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Thread: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

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    Default Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Greetings friends: I have a Highway 1 Telecaster with stock pups in it and I just don't feel like its giving me a vintage or traditional tele tone. Anyone with the same feelings? i would like some suggestions on your favorite bridge Tele pickups for strictly traditional country picking and chicken pickin'. I have reviewed the ones here that Seymour has but would like some experienced advice. I play similar picking to Vince Gill, Brent Mason, and their influences as well. Strictly Traditional country and Bakersfield Sound etc. Thanks for your help.

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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    if you want chicken pickin you want the antiquity II tele bridge pup or if thats too expensive or hard to find the vintage '54 is great for that too, just not quite as great

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Howdy,

    Blue Note Blaze: At the risk of running afoul of the administrators, I'm totally sold on DiMarzio's Twang King set in my Mahogany Tele. Fantastic p/u for everything from Bakersfield to Exiles on Main Street!
    BTW, I enjoy SD's '59 set in my ES-335 and thier Vintage P-90 p/us. I'm impressed with SD. Good luck!
    Eggman

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Welcome! A Duncan Broadcaster is another option. I love mine.

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    if you want chicken pickin you want the antiquity II tele bridge pup or if thats too expensive or hard to find the vintage '54 is great for that too, just not quite as great
    So what is it about those that convinces you that they are the best for that style of playing? Just want to learn. I know Brent Mason did use the 5/2 for a long time as well as vintage stacks. I'm not sure what Johnny Hiland or Vince Gill uses although I believe Vince's is a 53 stock pup. Which is probably Alnico 2.

    These Hwy 1 pups are too shrill and harsh for me. Don't want anything like that. More smoothness like Brent gets and modern chicken pickers. Bakersfield was too trebly for my taste. But I hear alot about the Twang King pups from DiMarzio. Thanks for anyone's help. My Guitar is Alder with Maple neck.

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    I actually like the stock pups in my Highway 1 Tele.. they seem to have a pretty good traditional twangy Tele sound.

    I'm sure there are some Duncans that are better.. but I'm in no hurry to upgrade at the moment.. especially since I don't ever use the Tele in my band.

    Also - some kind of a compressor pedal, like a Dyna Comp helps with that traditional chickin' pickin' sound.

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    if you look at the descriptions of the antiquity II and the '54, you'll see why jeremy recommended them

    the fact is, almost every pickup maker makes a version for country style playing

    and yes, you could probably use a 5-2 as well ... and a Broadcaster sounds very good in an alder tele too

    just as important though, is your amp and effects

    there is a guy named Doug Seven who has some very good info on gear setup, as well as a ton of country licks ... that might be a good place to check before you go pickup shopping

    in addition, you might also ask the same question over on the tele forum (TDPRI) -- that's their specialty

    good luck in your chicken pickin' quest!

    and P.S.: AFAIK, '53s didn't use alnico 2 ... early 50s teles used alnico 3, then later switched to alnico 5
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    ObsoleteChickenPickingologist Butch Snyder's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Note Blaze View Post
    So what is it about those that convinces you that they are the best for that style of playing? Just want to learn. I know Brent Mason did use the 5/2 for a long time as well as vintage stacks. I'm not sure what Johnny Hiland or Vince Gill uses although I believe Vince's is a 53 stock pup. Which is probably Alnico 2.
    The choices that Jeremy offered are the pickups that were pretty much designed to give the 60's Bakersfield tone. Brent Mason and Seymour designed the 5-2 and he now uses the STK-T3b Vintage Stack on his 68 Tele. That same picup comes stock on his Valley arts signature guitar. Johnny Hiland, beforee he went tot PRS, was using Bardens in his Fender CS Tele and playing through Blackface Twin Reverbs. Vince Gills pickup in his 53 is stock and not Alnico 2. More than likely, it's either Alnico 3 or 5.


