What's your favourite Tele Pickups?

Matt Sarad

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Apr 29, 2003
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Buckers Field!
Harmonic Design Vintage Plus
Vintage Plus™
These higher output pickups retain the basic Tele character, but with a bigger, deeper tone. These are richer and more expressive than other high-output pickups.
To avoid the "overwound" tone, we use exactly the same number of turns as our '54 pickups, with a specially designed magnet and pole piece assembly, carefully balanced to produce a warm, full tone.These are the pickups we supply to high-end guitar companies who specify an ”improved” Tele sound. The higher output is matched to our Vintage Plus neck pickup and also works well with humbuckers.They come in vintage black, white, pearl or tortoise top. Matching neck pickups available.
 

pipthepilot

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Winchester, UK
The Duncan La Brea set is really good, especially with brass saddles. The Duncan Jerry Donahue can cover a lot of ground with CRS saddles. I'm not a fan of Duncan neck pickups though.

If you like Stratier neck pickups, a clockwise north wound Cavalier Lion King and the La Brea bridge is a killer combo. That's what's in my main gigging Tele. I just happen to like that raised D and G in the La Brea and I miss it if it ain't there.
I was hoping someone would mention the SD La Brea set. These are probably at the top of my list for the next guitar I build. Interesting you don't like the neck.
 

Sax-son

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For vintage type, I like Duncan and Rio Grande.
Rio Grande may be out of business.
I am not so sure about Rio Grande. Their website is still up and running so unless somebody knows for sure, it would be great to hear more about it. Rio Grande were always in the top tier of builders.
 

rand z

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trumansburg, ny
I have a set of old, original Joe Barden's ('90-'91) in my '76 Tele.

The mags have gone a bit weak; but they still can bark!

And, with the right amp setting(s), I can get that a bit of that "Gatton" thing happening.


I picked up a Squier Affinity 20 years ago to use as a modding platform.

I've had numerous pu's in/out of it.

For the last 4 years I've had DiMarzio Twang Kings in it.

They really are very nice together, and separately.

A somewhat traditional Tele sound with a bit more ummph and fidelity.

It's all good!

imo.
 

Fretting out

Doctor of Teleocity
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Land of Mary
I have a set of old, original Joe Barden's ('90-'91) in my '76 Tele.

The mags have gone a bit weak; but they still can bark!

And, with the right amp setting(s), I can get that a bit of that "Gatton" thing happening.


I picked up a Squier Affinity 20 years ago to use as a modding platform.

I've had numerous pu's in/out of it.

For the last 4 years I've had DiMarzio Twang Kings in it.

They really are very nice together, and separately.

A somewhat traditional Tele sound with a bit more ummph and fidelity.

It's all good!

imo.
The magnets have gone weak? Did you spend time in front of giant speakers or transformers?
 

rand z

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The magnets have gone weak? Did you spend time in front of giant speakers or transformers?

The Bardens are maybe 90% of what they were new in 1990.

When they were new, they were pretty potent and high fidelity.

The last time I played the Tele with the Bardens, I could barely keep up with a friend playing a stock Strat (tone-wise).

(This is all based on my ears, and my memory, from 30+ years ago.)

They probably should be re-magnetized.

Was I in front of speakers/transformers?

That guitar was everywhere... maybe?

imo.
 
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ChicknPickn

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It seems that, by and large, folks think the best pickups are the ones they have. :D

That goes for me, by the way. And to a high degree, I like a little change-up occasionally. Which is why, as we all know, one has to have multiple Tele's to accommodate all the pickups we like.

But 85% of the time, my Wilde noise-free pickups (Bill Lawrence Family) are the go-to's.
 

PARCO

Tele-Holic
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Mar 5, 2008
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VA
A couple of years ago I bought a Roadworn Tele. The bridge pickup did not work so I got a pretty good deal on it. When I opened it up I saw there was a problem with the wiring so I fixed that and the bridge pickup worked. It sounds amazing.It has red flatwork and the magnets are a little bigger in diameter that stock. I later found out the pick up was made by a company called Cosmic Tone. I don't think they are in business anymore but this bridge pickup is great. I used to mostly play only on the neck pickup but now I play mostly on the bridge pickup.
 

The Angle

Tele-Afflicted
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Dec 19, 2017
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Location
Seattle, WA
Honestly, at this point, whatever pickups come in a decent Fender Tele. But @The Angle - do you happen to know if this is the set that comes in a stock Baja? I have a 2017 Baja I got used and the stock pickups sound nice and offer nice dynamics.
I don't know about actual Bajas, but it's the set that comes in the Vintera '50s Modified, which is the current version of the Baja. It's also what's in my 2012 American Standard.
 




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