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#1025837 - 10/10/13 12:57 PM Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get?  
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PopTodd Offline
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Western Springs, IL, USA
So, I ordered a fender Thinline Tele 1969 reissue. I was supposed to get it in May... June... August... October...
Still isn't in yet.
Now they tell me that it should be in my hot little hands by the end of the month.
[Linked Image]

In order to apologize for all the trouble, Fender are going to upgrade the pickups.
While a friend whom I trust has suggested that I install some Fralins, I am limited to what is offered by Fender, itself. Still, not bad.

I think that I'm going with either the Vintage Noiseless:
http://www.fender.com/accessories/pickups/vintage-noiseless-tele-pickups-set-of-2/
or
Or the Custom Shop Nocasters:
http://www.fender.com/accessories/pickups/custom-shop-51-nocaster-pickups-set-of-2/

I do play more than just country, and with distortion sometimes, too. Are the Vintage Noiseless close enough to that vintage Tele sound to satisfy me while still handling what I need, or should I still lean toward that Broadcaster/Nocaster if that's what they got?
Leaning toward the Noiseless.

#1025844 - 10/10/13 02:12 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: PopTodd]  
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Now I'm leaning more toward the Nocasters.

#1025847 - 10/10/13 02:45 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: PopTodd]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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Humm,
Upgrade the Pickups? Now what the H does that mean? I would assume the pickups that Fender uses would be more than good enough. I say flip a coin and pick one. A pickup is basically a magnet, (I Think) with wire wound around it. When the Steel Strings are picked it causes the magnetic field to change and sends an electricial signal to the amp. Not much you can do to improve a guitar pickup as the standard is pretty well set. Good luck!


Ray E. Strode
#1025849 - 10/10/13 02:57 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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Western Springs, IL, USA
Originally Posted by Ray E. Strode
Humm,
Upgrade the Pickups? Now what the H does that mean? I would assume the pickups that Fender uses would be more than good enough. I say flip a coin and pick one. A pickup is basically a magnet, (I Think) with wire wound around it. When the Steel Strings are picked it causes the magnetic field to change and sends an electricial signal to the amp. Not much you can do to improve a guitar pickup as the standard is pretty well set. Good luck!

I know how a pickup works, but the materials used and the way it's wound and the shielding used, etc. do effect the tone, absolutely. And, the ones that come with this Mexi-built guitar have a reputation for not sounding so hot.
Given the opportunity to change them out, I am doing so. Every set of pickups does offer different tonal coloration and so I am looking for opinions on what y'all think, if you've had any experience with any of Fender's different offerings.

EDIT:
This looks to be a nice little primer as to how this all works:
http://www.skguitar.com/SKGS/sk/pickup_factors.htm

#1025876 - 10/10/13 09:38 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: PopTodd]  
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When my bridge pickup failed, I replaced both with Nocasters. They sound much different than the stock American Standard pickups, and in a good way. The neck pickup particularly sounds much better to me. Others in our Chapter who have tried the Nocasters have been happy with them.

I haven't tried the Vintage Noiseless and don't know anyone else who has. But the higher resistance of the pickups means you could see a loss of some highs with amps or effects with lower input impedances. Whether this really is noticeable depends upon your amps and effects. You may even prefer the softer highs if it is noticeable.



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#1025877 - 10/10/13 09:41 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: Andy K]  
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Yeah, the more I hear about the two choices, the more that I am starting to lean toward the Nocasters. Especially since I have a Strat, and the Noiseless supposedly sound a bit more like a Strat... I want that different, more true Tele sound. Looks like Nocasters are probably the way to go for that.
Thanks for your insight, Andy!

#1025917 - 10/11/13 09:33 AM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: PopTodd]  
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Nocasters would be fine choice. It would keep that vintage tone and also there the same that's used on most of the custom shop Tele's so you can't go wrong.

I've been tempted to put my name down for some custom wound Ron Ellis p.ups but the waiting list is nearly 12 month!


