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Mar 23, 2017
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@kingvox thanks for this:
". Rob DiStefano's Velcro Tensioner tool is the greatest of all time"

So much better than the pinched paper towel method I have used.
Absolutely! And rock solid even at high RPM's. I've wound many pickups with 44 AWG at over 4,000 RPMs with that tensioner and zero issues. Rob does it all the time, multiple times a day.

I do like the locking pliers. They just feel great. But I've also been using a simple kerfing clamp as well these days. More compact. Just about any tensioning device will work, whatever your preference is. I don't know what it is about loop velcro but it does seem to be an excellent material for this. I've made a couple with felt that seem to work okay but I've had a couple snagging issues with felt.
 

musicalmartin

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I have VZ's in my to go Telecaster (see my avatar).Love em.The neck is very warm and jazzy and the bridge perfect for blues /Americana.I have it on a four way and it initially sound weak on the fourth switch position so I adjusted pickup height to dial in a great 4 way tone and found it also set all the pickups at a perfect height on all settings.
 

Wallaby

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This is my experience too. I *think* it might be that Velcro loop is composed of many little stiff fibers that resist "grooving" ( unlike like felt or leather or neoprene ) and is less like a fabric, but I'm not sure. I think it resist lateral pull better too, but not totally sure. Whatever it is it maintains tension more consistently than anything else I've tried.

I saw mention of it here, courtesy of @Rob DiStefano , and tried it, and it works great.


I don't know what it is about loop velcro but it does seem to be an excellent material for this.
 




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