Which Cavalier bridge pickup to pick?

spankyjangly

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I've been looking Cavalier Lion pickups for a while, and they sound really amazing but I've never pulled the trigger on one. I'm getting an ash Telecaster built, with a mini-humbucker in the neck (D'Urbano Magnetics Phoenix), and I'm thinking of getting a Lion in the bridge to complement it.

For context, the D'Urbano Phoenix uses A5 magnets, is wound to 10.2K. I plan to install a push-push to split it as well.
Watch this for sound samples.


I play a lot of funk, soul and rock (no country though), and I'm interested in spanky single coil tones in the middle position (like the ones Mark Lettieri has in his PRS Fiore in the video below), as well as a good bridge tone I can play rock and some lead stuff with. I enjoy the throaty Tele tones, and some ice pick-less twang. So far, I've been recommended the Nashville Lion and the Nocaster Holy Grail.


Which of the Lions would you guys recommend for the bridge of my Telecaster? Or does anyone have a similar setup, with a Firebird/mini-humbucker neck with a Cavalier Lion in the bridge? Would love to hear your experiences.
 

spankyjangly

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Talk to Rob directly. He's very helpful and will make a recommendation based on your neck pickup and proposed wiring scheme.

Lots of great folks here but, Rob is the source and the best to advise on his product!
I did speak to Rob, and he recommended both Nashville and Nocaster. But he also said Nashville for rock and blues, and Nocaster for country. None of which are genres I predominantly play in. So I'm hoping to benefit from the wisdom/experience from here.
 
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SixStringSlinger

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I have a (Cavalier!) Firebird in the neck and a Nashville Lion in the bridge and it’s great. The Firebird is warm but clear and the Lion is bright but full. My only “complaint” (really not even that) is that the middle position is a touch darker than what it was with the previous neck pickup (Cavalier Lion King) after I put the a Firebird in, but it’s not bad at all and it’s to be expected when going from a single-coil to a humbucker.

I also have the Fat Lion in my Esquire. There’s a fair bit of overlap between it and the Nashville, but I’d say that the Fat is more…fat. It’s got a little more growl to it while the Nashville is a little more clear. Really though, they overlap quite a bit.

I don’t think you can go wrong, but between the ones I have, if I had to pick one, I’d probably go with the Dat Lion and use a no-load tone pot to get maximum clarity when I want it, and make sure the volume control has a nice taper and isn’t too much of anyone suck when turning down.
 

spankyjangly

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I have a (Cavalier!) Firebird in the neck and a Nashville Lion in the bridge and it’s great. The Firebird is warm but clear and the Lion is bright but full. My only “complaint” (really not even that) is that the middle position is a touch darker than what it was with the previous neck pickup (Cavalier Lion King) after I put the a Firebird in, but it’s not bad at all and it’s to be expected when going from a single-coil to a humbucker.

I also have the Fat Lion in my Esquire. There’s a fair bit of overlap between it and the Nashville, but I’d say that the Fat is more…fat. It’s got a little more growl to it while the Nashville is a little more clear. Really though, they overlap quite a bit.

I don’t think you can go wrong, but between the ones I have, if I had to pick one, I’d probably go with the Dat Lion and use a no-load tone pot to get maximum clarity when I want it, and make sure the volume control has a nice taper and isn’t too much of anyone suck when turning down.
That sounds really great, thanks for sharing SixStringSlinger! So that's one vote for the Nashville then.
 

El Tele Lobo

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I would go Nocaster. It has a little syrupy compression on the attack that would lend itself well to funk. Nashville will be more of an as-is attack. Both good pickups. I like A3 better for just about everything though.
 

spankyjangly

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I would go Nocaster. It has a little syrupy compression on the attack that would lend itself well to funk. Nashville will be more of an as-is attack. Both good pickups. I like A3 better for just about everything though.
Interesting. I'm mostly concerned about the middle position, i.e. how well the bridge will work with the neck mini. How do A3 differ from the other magnet types?
 

El Tele Lobo

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Interesting. I'm mostly concerned about the middle position, i.e. how well the bridge will work with the neck mini. How do A3 differ from the other magnet types?
They are weaker. The weakest between A2, A3 and A5. There are others here who could explain the technical stuff better than me. I just like the way they sound.
 

Bruxist

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Big Cav fan here. Have had a bunch of them in one form or another over the years. I personally prefer the NHGL over the Nashville but not by much. I agree that it would be easier to play old twangy classic county on the NHGL, but I think it rocks plenty hard as it is.

