Hi Guys,
I'll apologise now for my newbie status but I thought I would ask for your professional opinions. I have an old Wesley electric guitar (Wesley Guitar) that was my first proper electric guitar I bought. Since then I now have a Wesley Telecaster which I like and this one has been sat around not used for a while.

I was thinking about maybe upgrading it to sound better, I was thinking a more rich metal tone if it can be done. I know it won't be brilliant but I'm sure it could sound a lot better than it does at the moment. With me being a newbie to this I would appreciate it if you could recommend me some ways of accomplishing this, like new pickups, strings etc? It would be most appreciated!

Check out the Firebird 85/81s, they are pretty cheap for pickups and sound almost identical to their EMG counterparts.
Replace the bridge humbucker with a higher output one, and whilst you're at it replace the electronics of the guitar - starter guitars like that usually have pretty poor electronics.

Whats your budget?
Last edited by Dan_5893 at Aug 19, 2010,
As long as they are reasonable value for money then i'm happy. I would of done this before but i've not had the funding really. I've never upgraded a guitar before so if you could link me to some helpful tutorials and that it would be helpful. Also can't find much on the Firebirds, are they gibson pickups?

Start there. That should help you pick the right pickups for you.


Thats where to look and ask for help with installing your new pickups.

Check out Guitarfetish.com for cheap pickups. They are great value for money as well.
You say you want a "rich" tone? I wouldn't go with EMG's if that's what you want since they usually sound a bit thin imo. Sounds like a tone zone might be more your thing.
I think the closest tone I can think of is kinda MUSE sounding that i really like. I know I won't probably get that, but nice and beefy with a nice bit of feedback....if you know what I mean.

Thanks for the links Dan!
Yeah, Matt uses his Diezel amps, and Fuzz Factory for most of the tone, but he also users Manson MBK2 pickups (in bridge position) and Bare Knuckle Nail Bombs. They're pretty expensive.

Look at the humbucker sized P90s on Guitar Fetish, they should be similar to what you want.
Sorry to be a pain but I live in england so you or anyone else wouldn't happen to know any good sites that I can look at that are in the UK?
hmm, message Skeet UK. He gets discounts at some distributors in the UK and on Seymour Duncan pickups I believe. Allparts, axetec, and WD music are all good UK based suppliers.

OH and Mansons guitar shop is in Exeter. They're the ones who make the MBK2 pickups. 110 pounds each I think
Cheers, so the p90 humbuckers will give me the closest to that tone more or less? Also can you reccomend any certain types?
Well, I can only recommend from guitarfetish because thats where I'm familiar with (cheaper to ship to Australia) and the GFS Mean 90s are good for what you want.

Like I say, I'm not familiar with any of the other suppliers, so perhaps someone else can shed some light? But if you want some really really nice pickups, go for the Manson MBK2. Handmade, high quality, worth every penny.
I know Matt does use some Manson stuff, but aren't their pickups really expensive? They will probably sound awesome but this guitar is a bit crap to be honest and I reckon they would be better suited in a more well made guitar (which i might make in the future if this goes well).
I think the MBK2 is 110 quid, might be less. Thing about pickups is you can take them out and put them in a newer guitar if you choose to. However, Its probably wiser to go with the GFS ones or even Irongear pickups. Google them, i think they're US based aswell, but Irongear + GFS are the go to people for budget quality pickups
Irongear pickups, for over here in the UK, are certainly well reccomended by many people on this forum if you're looking to upgrade pickups to something decent without breaking the bank.
I'm sure allparts sell them. and they sell a wiring kit with wires, tone and volume pots, capacitors etc. Their entire orange drop cap wiring kits, with everything included, are only like £12, which will do the guitar a massive favour for sound.

Iron gear pickups average between £25 to £30 by the way
Right well I will deffinetly look into that then! Suppose you are right about taking them out again. Was thinking about building my own at some point so I could always take them out. £100 isn't bad for Manson actully, and I will also look at the Irongear, do they compare to Manson then?
Just looked at it, Dan know's his stuff. Its all a bit mind boggling for me at the moment because I'm new to this stuff but I really do want a guitar like Matt's. This is just an cheap guitar to mess around with and hopefully learn from then I will hopefully move into the more complicated stuff.
You'll need the STKIT02 (second one down). This will improve your guitars sound no end. Also, while you're at it, check if the cavities of the guitar are shielded (there should be a foil sort of thing around the edges of the cavities). If its not, then you'll want to shield them to reduce hum. You can use tin foil for this (ghetto and cheap) or get copper shielding foil (proper way and still fairly cheap) and it will have a marked impact on the hum picked up by your single coil pickups.

Irongear pickups are good for the price. Comparing them to pickups made by a boutique company however is like comparing a Mini to a Ferrari. Both are good, for their respective prices. You pay more, you get better pickups (usually).
I've been thinking, is it worth me even bothering to upgrade that guitar? If for example I got a custom tele body and neck could I make my own easy enough for not too much more?
I'm just enquiring about getting a custom telecaster body made with two humbuckers rather than singles like a typical tele. If I was to buy a maple tele neck from ebay would you reckon it would fit ok?
Tele necks and bodies should all be compatible. SHOULD!
Irongear Steamhammer or Hammerhead pickups are designed with boosted bass response for low tunings that seem to go with metal. For a reasonable price you could also change the SCs to their Jailhouse Rails offerings.
I pick up my guitar and play
Just like Yesterday

T C Ellis Series 2 LP w/Skatterbrane Quiescence pups
Cort EVL-K6
Yamaha RGX211 modded
H&S Electric 12-string
Shaftsbury Ricki 4001
'84 Fender Yale
Roland Cube 15x

Well I wanting a kinda Muse metal sounding guitar. I've been told the IronGear p90's are what to go? and the closest are Manson P90's.
^They won't be close, the only real comparison that can be made is they'll both have a distinctive P90 tone that you won't get with a humbucker pickup. Remember you'll need the humbucker sized P90s otherwise they won't fit your guitars routes.