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“Silver Lady” Telecaster Pickups

I make two flavors of Telecaster Pickups. Here’s the low powered “Silver Lady in the hands of Jason Herbert.

To hear the “Cruel Mistress” Tele set and lots more demos go to my YouTube channel.

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

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 Pickups 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”.

https://mrglynspickups.com/2020/03/29/silver-lady-vintage-telecaster/

MrGlyn’s Pickups Silver Lady Telecaster Bridge pickup
MrGlyn’s Pickups – Silver Lady

CRUEL MISTRESS

There is nothing like the high end snarl of a good Tele bridge pickup. However, Tele Pickups are complicated. It’s a sound that needs to be just right – too much treble and it can sound grating and obnoxious, too little and it just isn’t a Tele. The treble needs warmth while still cutting through a mix like a zombie banjo.

With the “Cruel Mistress” -hot Tele wanted to make a pickup with a bit more power to drive an amp harder while keeping the Tele character. My biggest concern was not losing what a Tele is all about. In my repair work I come across quite a few replacement Tele pickups that just don’t sound like Teles. Bridge pickups need grit and the neck a chimey clarity and together they should be full and open and matched well enough to create almost a reverb sound with the switch in the middle position.

The “Cruel Mistress” -hot Tele uses AlnicoV magnets to help with the attack and AWG43 wire to help with the snarl.

The neck pickup on a Tele needs to be smooth and warm and have a great balance with the bridge pickup so that the middle position rings with an almost reverb-like tone. The difficulty with Telecaster neck pickups is there just isn’t much space under that cover. As a result it can be a hard pickup to get right and there were a lot of experiments and disappointments on the way. Eventually I came on a design that has enough bottom end to sound full but not so much to sound boomy. And the final pickup was a great match to the bridge.

I had help from the ears of a couple of my regular customers who were generous enough to let me load their guitars with prototypes. The whole process takes time and only after many road tests and versions did I fix on a design. As a result, each of my designs have been developed over many years of subtle changes and road tests. Having help like this means my pickups are trialed through many different amps and playing styles. The neck/bridge balance as well as dynamics/compression need to be tested in as many situations as possible to find a pickup that will work for most players.

So if you need some grit and aggression from your Tele this is the set for you.

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“Tui” hot Strat pickups getting a workout

Thanks to https://www.thejamunit.com/ for showing us what the “Tui” hot Strat pickups can do.

I’ve wound a lot of Strat pickups since I started in 1995. I started off re-winding cheap pickups and then moved on to repairing old dead Fender pickups. Every experiment was written down in a notebook with tone comments. Back when I started there wasn’t much information available so there was a lot of reverse engineering and a lot of trying things out. That learning time was invaluable to developing instinct for how to change the sound of a pickup. I’ve still got the note book and I’m still adding to it.

In, I think, 2014 a customer of mine approached me wanting a set of Strat pickups. He’s a great blues player and had recently moved from using a Les Paul to a Strat. He described the sound he was after and it seemed to me it was the same as I’d been after myself so I put some time in to designing a pickup set for him.

The “Tui”- hot Strat pickups needed to be most definitely a Strat sound – I hear plenty of Strat replacement pickups that are fine but just not Strat-ish. Secondly I wanted a bit more power, just a bit, enough to make a good old valve amp clip a bit easier than a “vintage” pickup would. And there needed to be dynamics – tickle it and it’s clean, dig in and it grits up. As I was making the original version of this set for a player used to humbuckers I wanted to reduce the ”ping” of the attack. I’ve added steel base plated as standard to this set. This changes the shape of the magnetic field, broadening the harmonic window. They add a wee bit of power, a wee bit of bass and reduce that pesky ping.

The neck pickup needed to have “that” Strat sound with fullness and clarity. It’s the ‘go to’ sound for most Strat players. The middle pickup needed to have some ‘quack’ to it with its own distinctive personality. The bridge pickup shouldn’t be too thin, it needs to have plenty of highs but not too much of that ‘ping’ or it’s almost useless. Then there are the other sounds – positions 2 and 4, mistakenly referred to as ‘out of phase’. They are really just 2 pickups in parallel. It’s hard to predict what those sounds will be, there was a lot of experimenting.

So I consulted my old note book and wound a lot of pickups and fitted them in a few test Strats. I’ve been lucky enough to have some great players as repair customers and so I was able to get quite a few opinions.

Eventually I was happy and I fitted a set for my ex Les Paul customer and he loved them straight away. A few months later he contacted me to say he was still loving them. I love it when players do that.

I’ve fitted resulting sets into a lot of instruments and it turns out that not only blues players like them, they seem to work for everyone. I shouldn’t be surprised, the Stratocaster is such a versatile guitar, of course they do.