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What style of music and type of pickups do you play?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by hawk45, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. loopfinding

    loopfinding Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 19, 2011
    europe endless
    1. I play everything except like higher gain metal

    2. Depends on what the music calls for

    3. I have pickup rolled a bunch and find it’s less of a big deal than people think (within types, changing types is a different story). Certain pickups work with different amps. Some pickups are just unsalvageable, too overwound and muddy. I’m not a big fan of humbuckers but I use them sometimes. All you need is something that “works,” and then adjust height and amp to taste from there. I’m usually fine with what’s in the guitar unless I’m going noiseless. Then I have to find the least humbucker-y set.

    4. the only alternative wiring I really mess with is 50s wiring or a bass cut. Series is too subtle to go to the trouble. I think coil splits sound terrible.

    5. I only change pots as necessary for the pickup. If it’s noiseless singles I’ll sometimes go for 1 meg. But I usually just use 500k on most things. It’s a fine tuning thing on a set that already works.
  2. middy

    middy Friend of Leo's

    Apr 28, 2010
    I’ll fill out your survey for $5.
    PM me for PayPal info.
  3. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Mar 21, 2003
    Near BWI Int'l
    I mostly play rock, but also dabble in some surf/garage, and maybe blues-rock, when I'm not burnt out on it (still recovering from overdoing it in the 90's - 00's).

    I'll occasionally try to fake my way through some classic metal (70's - 80's), but do that pretty poorly, and without using the proper equipment for it.

    And as much as I might like listening to jazz or country, my brain and fingers don't seem to be made for actually playing it.


    I'd say that at least 60% of the time, I've probably got at least a slightly dirty tone going on. 20% of the time it's fairly clean, and 15% of the time it's fairly overdriven. The remaining 5% is for very overdriven, but not what the metal guys would consider to be high gain, especially since part of it is also more just old school fuzz tones.


    I've primarily played Teles for the past couple of decades. Prior to that, I primarily played Strats or Strat-types of guitars (going back to the mid-80's). Prior to that, I played cheap non-brand name guitars, the first of which was a Harmony copy of something loosely like an ES335.


    In retrospect, maybe some of my guitars came with decent stock pickups, but I'm a tinkerer at heart. I've also gotten incomplete/'just parts' stuff, so I had to make decisions regarding the pickups, pots, switches, etc.

    With Strat pickups, I'm pretty easy to please. Anything that's fairly similar to what Fender provided in the 50's - 60's will work for the neck position. I like something fatter and thicker for the bridge, but not to the point that it's like a SD Quarter Pounder or Hot Rails. I don't use the middle pickup, and will rewire a Strat with a 3-way, with a tone control for the bridge.

    With Tele pickups, I don't need the bridge pickup to typically be hotter/fatter like I do with Strats. And originally, I'd put a Strat pickup in the neck position, because I couldn't find Tele neck pickups that were bright and clear enough. Since then, I've found some Tele neck pickups that are bright and clear enough, or maybe my tastes have simply changed a bit.

    Despite having some non-Fender'ish guitars here and there, I haven't really dabbled with many other types of pickups, except for humbuckers. And other than just for basic rock stuff, I don't really find humbuckers to really work for my needs, especially the neck pickup, which never seems to be bright or clear enough.


    Since a decent percentage of what I play is rock on the bridge pickup, I've built a few Esquire'ish guitars in the past 3 - 4 years. In these instances, I seem to prefer a hotter/fatter Tele bridge pickup, probably because I'm looking for just a bit more of what I consider to be a LP Jr sound, even though I have to go by memory regarding what they sound like. Or IOW, if I've ever had a guitar with a real P90 in it, I can't remember it.


    Regarding pots and all of that stuff - I tend to just stick with the intended pot values that the pickups call for. I don't ever use no-load pots or anything like that. I almost always use a treble bleed cap on my volume pots, but it's on the smaller side (as small as I can make it), so that it's a lot less overt. The only unorthodox thing I do with the guitar electronics is to use a lower-valued tone cap of .01uF, because I like that you can cut the tone knob way back and have things not be so muffled and dark sounding. And IMO, it tends to work better for 'woman tone' on the neck pickup, and is even capable of a sort of cocked wah sound (when completely turned down) on the bridge pickup.
  4. Ritchie Rooster

    Ritchie Rooster Tele-Meister

    Feb 12, 2011
    Hotchkiss CO
    I play Classic rock, Ska, and old school Rhythm 'n Blues. The amp, a VOX AC30 with a MXR Micro Amp. The amp was pretty much set at 3, (the brilliant, and Tremolo channels tied together). Pickups have been Seymour Duncans. (Before the were given all the fancy names!) The guitar, (for recording and touring) was a 1967 Telecaster Custom, with double binding!
  5. MyLittleEye

    MyLittleEye TDPRI Member

    Dec 28, 2019
    London UK
    I'm mostly Blues
    I think the Boss Blues Driver BD-2 is a great place to start. At low gain it nails the scraggy vintage blues tone I relish but howls like on wolf on high. The gain has a nice organic feel; breakup responds really well to pick dynamics and it sounds good throughout its range. I own the sonically indistinguishable Behringer BO100 clone since I don't need road robust hardware but I'd upgrade to the BD-2 Waza before I'd consider an alternative OD now. My previous ODs are pretty much relegated to the shelf.
  6. lmjmitchell

    lmjmitchell Tele-Meister

    Oct 23, 2019
    1. Classic & Modern Rock. Surf. A tiny bit of country.
    2. Mostly clean.
    3. I think the dual P90 pickups in my Revstar do everything well.
    4. I keep everything stock. If I don't like the pickups, I won't buy it.
    5. Nope. All of my guitars are completely stock with the exception of maybe adding locking tuners.
  7. Robert H.

