I have a MIJ '95 Fender FotoFlame Tele that I will be modifying. The pickups are currently the typical Texas Tele Pups with the lipstick on the neck and the single coil with the raised poles on the bridge. I purchased a set of Duncan Hot Rails for the bridge and neck and a new pre-wired control plate with a five way switch. I will be routing in a cavity for a middle pup to catch some mid ranges, but have not decided which one. I have used boutique pups like Dragonfire and GFS on my cheaper guitars and have been really impressed. The guitar plays brilliantly. What single coil pickup should I buy to compliment the Duncan Hot Rails?
Last edited by TheDange at May 3, 2013,
Dragonfire and GFS being boutique is debatable. But what sound are you going for? It helps immensely so we can recommend the correct pup.
I guess you are right on the boutique comment. I am more of a hobbyist that is learning at this point when it comes to guitar upgrades. A long time friend and x band mate from years ago just helped me modify a Yamaha Pacifica 112V with Dragonfire TwinRails and a Phat Screamer in the bridge. I was under the impression that they were made by TNT Guitars until I learned that they are made in a Korean factory. I understand the difference now.

I am not the greatest guitar player, but I can hold my own and played in bands for years up until my non music related career took off about 8 years ago. I typically play modern rock, indie, loud quiet loud kind of stuff. My style is more along the lines of Built To Spill, Smashing Pumpkins, Queens of the Stoneage, Pixies, Pavement, Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo etc... Now that I am older, I find myself messing around with more blues, and some jazz as well. Basically I want the Tele to be more versatile and offer unique feedback capability in the event I am in that mood. The Tele plays far better than most I've played. The resonance is beautiful. I play through a solid state mid 90's Peavey Special 212 with 3 Channels. I often use an Electro Harmonix Hot Tubes Pedal along with an assortment of other pedals for distortion and effects. I am sure that the Duncan Twin Rails are going to thicken the Tele sound. I like the look of a Nashville, already got the pickguard, the routing template.... just need a good pup.
Dragonfire and GFS being 'boutique' isn't even debatable; they simply aren't. 'Boutique' is companies like The Creamery, Bare Knuckle, arguably Lollar and the Seymour Duncan Custom Shop. Pickups that run you a few hundred for a set.


If you're looking for a Strat-sized pickup, as is normal for 'Nashville' Teles, take a look at the Seymour Duncan Classic Stack Plus, Vintage Rails and Hot Stack Plus. The Vintage Rails is basically the same as the Hot Rails but the coils are wired parallel and the rails and magnetic field are split up so you get a slightly more single coil-like tone. The Classic and Hot Stack Plus are standard single coil tones with hum cancelling and a little extra output so they won't be drowned out by the Hot Rails. This is important with the Telecaster version of the Hot Rails since that bridge pickup is one of the highest-output pickups around and it's very easy for it to totally drown-out the other pickups.

If you're using a Tele neck pickup for the middle position then try the Vintage Stack or Quarter Pound. The Vintage Stack is like the Classic Stack Plus but in a Tele-size instead of Strat-size, and the Quarter Pound is an overwound single coil that has enough power to match the Hot Rails but still keeps most of the normal Tele single coil tone.

You could also simply use another Hot Rails and wire the two coils parallel, which will give you a sound like the Vintage Rails but a little bit smoother.
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Thank you Mr. Flibble! Outstanding suggestions. I think I may go with the Classic Stack Plus. I assume the SS1 would not be what I am looking for.
The SSL1 is a lovely pickup but it'll be totally overpowered by the Hot Rails and it's not terribly suitable for the sort of tones you mentioned. The Classic Stack Plus has a similar, basic single coil EQ, but the output is pushed up so it can drive an amp a little harder, it matches the Hot Rails better and it's hum-cancelling so you won't have any hum in any position.
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I really appreciate the advice. You saved me a ton of time and I feel like you know your stuff. I am going to order the STKS4 Classic Stack Plus tonight.