May 22, 2013 in Gear Reviews

Upgrade Your Telecaster Pickups

Fender Custom Shop Nocaster PickupsOne of the first, and easiest upgrades to any electric guitar is usually the pickups. Pickups not only determine the quality of sound produced, they also help the player create the right feel of sound. There are many different types of pickups, and just as guitarists choose different kinds of guitars for different genres of music, various pickups can also be used to create different types of music.

Telecaster pickups, for example, can be upgraded, replaced or combined to fit the kind of music being played. They are mainly used for playing country, rock, blues and jazz. Picking the right type of pickups can have a huge effect on the sound. It can either enhance or ruin the song, so it’s very important to know which kind of pickup best suits the style of music you are looking to play. Here are some great Fender Telecaster pickups available on the market today:


Fender Custom Shop Nocaster Pickups

Fender’s custom shop Nocaster pickups are specifically made to sound just like the original vintage pickups by Fender. The bridge and neck pickups create clean, crisp and warm tones, perfect for a player aiming for natural acoustic or country sounds.  They can also be adjusted into overdrive, for some good Telecaster blues and rock.

These single-coil pickups come in nickel cover for the neck, and in black cover for the bridge. The pickups make use of flat-poled A3 magnets, with a DC resistance of 7.1K for the neck, and 7.3K for the bridge. Inductance is 2.35 Henries and 3.7 Henries for the neck and bridge pickups, respectively. Fender’s custom shop Nocaster pickups are available from Musician’s Friend for about $160.

BUY! Fender Custom Shop Nocaster Tele Pickup Set from Musician’s Friend

Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Telecaster Pickups

Fender’s Texas Special Telecaster pickups are designed to produce a higher output than standard pickups. The bridge pickup has height-staggered magnets coupled with a copper-plated steel bottom plate which emphasizes the guitar’s midrange and low tones, while the high output neck pickup creates a warm, clean tone.

These pickups help create a tight, but balanced sound, producing a great overall tone for the Telecaster, perfect for blues, jazz and other types of music. These special single-coil pickups come with nickel covering for the neck pup, and black covering for the bridge pup. Alnico 5 magnets are used, and the pickups have 3.3 Henries inductance for the neck, and 3.95 Henries for the bridge. DC resistance for the neck pickup is 9.5K, and 10.5K for the bridge pickup. The Texas Special Telecaster pickups can be purchased from Musician’s Friend for about $160.

BUY! Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Tele Pickups from Musician’s Friend

N3 Noiseless Telecaster Pickups

The N3 Noiseless Telecaster Pickups are engineered to produce high quality tone and dynamics without the extra hum. These single-coiled pickups use A5 magnets, and unique core-design with extra-length poles to produce snappy, sparkly and sweet tones perfect for country, rock and R&B songs. They come with a MSRP of $99.99-$199.99, but can be purchased from Musician’s Friend for about $160. The neck pickup has a nickel cover like the classic Telecasters, while the bridge pickups are black. The DC resistance for the bridge pickup is 9.2K, and 8.0K for the neck pickup. These pickups can bought individually or as a set, which gives you the option to mix and match sounds.

BUY! Fender N3 Noiseless Telecaster Pickups Set Of 2 from Musician’s Friend

Vintage Noiseless Telecaster Pickups

The Vintage Noiseless Tele Pickups are Fender’s attempt to combine the crisp bite of a vintage 60’s Telecaster pickup with a noiseless humbucker. They are single coil pickups that use Fender’s stacking technology to provide no humming sounds. The pickups are made from Alnico V magnets that are wrapped with enamel-coated wire. Like most Tele pickup sets, the neck pickup adds a silver cover while the bridge pickup is open. The DC resistance for the neck pickup is 12.0K, and 8.6K for the bridge pickup. They sell for around $160 on Musician’s Friend.

BUY! Fender Vintage Noiseless Tele Pickup Set from Musician’s Friend

Vintage Reissue Telecaster Pickups

The Vintage Reissue Telecaster Pickups are for the purists who are looking to recreate the sound of the 50’s Telecasters. They are built with the same materials as the original 50’s pickups. They contain all of the Fender traits including the Alnico 3 magnets and enamel coated wire to give that classic twang sound that Telecasters are known for. Much like the 50’s Telecasters, the neck pickup features a nickel cover. The DC resistance is 7.7K for the neck pickup and 7.2K for the bridge pickup. Fender recommends these pickups be sold around $150.

While these pickup kits from Fender provide a great place to start experimenting with different sounds, music is art, so find the pickup setup that works best for what you want to play! Green Day frontman Billy Joe Armstrong played his classic Strat with a Humbucker in the bridge position. There is no limit to what you can do to modify your Fender.

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