What pickup really knocked your socks off?

Crawdady_54

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View attachment 897946
The Duncan Antiquity 59s on my D'Angelico. They actually make me excited to play humbuckers.

To me they totally redefined what humbuckers are capable of. They have big bottom, fat middle, and lively sparkle. Everything.

I've been using Di Marzio stacked single coils for 30 odd years on my strats, never looked back
 
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StrangerNY

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For a Tele: The Budz Danocaster set is just amazing. All the twang, none of the poke-yer-eye-out high end. Just a great modern Telecaster set, great for twang and rock.

Humbuckers: I've got a set of Arcane Triple Clones in my Trussart, and the level of definition I get out of them - even at high gain - is crazy. All the distortion you want is there, but you can hear every string. And I've got coil splits on each pickup that give me some great chimey tones. They cover an awful lot of sonic ground.

OTOH, the Seth Lovers in my Les Paul ain't chopped liver, either. :)

- D
 
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El Tele Lobo

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Oh...forgot to mention. For non-tele pickups:

Creamery humbucker-sized Charlie Christian. Just, sublime. Perfect for jazz. It's a looker too.
 

dukewellington

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I have a mystery, what looks like a Broadcaster or copy in the bridge of a parts tele I own. Big sound, big output, warm and clear, lots of mids, lots of honk and sass. Almost sounds like a Duncan 59 in the bridge position of an LP.
 

SparkleFart

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Since I had my MIJ telemaster (?) open to install a Lollar P-90, I decided to replace the bridge as well with a Lollar J-Street. It was a shot in the dark -- didn't really know what to expect.

jm.jpg


Well that J-Street is hotter than a jalapeño suppository. It's been about two years now & I really like it. Simply wasn't expecting that much heat & while it's still got some twang, it's certainly not traditional. It was a good surprise, & my luck doesn't usually fall that way!
 

MrClint

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This either gives me hope that some day I might be a good enough player to have a set of pickups that knock my socks off, or I'm happy that I'm not someone that needs to go on a never ending quest for the ultimate set. I've upgraded two sets of pickups so far because I wasn't getting the range of tone that I wanted. I guess that means I'm more interested in pickups that just work well enough. Getting my socks knocked off is a high bar for me at this point, and seems like it might even be a case of fools gold.
 

hotraman

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The filtertrons on my Gretsch Black Falcon.
They blend well with all of the other guitars players I gig with.
 

MilwMark

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I’ve come full circle to finding most stock pickups in most decent quality guitars aren’t worth changing.

In my “gotta upgrade the pickups” days, the one that blew me away is the Dimarzio Super Distortion.

Belying the name and everything I “know” about pickup constructing, they range from sweet and chimey to downright nasty with the guitar volume. Perfect Eq. Remarkable really. The neck pairing (Super 2? is wonderful as well well. (Very bright but never thin.)
 

teleman1

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Strat Tele Gibson humbucker guitars. You either have orignal PU's 30+ years to 50+ years or you have a boutique replica made by many. I wanted something Unique. I started to look at gold foil pickups, cept, I went with original 60's Teisco. THese were single coil with great tone. One day i was checking out Echo park guitars. Didn't think as much special about them as I did the pickups they used. ARCANE! GOLD COIL, not foil, but Coil. So killer that they found a place in the neck position of one of my strats. A ridiculously unique sounding killer pickup Its like a new discovery in my opinion.










 

Stratohacker

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Don Mare Hot Baklites

I had a set of twisted teles in my tele and I just didn't connect with them. I communicated with Don regarding what I was looking for and his recommendation was spot on. The pickups brought my tele to life. The bridge has just the right balance of bite and fullness to it - not shrill or ice picky but cuts through in just the right way. The neck is also warm and full sounding but not dull and muddy in the least.

It stopped my quest for the perfect (for me) set of tele pickups. Now my strat is another story.......
 

335merchant

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I was reading the A pickup you totally hated? thread, and it made me curious to know the opposite.

What's a pickup that really stood out?

