Why "Texas Special"??

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by parademe, Apr 3, 2018.

  1. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

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    Not a trick question. Does anybody has any information on why the Fender Custom Shop Texas Special pickups are called... well, "Texas Special"?
    Is the emphasis on the mids a Texan speciality?
    Also, the Tele set's bridge pickup is actually wound purty close to Broadcaster specs (10k, 43 AWG) - so it's not really that "modern" or whatever people think of when it comes to overwound pickups.
    So... why?
     
  2. TigerG

    TigerG Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    I was always under the impression it has something to do with Stevie Ray Vaughan.
     
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  3. Thin69

    Thin69 Friend of Leo's

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    Marketing :)
     
  4. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

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    Me too. Until I asked myself what kind of Tele he's ever played...
     
  5. mrjamboree

    mrjamboree TDPRI Member

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  6. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

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  7. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think the Tele set was just a carry over marketing from the popularity of the Strat sets. Hot pickups. If you liked the strat set then they figure you will like the Tele set... which I do!
     
  8. mrjamboree

    mrjamboree TDPRI Member

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    I have them in one of my teles. I think the main idea behind them is a mid range boost and they're overwound and high output. They were first introduced exclusivey in the SRV signature strat in 1992.

    I don't think the guitar sold well, but the pickups were a hit. So Fender eventually made a tele version. The sonic ideas behind both the tele and strat versions are the same.

    The musicians friend description of the tele version advertises the tone as "From Merle to Metal." Assuming they mean Merle Haggard, he's from California and I've never been able (although I haven't tried) to get a Pantera kind of tone out of my tele.

    So, the Texas Special name was originated in strat pickups and then Fender made a series for tele with the same construction idea.

    Hope that helps!
     
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  9. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

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    Yea, that sounds reasonable. Thought there was maybe more to it.
     
  10. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    You've got to admit it sounds more awesome than the Vermont Special set.
     
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  11. charlie chitlin

    charlie chitlin Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Unless you're a Phish fan...
     
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  12. mrjamboree

    mrjamboree TDPRI Member

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    New Jersey Special for tone fatter than Chris Christie
     
  13. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks be to Jesus Christ in Heaven that I've avoided Phish and all jam bands like the plague since forever.
     
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  14. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    The Vermont specials, designed to add 20 minutes of noodling to the end of every song without you even playing so you can go take a bong hit with the crowd.

    Sarcasm... I’m a displaced Vermont native.
     
  15. Bruxist

    Bruxist Friend of Leo's

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    I agree with this assessment.

    Probably also a general nod to "Texas Blues" which people tend to think of as more "in your face" than other blues sub-genres. Like Albert Collins, Freddie King, etc.
     
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  16. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

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    Surely it is also connected to the larger-than-life reputation of Texas
     
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  17. guitar0621

    guitar0621 Tele-Meister

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    Overwound vintage like SRV. Texas blues, you know.
     
  18. archetype

    archetype Fiend of Leo's

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    The sonic intent was basically the same for both Strat and Tele models, but the sonic reality is that they don't sound alike. Liking the TS Strat tone is no guarantee that you'll like the TS Tele tone. Different pickups sitting in different guitars.

    Merle to metal is just marketing BS. The Texas Special set was standard in the Merle Haggard tribute Telecaster, but I couldn't really say why they, or he, made that choice. It's also standard to the the James Burton Standard Telecaster, but that was just James saying 'ok' to a feature set on his lower-priced signature guitar. It doesn't represent what he played and doesn't twang like you'd expect from Jennings or Burton.

    For what it's worth, the original Telecaster version was called "Texas Tele" and it's the same set as the later Texas Specials. They renamed it sometime after the 90's, possibly to cash in on the marketing momentum of the Strat version. Not to be confused with the later Texas Tele set from the Highway 1 'upgrade' and the early American Special models. Those were very overwound, dark, and more like the current Deluxe Drive set than anything else. The magnets may be different.

    Some genius in Fender's product or marketing group decided that we're not confused enough. The set that can currently be purchased separately is "Custom Shop" and is listed variously as both Texas Special and Texas Tele. No difference. It's the same pickups.
     
  19. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

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    Aww c’mon! We could use a Vermont Special pickup set to shred to this song:



    (Not ragging on the song, I actually love RC’s version...)
     
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  20. rich815

    rich815 Friend of Leo's

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    Yup. Same with the Tex Mex. I have a Road Worn 50’s tele with Tex Mex pups and they are terrific (quite the welcome contrast to my Hwy 1 tele with DiMarzio Twang King Bridge and True Velvet neck, let me tell you!), but I also have a nice strat partscaster I built and installed with strat Tex Mex pickups. Quite different than the Tex Mex sound in my tele!
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2018
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