View Poll Results: What pickup would you prefer on a "jazz" Tele?

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  • Single coil

    46 56.10%
  • Humbuckering

    26 31.71%
  • Other (please explain)

    10 12.20%
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  1. #1

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    I'd wager that if we did a survey asking, for any type of guitar specifically intended for jazz, what sort of neck pickup would you prefer -- single coil or humbucking, the humbucker would be prefered more often.

    But I'm asking about Telecasters, or T-style guitars here. If you could choose a custom T-style that you would just use for jazz, what sort of neck pickup would you prefer -- single coil or humbucking?

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    I'm asking because on the Telecaster forum there's a fellow who wants to make a "jazz" Tele for his son, and the father doesn't know anything about guitars and the son is just starting out.

    In the replies from other forum members, there is the opinion that jazz means humbuckers. I'm ready to admit humbuckers are more common on jazz boxes today, but if you focus just on Tele-style guitars, I'm not so sure which is more common. And so ... my survey!

    I have a preference for single coil -- I feel I hear the notes more clearly, especially with chords, but what do you think?

  4. #3

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    As a rule, I prefer single coiling over humbuckering, but blading might be interesting too...

  5. #4

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    I'm picturing that tdpri discussion Right now. "You want a humbucker because jazz is soft music. You're not supposed to hear it."





    The correct neck pickup on a tele is a tele neck pickup.

  6. #5

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    Single coil and an Electro Harmonix Hum Debugger

  7. #6

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    Fender Custom Shop ‘51 Nocaster, hands down.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan
    Fender Custom Shop ‘51 Nocaster, hands down.
    I put that on the Tele I made for my partner. I have Lollar 52s in mine and I'm jealous of her now! The CS 51 Nocaster pickups are incredible.

  9. #8

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    Humbucker, because it's not as trebly as a Telecaster neck pickup. I think for a newbee, it would be easier to get a "jazz tone" from a neck humbucker than from a neck Tele pickup.

    Which humbucker, though? IMO, something not too hot, maybe like a Seymour Duncan Seth Lover (SH-55), 59 (SH-1N), or Jazz (SH-2N). My own favorite among these is the Seth Lover. Again my opinion, but I think a humbucker with a cover looks better in a Tele than one with exposed coils.

    Truth be told, I think it really doesn't matter in the hands of a master: Ed Bickert used a standard Tele for a long time, then had a humbucker installed at the neck; his tone, if it changed at all, didn't change much. But then, a new player won't be playing like Ed Bickert.

  10. #9

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    Single coil.
    My t-style had a humbucker, but I swapped in a humbucker-sized P-90.
    Many would argue a standard tele IS a jazz guitar, so no need to change anything!

  11. #10

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    humbucker-for jazz.

  12. #11

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    Lollar CC on mine.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    I'm asking because on the Telecaster forum there's a fellow who wants to make a "jazz" Tele for his son, and the father doesn't know anything about guitars and the son is just starting out.

    In the replies from other forum members, there is the opinion that jazz means humbuckers. I'm ready to admit humbuckers are more common on jazz boxes today, but if you focus just on Tele-style guitars, I'm not so sure which is more common. And so ... my survey!

    I have a preference for single coil -- I feel I hear the notes more clearly, especially with chords, but what do you think?

    Lollar Charlie Christian Pickup

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles

    In the replies from other forum members, there is the opinion that jazz means humbuckers.
    Julian Lage disagrees!

    I for one think a vintage voiced tele neck pickup can produce the ideal jazz tone. Deep but not muffled, clear but not shrill. My favourite jazz guitar right now is a thinline partscaster with a single in the neck. I know it's a buzz word, but it gives me an almost pianp like tone. Don't fear the singles!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by wyndham
    As a rule, I prefer single coiling over humbuckering, but blading might be interesting too...
    I'm considering one of Pete Biltoft's CC drop-in tele neck pups:

    Even chopped-down Charlie Christian pickups require some routing work. This scatterwound CC sound-alike has a blade polepiece and large magnet assembly, but it fits into a regular Tele body and pickguard. Sounding fat and loud, it’s also clear, exceptionally smooth, woody and jazzy.

    What type of neck pickup would you prefer on a "jazz" Tele?-vintage-vibe-vt-n-bl-jpg

  16. #15

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    I'm thinking either a P90 or a mini humbucker would work very well. A bonus is if it's routed for one, the other will fit.

