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  1. #1

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    i like Ed Bickert's sound. i saw a video of him playing a tele with a humbucker. i wonder if it was stock?

    I'd like opinions on which pickup everyone likes on his Telecaster?


    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
  3. #2

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    I'm no expert on Ed's gear but I'm pretty sure it's just an old Gibson Humbucker. I would think a Classic 57 would sound good.

  4. #3

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    I agree, but Ed sounded great before, with the stock neck pickup, too.

    My ideal would be to choose a favourite single coil and humbucker and mount them both near the neck, and lose the bridge pickup.

  5. #4

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    you're right jasonc, you can't go wrong with the classic 57. i heard the lollar, and am considering it, just trying to get a different sound. of course it will be different on a tele. and BigDLH, i love your idea, i have often thought of doing that. do you know any guitar that comes like that? i would do single coil closest to neck then humbucker.

  6. #5

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    I think Bicket's tele pre-dates Fender putting humbuckers on anything. Also back then there wasn't a million versions of pickups, you bought whatever replacement pickups Gibson sold or got a used one from a thrashed guitar.

    You might want to try one of the strat sized humbuckers they sound good and you don't have to route the body to try a humbucker.

  7. #6

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    Some 3 pickup Teles.

    James Burton:

    J5 Triple Tele Deluxe:

    Blackout Tele:


  8. #7

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    Modern Player Tele Plus:

    Squier Joe Trohman:

  9. #8

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    I'm sure I'm in the minority here. Everyone seems to think that Teles require mods for jazz. But I disagree. I think there are certain iconic guitars that are perfect in their natural state, and demand that you, the player, embrace them for what they are. The Tele is surely one of these. Bone stock, it is everything it needs to be for all styles: Just add strings of your desired gauge and set up to match.

  10. #9

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    There are a couple of clips on youtube of Ed playing his tele with the stock neck pickup and he still sounds awesome. To be honest I think I prefer his sound with the single coil.

  11. #10

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    I do not like bridge pups in general, and the bridge pickup on a Tele especially abominable. Twang? No, thanks. Thank god for the ash tray cover!

    I have a 52 Reissue---great guitar-great fingerboard-- and I got it wired to normal setting, and replaced the neck pup with a Lollar Charlie Christian. (check out Tim Lerch's videos on youtube on the Lollar CC and the Tele). It's just about a perfect, pristine, clear, bell-like sound, particularly finger-style.

  12. #11

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    I'm willing to bet that most folks here talking about playing jazz on a Tele are doing it through the neck pickup only.

    That said, I remember a jazz thread on TDPRI that had a number of people saying they like the middle position -- both pickups engaged.

    Neck for me!

  13. #12

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    "Country (guitar) ain't nothing but jazz played on the bridge pickup of a tele." - Brad Paisley

    ...while that might be stretching it just a bit, you can sure hear exactly that on Paisley's stuff... it's like twangy bebop thru an AC30, played fast.

  14. #13

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    I've only owned Mexican Teles (I'm on my 3rd one), and all but my 2012 could get a decent jazz tone. The new way. So, I ordered pickups from Pete Biltoft (Vintage Vibe): a blade for the neck, and a Vintage T for bridge (I need the axe to cover jazz to rockabilly). Also upgrading the pots, adding a .047 cap, and a 5-way switch.

  15. #14

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    I played an american standard with flat wound 12's and with pickups still stock got great tone for jazz , stock the neck pup is more focussed and in middle position it gives a wider tone but less focussed than just the neck one ,

    as for using middle position i found u got good tone only when i lowered the bridge pickup a lot , the middle position also acts as hum cancelling if wiring in the venue is causing single coils to be noisy

    however after short while i put a gibson classic 57 in neck btw usa american teles are factory routed for neck humbucker , 57 alone was best jazz tone ever

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpguitar
    Cool. I'm pleased by these votes of concurrence with my post. It's kind of ironic that the old Telecaster, slab o' wood with bolt on everything that it is, really was the perfect electric guitar from the get-go. Sure, it's not acoustic and plenty of other aesthetic things are missing, but it's still an amazing tool. If you have one, try to accept the Zen of the Tele for a while before insisting on "fixing" it.
    As much as it pains me, I also concurr with this opinion. My 69 MIM thinline sounds great as it is. I wish it didn't! That way I could justify the effort of changing PUPs and switching and so on. I wish the maple fretboard was unplayable, so I could convince myself to change the neck to rosewood... I wish the stock pups sounded like crap so I could change them out and put in humbuckers!