    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Note Blaze View Post
    These Hwy 1 pups are too shrill and harsh for me. Don't want anything like that. More smoothness like Brent gets and modern chicken pickers. Bakersfield was too trebly for my taste. But I hear alot about the Twang King pups from DiMarzio. Thanks for anyone's help. My Guitar is Alder with Maple neck.
    The DiMarzio Twang Kings are great pickups. The neck model is one of the best Tele neck pickups I have used. The bridge model is okay but not as good. If I had to say what the bridge model's tone is like, I would say more Broadcasterish but more polite. I think the APTL-3JD Jerry Donahue model is one of the best made. It's sweet and smooth; with a warm twang to it. You mentioned Bakersfield tone; you also say you like Brent Mason and Vince Gill's tone. When I hear their tone, I don't really think "Bakersfield". Their tone is warmer and more compressed to my ears.
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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    If you wnt a touch more output of the Bridge consider a Jerry Donahue. I have a JD paired with a Vintage 54N and it is a great vintage sounding Tele. I like the JD because it has a little more midrange then a traditional Tele Bridge does and it has a little more output. Oaired with the Vintage 54N it gives me all the typical Vintage sound I want without ever being harsh or shrill!
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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Ditto on the JD from the SD choices; one of the best and pretty versatile. It gets rid of a lot of the high-end c**p that you would use the compressor to get rid of anyway.
    Remember, a lot of that Buckaroo stuff was speeded up about a half-step, making it a little brighter...

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Quote Originally Posted by Butch Snyder View Post
    The choices that Jeremy offered are the pickups that were pretty much designed to give the 60's Bakersfield tone. Brent Mason and Seymour designed the 5-2 and he now uses the STK-T3b Vintage Stack on his 68 Tele. That same picup comes stock on his Valley arts signature guitar. Johnny Hiland, beforee he went tot PRS, was using Bardens in his Fender CS Tele and playing through Blackface Twin Reverbs. Vince Gills pickup in his 53 is stock and not Alnico 2. More than likely, it's either Alnico 3 or 5.




    The DiMarzio Twang Kings are great pickups. The neck model is one of the best Tele neck pickups I have used. The bridge model is okay but not as good. If I had to say what the bridge model's tone is like, I would say more Broadcasterish but more polite. I think the APTL-3JD Jerry Donahue model is one of the best made. It's sweet and smooth; with a warm twang to it. You mentioned Bakersfield tone; you also say you like Brent Mason and Vince Gill's tone. When I hear their tone, I don't really think "Bakersfield". Their tone is warmer and more compressed to my ears.
    Yeah, I made a mistake. I meant that I was gonna do honky tonk style like Bakersfield, but wanted my tone more along the lines of Brent and Vince...I am sorry for the confusion. It sounds like you would recommend the JD in this instance? I don't want a shrill, harsh, trebly tone like Bakersfield, but indeed warmer, smoother, but definitely able to twang. My sound is more along the lines of Brent's sound. The style and type of songs I write and perform are traditional country. Although Vince Gill is one of my influences as well.
    Last edited by Blue Note Blaze; 12-23-2009 at 06:56 PM.

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Also people say that the early 50's Tele pickups were not alnico 2? I always thought they were...like in the case of Vince's 53. Guess I was wrong. Can someone give a brief history of the progression of the Tele pickup, such as magnets and tones?

    Also, if Brent Mason always used the 5/2 throughout the 90's and such, why does hardly anyone recommend that pickups for country playing?

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Note Blaze View Post
    Also people say that the early 50's Tele pickups were not alnico 2? I always thought they were...like in the case of Vince's 53. Guess I was wrong. Can someone give a brief history of the progression of the Tele pickup, such as magnets and tones?
    the best reference for early teles is the Blackguard Book, which documents the specs for quite a few early teles

    even Duchossoir's book, "The Fender Telecaster", did not go into much detail regarding output and magnet types of the pickups, other than the factory specs, specifically the number of winds

    that means you need to do a bit of digging and research to find this info

    one source for info is Fred Stuart, who along with Alan Hamel, examined lots of early teles while they both worked at the Fender custom shop

    this is why Stuart winds his own early 50s style pickups with alnico 3 magnets

    in addition, there are quite a few other winders who make similar A3 versions, such as Lollar, Florance, Don Mare, Fender, Fralin, etc, etc ....

    not only that, but the magnet diameter and stagger changed over the years -- take a look at the description of the '54 bridge pickup on SD's main site.

    some were wound with 42 ga wire, and others with higher resistance over 9K were wound with 43 ga wire

    so pickup winding back in the 50s was more truly hand made, and not as consistent in specs as today


    that's one reason why it's best to try to find a specific tone, rather than work from the direction of specific specs

    for instance, if you like Brent Mason, and know he used a 5-2, then get a 5-2 ... but sooner or later you are just going to have to jump in and pick something -- it doesn't mean it's the end of your search for the right tone
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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Seymour has the best variety in tele pups than anyone,and they are great, but Don Mare makes the best tele pups period. That's pretty much all he does(and strats). Check him out!