  17. #16

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    Single coil, but not of any kind : P90

  18. #17

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    way back when modded teles first started showing up, the popular neck replacement was a mini-humbucker...mini retained some of the focused high end of the single coil (p-90-ish), but with humbucking/no noise

    the standard tele neck pup has traditionally used thinner #43 wire for a clearer more hi-fi tone...the cover also being part of the equation

    here's mini-



    cheers

  19. #18

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    I was going back and forth between a humbucker and single-coil. Now I have two Tele's. The humbucker version is a partscaster with a super light pine body and a Warmoth neck. Benedetto humbucker. I find each version has its charm. Ed Bickert had a single coil before his humbucker and both sound great to me!

    What type of neck pickup would you prefer on a "jazz" Tele?-img-0816-jpg
    Last edited by Ronstuff; 02-11-2021 at 05:54 PM.

  20. #19

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    Here’s Tim Lerch’s take.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  21. #20

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    I have really enjoyed using stacked Telecaster sized humbuckers. I had great results with the DiMarzio Area T pickups and currently I am using a Wilde L280TN which is a little clearer or airier than the DiMarzio was. They are slightly different and I would be very hard pressed to pick a favorite between them. The DiMarzio was a little more traditionally "Tele" in terms of tone (the L280 doesn't have a cover).

  22. #21

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    I put a pair of coil-tapped Ronin foilbuckers in a Telecaster-ish guitar recently for both kinds of sounds.

  23. #22

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    “The correct neck pickup on a tele is a tele neck pickup.”

    This^.

    Having said that, I used to have a reissue ‘72 Thinline with a pair of Fender humbuckers. I enjoyed that guitar, and I would say those pickups were rather like P90s: thicker than Fender single coils, more definition than a Gibson humbucker.

    A Tele single coil is best, but Fender’s own humbucker gives a wonderful sound.

  24. #23

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    For jazz on a Tele I think most people will appreciate a somewhat "hot" or "over-wound" pickup. This is because the higher voltage output of "overwound" pickups brings the amp to saturation more readily, even with a rolled-back volume knob. Because vintage humbuckers have a lot more output than an average single-coil, I suppose that's why they became universal for jazz. But single-coils can drive an amp too, with a bit more winding. I like Fender's Texas Special neck pickup. CS '51 is probably very similar. But every maker has "overwound" versions of their product.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by semitone1
    For jazz on a Tele I think most people will appreciate a somewhat "hot" or "over-wound" pickup. This is because the higher voltage output of "overwound" pickups brings the amp to saturation more readily, even with a rolled-back volume knob. Because vintage humbuckers have a lot more output than an average single-coil, I suppose that's why they became universal for jazz. But single-coils can drive an amp too, with a bit more winding. I like Fender's Texas Special neck pickup. CS '51 is probably very similar. But every maker has "overwound" versions of their product.
    The Nocaster set is not nearly as hot and grindy as the Texas Specials. I think the Texas Specials are good for blues and rock, but they are too harsh for jazz to me. They seem more on the edge of going out of control. I don’t know how else to explain it.

    For comparison:

    Nocaster-
    Neck Pickup: 7.1K, Bridge Pickup: 7.3K
    Alnico 3

    Texas Special -
    Neck Pickup: 9.5K. Bridge Pickup: 10.5K
    Alnico 5

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    way back when modded teles first started showing up, the popular neck replacement was a mini-humbucker...mini retained some of the focused high end of the single coil (p-90-ish), but with humbucking/no noise

    the standard tele neck pup has traditionally used thinner #43 wire for a clearer more hi-fi tone...the cover also being part of the equation

    here's mini-



    cheers
    A friend of mine has the Fender Hot Rod '52 Tele that has this set-up, with a Firebird style mini-humbucker and a hotter bridge pickup. It's a great sounding guitar. I'm not a Tele owner, but if I were, that would be very high on the list of possibilities.

    John

  27. #26

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    I have a Fralin P-92 on mine. I think that is supposed to be a mix between a P-90 and some type of decent humbucker. I can’t fault it. Very clear and well balanced.

