Your opinions on pickups?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by CharXIV, May 16, 2020.

  1. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Friend of Leo's

    Feb 5, 2012
    South Louisiana
    Brad Paisley and I are fans of Lindy Fralin pickups.
    MickM likes this.
  2. Sparky2

    Sparky2 Friend of Leo's

    Apr 15, 2017
    Harvest, Alabama
    No recommendation for new pickups would hold water without some information first;

    What exactly sounds unsatisfactory about the Texas Special pickups to you?
    (Flatness, punch, noise, etc)

    Do your band mates and/or the audiences at your recent gigs complain about the guitar tone from that rig?
    If so, what are their complaints?
    (I can't hear you over the bass and drummer, you sound muddy, etc, etc)

    You can't offer directions unless you know where the traveler has been, and where he wants to go, I guess that's what I am saying.

    MickM likes this.
  3. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

    Oct 21, 2014
    I like the Cavalier Nashville and Fat Lion King. My favorite of Rob's pickups I've tried.

    I also like the Bootstrap Palo Duro set. Vintage bridge twang, warm neck and you can't beat the price.

    Another set I'm fond of is the A4 custom bridge and 23T neck from Sunday Handwound Pickups.

    All fantastic boutique pickups. All hand wound in the USA. All very cool guys. And all very affordable.
    Bruxist likes this.
  4. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Holic

    Dec 12, 2018
    What types of music are you playing? What is your primary amp?

    <=====This guitar is my 2012 American Special. I've swapped about every part I could on it usually for no reason other than I could. I've said it a bunch but the Fralin Steel Pole 43 in the neck position is my favorite pickup right now. I could have easily gone with something else in place of the Fralin Hot Tele in the bridge, but it still retains a decent ability to twang. I play lots of bluesy/jazzy stuff and spend most of my time on the neck pickup and I play with as few effects as possible.

    It might help us for you to be more specific in your preferences. "Not twangy" will mostly be a feature dictated by your bridge pickup. That purist vintage single coil bridge Tele sound isn't for everyone. Lots of single coil pickups fall into these categories; single coil vintage, single coil hot, single coil/P90 hybrid, single coil-sized humbuckers. There are others (and subgroups) but that is what many companies seem to have as their usual fair of pickup offerings.

    The more I learn about pickups the less magical thinking I engage in when assessing them, lol. There really aren't that many pieces to a guitar pickup. My Fralins are great but they are expensive. I've also I've got some Bootstrap pickups and a set of Cavilier pickups I'm dying to play on. They are great pickups, too. The only problem you run into with smaller companies is that they might not have as many different styles of pickups to immediately choose from as the bigger companies. The styles they do offer are very well done and they usually do custom orders. You just gotta know enough about the specs to tell them what you are looking for. As with a lot of things related to music gear, the way I look at it is if you can't tell them what specs you are looking for, you probably don't have much business ordering custom.

    Some really knowledgeable guys around here like jvin248 recommend a 4 way selector switch as another route to approximating humbucker tone. I'm getting ready to install one on a partscaster that I'm assembling, but that'll be the my first experience with it. It is a super cheap upgrade and I'm excited to understand it better soon.
  5. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

    May 28, 2008
    this is the first question that has got to be answered if the TS wants a good advise.

    and if the TS knows what he is after, than he could call Cavalier ore Bootstrap and get a good advise for a very good price.
    but than again, the guitar, wood, playing technique and the chain after the guitar the guitar will have its voice in it to.
  6. Amby

    Amby Tele-Holic

    Nov 17, 2007
    Stirlingshire, Scotland
    As others have suggested, contact Rob at Cavalier, he will offer advice and point you in the right direction. His 51/52 bridge is very versatile and warm.
  7. gregj1964

    gregj1964 Tele-Meister

    Mar 17, 2017
    Tacoma, Washington
    1. Fender Custom shop nocaster pickups. Can't beat them for the money.

    2. Suhr Classic T pickups. Well balanced and full. Also, look at his Andy Wood woodshed tele pickups. Killer.

    3. Onamac pickups. His Robben Ford set might be good. I have his broadcaster set and they are great. True vintage low output.

    4. Really anything by Seymour Duncan, but his antiquities are stellar.

    5. Related. Talk to the SD custom shop and have them wind what you want. Not any more in terms of cost.

    Good luck.
  8. Bruxist

    Bruxist Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

    Oct 12, 2010
    Kentucky, USA
    Another fan of Cavs here and I have some Bootstraps too (but no tele pickups).

    If looking for noiseless, I would recommend Dimarzio Area T pickups.

    But even if you didn't like the TX Specials in one guitar, they might work well in another. Give them a shot, play with the pickup heights, and see what you think.
  9. Golem

    Golem Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Apr 2, 2011
    United States Of America
    I'm not in love with Gen 4 pickups. I think Fender is getting better with noiseless pickups, but they're still not as good as Kinmans, Bill Lawrence Wilde pickups, Dimarzio Areas, or even Fishman's Fluence options. I'd say they're serviceable, but if you a/b them with any of the other options mentioned you'd find them lacking.

    I think there are a lot of great options, but there are a lot of ways to be versatile. Lawrence's pickups, for example, seem to respond better to tone and volume controls than a lot of the other pickups I've tried. I find that makes them versatile, but they can be a little hi-fi with vol and tone full open. I especially like they Keystones if you want to use the pickups in series. Fishman Fluence are versatile because they have something akin to a coil tap that let's you take winds off an on of the pickup. You won't get that versatility with the Kinmans (my absolute favorites) or Dimarzio areas (a great option that I'd never swap out if they came stock in a guitar).

    I focused on noiseless options in my reply, but I do genuinely love all those sets noiseless or not.
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