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#1025919 - 10/11/13 09:39 AM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: Andy Kemp]  
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Originally Posted by Andy Kemp
Nocasters would be fine choice. It would keep that vintage tone and also there the same that's used on most of the custom shop Tele's so you can't go wrong.

I've been tempted to put my name down for some custom wound Ron Ellis p.ups but the waiting list is nearly 12 month!

A friend of mine, who definitely knows his stuff, was trying to tell me to get some Fralins; he couldn't say enough about them.
Of course, I'm getting my upgrade from Fender, themselves, so that's not an option right now, unless I wanted to spend the additional cash. (I don't.)
But if you are looking for something like that and don't want the wait, I would feel pretty good about recommending the Fralins based on my buddy's re., alone.
http://www.fralinpickups.com/telestyle.asp

#1025922 - 10/11/13 11:19 AM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: PopTodd]  
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Ray E. Strode Online content
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If I'm not mistaken it was les Paul that basically invented the electric guitar. You might Google him and see how it all started. Good luck with that new guitar!


Ray E. Strode
#1025935 - 10/11/13 01:13 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: Ray E. Strode]  
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I don't know about the noiseless.

Mexican Teles sometimes come with pickups with a ceramic bar magnet across the back instead of alnico pole piece magnets. Generally, alnicos sound more like a classic Tele and ceramics lend themselves more to distorted overdriven sounds. I would always go with alnico magnets which is what the Nocasters are.

The other main variable is how "hot" they are wound. Essentially a hotter pickup has more windings which means it has less treble and more volume. Vintage pickups are not overwound and retain a bright clear sound.....sometimes too much treble on a Tele bridge, but you can roll off the tone knob. The measurement to look at is resistance. A vintage pickup runs 5 - 6k ohms, and a really hot single coil pickup is around 10k ohms. I like around 6k ohms. I suspect the Nocasters are in that range.

Essentially, if you have vintage pickups, you have a clear bright sound that you can modify with tone controls and pedals. If you have hot pickups, you have a darker more distorted sound all the time. I think the Nocasters would be a good choice (better than stock ceramic pickups for sure). The noiseless might be a better compromise if you are playing out in bars with neon lights, TVs and dimmer switches that cause hum.


Colin

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#1025960 - 10/11/13 08:40 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: Colin Ward]  
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I would go with the nocasters. I took a cheap Fender Squire Tele (all-natural finish and maple neck) and added nocasters. Night and day (and cheap)

#1046681 - 05/02/14 04:07 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: Sue Rarick]  
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Hey Todd, I wish I saw this sooner. You should check out the Telecaster forum called TDPRI where there is tons of information about various Telecaster pickup choices. The Nocaster pickups are very popular and would definitely be a good choice, but there are more options out there. Another popular choice are the Wilde pickups that were built by Bill Lawrence. He died not too long ago, but as far as I know his wife is still selling whatever they have in inventory. They were very reasonably priced and popular, also.

Whatever brands you consider, you need to listen to some samples of the different models to determine what you want because there are a number of differences in sound with different models.

I have never personally played any noiseless single coils that I liked, but it all comes down to personal choice.

Last edited by Jack Swain; 05/02/14 04:09 PM.
#1046752 - 05/03/14 10:40 AM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: Jack Swain]  
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Hey Jack,
I only had the choice of what Fender offered in their line, since it was Fender giving me the upgrade. So I did go with the Nocasters and am happy with those.

I think that, had another brand been available to me, the Fralins were coming very highly recommended and I probably would have gone that way. But, alas, my choices were limited.

Still, happy with the Nocasters.
If you want to hear what they sound like,I did all the electric guitar on this track with the new Tele:
http://hoponpop.bandcamp.com/track/the-key-2

See you soon, I hope!

#1047337 - 05/09/14 04:45 PM Re: Telecaster -- pickup upgrade: what should I get? [Re: PopTodd]  
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I didn't realize Fender was upgrading them, but you can't go wrong with the Nocasters.

Fralins are very highly rated, but also very expensive compared to some of the others out there.


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