What's Your Opinion on Squier Affinity Tele pickups?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Grandy, Sep 17, 2019.

  1. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    346
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Location:
    Finland
    I popped in a music store the other day and tried a brand new Squier Affinity Telecaster. It was set up great, but the pickups didn't seem to pair up very well. The bridge pickup was bright and twangy as it should, but the neck sounded quiet and muffled in comparison. How much difference would adjusting the height make? It didn't look like it was particularly low or high. What would be a good pair with the bridge pickup?

    I really don't need another Tele, but it felt really nice. I'm tempted.
     
  2. Telecastoff1

    Telecastoff1 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Age:
    67
    Posts:
    530
    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2009
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I have an Affinity Tele also and didn't care for the neck pickup either. I went online and bought a used Fender American Standard Tele neck pickup for it and couldn't be happier. That was five years ago and it's still going strong as a nice back-up guitar for me.
     
  3. ukepicker

    ukepicker Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,406
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2013
    Location:
    East Texas
    I've had a few Affinity teles.
    I can appreciate the versatility of a darker, less detailed neck pickup and a bright and thin bridge pickup. Throw in a tone control and there are lots of sounds to be had.

    I just never found them very compelling sounds.

    With my last Affinity, I dropped in a SD Vintage Broadcaster set and kept all that versatility, but with almost every setting of the knobs (and pickup heights) producing compelling, interesting, inspiring sounds.

    The Affinity pickups will get the job done. But I never found them inspiring.
     
  4. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

    Age:
    73
    Posts:
    10,008
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    NJ via TX
    why would it matter what anyone other than you thinks about squier pickups? look, all that matters about electric guitars can be summed up in 4 prioritized points ...

    1. playability - does the guitar in question play well, or could it be made to play well for you. this is about action and overall playing "feel" of the neck and frets.

    2. sound - for an electric, this is all about the pickups and the onboard electronics they feed. if the guitar plays well, but you don't like it's tone, change some or all of the electronics.

    3. aesthetics - this is predominantly about the cosmetics of shape and color ... and maybe weight, too.

    4. cost - money drives a lot of things in life, eh? ;)

    if the squier plays well for ya, and yer feeling a bond happening, buy it and deal with the sound later. sometimes it'll take awhile to cosy up to the electronics. they may just be yer cup of tea in the long run ... give it some time and playing love.
     
    puddin and teleman1 like this.
  5. NewKid

    NewKid Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    440
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2011
    Location:
    Seattle
    It sounds like you want to change the pickups.
     
  6. 440mhz

    440mhz TDPRI Member

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    33
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2019
    Location:
    Elk Lake, On, Canada
    Just dropped in a new set of Fender 52 reissue pups in my Tele and it was a definite upgrade from the bridge pickup from GFS and a MiM strat neck pickup.- They both brighter and clearer and can be had for 140 CAD, not sure how that equates in Finnish currency though. Also if you were to put in new pups, you'll want to upgrade the pots and caps while you at it. Best of luck.
     
  7. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Age:
    49
    Posts:
    344
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2019
    Location:
    Moncton, NB Canada
    (sorry - this ended up a bit long ;)

    I actually found the bridge to be pretty good - and this was playing through a Marshall tube combo for a few minutes at the store, but like you I found the neck pickup to lack some edge - un-inspiring, but again I did not have opportunity mess with the heights either. There's a wide range of Tele neck type sounds and everyone has their preference. What is mellow, sweet and jazzy for some is muddy and dark to others. I like a full round bottom end, but still some bite and presence - more of a strat neck sound, and that is often what I'll drop in a tele neck position - a strat pickup.

    I've replaced a lot of pickups with more expensive ones and I've played around with some very cheap ones and decided NOT to replace them. Even relatively cheap pickups are fairly well made and use decent materials these days. Exceptions exist - you mileage will vary, but there are some very nice tones to be had for very little cost.

    If the guitar were mine, the first thing I would do is start lowering the neck pickup to see if that brightens it up or makes the sound come alive - a little at time until you find the sweet spot. The Bridge pickup might be a bit more forgiving, so after you find the sweet spot for the neck you can lower/raise the Bridge pickup to balance the output of the neck and see if they both sound good to you at that point. If one or the other is just not giving you the tone you are chasing, it's time to assess what is lacking and then do some research on which pickups might get you where you want to be. It can be a crap shoot - I've gotten EMG, Duncan, Lace Sensor, GFS and Dimarzio pickups that all looked good on paper but didn't do it for me and I ended up returning. I've also gotten great pickups from these companies that I won't be changing out anytime soon (except Lace - just not my thing I guess). One of the sweetest strat neck pickups I have ever heard is an unbranded, lower output ceramic rail pickup I got on a whim on Ebay for $10 - could not believe it (and I don't mean "for the price").

