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  1. #1

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    Hey there,

    Looking to install some new pickups in a classic vibe squier that I recently bought. Current pickups are a little too hot and dull for me. Clarity and dynamics are the things I am looking for most but I still want it capable of warming and not being full on tele twang. Tone wise looking for something more modern in the Nels Cline/Frisell territory. Thanks for any input!

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  3. #2

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    Frisell and Cline are both extremely capable and experienced Tele-players and their various guitars have all been finely built, tuned and pimped out instruments. Your albeit decent Squier guitar made from cheap(er) parts etc. will have a hard time matching the tonal qualities of these mostly hand-built boutique specimen, no matter which type or brand of pickup you put into it.
    That pickup will only ever hear what the wood and the hardware produces.
    OTOH : I've been very happy with the DiMarzio Area T pickups in my Warmoth Tele. They are affordable, dead quiet and deliver a nicely balanced basic sound that is absolutely useable. About a year ago I swapped out the old Fender-type Tele bridge and put in a new "Mastery" T-bridge and with that measure the guitar took a major leap forward re snap, sustain and articulation.
    Not cheap but very effective and worthwhile , for me. I also hear + read good things about the pickups from Bill Lawrence.

  4. #3

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    On the other hand, there’s a lot of opportunity for improvement in a Squier Tele. It’s not a custom shop prize, but it’s a decent instrument that can play and sound great. And it’s certainly worth a new $100 pickup if you like the way it feels and plays. The Duncan Little 59 is a very nice, medium output, jazzy, humbucking Tele neck pup that I like a lot. I also loved the Duncan Hot Rails Tele neck pup that I tried on a lark in a ratty Am Standard and ended up using on many gigs. With treble rolled off a bit, it was pretty sweet despite being a high output pup intended for rockers and metal heads. But it still excels as a versatile, modern high output pup. I think it cost me about $75 at the time - this was 20+ years ago, but they still make it AFAIK.

    I’ve found the hardware on inexpensive instruments to be inconsistent. If it plays well, intonation is fine, pressure points like the bridge saddles aren’t breaking strings, pots are quiet, jacks and switches are tight, etc, I see no reason to change them. You could easily dump $500+ into upgrading bridge / tailpiece, nut, tuners, pots etc. Reaching that level of investment in a Squier has to be an affair of the heart - it doesn’t make sense to me unless you just plain love something about yours. But focused improvement like a better pickup or good bridge saddles with smoother, finer adjustment screws can really make a cost effective improvement well worth it to many of us.

  5. #4

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    @Simply -- welcome to the Forum!

    We love recommending people spend their money on gear around here, so you're in the right place!

    One tip for gear questions: please always add a budget when looking for "affordable" anything -- like all gear, pickups can be $30 up to $1000, and they are all affordable for different people!

    That being said, and given what you described, you are looking for Lambertones' The Blondie! Have fun!

    Marc

  6. #5

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    If you just want the classic Fender tele tone, you can go to a hundred different pickup winders, or you could buy Fender pickups, but higher up the line, like these:

    https://www.fender.com/en-US/parts/t...992119000.html

    Most boutique winders talk about "bigger sounding", "clearer", "more muscle", etc etc... but really, the classic Fender tele tone comes from Fender pickups, from the very beginning.

  7. #6

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    I just put a Wilde hum cancelling L280TN in the neck position of my Tele-like guitar yesterday and my first impression is 100% positive. No noise, not at all microphonic (that's important to me since I tend to play over the pickup and often make contact), very warm tonally and very touch responsive. As a bonus, it's a remarkably inexpensive $50. Wilde is the former Bill Lawrence company (they had legal issues over the name. It's now run by his wife and daughter and they were very nice to deal with.

  8. #7

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    I also have the Area T pickups in my classic vibe squier tele. I am really happy with them.

    I almost only the use the neck pickup though. I'm not much of a tele twang or chicken pickin kind of a player, so I don't have much of an opinion to make a comment on the bridge pickup (I did also change the bridge pickup to an Area T to match the neck pickup but now I think I could have just left the stock pickups since I don't use it so much).

