The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary

View Poll Results: Route my CS Tele for a Charlie Christian pickup?

21. You may not vote on this poll
  • You crazy?? No way! Keep it original

    15 71.43%
  • Heck yes! Great upgrade and totally worth it!

    6 28.57%
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Posts 1 to 25 of 25
  1. #1

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    I have a 2010 Fender Custom NOS ‘63 Telecaster. It’s a fantastic instrument. The bridge pickup is especially amazing.

    I use pure nickel rounds and the neck pickup sounds great for jazz. However, I’ve been GAS’ing for a Lollar Charlie Christian pickup in the neck.

    Obviously, this would require routing the body. Bad move or totally worth it?


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  3. #2

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    Although I like the idea, my guess is that the perceived "value" of "Custom NOS" guitars is in their authenticity, etc. -- especially if you ever decide to sell it. If you want to dig around the wood and play with things, buy a cheap Squire or Warmoth, and have at it!

    My .02.

  4. #3

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    Normally, I'm a big proponent of doing modifications to guitars in order to accommodate individual preferences. They are not objects of worship, they are tools. What comes out of the assembly line can't possibly be the perfect match for thousands of individuals. It's crazy not to customize them in ways that suit the player better.

    Now, that said, Telecaster is a simple and widely available design. My favorite Tele is a Mexican Player series model, even though I also own an American Hot Rod version. If I were you, I think I'd get a good used mexican or even squier model and install the CC on that guitar first to see if I still prefer it to the standard pickup after 6 months.

    On the other hand if you're sure that the guitar is a keeper or you rather take a, say, $700 price cut if and when you sell the guitar rather than to go through the hassle of buying and selling a used Tele, then I'd say go ahead.

    In fact, now that I thought about it, I'd probably do just that. Who am I kidding. Sorry for rambling.

  5. #4

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    What I would do is keep the tele the way it is and do one of these choices:

    Possibility one: look for a higher end Fender tele used, that I like, purchase and modify. I know that if I have a guitar I like, I am going to keep it. I know that if I am thoughtful about getting it doing something I want, I am going to keep the guitar.

    Possibility two: find a builder to make me a guitar. I have had some mixed experiences with that approach. I think that if the builder is well know and I really know what I want and like, things should work out. I did play a Tom Anderson that I thought was incredible.

    Possibility three: Warmoth looks really cool. I have played some that I have come across, and never really bonded with them. Again, I think if I was focused in what I wanted and knew how to get that, it should work out. I have yet to personally give the whole Warmoth experience a try.

    I am ok with having a small useable heard of guitars. I like to have guitars in a certain price range: not too expensive that I feel worried, but a little more expensive then a mid level guitar. For example a classic LP versus a traditional LP. (I typically wait until I find a good used deal. I will wait years).

    I presently have about 15. I change them out, and I always miss the ones that I am not presently playing. Most are non-damage modded to do different things, in ways that work best for me. The two stock guitars are Ibanez: AM205AV Prestige, and a PM100. Those two are probably the only guitars I have bought and not thought much about changing. (I do think about putting a ebony bridge on the PM100, but I am so happy with it).

  6. #5

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    I wouldn’t think twice about it if it was a deliberate decision based on a need. However, when you say your GASing I assume you’re like me when I have it, susceptible to rash decisions. You, like me, might be GASing next month for something else. Something reversible is safer.

  7. #6

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    A new squier bullet tele is cheaper than the pickup, so cheap to try before routing the good stuff.

    Bought a bullet mustang recently, and the quality is amazing for the price

  8. #7

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    Charlie Christian pkups are great, no question. But there is another option- the Don Mare Bigbox. This pickup has the same size like a standard tele neck pickup yet higher. It sounds amazing, hard to describe. Something inbetween a CC and a Dynasonic.

  9. #8

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    Many teles (not necessarily custom shop though) come pre-routed for at least humbuckers, in case you want to buy a new Tele.

    The solid body version of the Lollar CC, might fit in a tele with neck pickup routing for a humbucker.