    But really, I'm just trying to make the tele sound like "NOT-a-tele"...

  17. #16

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    I have a G&L ASAT Special which has unique, jumbo-sized single coils. I don't go for trying to make my Teles do impressions of other guitars, though, so I can only tell you I love it, not that it sounds like somebody else. Rather than changing up a perfectly good Tele, if you want humbuckers, just go pick up a Tele Deluxe.

  18. #17

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    I recently acquired a Fender American Deluxe Telecaster. It's two single coils, but it has a switch that allows you to run both pickups in series like a humbucker. I set my Tele to the middle series selection, roll down my tone to taste, and use that for single note playing. For comping, I just switch over to the single coil.

    You can do a similar mod by installing a 4-way switch.

  19. #18

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    Fender should do that 4-way series/parallel switch on all their single coil Teles. A common mod, anyway.

  20. #19

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    >>> run both pickups in series like a humbucker

    The series PU 4th switch position is a great mod for many players. Just note that a given Tele PU pair may not be humbucking.

    To be humbucking, the magnet polarity needs to be reversed in one of the PUs. But if both have the south poles up, then you will have a great series sound, but no bucking of the hum when running both PUs.

    Last edited by PTChristopher; 08-11-2012 at 06:08 PM.

  21. #20

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    I put Dimarzio hum-canceling "single coil" pickups in my Tele and they sound great for jazz. Somewhere between Ed Bickert's single coil and humbucking sounds.

  22. #21

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    if you must, maybe consider a mini humbucker in the neck. those are awesome.

  23. #22

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    In my endless endeavors to screw up my life I am thinking about a short scale Tele build with a neck pick up only. What pick up would you choose for a decent warmer jazz sound?

  24. #23

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    are you talking about a standard sized/looking tele neck pup???

    if so i'd recommend using a p90 styled tele neck pup...fralin, the creamery and a few other guys make'm..basically a jr. p90 build...if you sink it a bit into the body, you can adjust the screw poles for best response and have some nice low end..esp with the guitar controls backed off bit


    Best Telecaster Neck Pickup?-lindy-fralin-steel-pole-sp43-tele-neck-pickup-big-p90-tone-291240886484-jpg

    creamery (uk)-

    Best Telecaster Neck Pickup?-creamery_custom_handwound_tele-90_telecaster_sized_p90_neck_pickup-jpg
    Last edited by Dirk; 06-16-2020 at 04:26 AM.

  25. #24

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    I use Bill Lawrence "Keystones" and play on the neck pickup the majority of the time.

    Excellent sound. Clear, but mellow, and you can still tell you are playing a Telecaster.

  26. #25

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    The two best tele neck p/us I've heard:

    - Don Mare "Donocaster". Sweet as hell, just as pretty a sound as you could imagine. Not a loud p/u, but worked so well with some rolled off tone. Excellent at lower and medium volumes, held together at high volumes too.

    - G&L ASAT Classic neck MFD. The single best ceramic magnet p/u I've heard. Could go from sweet and jazzy to a room filling roar at higher volume.

    The two teles in which I had these p/us sounded so good on neck p/u alone, I rarely switched to other positions.


