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Fender Lead I Pickup

I’ve been repairing a few pickups recently and I thought I’d share this one with you. It’s a Fender Lead I Pickup that was sent to me by guitar repairer Jeff Baker from Oamaru.

The Fender Lead I was one of those obscure models that never really caught on and the pickup reflects that. It’s a little unusual and that’s what makes it interesting.

It even looks different with those square topped bobbins.

Fender Lead I Pickup

Not only is it unusual looking from the top but turn it over and it shows what it’s really all about. Those are 12 big adjustable poles screwed into substantial steel blocks and coupled to a powerful ceramic magnet.

This is clearly not a typical Fender pickup, this was designed to ROCK.

So what were Fender thinking? Well, this was 1979, the DiMarzio Super Distortion had been around for 5 years and was becoming very successful. Fender had nothing to compete with it. Looking at the spec of the Lead I pickup it is remarkably similar to the Super Distortion. Fender were making a Superstrat and it wasn’t even the 80’s yet.

 Lead I Pickup underneath

Back to the repair – it came to me because it wasn’t working and typical for faulty humbuckers one coil was showing ‘open circuit’ on the test meter. In these cases I can use the good coil as a reference to what the faulty coil should be. It had a dc resistance of 7.61 KOhms. Wiki told me the final dc resistance of the whole pickup is approx. 13KOhms so that gave me a pretty good indication of how I should wind it. That’s a powerful set of coils to go with that magnet.

A bit of maths, plenty of experience and some intuition and I had a plan for winding it. Detailed information just isn’t available for this kind of job.

humbucker bobbin

I stripped the bobbin and wound the coil.

pole pieces

I potted it very lightly because these bobbins are made of butyrate that has a lower melting point than most modern ABS bobbins – I didn’t want it to deform with the heat, I wasn’t going to be able to get another bobbin.

Here you can see the chunky pole pieces, they’ll guide a fair bit of that ceramic magnet’s strength up to the strings.

Fender Lead I Pickup

If you have a faulty pickup or are interested in my range of handmade pickups have a look at the website.

Here’s some more great info on the Fender Lead series: https://chrisandricktalkguitars.com/fenders-lead-series-cbs-era-gems/

https://mrglynspickups.com/

https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

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“Silver Lady”-vintage Telecaster

Single “Silver Lady”-vintage Telecaster NZ$129 for NZ customers, if you’re overseas it’s GST free; NZ$112.17

Set “Silver Lady”-vintage Telecaster NZ$249 for NZ customers, if you’re overseas it’s GST free; NZ$216.52

Alnico III, Bridge 5.9 KOhms, 3.18H, Neck 7.25 KOhms, 2.39H

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The Silver Lady set is designed for the traditional telecaster player. The bridge pickup has plenty of twang and clarity but is never harsh. The neck pickup full, clear and perfectly balanced with the bridge pickup.

Telecasters are brutally honest guitars. There’s no hiding behind fat mushy tones – if you can do it on a Tele then you really can do it.

I wanted to make a Telecaster set that would reflect the clear honest tone of an old Tele. It’s a delicate balance to get enough treble and for the top end to have sufficient warmth to be usable, but with no hint of woof or boom in the bottom. The bottom needs to be full and clear with no hint of muddiness. The bridge needs a twang but it has to be a warm twang without being over harsh. I’ve used Alnico III magnets with a vintage style wind on both these pickups

Through my repair work I’ve re-wound a lot of old Tele pickups. This is invaluable experience for designing my own version. I enlisted the help of a couple of experienced Telecaster players as test pilots. I really needed plenty of opinions and testing through a variety of amplifiers to get this one right.

I’m really happy with the warm classic tone of this set, clear and chiming with just the right twang. So I have given them a classic name – “Silver Lady”.

Here are some sound samples recorded clean through a Fender Princeton Reverb-Amp with a swamp ash body, maple neck Telecaster with D’Addario 10-52’s.The overdrive is an Elecroharmonix Soul Food pedal. All of them with the same guitar, same amp, same settings, no reverb or eq added later.

Silver Lady Neck Pickup Clean:

Silver Lady Neck Pickup Clean
Silver Lady Bridge Position Clean
Silver Lady Middle Position Clean
Silver Lady Neck Pickup with Overdrive
Silver Lady Bridge Pickup with Overdrive
Silver Lady Middle Position with Overdrive
Silver Lady vintage Telecaster neck pickup. Mr Glyns Pickups
Silver Lade vintage Telecaster bridge pickup. Mr Glyns Pickups

https://www.youtube.com/c/MrGlynsPickups/videos

Guitar Pickup, cute robot logo