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What's with Fender and twisted tele pu's?

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by pagedr, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. pagedr

    pagedr TDPRI Member

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    So I've been hunting around for a new high end Telecaster. Been looking at a bunch of boutique builders and lower tier/used custom shop, as well as some of the American Vintage Fender's that shops like Wildwood sell. On the Fender side of things, it seems like over 90% of the guitars I've been looking at on Reverb have some sort of Twisted Tele pickups. Is this a relatively new development or have they always been so "all in" on these? I was just surprised at the lack of diversity in pickups across the many different custom Teles they have out there. I'd hoped to find a guitar that I wouldn't have to swap pickups on at this price point, but it seems that's the route I'd have to go with Fender. No offense intended to those who like the Twisted Tele pickups either, I know many do, just not my cup of tea.
     
  2. blues

    blues Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I could be wrong but for what I understand the Wildwood spec Twisted Tele pickups
    are not the same as the set Fender sells.

    I have a set in my Wildwood Thin skin. I wish the bridge pickup was a bit less hot. It
    sort of reminds me of a P-90 at times.

    I play Tweed amps and I find I need to keep the tone knob all the way up with the
    bridge pickup. Or just a hair less.

    I'm on and off the fence about wanting to try something else. It took some
    time to get used to them though. Like I said I thought the Wildwood version
    is different.

    I think if your looking for other than Fender I would look into Budz. He will work
    with you to help find would you need.

    His purebred set is more articulate than the Twisted Tele set I have. Just a great
    Tele set. I have them in a different Tele.
     
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  3. Mr.Ike

    Mr.Ike Tele-Meister

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    They get a lot of love, just not from me either. Tried to enjoy them, but just not my cup of tea.
     
  4. pagedr

    pagedr TDPRI Member

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    Yeah there are definitely a few different versions out there - the standard ones, custom shop, custom shop Josefina, etc. From the demo videos I've heard they all sound pretty hot though. Right now I'm between the Wildwood Thin Skin and a limited edition '62 Reissue from Dave's Guitar Shop with Texas Specials in it. Don't really like either PU option so I might just have to bite the bullet and buy a guitar knowing it'll need a pickup swap.
     
  5. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    What exactly is it about them that doesn't brew your beverage? :twisted:

    I take no offense at this estimation of them, but I like them. To my knowledge, I've only heard/played them in a friend's Tele that he bought in 2012-13. And I think what he actually had was the combination of a Twisted Tele in the neck and a Broadcaster in the bridge. (I was just discussing this in another thread.)

    Like I said, I liked 'em fine, to my ears they sounded similar to DiMarzio Twang Kings. I have TKs in a couple of my teles, and they're my favorites. Since you just said pagedr that all the versions you've heard sound pretty hot to you, I take it you're listening for a pickup set that's not so hot (so to speak).
     
  6. pagedr

    pagedr TDPRI Member

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    Correct! Just looking for something a bit more mellow and warm. More than my dislike of them though, overall I was just surprised at the lack of pickup variety across the high end Fender models. Seems they just really love the different Twisted Tele variations.
     
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  7. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    That does seem surprising. I haven't looked them up since jumping in on this discussion, but my recollection of them was that they weren't particularly expensive pickups. $160 for the set sticks in my mind, but I may be wrong about that. But then, too, I was unaware of differing versions of pickups bearing the same basic name (standard TT vs. CS TT).

    Also, I'm not a Fender guy, so I haven't really kept up with which Tele models have what pickups in them. In my five teles I have 3 different brands of pickups: Wilkinson, Bill Lawrence Keystones and the DiMarzio Twang Kings. Like I said, the TKs are my favorites.

    The Wilkinsons are warmer/mellower, but they don't have the character of the TKs.

    The Keystones are also mellower, but I wouldn't describe them as warmer. The Keystones are widely hailed for their clarity, but that can be a drawback if you're looking for some "color" to the sound. Years ago, I read someone describe them as "sterile." I wouldn't go that far, but they're pretty "colorless." They don't have the character of the TKs, either.