  28. #27

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    A Fender Texas Special in one and a Fralin HB size p90 in the other. A p92 is another great shout.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by semitone1
    For jazz on a Tele I think most people will appreciate a somewhat "hot" or "over-wound" pickup. This is because the higher voltage output of "overwound" pickups brings the amp to saturation more readily, even with a rolled-back volume knob. Because vintage humbuckers have a lot more output than an average single-coil, I suppose that's why they became universal for jazz. But single-coils can drive an amp too, with a bit more winding. I like Fender's Texas Special neck pickup. CS '51 is probably very similar. But every maker has "overwound" versions of their product.
    Agree with this; I've had a TS neck in my #1 tele for like 26 years now. The "secret" is to drop the pickup lower, which you usually need to do anyway to balance such a hot pickup with the bridge. But when you drop it, it's SO sweet... fat & clear.

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Single coil and an Electro Harmonix Hum Debugger
    Does that thing really work?

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr. beaumont
    Single coil and an Electro Harmonix Hum Debugger
    Hum Debugger works great; my only complaint is that it requires a unique wall wart so you can't use the power supply on your board.

  32. #31

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie2
    Does that thing really work?
    Astonishingly well.

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyLoveHandles
    I'm asking because on the Telecaster forum there's a fellow who wants to make a "jazz" Tele for his son, and the father doesn't know anything about guitars and the son is just starting out.

    In the replies from other forum members, there is the opinion that jazz means humbuckers. I'm ready to admit humbuckers are more common on jazz boxes today, but if you focus just on Tele-style guitars, I'm not so sure which is more common. And so ... my survey!

    I have a preference for single coil -- I feel I hear the notes more clearly, especially with chords, but what do you think?
    Humbuckers on Teles? Hmm

    Maybe have your friend email Dan Strain at Danocaster guitars. One of his claims to fame is matching pick-ups with Teles and their intended use. So your friend can mention what type of wood and hardware he is using.

    My Danocaster has a Budz and a Danocaster A3. When he built mine I told him I was going for jazzy sounds with some all around versatility but I definitely was not going for chicken picking type sounds. I wanted jazzy type tones in the neck p/u but with some nice clarity. And he delivered.

    Equally important is the bridge pick-up choice because you may have it in the middle position a lot unless you get a Hum Debugger

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    way back when modded teles first started showing up, the popular neck replacement was a mini-humbucker...mini retained some of the focused high end of the single coil (p-90-ish), but with humbucking/no noise

    the standard tele neck pup has traditionally used thinner #43 wire for a clearer more hi-fi tone...the cover also being part of the equation

    here's mini-



    cheers
    This
    Best of both worlds - humbucking power but with clarity of a single coil.

  35. #34

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    Let’s face it, any good quality pickup will do for a beginner. Just avoid the harsh and chirpy ceramic pickups.

    That said, my favorite is a Biltoff CC style blade.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  36. #35

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    Funny, I also prefer single coil on my semi hollow... p90 has the best jazz tone ever

  37. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by rlrhett
    Let’s face it, any good quality pickup will do for a beginner. Just avoid the harsh and chirpy ceramic pickups.

    That said, my favorite is a Biltoff CC style blade.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    Someone with the same name as me just happens to be selling one of these in the For Sale forum!

  38. #37

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    As one of the biggest Tele lovers on the forum here's my $.02 worth: I've had bunches of different single coils, several CC's by different makers, and a few humbuckers, also by different builders and I've come to the conclusion that, to me, it doesn't really matter much. A few tweaks to the tone control and/or the amp and I still sound like me. I've got a homemade hollow Tele with a DiMarzio 36th Anniversary that sound real nice and warm and my partscaster (Allparts neck & body) with 'Nocaster' pickups can pretty much get a pretty fat tone with the right strings. I'm beginning to think that strings and pickup height make a bigger difference in tone than pickups. Of course, as always, YMMV.

    As an aside, that partscaster is starting to get real heavy (close to 8lbs) on the old 75 yr old shoulder so I'm thinking of starting a new build with something like Paulownia for the body. Maybe get a nice roasted curly maple neck with 1.75" nut and keep my Nocaster pickups.

