I'm curious what some of you seasoned Tele-spankers think of when you picture the ultimate Tele tone...
For me it would be Roy Buchanan...tho I also loved Danny Gatton's playing too. I liked Roy's tone better tho: stock flat pole '53 Tele lead pickup...under 7K according to Joe Barden who had a chance to inspect and measure Nancy, Roy's '53 Tele.
Both Roy and Danny got thier best tones, IMO, through blackface Fender Vibrolux Reverb amps. The Vibrolux Reverb is, to me, THE Telecaster amp...especially an old blackface with Jensen C10N speakers.
I loved Jame's Burton's tone when he was with Ricky Nelson, but that tone is a little to thin and twangy for me and for blues: later 50's Tele lead pickup with raised poles of a smaller diameter than the flat poled Broadcaster style pickup Roy used.
Interestingly, Jimmy Page used a similar Tele to the one James used for the first Led Zep album and got a much fatter tone...almost like a Les Paul. Recording technique and that Supro Thunderbolt amp with a 15" speaker I guess.
Steve Cropper also comes to mind and he used a similar Tele to Jimmy Page's: rosewood fingerboard and probably the thinner diameter staggered poles. Again, a great tone but I like the fatter tone of flat poled pickups from '51 to early '54.
In the 60's, I hated every new Tele I picked up! Just sounded like ice picks to me. I didn't learn to love Tele's until I scored my first really old one: a '51 NoCaster after seeing Roy Buchanan playing his '53.
But the current NoCaster pickups from Fender do not have the tone I prefer: despite being flat poled and built in the Broadcaster style, they're just to bright for my tastes...tho I know there are guys who seem to prefer that thin bright twang.
The original stock pickups that came with my old '54 do not sound like that...they sound more like Roy Buchanan's '53. I measured the bridge pickup from my '54 just now (it's out of the guitar) and it's only 6.2K! That's a little to weak, IMO, for a snarling good lead tone but it does combine beautifully with the neck pickup for a great chimey rythym tone.
It sounds nothing like the NoCaster Reissue pickup tho: the old '54 has a warmer, fatter tone...even tho it's only a 6.2K pickup.
I put Fralin Blues Specials in my '54. They are alot warmer and fatter than the NoCaster Reissues and the Blues lead pickup sounds similar to the stock pickup that came with my '54 but has more output and pushes my amp harder. They actually sound more like the tone Roy Buchanan got...but not quite as much snap and crackle.
I love the tone Seymour gets on the Duncan Demo CD. I think that's a Duncan Tele Hot.
Curly asked MJ to wind him one of those, I think, on his recent visit to the Duncan Factory...I'd like to hear Curly's views on that pickup if he's reading this.
I'd have to say that my two favorites when it comes to modern pickups are the Duncan Antiquitys and the Fralin Blues Specials. Two differant, but great sounding pickup sets.
When my Custom Shop '53 RI Tele shows up, I might install a set of the Antiquitys in it and compare the tones of my three Teles for you guys.
I have not heard the newer Duncan Broadcaster pickups, but I do have an old one that I used for quite a few years. I'm going to hang onto it: it's 8.2K!
That is the hottest Tele bridge pickup I own. I like it alot but it's so strong it compresses and loses a little of the Tele snap and I can see why the newer version is wound a little lighter.