  27. #26

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    cool md..don mare does great work..if not a bit $$$$

    fave g&l pup is original mfd

    Best Telecaster Neck Pickup?-img_9283_1024x1024-jpg

    unfortunately the great bill lawrence has passed away and though his wife becky is keeping things going, i've read about some long wait be prepared...lawrence was a pickup giant


    no true single coil is going to be completely quiet..thats why humbuckers were invented...but they have a sound that many prefer

    that squier is indeed ss...might be worth for body and parts..specs are at squier site

    Last edited by neatomic; 04-22-2016 at 06:50 PM. Reason: ps-

  28. #27

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    If you're ever looking for more traditional telecaster pick up, I would suggest Lollar special T. We're discussing this in a couple other threads and I absolutely love this pick up

  29. #28

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    Just looking around at this point. Don Mare makes one that he compares to an archtop sound. That might be interesting. There are those Charlie Christians as well. I forgot who makes those. Warmoth always has a few premade necks in stock. I have mega mixed feelings though. I really don't need another guitar. But if I sell my Dano 12 string I can rationalize it - sort of anyway.

  30. #29

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    I bought a set of APG telecaster pickups after having heard Kris' demos of them. Amazing jazz tone, hum cancelling in all positions. If I were going to have one small pickup in a guitar it would be this one, undoubtedly.

  31. #30

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    " unfortunately the great bill lawrence has passed away and though his wife becky is keeping things going, i've read about some long wait be prepared...lawrence was a pickup giant"

    Bill made my Keystones about a year before he passed away. Ironically I did not install them until about a week before his death.

    He was a genius.

  32. #31

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    I got a great tone out of a Dimarzio Area T neck pickup. No hum (oddly enough, that Tele is the quietest guitar I own. It seems a little weird when holding a Tele to not hear some hum...).

    Another option is the CC style pickups. My other Tele has one of those and it is fantastic (but is noisy enough to make up for the Dimarzios). I had a Classic 57 in that guitar for a while because of it, but the CC sounds so much better that I put it back and put up with the noise. Huge, fat and yet single coil in character- my favorite jazz guitar tones tend to be single coils such as P90s (Jim Hall's ES-175 earlier on) or De'Armonds (Johnny Smith's D'Angelicos), although I love Ed Bickert's sound with the single coil and later the humbucker equally.

  33. #32

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    I have in my telecaster a set of Bill Lawrence Micro Coils. The neck pickup is particularly sweet sounding. For some time I was toying with the idea of putting a CC style pickup in this guitar in place of the normal telecaster neck pickup, however the Micro Coil pickup has really impressed me. It's fat sounding, but very sweet at the same time.

  34. #33

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    I have dimarzio area t in my kit tele. I really like the sound but don't really bother to research shop and try to see if there's a better pick up out there for me (better playing would make much more difference than a better pick up).

    Here's a demo of the area t sound I've earlier posted on this forum:

  35. #34

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    I too have a set of Lawrence Keystones in my tele and like them very much. TV Jones has just come out with a set of tele pick ups that take after the deArmonds. I have been tempted but I am pretty happy with the Keystones which are pretty quiet for single coils. The wait time on the Keystones was only a few weeks last year and at the price a great deal.
    Thanks John

  36. #35

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    I am not 100% sure about jazz sounds but I found my thrill from Seymour Duncan Antiquity II pickups. They are so warm, crispy, dynamic and precise that I can't see why they would not be perfect for jazz too.

    Tested many, including some Lollars which were nice but always the brigde or neck pu was somehow unbalanced. Fender's Alnico III was almost there, very good at clean sounds. But SD Ant II's are heaven!

  37. #36

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    Lollar Charlie Christian

  38. #37

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    I just lucked into what are surely the best sounding tele p/us ever, at least in my experience. Got this excellent partscaster tele, alder body, beautiful, big neck with brazilian RW board, plus Don Mare pickups, the "Joel Foy" set. I've had Don's pickups in other guitars. His "Donocaster" neck p/u so impressed me in another guitar. That same p/u is used in the Joel Foy set.

    And in the alder body, it's just about perfect. Great warmth and depth in the sound. You can roll tone a little off, even all the way off, and it stays together, no mud at all. Can really cut and sting with tone full up too. The bridge p/u is just as tasty, not sure how much I'll use it. The neck p/u by itself has everything.

  39. #38

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    I think this sounds pretty good. It's my usual pickup: a DiMarzio 36th Anniversary humbucker (and one of many guitars that I probably should have kept.