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by orri
    I also have the Area T pickups in my classic vibe squier tele. I am really happy with them.

    I almost only the use the neck pickup though. I'm not much of a tele twang or chicken pickin kind of a player, so I don't have much of an opinion to make a comment on the bridge pickup (I did also change the bridge pickup to an Area T to match the neck pickup but now I think I could have just left the stock pickups since I don't use it so much).
    My experience as well. And I do like the Area T.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by gitman
    Frisell and Cline are both extremely capable and experienced Tele-players and their various guitars have all been finely built, tuned and pimped out instruments. Your albeit decent Squier guitar made from cheap(er) parts etc. will have a hard time matching the tonal qualities of these mostly hand-built boutique specimen, no matter which type or brand of pickup you put into it.
    That pickup will only ever hear what the wood and the hardware produces.
    OTOH : I've been very happy with the DiMarzio Area T pickups in my Warmoth Tele. They are affordable, dead quiet and deliver a nicely balanced basic sound that is absolutely useable. About a year ago I swapped out the old Fender-type Tele bridge and put in a new "Mastery" T-bridge and with that measure the guitar took a major leap forward re snap, sustain and articulation.
    Not cheap but very effective and worthwhile , for me. I also hear + read good things about the pickups from Bill Lawrence.
    I saw Bill F on tour playing a Mexican tele. I think he’d changed the pickups though.

  11. #10

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    I’ll also put in a good word for the Lace Alumitone. Lace built a pair of 7s for my Raines Tele7 that are amazing. Gabriel (a manager at Lace) offered to make them to the same spec as the ones they supply to George Benson. They were delivered to me 5 days after I ordered them and are truly fantastic - big, open sensitive, fairly high output, low string pull, and versatile.

    Lace now makes an Alumitele that comes mounted in a pickguard for $125 as shown here. But I’d be surprised if Gabriel (who answered the sales extension when I called Lace) doesn’t offer to sell you a bare pickup if you want one.

    The Alumitones all look distinctively different from any pickup I’ve ever seen. But I will definitely use them again if I need new pickups and am considering one for my Ibanez AF207. The Alumitele is the size of a standard Tele neck pup. Here’s what they look like in classic humbucker format in my guitar:

    Affordable jazz pickups for telecaster-39023cc0-9008-442b-9b31-502360400b91-jpg

  12. #11

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    I recently installed a Hb sized charlie christian neck pickup and vintage bridge pickup all from Pete Biltoft. Couldnt be happier and he is very responsive and accomodating.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  13. #12

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    I had a Squier Affinity Tele that I modded with GFS Fatbody pickups. It sounded great -- should have never sold it -- I wish I had it back. But single coils are noisy & I also had to do copper shielding.

    If I was starting over, I'd probably go fender noiseless for the neck pick up. That's the pickup that really matters for most jazz players anyway.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Soloway
    I just put a Wilde hum cancelling L280TN in the neck position of my Tele-like guitar yesterday and my first impression is 100% positive. No noise, not at all microphonic (that's important to me since I tend to play over the pickup and often make contact), very warm tonally and very touch responsive. As a bonus, it's a remarkably inexpensive $50. Wilde is the former Bill Lawrence company (they had legal issues over the name. It's now run by his wife and daughter and they were very nice to deal with.
    +1. I've had Wilde Keystones in my ClassicVibe thinline for a few years now. Love 'em - simple drop in replacement, amazing value. I've heard great things about the L280TN that Jim references as well as the Micro-coils

  15. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by marcwhy
    @Simply -- welcome to the Forum!

    We love recommending people spend their money on gear around here, so you're in the right place!

    One tip for gear questions: please always add a budget when looking for "affordable" anything -- like all gear, pickups can be $30 up to $1000, and they are all affordable for different people!

    That being said, and given what you described, you are looking for Lambertones' The Blondie! Have fun!

    Marc
    Sorry that I forgot to add a price! I was hoping to get the whole set for under $200.

    As for the Squier, the classic vibes are great value, I played it against a Mexican tele in the store and I had a slight preference for the Squier, and for almost half the price I had to get it. Never been thrilled with the pickups though and I'll probably change out some of the electronics and the saddles at some point just for the fun of it. Overall satisfied especially considering how much I paid.