  39. #38

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    I didn't want to mess with re-routing my Hahn Tele or re-routing a pickguard, so I ordered a custom "Blues Special" neck PU from Fralin wound +5% hotter and Bingo! I have a nice fat, clear, tone; and sounds great with the bridge PU (Lollar Special T). The "Blues Special" already sound fat, but the extra winding added a bit of girthy-ness and fullness. It also gave the PU added warmness. I'd love to try the Biltoft CC pickup that's a ready to drop in on a Tele.



    Cheers,
    Arnie...

  40. #39

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    I'm building a tele partscaster in slow motion and plan to use a TK Smith C.A.R. pickup. Expensive, but I find the sound very appealing. (Couldn't be the player, could it?)

    I started a thread about it a while back and got some great insights from the forum. In case anyone else is curious...

    Putting a TK Smith CAR pickup in a Telecaster?

    What type of neck pickup would you prefer on a "jazz" Tele?-tk-smith-car-frisell-jpg
    Last edited by Flat; 02-12-2021 at 03:26 PM.

  41. #40

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    I like a Lindy Fralin Tele neck pickup called the "Big T" designed for (or by) Jim Weider.
    Its currently mounted in my '84 Fender (Japan) Squier.

    Capable of a broad tonal range for a neck pickup and can do the full bodied and well balanced thing well.

  42. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by patshep
    Funny, I also prefer single coil on my semi hollow... p90 has the best jazz tone ever
    A friend of mine is a fantastic (and semi-well known) luthier; he always recommends a tele or other single coil pickup for his jazz guitars, but guitarists typically reply, "Huh? I need a humbucker for jazz!"

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    A friend of mine is a fantastic (and semi-well known) luthier; he always recommends a tele or other single coil pickup for his jazz guitars, but guitarists typically reply, "Huh? I need a humbucker for jazz!"
    I don't quite get this post. Why should a luthiers opinion on jazz tone be more credible than jazz musicians?

  44. #43

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    I have a Hod Rod Tele. It's got a Gibson Firebird style Seymour Duncan pickup in the neck position. It's a humbucker but it's very single coil-like by design. It's definitely fatter than the regular Tele neck pickup (I also have that on one guitar) but it's also not an in-your-face humbucker.
    Last edited by Tal_175; 02-12-2021 at 03:39 PM.

  45. #44

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    Lollar Imperial, hands down!

    I built a parts Telecaster more than 20 years ago, and rebuilt it last summer. When I did, I Installed Lollar Imperials in the neck and bridge positions. Absolutely fantastic!

    As a point of reference, I’ve been playing jazz for about 50 years. What type of neck pickup would you prefer on a "jazz" Tele?-img_7140-jpg


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I don't quite get this post. Why should a luthiers opinion on jazz tone be more credible than jazz musicians?
    It's not (and the luthier is also a musician) - in most of the cases, the players had never tried nor listened to the alternatives, so kinda like saying, "Coconut is tasty." "I don't like coconut." "Have you ever tried it?" "Nope."
    Last edited by marcwhy; 02-12-2021 at 06:20 PM.

  47. #46

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    This guy doesn’t need a humbucker.


  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by semitone1
    For jazz on a Tele I think most people will appreciate a somewhat "hot" or "over-wound" pickup. This is because the higher voltage output of "overwound" pickups brings the amp to saturation more readily, even with a rolled-back volume knob. Because vintage humbuckers have a lot more output than an average single-coil, I suppose that's why they became universal for jazz. But single-coils can drive an amp too, with a bit more winding. I like Fender's Texas Special neck pickup. CS '51 is probably very similar. But every maker has "overwound" versions of their product.

  49. #48

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    If for some reason I wanted different pups in my Tele, I would get a pair os Seymour Duncan Lil' '59s. I ran one in my '66 Custom Telecaster for awhile in the bridge position and only took it out because it was so much hotter than the stock neck pup. I think a pair of them would be sweet.

    Also, I find the stock neck pup to be fine for jazz. I like the N+B even better! Switches and knobs, boys and girls, switches and knobs!

  50. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThatRhythmMan
    This guy doesn’t need a humbucker.

    The hidden (unknown) talent in this world oftentimes makes me smile the most. Loved that. Fantastic. Looked him up.

    Jarmo Hynninen - Guitarist in Vantaa, Finland

  51. #50

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    finely played..tho i don't know if i'd call a guy with 100 vids of himself on youtube & his own .com website-hidden!...there's definitely an ego involved! haha

    cheers