  40. #39

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    Thank Jim. Beautiful tune. Also that Tele is about what I was thinking of building - no bridge pickup but with the full size blanked out Tele bridge. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I picked up a Peerless Monarch for a good price and that will delay the Tele build. Still would like to do it though. Justification is the only issue since my stable is up to 8 guitars now.

  41. #40

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    Duncan 59. I built a single pup Strat (neck pup only) and used one of these. With flatwounds and a solid state amp, it is a superb jazz guitar.

  42. #41

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    As usual, thread started from "PU for Tele style guitar" and finish on SD SH1 and Dimarzio 36 full range humbuckers.
    I think, it's very easy to cut additional hall for neck humbucker in tele body, but after that, this is no Gibson and no Tele too.
    First and main question from "tele players" - what we can do, without irreversible changes in the guitar? After this question we do not have a large selection of pickups designed for Telecaster, as direct replacement. Moreover, not all of them are suitable for jazz!

    What we looking for implementation of "Jazz tone" in our tele's:
    1. Still Single Coil sounding but more round, fat and not so sparcle with more clear mid range
    2. P90/PAF sounding
    3. Other solutions, I think that no more 10% of all solutions
    4. If it possible - NO noise!
    5. No physical change in guitar!

    What we have for realize this 5 points?

    1. Joe Barden (Gatton and Modern T-Styles) - #1, #4, #5
    2. Dimarzio - #1, #4, #5
    3. Seymour Duncan STHR-N - #1(parallel), #2(serial), #4, #5
    4. Wilde pickups #1(Micro, Keystones), #4(Micro), #5
    5. APG Telebucker DUAL TONE, FR Lines #1,(parallel) #2(serial), #3, #4, #5
    6.Kinnmann #1, #4, #5
    7.Fender #1, #4, #5
    8.Lace sensor #1, #4, #5
    9. maybe something else

    For Jazz, from this list -1,3,4,5.
    Others, simply regular SC size, steak or low noise, "single sounding" pickups.

    Generally, best way for jazz - mini humbucker with rails construction, for more clear mid range, dynamics and flexibilities.

    If You don't like this conception, You can use full range humbucker, but remember, that classic PAF not specially dedicated pickup for jazz. Right for jazz, for example, - Benedetto A6, B6 or SD SH-2, that's PU's have strong mid response.
    For information - construction of Benedetto B6 similar to Dimarzio X2N (two big rails, 12k resistance), difference - no ceramic, AlnicoV magnet and no metal back plate. Benedetto A6 has the same construction as PAF, but with thinner 43AWG (11,9k) wire for increase mid range response. Generally A6 and B6 - good rock bridge HB, placed in neck position.
    Last edited by apguitars; 05-02-2016 at 07:58 AM.

  43. #42

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    Seymour Duncan Alnico 2:

    Alnico II Pro Tele ? Neck | Seymour Duncan

    The Antiquity 2 also has alnico 2 magnets but is about $23 more.

    Antiquity Tele ? Neck | Seymour Duncan

    I'm very happy with the Alnico 2 in the neck position on my Tele--great warm jazz tone.

  44. #43

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    Ultimately it's really abut priorities and objectives. If your priority is to maintain the physical integrity of the instrument, then obviously you should use a pickup with Tele form factor. Working with a body with no historical significance may make this a much less important objective. If your objective is to maintain an authentic Telecaster tone from the neck pickup, then you should choose your pickup accordingly. However, if you play a Telecaster because it is a convenient platform that is comfortable to play, then there is no reason not to experiment with alternative form factors.

    As for turning the guitar into neither a Gibson nor a Tele ... tonally that is really not a concern to me. My only concern is can I get a sound out of it that makes me happy and in this case, I'll glady accept the sound I got in that video. The guitar was comfortable to play, easy to haul around, and easy to get a great sound from with no risk of feedback or hum. It was built from Warmoth clearance parts so carving it for a humbucker was never going to change its value. That's a useful guitar to me so I don't worry about the other considerations. Other people may have different priorities and objectives and if they do, then by all means they should follow a different path.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    ... If your objective is to maintain an authentic Telecaster tone from the neck pickup, then you should choose your pickup accordingly. However, if you play a Telecaster because it is a convenient platform that is comfortable to play, then there is no reason not to experiment with alternative form factors.