Before you answer: I don't want this thread to be a list of your favorite pickups--there's already a bunch of those (e.g. any pickup recommendation thread).

My experience and expectation is that a pickup swap results in a minor change. I'm curious for instances that went way beyond that expectation.

I want to hear about experiences where it wasn't just incrementally better, but was like a whole new revelation about what a pickup could do. Be as specific as you can.
Harmonic Design Vintage Tele set. You get P90 growl in bridge but cleans up nicely for twang. So 2 pickups in one set
 

PARCO

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VA
I found a Roadworn Tele at a local store and the bridge pickup had a red bobbin. The pickup didn't exactly work right so the owner threw in a different pickup and gave me a break on the price of the guitar. I figured that I'd just swap out the bridge pickup and that would be it. When I opened up the Tele I thought I'd try reversing the wires and Lo and Behold the pickup worked perfectly and it was the best sounding Tele bridge pickup I had ever heard. I eventually found out that the maker of this pickup is a company called Cosmic Tone. I don't know much about them but this bridge pickup is the best I've ever heard.
 

TokyoPortrait

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My first tele … the original AVRI 62 Tele Custom pickups…

Hi.

I’m not entirely, utterly sure, but I am pretty sure my first Tele, an MIJ one, came with them. In the specs, it lists the pickups as US made “American Vintage '62 Custom Single-Coil Pickups.”

And yeah, they are, to use a word I think is way overused, awesome.

The bridge is a spangly, twangy thing, but not shrill and can get a little raunchy, and the neck is smooth and what I call ‘Tele warm,’ and quite clear and defined too. Really nice.

Ironically, I swapped the fantastic neck out for something else. Which I might talk about later.

Pax/
Dean
 

Timbresmith1

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Joe Barden pickups in a Tele.
Finally a Tele neck pickup that didn’t round everything off. Improved my playing a bunch by letting me hear the front of the note.
Tom Holmes humbuckers.
Like, right away. Responsive dynamics snd sweet midrange. Really well balanced pickup.
I first heard each of these pickups in the early 90’s. I’ll save the more recent for a separate post.
 

hopdybob

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netherlands
keystone middle pick of the strat set, never used a middle pickup that much.
microcoil tele neck with adjustable polepieces, what a warm dynamic sounding pickup
Bill & Becky L500XL, with rock a grand pickup, again dynamic a tight, even in parallel mode
an old, curved blade L500 i have in a neck position, always switch back while playing.
from the noiseless singles the L280 at neck. it has warmth (not as much as the microcoil tele) but dynamic and sparkling high

some never get bonded with Bill & Becky Wilde pickups because there is a expectation for a plug and play sound.
but when you invest in tweaking the whole chain, you have a versatile axe.
my main guitar, cort strat, with old pickups L500 neck, L220 blade middle and L90 bridge together with the G&L PTB tone system enables you to go a lot of places in sounds and voices.
but i know for sure, that has nothing to do with being old pickups where they ask crazy prices on ebay.
the new ones are even better like having options for parallel wiring, al kinds of Henry versions.
 

Timbresmith1

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This either gives me hope that some day I might be a good enough player to have a set of pickups that knock my socks off, or I'm happy that I'm not someone that needs to go on a never ending quest for the ultimate set. I've upgraded two sets of pickups so far because I wasn't getting the range of tone that I wanted. I guess that means I'm more interested in pickups that just work well enough. Getting my socks knocked off is a high bar for me at this point, and seems like it might even be a case of fools gold.
A lot of it is finding a good stylistic fit for what kind of music you play and the amp you prefer. Guys that play covers may settle for more generic pickups with no “Penalty”.
Guys that write may need a stylistic hump to push them into inspired territory.
I find that most pickups are quite usable. A couple have gotten ripped out of my guitars in less than 24 hrs.
One of them was a Tele bridge pup with an artists name on it. Just the most awful syrupy thing ever. No dynamic range- no spank or grind- just a polite monotone sort of vanilla ( Alnico 2 ?) I guess if someone played in a Seals and Crofts cover band...
 
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