    If I had to offer a recommendation for a snappier, livelier, Tele neck pickup from my own experience, it would be the Fatbody neck pickup from GFS. It's very articulate with a healthy output due to larger magnets, but not super hot. It's a little less sensitive to string height adjustments but you don't want it way up too close to the strings. It has exposed pole pieces and no cover, so it will alter the traditional Tele look. I've also heard that the Dimarzio Twang King neck pickup will get you there too, but I've never tried it personally.
     
  8. Grandy

    Grandy Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    346
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Location:
    Finland
    You are absolutely right. I've been around long enough to realise that big price tag does not always equal better. The process you discribe how to go about deciding what to do sounds like a good advice. I will try to remember that.
     
  9. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,530
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Location:
    west coast
    Cheap Tele neck pickups almost always have brass covers, its the eddy currents that cause this. But on top of that, the pole pieces might be steel instead of AlNiCo, eddy currents for your eddy currents. If I were to buy such a guitar with the intention of enjoying it, I'd replace the pickups. Bootstrap or BYO have Tele sets that are priced right, not just for a cheap guitar, but for any guitar.
     
    mkdaws32 likes this.
  10. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    567
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2017
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    A Squier Affinity was my first telecaster. I sold that one but just last week picked up another used for under $100, because at that price why not? With both of them, I found the neck pickup sounded best when it was adjusted higher than I usually set my pickups. My starting point is 3/32 under high E, 4/32 under low E, with the string fretted at the highest point up the neck where I play. With the Affinities, I wound up shaving about 1/32 off both ends. Those measurements are just a starting point, but I don't recall raising any other pickup that high. At that setting, I think they both sounded fine. That first Affinity made me a telecaster convert; I had no interest in them before that guitar was shoved into my hands.
     
    mkdaws32 likes this.
  11. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,855
    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2003
    Location:
    Near BWI Int'l
    I have a BYO Vortex bridge pickup in my 50's Tele, which is one of my more premium Teles. For me, it's the absolute best bridge pickup I've had in that guitar, and some of the other ones I had in it cost a lot more. It's literally the cheapest part I've installed in the guitar, because even the neck pickup is a "real" Tonerider TRT1 Vintage Plus (apparently, the BYO pickups tend to be "cost effective" versions of the Tonerider stuff).
     
  12. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Posts:
    13,952
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2014
    Location:
    kamloops bc
    I finally found a south paw affinity, this is the first fender I have bought after 1970 that I have not wanted to rip the pick ups out of it but I did replace all of the cheap oriental electronics and wiring more to fender spec ,CTS pots, Fender 3 way switching reversed the control plate and used gibson pull back open shield wire plus feraday'd the cavities, ot is quiet and sounds excellant, set up was outstanding for the price. ( not fond of Ice picks)
     
  13. vintage clubber

    vintage clubber Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,642
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2012
    Location:
    Mechanicsville, VA
    I have had several Affinity series teles in my stable and have simply upgraded the pickups. The availability of high quality, affordable pickups offers almost too many choices any more.
     
  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,779
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2014
    Location:
    Lions & Tigers oh Mi !
    .

    Pickup height adjustments.
    If the neck is especially/too dark then put a series cap on the hot lead. That cuts the internal capacitance of the coil and makes it a lot brighter. Start with 0.047uF.

    .
     
    The Angle likes this.
  15. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,530
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Location:
    west coast
    The internal capacitance is a fixed amount, the series cap causes the impedance at low frequencies to increase, reducing voltage at bass frequencies. The series cap causes the resonant peak of the circuit to increases a little bit, but only because the capacitance of the guitar cable is no longer wholly in parallel with the capacitance of the pickup.
     
  16. KennyWTelejazz

    KennyWTelejazz Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    285
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2011
    Location:
    The Planet Tele X.
    This clip features my Bone Stock Squier Tele Affinity in Racing Green ..

    Just my guitar , a cable and an amp ..
    I have had very good luck with Squier Telecasters ..
    Kenny
     
  17. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,839
    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Location:
    meridianam altum centralis
    I played my Affinity for years with the stock pickups. I liked them when I first got it, but then realized how limiting they were, after playing better pickups. Just changed to some Fender MIMs this year, and corrected the switch-like tone circuit.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.