    As for turning the guitar into neither a Gibson nor a Tele ... tonally that is really not a concern to me. My only concern is can I get a sound out of it that makes me happy and in this case, ...
    Jim, of course, You can do what You want , I talking about something else. About sound simulation, when You have PAF and Single Coil sound from one, the same good sounding pickup, without changing in guitar construction and without noise. This is simply and cool.
    Another thing in my post was - the desire to inform all about my observations, regarding the concept of pickups for jazz. I think, that it is very important to know, what you want and what you need, before buying pickups. On this forum, all threads about "what for jazz", ending the conversation on Gibson 57 Classic pickups. Interesting that nobody said about any one true "jazz dedicated" pickups.
    ...and this is sad.

  46. #45

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    I just ordered one of these bad boys.

    9T - Porter Pickups

  47. #46

    User Info Menu i wrote above ^..a p90 style tele neck pup is a winner....don't be afraid to play with pickup the magnets are under the bobbin...then fine tune ever so slightly with screw polepieces.

  48. #47

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    I had a body with a single HB rout in the neck position and ordered a Vintage Vibe Charlie Christian PU for it but ended up selling it to someone on the forum so I don't know how it turned out.If you want a regular sized single coil, a stock Tele PU is hard to beat. I just removed a Charlie Christian from mine and replaced it with the original - really couldn't tell much difference.

  49. #48

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    The T-9 arrived today, and I just dropped it in. Holy shnikeys! What a difference. Some of the twang (but not all) is gone, and there's a definite boost in output. Overall the tone is fuller, rounder and a tad less bright. It sounds amazing. Great jazz tone! I would definitely recommend these.

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Skip Ellis
    I had a body with a single HB rout in the neck position and ordered a Vintage Vibe Charlie Christian PU for it but ended up selling it to someone on the forum so I don't know how it turned out.If you want a regular sized single coil, a stock Tele PU is hard to beat. I just removed a Charlie Christian from mine and replaced it with the original - really couldn't tell much difference.
    Skip, that guitar turned out great. I used a regular Tele neck from Warmoth, though, and not a short scale neck like the OP mentioned. There is a thread on it somewhere on the forum wth a couple pictures.

    I installed the Vintage Vibe HCC pickup first and used it for a a couple of months. The buzz bugged me so I swapped in a Classic 57, but after a fairly short period decided I liked the CC much better and could live with the noise to have the tone- so I put the HCC back in! It sounds huge and fat. I have another Tele with Dimarzio Area T pickups, which are stacked 'buckers and the quietest pickups I have; roll off ~50% of the tone knob and they sound fantastic for jazz. But the sound, as good as it is, is not quite as wide and rich as the CC.

    This has also opened my eyes to something I had not realized despite playing guitar for 35 years: I prefer the sound of single coil pickups. Jim Hall's tone with his ES-175 with P90s; Johnny Smith's tone with his D'Angelico and DeArmond 1100; Tal Farlow with his ES-350 and CC pickup; Barney Kessel's ES-350 with CC pickup; Jimmy Raney's ES-150; etc. I think back to my old G&L F-100 and remember that I usually used the switch for single coil sounds. I am not sure what the difference is except that the single coil sound seems wider, maybe less compressed is what I want to say. The bass strings get less muddy with the tone rolled off some and the highs are clearer. There is this slightly nasal "mini Strat" quality to a lot of humbuckers in the high frequencies, like some are out of phase, that I don't hear with the single coils.

    I just ordered a floating neck-mounted HCC from Pete Biltoft yesterday and am very excited about that, after hearing Fred Archtop's old L-5 with a floating CC on it.

  51. #50

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    I love the raw nickel finish. I think it's sharp.

    Best Telecaster Neck Pickup?-img_1900-jpg