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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Telecasters / Mod Shop Tele, which pick-ups?

BuddyDog

Fresno, California

I can mangle that tune in 3 notes
Jul 20th, 2019 09:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

I am getting back into playing after being retired and I am considering ordering a Tele from the Mod Shop.

Pick-up choices:
'51 Nocaster
V-Mod
'58 vintage
Texas Specials
Noiseless

I like to play mostly rock (TP & the Heartbreakers, Stones, Ramones) but will be getting into Blues, maybe CW.

Which pickups do you like on your Tele? Seems the V Mods are probably hotter than the Nocasters

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 20th, 2019 10:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

The V Mods and Texas Specials are hotter.

Here's an important consideration: many players are under the assumption that a hotter pickup makes for a hotter guitar player. Not so.

Your tone begins with the pickup. If it's a hot one, it won't sound clean and sparkly when you need that sound. Hotter pickups tend to have a midrange bump as a function of their signal-generating capacity.

There are plenty of pedals out there designed to add heat and/or dirt to the signal (boosts, "green" overdrives, distortions, etc.). There are a few pedals that are designed to add clean sparkle (e.g., enhancers), but these sound pretty artificial and tinny and are finicky to dial in.

All that preamble to make this point: pickups that are lower in power are supremely versatile because you can get any tone you want from them using effects--but you cannot go backward to clean and sparkly from a hot pickup.

Rolling off the guitar's volume control is not the same as a milder pickup; that adds capacitance to the signal and takes the balls out of the tone.

If you exclusively play hard rock/metal *and* your tone is always filthy *and* you get your tone from a guitar, a cable, and an amp (no dirt pedals), then a hot pickup is probably the way to go.

But if you're using pedals, a hot pickup can be a handicap.

I have a set of Nocasters in a Tele I built years ago and gigged with through the early-mid 2000's. We played everything (rock, disco, country, metal, etc.). I saw no need to change the pickups because they did everything I needed them to do.

When I was younger, I wanted hot pickups because I was into the epic creamy endless sustain aspect of guitar tone. As I got into playing in groups, I discovered the good sound of a guitar by itself at home and the good sound of a guitar in a combo are two very different things. That killer tone from home gets lost in a band sound.

The cleaner you play, the less volume you need because all those additional harmonics added by distortion compete for space with the bass and drums. That makes everyone crank up the volume so they can be heard. You've heard the term 'volume wars' and perhaps you've played in a band that had this problem.

Listen closely to Angus Young with AC/DC; that is *hard* rock, and he's playing fairly clean. Very little buzz in his tone. Same for Jimi Hendrix (until he steps on the Fuzz Face). That killer tone comes from plain-jane Fender single coils and a cranked amp.

Others may disagree with me on the above points, but this has been my experience with pickups.

Sorry for the novel, Steve :o)

BobbyMac
Contributing Member
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Texas Panhandle

Born in Fullerton, California, in 1952
Jul 20th, 2019 10:41 AM   Edit   Profile  

Of the pickups you've listed, my favorite are the Nocasters.

I have them in a few Telecasters and use the Nocaster bridge pickup in two of my Esquires, as well. I recommend them highly!



BuddyDog

Fresno, California

I can mangle that tune in 3 notes
Jul 20th, 2019 10:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks to both Peegoo & BobbyMac for the great info!

stratcowboy
Contributing Member
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USA/Taos, NM

Jul 20th, 2019 12:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

Agree with the Nocasters recommendation. Another model of Fender Tele pickup worth considering--and in the general neighborhood of the Nocaster--is the Twisted Tele.

I totally concur with the aspect of starting with an excellent clean-sounding pickup. Add what you need to from there--amp, pedals, etc.

Peppy

Mesa, AZ

Jul 20th, 2019 04:09 PM   Edit   Profile  

If possible the Twisted Tele set for my ears. I have had a slew of Teles over the past fifty years, since my first one in 1969, and those are the best I have heard for most aural needs. Hey, speaking of fifty years, today is the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. THAT was Tele...tele...vision.

(This message was last edited by Peppy at 06:10 PM, Jul 20th, 2019)

stratcowboy
Contributing Member
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USA/Taos, NM

Jul 20th, 2019 08:26 PM   Edit   Profile  

I looked at the Fender website, and figured out that you are looking specifically for pickups offered in their Mod Shop menu. They do not offer the Twisted Tele pickups--which is a shame.

Ryder
Contributing Member
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Northwest Missouri

Butterscotch Blues
Jul 22nd, 2019 12:01 PM   Edit   Profile  

Twisted tele in the neck and nocaster in the bridge.

Saaaaweeet!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 22nd, 2019 12:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

That would be a great combo but the Mod Shop doesn't offer the TT neck unit.

Nawlins Dawg
Contributing Member
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N.O.,LA USA

There's no place like tone
Jul 22nd, 2019 01:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Although I am not familiar with the characteristics of the pickups you’ve listed, BD, I will say that I’m in 100% agreement with what Peegoo had to say about the subject. I want a pickup that gives me a great clean sound. What that sounds like for you might be different from what I might like, but the point is that when you love your clean tone, you really have something solid to work with and to build from. When you pour the coals to such a pickup through either a cranked amp or a boost/distortion pedal, you retain all the wonderful articulation and wide spectrum harmonics being produced by the pickup. A hot pickup will not give you this. Build from a sound that you’re in love with, and it can only get better from there

FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Telecasters / Mod Shop Tele, which pick-ups?




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