    It is good to hear some love for the Bill Lawrence's and the Fender's since those were two I was looking at.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimplyTH
    Hey there,

    Looking to install some new pickups in a classic vibe squier that I recently bought. Current pickups are a little too hot and dull for me. Clarity and dynamics are the things I am looking for most but I still want it capable of warming and not being full on tele twang. Tone wise looking for something more modern in the Nels Cline/Frisell territory. Thanks for any input!
    You might try lowering the pickups you have. This allows them to sample a larger section of the vibrating string, resulting in a richer tone. IMHO.

  17. #16

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    I've got the Wilde L280 in my Tele and Strat. Great pickup, with a lot of potential for shading the tone with different caps, etc. I also really liked the Area T (but I accidentally killed mine).

    Wildes are very cost effective, especially if you catch one of their holiday sales.

  18. #17

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    There are tons of Tele pickups to choose from. My favorite for jazz is a Seymour Duncan Phat Cat, basically a humbucker-sized P90. Unfortunately that's not an option for you unless you elect to route out your guitar.

    For standard Tele routes, my favorite neck pickup for jazz tones is the DiMarzio Twang King. Yes, it's 'twangy', but turn down the tone and/or volume knob and it sounds beautiful and very mellow.


  19. #18

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    Here is another voice for the DiMarzio Area T in the bridge. I had SD in both bridge and neck with similar output which was noisy so I copper foiled the cavities and replaced the neck pu with the Area T. It is dead quiet, and at this point I can´t say as to whether it is due entirely to the pu or if the copper foil plays a part in the silence. I have only recently begun using the bridge and neck (the old SD) so as to better balance tone, and as far as I can tell it is still dead quiet, so that tells us something about the value of copper foil.

  20. #19

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    My first Tele was an HH model, and I thought I was done. But I came across a used standard model, and once I got that home and started playing it, I couldn't stop. Now I get it. The dynamics and sweet tone on that stock single coil neck pup are to die for. Great for Jazz imo, but yeah, maybe not everyone's cup of tea.

    I still consider the HH an all-rounder workhorse, sort of a "Lestercaster". I guess what I'm saying is, ya gotta have more than just one Tele.

  21. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by timmer
    My first Tele was an HH model, and I thought I was done. But I came across a used standard model, and once I got that home and started playing it, I couldn't stop. Now I get it. The dynamics and sweet tone on that stock single coil neck pup are to die for. Great for Jazz imo, but yeah, maybe not everyone's cup of tea.

    I still consider the HH an all-rounder workhorse, sort of a "Lestercaster". I guess what I'm saying is, ya gotta have more than just one Tele.
    Anybody else a fan of single coils? That is generally the direction I am leaning in, but I see a lot of love for the area T, is it more of the tone that folks are a fan of or the noise cancelling?

  22. #21

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    Both of the Area T and the L280 can sound pretty single coil. Blindfolded it's within the normal variation for Telecaster pickups. With the very odd experience of your Telecaster ending up being your quietest guitar!

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Both of the Area T and the L280 can sound pretty single coil. Blindfolded it's within the normal variation for Telecaster pickups. With the very odd experience of your Telecaster ending up being your quietest guitar!
    They're also both wax potted which I find very useful. I like both and to my ear they offer a pretty traditional Tele sound in the neck with no noise and no microphonics.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimplyTH
    Anybody else a fan of single coils? That is generally the direction I am leaning in, but I see a lot of love for the area T, is it more of the tone that folks are a fan of or the noise cancelling?
    My tele has EMG tele pickups. I think they are pretty tele-like but without any hum or noise. Very clear sounding.

  25. #24

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    I prefer the Fender Texas Special in the neck.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    You might try lowering the pickups you have. This allows them to sample a larger section of the vibrating string, resulting in a richer tone. IMHO.
    That seems like great advice. I haven’t tried it on a tele, but on other guitars I’ve been amazed at how much a small tweak to pickup height can make in sweeting the tone. I wonder how many people replace pickups when adjusting pickup height might have done the job.