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Electric Guitar Manual

TELECASTER Pickups: Different Types

PICKUPS for TELECASTER Guitar. FEATURES Various Types of Vintage Telecaster Pickups: Fender, Seymour Duncan, and DiMarzio.

Many think that why buy a Telecaster when they can have a more versatile model like the Stratocaster, because it has an additional pickup in a central position compared to the Telecaster.

But it turns out that the Telecaster model has its own qualities, especially when it comes to its classic pickup models. One of the elements that can most influence the final sound of an electric guitar.

Pickups for Guitar Telecaster Classic

Although the type of manufacturing and woods used in both the Stratocaster and the Telecaster are very similar or even identical, when it comes to the type of classic pickups, there is a clear difference.

Alnico III Magnet

To begin with, the magnet that Fender used for its first models of Telecaster pickups was the Alnico III. This would be one of the main characteristics of pickup models in the purest Vintage Telecaster style.

Tele Bridge Pickup with Base Plate

To slightly reinforce the weakness of the alnico III magnet, a zinc or copper plated steel plate was installed on the bottom of the bridge pickup, commonly referred to as the Base Plate.

Tele Bridge Pickup with Base Plate

This board slightly increases the output of the pickup as if it were an extra winding, and alters the magnetic field to finish producing the unmatched tone of a vintage Telecaster bridge pickup.

The final result was a penetrating, very bell-shaped sound, with a very characteristic nasal touch. Typical factors and hallmark of a Classic Telecaster, and of genres such as Country or Rock.

Difference Between Strat and Tele Bridge Pickups

This pickup is also larger than those used in a Stratocaster. So we couldn’t mount a Telecaster bridge pickup on a Strat, without having to make the necessary adjustments.

However, we have other options to give our Stratocaster a Telecaster touch, such as installing a Base Plate on the bridge pickup. This will reinforce the lack of bass in some of these pickups, and adds more twang for twang addicts.

Baseplate on Pickups for Stratocaster Single Coil

Sound Tele for a Strat Guitar

This modification is not complicated to make, but if we plan to change the pickups in our Stratocaster, we can install the Seymour Duncan Twang Banger directly in bridge position with its factory-installed Baseplate. This pickup model has a medium output, and mounts an alnico II magnet for a more balanced Telecaster tone.

Seymour Duncan Twang Banger: Sound Tele for a Strat

The Classic Telecaster neck pickup gives a much warmer sound compared to the bridge pickup, but retains the Telecaster twang. Ideal for playing genres such as Jazz or Blues.

When both pickups are engaged, the sound is balanced, and the characteristic Stratocaster-like “Quack” sound appears when two pickups are engaged at the same time. But with the characteristic feature of Telecaster pickups, and with a much wider separation between the two pickups. And as we already know, the feature of being able to activate the bridge pickup and the neck pickup together in a Strat would be very unusual.

Fender Pickups for Telecaster Guitar

Fender Original Vintage Tele

The Fender Original Vintage Tele Pickup Set is a set of pickups that would fit perfectly into the most characteristic and classic sound of a 1950 Telecaster. Mounted with the classic alnico III magnet, with a low output in the purest Vintage style, and with controlled treble and good bass presence.

Fender Original Vintage Tele: output and EQ

Fender ´51 Nocaster Telecaster Pickups

One of Fender’s most popular vintage-style sets is the Set 51 Nocaster. Also with alnico III magnets, with a medium output, and with less thick bass for the neck pickup.

Fender ´51 Nocaster Pickups: output and EQ

What is “Fender Nocaster”?

The first Telecaster-style guitars marketed by Fender were named the Broadcaster, but Fender was forced to dispense with this designation, learning that a line of drums with the same name already existed.

But due to the success of the Broadcaster, Fender could not stop its production until a new name was found, and his guitar was released simply with the Fender logo and nothing else, until it was finally named the Telecaster.

These guitars that went on the market without a name are known as Nocaster. So if by chance you have bought an old second-hand Telecaster with no name on the headstock, what you have at home may be nothing more and nothing less than a Nocaster, which can inflate your bank account a full.

Fender Texas Special Telecaster Pickups

With classic manufacturing characteristics, but entering more powerful and modern sounds, we have the Fender Texas Special Tele for a Hot character Telecaster. This set of pickups features alnico V magnets, extra winding for easier distortion, and increased treble presence for the bridge pickup.

Fender Texas Special Tele

Fender Pure Vintage ´64 Telecaster

With a traditional Telecaster sound, but for warmer more versatile tones, we have the Fender Pure Vintage ’64 Telecaster. Mounted with staggered alnico V magnets for more tonal balance between strings, with a medium output and offset EQ, while maintaining a punchy Telecaster twang.

Fender Pure Vintage ´64 Telecaster: output and EQ

Fender Vintage Noiseless Telecaster

For vintage-style sound without hum, we have Fender’s Noiseless models. These pickups remove background noise, remove the base plate of the vintage pickup, and may also remove other things from the authentic Vintage Telecaster sound. In short, its design is different from the classic, and therefore, its sound will be too.

Fender Vintage Noiseless Telecaster: output and EQ

In my opinion, before opting for noiseless pickups, we should first review all the factors that can cause noise or interference in our electric guitar equipment. Since not only pickups can generate noise.

Seymour Duncan Pickups for Telecaster Guitar

Seymour Duncan Vintage Broadcaster STL-1B

Among Seymour Duncan’s most popular models for Telecaster, we have the Vintage Broadcaster STL-1B set. Classic ’50s sound, but with the added punch of alnico V magnets.

Seymour Duncan Vintage Broadcaster Tele Pickups

The neck pickup provides a warm and balanced tone, and the bridge pickup has a very rocky tone loaded with midles and treble.

Seymour Duncan APTR-1 Alnico II Pro Tele

For a softer string attack, and a sweeter more balanced tone, while retaining the classic snap and twang, we have the Seymour Duncan APTR-1 Alnico II Pro Tele.

Seymour Duncan Alnico 2 Pro Tele Pickups

This pickup set features a clear bite reduction for the bridge pickup, and a warm tone for the neck pickup.

Dimarzio Pickups for Telecaster Guitar

Dimarzio Twang King DP172 y DP 173

In the Dimarzio brand we have the famous Twang King DP172 for neck and DP 173 for bridge. These pickups have a Vintage-style sound, are mounted with alnico V magnets, and generate a medium output.

Dimarzio Twang King Tele Pickups

The neck pickup has a balanced tone with controlled lows, and treble highs for the bridge pickup.

Telecaster with Compressor Effect

Due to the forceful twang of the Telecaster, it is very common to use this guitar with a certain degree of compression to reduce its aggressiveness in the treble, especially in clean or slightly distorted sounds.

The Telecaster is the most iconic guitar in Country music. But with this guitar we can play an infinite number of musical genres, and it is an essential part of the origins, evolution and transformation of the most popular genres of modern music.

Pickups for Different Guitar Models