    I think the question boils down to is if it will make the guitar worth more to you.
    Will the guitar be worth more to you with your own mods, even if it goes down in resale value?
    Do you think there is a chance you will regret it (regardless of resale value).

    If it's just that you love the bridge pickup but haven't found the same love for the neck pickup, you might maybe consider other (less intrusive) neck pickup options?

  10. #9

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    Fender Custom Shop ‘63 Tele - route for Lollar CC or no?-20220812_184215-jpgI installed a Lollar CC in a Squier CV Tele 60's Custom. It had the cut out for a humbucker but I still had to do mods for the fit.
    The problem for me was how loud that pickup is. It is so loud I had to lower it till it was at the level to the pickguard and the bridge pickup, a Fender mid 60's vintage pu, was as high as possible. And the bridge pu sounded like half a humbucker. Thin as.
    Great jazz sound but be aware. ITS WAY LOUD.
    Last edited by ColMc52; 08-12-2022 at 04:44 AM. Reason: Added pic.

  11. #10

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    Nick Silver offers an underwound version of the CC, very good pickup and it‘s got a less brutal output. Anyway same size like the Lollar.

  12. #11
    Thanks all! The Don Mare Big Box looks really intriguing. I also ran across a Curtis Novak Jazzmaster pickup that is designed to fit on a Telecaster with no routing needed: JMX- TELE – Curtis Novak Classic Pickups

    I might actually be heading in that direction.

  13. #12

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    Get another tele but put the TK Smith CCII pickup in it.

  14. #13
    That sounds amazing!

  15. #14

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    I really like the look of a CC pickup in a tele… they sound nice too.

    here’s a great comparison video of CC vs Fender custom shop Nocaster pickup…

  16. #15
    Agreed. They do look awesome. And the tone in that video is fantastic!

  17. #16

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    I would experiment on something cheaper... CC can sound great but they are not for everyone. I could not bond with one.

  18. #17

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    Nice video. I prefer the sound of the original tele neck pickup.

  19. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by neilshane
    It’s a fantastic instrument. The bridge pickup is especially amazing.
    If it is fantastic, I don't see why you should risk modifying into something that, in principle, could not satisfy you as much as the way it is now. But that is just my opinion.

  20. #19

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    It's a Custom Shop guitar. I wouldn't hesitate to customize it further as long as what I would do to it is aesthetically reversible, and done expertly, which is what the OP is questioning. Personally I think that a vast majority of Fender Custom Shop guitars are overpriced particularly the ones that are copies of historic models. My 2 cents.

  21. #20

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    My two cents, if it requires routing it will kill the value of the guitar. Also as others have said, be careful of balance issues.

    I would try a fatter typical rhythm pickup first. Also, if you can find one with a heavier plated brass cover like the originals in the '50's, that will be darker and jazzier as well, in fact maybe too dark.

    But expect to take a big hit on resale if you rout it.

  22. #21

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    Here‘s what routing we‘re talking about. It‘s big:

    Fender Custom Shop ‘63 Tele - route for Lollar CC or no?-accadfd6-9a69-4f21-a6f3-8dee2907aca0-jpg

  23. #22

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    I admit that it is hard to imagine a Tele having “intrinsic resale value”. They’re just a slab of painted wood you mount pickups to.

    That said, if you have one that for some reason commands a special price, don’t mess with it. Get another. They are commodities. Find a cheap knock off with a decent neck at your favorite shop and mod away with abandon.

    PS, I have a Tele clone with a humbucker sized Biltoff CC pickup and it is awesome.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro

  24. #23
    Personally, if I were to do a major customization like this, I would not do it to a more expensive custom shop guitar. I would rather get a cheaper template – such as a Squier Classic Vibe – and customize it to my liking.

  25. #24

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    Eh, I say do what works for you. I think people worry way too much about originality. It’s a guitar, not a Rembrandt.

    It’s not like you can never go back. You’re basically risking a pickguard.

  26. #25

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    Yeah, on top of that, since this a repro, you might get flush with value if the new pickup is worth something reasonable and you include the original pickup and pickguard with the sale. It's not an actual '63 Tele. It's a repro. If it was an actual '63 I would probably advise against it.