    Robert H. Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Jul 28, 2005
    N. Cal.
    1960’s R&B, Blues, Jazz ( If the stars align). I play clean with reverb and occasional overdrive. No pedals. And I’m in love with Lollars. Imperials and Regals (In a Tele Thinline). I have one very old Tele with an incredible microphonic pickups. And no 1 Meg pots for me. Ever.
  8. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 29, 2007
    Manassas Park, VA
    I play all kinds of really old music, I guess. ( say from the '50's-'70's?)
    So this means old R&R, rockabilly, Blues in different styles, funk, Country, Surf some Jazz.

    So with the exception of a dedicated fuzz tone on some '60's songs, I never get too far from a Clean guitar tone into a clean ( Fender/Vox) amp.

    I think my dirty tones ( from a few favorite OD pedals) are cleaner than many players' clean sounds- but I'm never 100% crystal clear either- usually a bit of an edge.

    * I think the Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers, or say Skynyrd guitar sounds are as distorted as I get, and ALL with a much smaller 'soundscapes' ( small room gigs)

    I only play one electric at a gig, and since my sets have a lot of variety, having great sounding pickups in all positions is more important to me than the actual guitar I chose to play.

    So for me it's a Strat, Tele, Danelectro ( all with call them 'vintage style' single coils ( nothing boutique or hot), an an Epi SG with pretty nice PAF style humbuckers, with coil taps- an insanely versatile guitar for me!

    ( I own just one of each guitar)
  9. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Mostly kinda roots stuff, classic and indie type country sounds, little blues Little Rock. Some 50s rockabilly.
    Mostly cleanish, sometimes a bit of gain. But never high gain.
    I’ve had great pickups from different brands, as long as it’s not overwound or hot it will probably be fine. Amps have tone stacks. I can play any style of music on any normal output pickup.
  10. Ricoblues

    Ricoblues TDPRI Member

    Jan 20, 2015
    Canary Islands
    At the moment I've only my own signature luthier telecaster with original handmade pickups (from the same luthier). They are single coil with bar and are Alnico V with fat but clear sound. Normally I play Blues and Smooth Jazz with clean or little overdriven sound, but I love to study chicken picking (the bridge pickup is very good for this).
  11. cousinpaul

    cousinpaul Friend of Leo's

    Jun 19, 2009
    Nashville TN
    Blues, rock, Americana

    Tele with Tex Mex set

    Strat with 54's in neck and middle, Dimarzio HS-2 wired single coil in bridge position.
  12. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 2, 2003
    jazz, blues, country, classic rock, modern rock
    Hot pickups, mostly single coil
  13. JanOak

    JanOak TDPRI Member

    Dec 1, 2020
    Portsmouth, England
    1. Sort of Americana/alt country.

    2. Clean to mid gain overdrive both from pedals and cranked amp if I can get away with it.

    3. Lollar Blackface in my strat, Radioshop ID 50's set in my Tele. Both have excellent clarity, especially under drive. I also have a Gretsch with filtertrons.

    4. I always put four-way pickup selectors on my Tele's as I like the series/parallel option.

    5. Whatever came in my guitars.
  14. LoveHz

    LoveHz Tele-Holic

    Nov 21, 2014
    Kent, UK
    My main band (when we're allowed out these days) is a five-piece '50s and '60s outfit. My main go-to guitar is a Strat with two sort-of Gretsch-type humbuckers -- lighter in tone than a full-on PAF but not as twangy as a proper Filterton. They cover all the bases I need to cover.


    But I always take something else along for the ride -- handy if I break a string or just fancy a change. Could be just about anything really -- a Tele, Gretsch 5420, Hamer sunburst double cut or a more orthodox Strat. I like 'em all.
  15. Masmus

    Masmus Tele-Meister

    Feb 21, 2018
    San Jose
    70’s, 80’s rock

    1978/79 Dimarzio fat strats

    Dirty Works small humbuckers (original company for EMG) very rare

    Wizz PAFs

    Original Broadcaster

    1966 P90’s
  16. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

    Apr 14, 2011
    The Land of 10,000 Lakes
    1955 Super 400 Ces stock "Staple" pickups.

    Jazz, Rock-a-billy, Jump, Swing, and Country.

    For Rock, a parts tele with S.D Broadcaster pickups.
  17. PeteWaller

    PeteWaller Tele-Meister

    Aug 23, 2020
    Blues with twisted tele pickup in the neck or a strat pickup in the neck. Always messing ....here is the latest incarnation of the neck pickup! 20201116_110142.jpg
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