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    donzo used to be a very active member of this board but had one too many freak outs

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Quote Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
    donzo used to be a very active member of this board but had one too many freak outs
    I think he's better now, he was going through some things. All I know is, his tele pickups are freakin amazing and that's not taking anything away from anyone else!

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    either:

    1. Broadcaster in the Bridge
    2. Antiquity for Telecaster Bridge (Either normal or raised D and G poles)
    3. STL '54
    4. A Fender CS Nocaster pup (I'm surprised no mention has been made for this pup, it's really quite good.)
    5. The Jerry Donahue.
    NB: I am not sure though if for the OP he'd be willing to go for stacked pups, or if he wants a pure single coil sound.
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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    Again, the bottom line, at least from my perspective, is what kind of tone you want. Some folks desire a smooth "pumpkin" tone. The Alnico II Pro is the pickup for that. Some folks desire a twang that's a little louder and fuller. The Nocaster, JD, and Broadcaster all do that but in different ways. Seymour Duncan has a 21-day exchange policy. Fender has nothing like that. DiMarzio has a 30-day exchange policy. Try em out until you find the model that suits you.

    I have used the following and will give a one-sentence review of my thoughts.

    1. 1. Fender Nocaster - Nice pickup, really great full pickup that is nice in an ash-body maple neck Tele; but might be too warm and middy in an alder-body rosewood fretboard Tele. That is, for chicken picking.
    2. 2. Seymour Duncan APTL-3JD - One of my all-time favorites, with a really sweet top end and warm mids, it doesn't give a barky twang but a meaty twang that will overdrive nicely.
    3. 3. Seymour Duncan STK-T3b - I have used this pickup in a Fender Highway One Tele and it was a very smooth, full pickup. I used it in a Country Music setting. It's one of my favorites.
    4. 4. Seymour Duncan APTL-1 - A great pickup, but a little too low-output for me.
    5. 5. Fender Tex-Mex Tele Set - I have used these on an old Fender Deluxe Nashville Tele I had. Great pickups that don't sound cheap or harsh. They're a tad over-wound and have a meaty full twang to them. In fact, I installed a Nashville set in my 60th Ann. American Tele (like in my signature). I wanted a set of pickups that could twang, rock, and pretty much do it all. I have that.
    6. 6. Rio Grande Muy Grande - This one is one of my favorites also. A big meaty twang. It looks like a 1/4lber but is smoother. It's a little too meaty for some who desire more of a classic vintage-sounding twang.


    There are many more pickups I have tried; but you get the idea. Don't be afraid to try em out and see what you think. That's how you're going to find what works for you.
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    Toneologist Falstaff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    A Voodoo 60s might fit the bill, too. They have plenty of twang but also have more beef...very versatile. IMHO it does the Bakersfield and Pete Anderson tones very well without sounding thin. I have one in a Tokai "Esquire" that sounds fantastic.
    Last edited by Falstaff; 12-26-2009 at 06:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Best Tele pup for chicken pickin'

    As I said...I would like my tone to be like Brent Mason's. I understand that his "sound" has to do with his setup, processing and most importantly his picking technique. So, I am not trying to emulate him, I just appreciate the tone his guitar has in any setting and any style he plays.

    I hear a tight, smooth, lower end, scooped mids and a twangy high end but not shrill, trebly and harsh when I hear Brent. I looked at the tone chart for the 5/2 and the EQ seemed to match my description. I think overall thats the type I want to get with my Tele, but cant seem to achieve with these "hot rodded" alnico 3 mags that come stock on the Hwy 1. I run through a compresor as well with a hot rod deluxe tube amp that I may be selling to get a Fender Deluxe reverb...not sure yet.

    Also to the poster that wanted to know my feelings on "stacks"...I prefer to stick with pure single-coil tone and all the glorious noise it makes. Thanks though. I really appreciate all the imput and welcome more help.

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