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Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by nashsed, Oct 19, 2019.
Tonerider would be a good suggestion.
Artec pickups are well made and sound great, at least the ones I've tried have. Wilkinson stuff is generally good too. Trev doesn't put his name on junk.
You could do worse than scour Ebay for a set of Classic Vibe pickups. They're not particularly high output, not harsh, don't cause ear fatigue and often get 'upgraded' because that's what people do. Bargains can be had. I'd be quite happy to state the pickups in my Classic Vibe 50's Vintage Blonde are amongst the finest sounding I've heard. That guitar just plain sings! Note :- I did alter the heights and angles to balance them out. A 10 minute job.
Tonerider get much love from users too. There is a rumour that Classic Vibe pickups are actually Toneriders, and there are just as many voices quashing that rumour. Whatever, you don't need to spend a fortune on fine sounding pickups.
I'd agree with suggestions along the lines of A2 magnets or better still the suggestions for the Fender OV set which has A3 magnets in the bridge pickup.
There is a problem with asking for both lower output and warmer tone: lowering the output of a given pickup design creates brighter tone, and making that pickup have darker tone raises the output.
A2 magnets soften the tone a little and A3 softens the tone even more.
I would not want A3 or even A2 in the neck pickup because it is naturally dark, but we don't know much details about your bright tone issue.
If you find the neck pickup too bright, that may not be possible to fix with a pickup swap!
I can see wanting better pickups and choosing to replace both, but the neck tone not being too bright so much, more the bridge is too bright and the neck is just not very nice.
I would say out of hundreds of pickups I've used the Fender OV bridge is the most extreme combo of both dark and not too powerful.
I put that back in the box because I prefer more bite and cut, where it sounds a little soft on attack as well as tone, but that might be just what you want in your Tele.
For the neck I'm not certain since I play Esquires and really never use a neck pickup, because they are ALL too dark and muddy!
In general as I already said, a lower output pickup has brighter tone, but I'd say don't worry that a low output Tele neck pickup will sound too bright. If you but a really dark toned neck pickup it might be way too powerful to balance with any bridge pickup that isn't a high output pickup.
I'd try an OV set and see how that works!
If you find the Duncan A2 or I think the Jerry Donahue set that might be good as well, but I'm pretty confident that the OV bridge more dark and low output than the Duncan Jerry Donahue/ A2 bridge.
Another small suggestion in your tone quest: If you don't have a treble bleed in your guitar, use the guitar volume as a tone control.
Rolling the guitar vol back a little will warm up the tone without making it as muddy as rolling back the tone control.
Set the amp a little higher for the rolled back guitar volume.
You may also want to try a different tone cap value than stock when the guitar is apart for the pickup swap.
Conventional wisdom might assume a bigger value cap makes the tone darker when the pot is rolled back, but a smaller value cap (like .01 instead of .022 or .047) cuts at a higher frequency and allows the pot to be rolled back more, which gives you a more gradual treble cut so you have more range to work with than a bigger cap that gives you a muddy tone with a small turn of the pot.