    Man! :eek: Describing the tonal complexities of what we hear and/or are listening for is no easy task, is it? We use terms like "color" to describe sound, and describe output on a scale of "hot" and "warm" but don't use "cool" or "cold" for the other side of that spectrum. I often feel like describing tone is a harder task than nailing jello to the barn door.
     
  8. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    I think FMIC saturated the upper portion of their T market with pickups like the Original Vintage. Now, perhaps they're over-correcting.

    There's IMO plenty of high end used Fender Ts with No-Casters and OVs. Just buy one of those.

    It could well be that FMIC would like to hit the market with some more, nice Teles with something other than Twisted neck pickups. But they're reluctant to get going again in CA with all the troubles there. Honestly I think right now, you gotta buy what you can find.

    I have eight Fenders with Twisted Tele neck pickups. They have a special ability to play nice with the bridge Broadcaster in 4 way form (although, RWRP would be better). Less raucous IMO than a Texas Special. Seen by some as a safe, middlin' stance.

    Ten years ago, people would give their firstborn son to get a set of used pickups out of a MIM 50s Baja. Is the demand satisfied now? Or, with kindest regards, is it finally safe to come out and say you prefer something else (and on a lot of my T styles, yes I've got something else).
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
    tamer_of_banthas likes this.
  9. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Yeah, this was Bill's whole objective - that the Keystone not have an aftertaste or be all flavored up. Some folks say they want the pickup to sound like it tastes like barbecue and that's absolutely not what Bill was striving for. He left it up to us, to supply the flavor ourselves and if a player had no "flavor" then maybe he was in trouble. :^)

    Everyone says they want a 100% pure bypass in their pedal. Why wouldn't it also apply to the pickup - I always wondered.
     
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  10. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Well, now ya done commenced to meddlin' into my lack of guit' pickin' flavor! :eek::mad::twisted:

    Yeah, I've read that about the Keystones, designed for such clarity so as to let the player's color (or lack thereof) show through. In this respect, I think the Keystones have been good for me. I am more conscious of my touch when playing my Keystone-loaded tele.

    One of the best examples of this to me personally is listening to/watching a YouTube video of Arlo West playing "The End Is Not In Sight." I haven't listened to it in a while, but IIRC, he used a pinecaster (I think he dubbed it "Ol' Piney," but I could be wrong about that) loaded with Keystones. I don't recall what amp he was plugged into.

    Anyway, I play that tune as well, on my Firecaster tele--also made of pine and sporting Keystones--and I don't get near the tone Arlo does. Some of the difference might be accounted for in different amps, but mostly it's the difference between Arlo's fingers and mine.
     
  11. blues

    blues Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    This thread movitvated my to swap out the TT pickups for a set
    Budz Danocaster set I have.

    I think they are an improvment for sure.

    I mentioned one of my issues with the Wildwood Twisted Tele bridge pickup.
    When I took it out I put it on my meter. 10.69 kohms o_O
     
  12. 72_Custom

    72_Custom TDPRI Member Silver Supporter

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    I’m curious about this. Does anyone have any more information? I know there’s been conversation about the MIM Baja Twisted Tele possibly being different than the CS models, but this is the first I’ve heard that the Wildwood models might be also.
     
  13. blues

    blues Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    Wildwood says CS Twisted tele pickups in the ad for the Thin Skin. I have the 55 reissue.

    But I think it is more or less the 52 reissue painted white blonde. Slotted screws brass
    saddles save for the staggered pole pieces on the bridge pickup. U neck.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
  14. Wallaby

    Wallaby Tele-Afflicted

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    I need to try a twisted tele neck some time to know for sure, but I think they're meant to appeal to guitarists who are attracted to the Strat neck tone but also want what the Tele bridge can provide. Perhaps that flexibility can help a prospective buyer pick a Fender instead of choosing another brand?

    My concern is that the Tele middle position is compromised, but I don't know if it actually is.
     
  15. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Afflicted

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    Everyone should have two (or more) teles. My first partscaster, after some experimentation, has ended up with a broadcaster bridge and twisted tele neck which is a great combination for rockin it. For my second, I went a little cleaner with Bootstrap Palo Duro's. Not pure country but a good compromise.

    BTW, I also have a strat and I find it's neck pickup to be WAY more loaded with the strat seasoning than a twisted tele.
     
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