The Telecaster isn't just one of Fender's most popular models, it's also one of the most well-known guitars ever created, period. It's signature body style has been mimicked the world over and while there are some admittedly impressive clones out there, there's no replacing a true Telecaster. The same goes with its famous tone, a sound that can be heard throughout rock and roll history. But what if you want something a little different? Or maybe a set that delivers a vintage sound with some modern features? Today, we're taking a look at some of our favorite Telecaster replacement pickups that retain the classic Tele twang while adding unique twist on the famous tone.
For those of you who do not want to give up that signature sound but need a little more power, check out Seymour Duncan's Little 59s. Not only do they retain all of the twang, but when set to distortion, these pickups rock… HARD. Seymour Duncan designed the ST59 to reproduce the classic warm and smooth sound of the ’59 Les Paul, albeit with a lot more spunk. Add a bit of gain to the amp and you instantly notice a very controlled snarl with plenty of presence, much more than you would with your stock Tele pickups.
Although they won’t give you the outright extreme distortion metal fans are looking for, those who love the sound of classic rock with a heavy kick will love the Little 59.
Specifically made for guitarists out there who have dreamed of a pickup that can deliver that signature twang, bite and snap of a vintage telecaster single coil with the noise-cancelling features of a humbucker. Crafted with Alnico 3 magnets and enamel-coated magnet wires, these pickups a true to the vintage Tele sound without the hum. But don’t just take our word for it, take a look at the videos below to hear them in action in both their clean (left video) and dirty (right video) settings:
Those who love the vintage ’50 Telecaster tone but looking for pickups with modern output strength should definitely check these out. While the bridge might be a bit brighter than you would expect, a simple EQ configuration will subdue the extra tone into a subtle sparkle much more appropriate for the moody stylings of the blues. On the other hand, if you’re looking to be a bit more of that country feel, the brighter mids are definitely a welcomed feature of the pickups, with just enough twang and plenty of resonance.
The strong output ensures you get a fat chunky bite when you want to add a bit of rock into your tone and can masterfully handle maxed out settings without any noticeable slip. Signature Tele twang with beefing up tones, the Lindy Fralin Special Blues Telecaster pickups are a definite winner.
These pickups are meticulously made to maintain that classic Tele twang and snap while significantly going above the output level of stock pickups. And better yet, they feature a completely noiseless and hum-cancelling design. Other features include Barden’s signature staggered blade design (common with all of their single-could-sounding s bridge pickups) that ensures a balance response on the outer strings.
These pickups will fit all standard Tele body routs and require no modifications to install. They utilize 4 conductor shielded cable to allow for other possible wiring combinations. Perfect for modern country and rock players who want a fatter bridge tone without sacrificing the Telecaster’s signature vibe and performance.
Back in the early 50s, Fender released a two single-coil pickup guitar dubbed the Broadcaster but due to legal issues with Gretsch (who had the name “Broadkaster” already registered for a line of drums), they were forced to abandon the name. Before Fender eventually came up with the now infamous Telecaster moniker, they simply shipped these guitars without a model name. Fewer than 500 of these “Nocaster” guitars were made but thanks to Fender’s Custom Shop, you don’t have to plunk down a small fortune to own the sound of these famous rarities.
Crafted to sound exactly like the originals to accurately mimic the twang and shimmer of the original Nocaster guitar, these pickups are true to their heritage! Featuring a tight low end and clear, balanced midrange, these pickups are perfect for warm, vintage-style tones.
While these pickups are meant for Telecasters featuring its traditional SS pickup configuration, those of you out there with humbucker-ready bodies, such as the Fender Jim Root Telecaster or the 72 Telecaster Custom, should definitely check out our wide selection of humbucking pickups. If you have any questions about any pickup, humbucker, single-coil or anything in between, don't hesitate to chat with one of our pros using the Contact Us box below!
There's a lot more where that came from! Check out our entire selection of Telecaster Pickups right here!