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It's Tele pickup time again!

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  • It's Tele pickup time again!

    I picked up another American Series Telecaster with alder body and rosewood fretboard, and the stock pickups have gotta go (especially the bridge). I'm torn among alternatives for this one. I would like something a bit hotter than vintage, but the guitar has a nice acoustic resonance that I want to preserve and enhance, so I don't want anything too compressed or homogenous sounding. I would like to bring out the piano-like tones at the neck position, smooth out the highs while boosting the mids and low end at the bridge position, and still have a nice Tele blend in the middle.

    I'm leaning toward alnico 3 or 5 instead of alnico 2 for this one. I've been thinking about the Hot Tele set (STL-2, STR-2) or Hot Tele lead (STL-2) and Vintage rhythm (STR-1) combo that Evan Skopp uses. Or, perhaps the Five-Two Nashville Studio set (preserving the alnico 5 low end thump while smoothing the highs), although I'm not sure whether the 5/2 lead will have enough mids for my taste. I have also thought about going the hum-canceling route on this Tele in some form or another.

    To put this in context, I play blues and blues-based material through vintage Fender and Gibson amps (along with an Orange AD15). My other Teles pack a Nocaster set, a Nocaster lead and SM-3n mini-HB neck, and a Jerry Donahue lead and Phat Cat neck. I also have Strats and Gibsons at hand, so this Tele is nearly a blank slate.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

  • #2
    Re: It's Tele pickup time again!

    you might try looking at the ultimate tele thread

    my next tele project will have a Custom Shop set, similar to the set Lew reviewed in the tele thread ... it has a hot, tapped lead, a warm neck pickup, and 5 way wiring:
    CS tele set

    the other set that interests me is something like a JD with a mini-hum, either the Firebird or Antiquity II mini hum
    "music heals"


    • #3
      Re: It's Tele pickup time again!

      I don't own a Tele yet, but those mini hums in the neck are supposed to be outstanding for blues type crunch, and still give nice warm clean tones. I would probably agree that the 5/2 may not have the juice you're looking for in the bridge.

      I'd follow Curly and Lew on this one and look at some type of custom shop job from MJ. You've got sets of some very nice production pups, and since you like the tone of this guitar so much it's probably well worth the investment to have something done to your specs.
      My Sound Clips


      • #4
        Re: It's Tele pickup time again!

        Yeah, I think the Custom Shop set that Lew wrote about would be an excellent choice. Antiquity is very, very cool, but its an A2.

        You might want to have a look at this, I have read good things about it:
        "One other thing... I think it rips through your clothes when it takes you over...."
        R.J. MacReady, John Carpenter's The Thing