Have you checked out these vids by our own @roknfnrol ?


You can also always choose a tapped pickup if you have trouble deciding on one voicing. You can't have a NHGL/Nashville Twin Lion but I expect you can have something close. I had a Nashville/Huge Lion Twin that was amazing.
 

El Tele Lobo

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Big Cav fan here. Have had a bunch of them in one form or another over the years. I personally prefer the NHGL over the Nashville but not by much. I agree that it would be easier to play old twangy classic county on the NHGL, but I think it rocks plenty hard as it is.

Have you checked out these vids by our own @roknfnrol ?


You can also always choose a tapped pickup if you have trouble deciding on one voicing. You can't have a NHGL/Nashville Twin Lion but I expect you can have something close. I had a Nashville/Huge Lion Twin that was amazing.
Big +1 on @roknfnrol ’s vids. I tried quite a few pickups because of his videos. Pretty sure I drove his view count up considerably during my search.
 

Telenator

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I did speak to Rob, and he recommended both Nashville and Nocaster. But he also said Nashville for rock and blues, and Nocaster for country. None of which are genres I predominantly play in. So I'm hoping to benefit from the wisdom/experience from here.
Nashville.
In my book, funk, soul, rock and blues all use similar tones. Rock would be more on the bridge pickup with funk, soul, and blues being played on the middle position, or neck pickup.

Then there's YOUR guitar, and what it's going to sound like. The simple fact that it's ash has no real bearing on the final outcome. My best advice has always been to start with a standard set of Fender pickups, and then decide what you want more of or less of. This way you're buying what's right for the guitar after you've heard it. Expecting a very specific sound from a guitar that has not been built yet is a real crap shoot.

Starting with a known set of generic pickups will save you time and money in the long run. You need to hear the voice f your guitar before you zero in on what it really needs. Verbal descriptions just don't cut it. It's a fun process!
 

archetype

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Nashville.
In my book, funk, soul, rock and blues all use similar tones. Rock would be more on the bridge pickup with funk, soul, and blues being played on the middle position, or neck pickup.

Then there's YOUR guitar, and what it's going to sound like. The simple fact that it's ash has no real bearing on the final outcome. My best advice has always been to start with a standard set of Fender pickups, and then decide what you want more of or less of. This way you're buying what's right for the guitar after you've heard it. Expecting a very specific sound from a guitar that has not been built yet is a real crap shoot.

Starting with a known set of generic pickups will save you time and money in the long run. You need to hear the voice f your guitar before you zero in on what it really needs. Verbal descriptions just don't cut it. It's a fun process!

This is an excellent viewpoint. You need a baseline to assess, first, to know if you want something that differs from that.

@spankyjangly, going with Rob's pickups, get either of his recommendations. Don't let your brain stall over the musical genres that Rob mentioned. Pickups aren't really that specific. You play funk, soul, and rock, but that's mostly tied to the way you play and set your amp. Either pickup can cover what you want to do once you and a screwdriver have spent a half hour dialing in the height and you've put in some playing time.

If it isn't what you want, then get a different pickup. That's the process and there really isn't a shortcut or way to hedge your pickup bet, especially since you don't know the actual sonic characteristics of your guitar with a different pickup, yet.
 
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63 vibroverb

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I'm friends with D'Urbano - but I also feel his pickups are very robust and excellent. His amp tech work and modifications are killer too. I bet he could wind something to match his neck pickup in your guitar very well.
 

bigben55

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I've had a Nashville and a Fat Lion. Both excellent pickups! The Nashville is more versatile. The Fat Lion rocks more, twangs less. While I've since sold both the guitars I've had them in, my current "traditional tele" came with Fralin Blues Specials. The Nashville is very on par with that bridge pickup, just at a better price.
 

spankyjangly

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Thanks everyone for your input! I think I've decided on the NHG. I'll try to remember to post an update once the pickups are in.
 

spankyjangly

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I'm friends with D'Urbano - but I also feel his pickups are very robust and excellent. His amp tech work and modifications are killer too. I bet he could wind something to match his neck pickup in your guitar very well.
I agree too, and I considered getting his Broadcasters to match. But I've always wanted to try Cavaliers, so I'll hold off on the D'Urbanos right now.
 

63 vibroverb

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I agree too, and I considered getting his Broadcasters to match. But I've always wanted to try Cavaliers, so I'll hold off on the D'Urbanos right now.
That's ok - do what you wanna do. D'Urbano is in Australia, so I'd imagine shipping and troubleshooting would be cheaper/more convenient for you in Singapore.
 




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