#1
I'm looking at building a Telecaster. It'll have a hard Ash body and a maple neck with an ebony fretboard, so it should sound pretty bright naturally.

My main problem is I've always been a Les Paul guy, humbuckers all the way. One of the reasons I want to build a Tele is to help get a better understanding of Fender (style) instruments. So I don't yet really know too much about single coil pickups.


For the bridge I'd like the typical 'Tele twang' but I'd like some versatility too. I've been looking at things like the Fender Noiseless and Seymour Duncan range of stacked single coils/single coil sized humbuckers, but the Tele versions never seem to get great reviews, especially when it comes to the clean tones. A lot of them seem to be made with ceramic bar magnets too which I know I'd like to stay well away from. I've tried one Tele out before with an SD Little '59 in the bridge and the clean tone wasn't very nice so I know to stay away from that. So anyone got any ideas for a Tele bridge pickup that's got the usual great Tele cleans but also has enough versatility to handle some medium crunchy overdrive? I know if I was looking at humbuckers I'd be going for something like a Gibson BurstBucker #3 or SD '59 Model, what might the equivalent of these be for Telecaster single coils?

For the neck I'm pretty sure I want something underwound with either Alnico II or Alnico III magnets. A really good clean tone is vital for neck pickups for me, though like the bridge pickup I would like it to have some versatility.

I've also been wondering about the tone cap, how strong I should go. Of course that depends on what pickups I ended up going with, but any suggestions for this too would be most appreciated.

This is all bearing in mind the Tele itself will be naturally bright-toned and I use Fender amps which are of course pretty bright and low-gain themselves. I mostly play rhythm and this guitar will be used for mainly late classic-styled blues-based rock, things like Rolling Stones, early Aerosmith, mid-90s Bon Jovi, etc. Certainly nothing even close to metal.


Any suggestions are much appreciated.
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#2
If you can afford them take a look at the single coils from Bare Knuckle Pickups. Email Tim, the guy who makes them and what sound you're looking for and he'll tell you what your options are not to mention the pickups themselves are amazing.