#1
like the title says. any info or opinions are appreciated.
I have an eclectic music taste but I PLAY mostly hard rock punk and metal. I have fallen out of love with the Seymour Duncan Mini JB in my MK custom Tele and I'm looking for something that has a bit better clarity and more punch. I love this guitar. its my no 1 for sure but I'm kinda limited on options for a tele bridge pickup. i have always enjoyed EMG pickups mainly due to consistency in tone and quality. so whats the general consensus of the T system? EMG claims that you will retain tele "twang" but lets be honest....its EMG i highly doubt there is any twang to be had from them which is fine with me. ill be pairing the bridge pickup with a 81 or a 60 in the neck. basically whatever suits me better. my rig is in my sig.

thanks and thoughts?
Live Rig
Michael Kelly Custom Shop Plum Telecaster
Michael Kelly Custom Shop Plum Patriot


EVH 5153 50w
Jet City 2x12
Custom Board

It is NOT trash metal it is tHrash metal...get it right
#3
While I don't personally have experience with them, it doesn't seem like a good idea. According to the EMG description, "the T Set gives you all the twang and punch you'd expect" and "covers rock, country, blues, fusion, R&B." You can also hear that it sounds like a regular Tele pickup on Youtube. When a pickup description says it sounds like a certain way, don't assume that it will sound opposite. I don't think you'll ever be happy with the Tele if you want a guitar for hard rock and metal. Trying to take the Tele-ness out of a Tele is the wrong way to go about getting the tone you want. Why not work with your other guitars to get that? You'll get much closer by using a guitar that's equipped with humbuckers.

And I'm a bit confused. You say you're looking for a replacement Tele pickup but I don't recall SD ever making a JB Jr for Teles.
#4
i love either the bareknuckle piledrivers or the anderson tf3 for tele's. you can do metal on them. the anderson can be split if you want some twang.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#5
Lace? i love the clarity of the lace pickups in my USA+ Tele, but i don't remember which they are.
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#6
The EMG T pickups sound like normal Tele pickups. Don't think that just because they have 'EMG' written on them that means they must be a rock/metal pickup. Most of EMG's pickups are actually made for lower-gain tones; the humbuckers were first made for jazz, all the Strat pickups were designed for progressive rock, and all the Tele pickups were designed for country. It's just a weird twist of fate and timing which has meant the more powerful EMGs got more popular, and now everybody assumes every EMG pickup is made for metal...

As for specific models, the EMG T pickups with an SPC mid boost control can do hard rock quite nicely, just like many people use passive overwound Tele pickups. The 'TC' pickups have the most 'twang' and thin tone and the 'T' models have a slightly more controlled high-end and soft wound strings. The 'X' version of each gives you more minimum/maximum output range, meaning you get a cleaner tone for single notes and more output when you strum a full chord really hard. Adding the SPC control basically allows you to switch from standard Tele tones to overwound Tele tones. For hard rock and punk, it does great. for metal... eh. You could make it work but it's not what I'd ever advise.

From the sound of it you'd end up with the SPC on full all the time, so you'd only be getting about 100 hours of use out of each battery, compared to about 1500 hours you usually get with a set of EMG pickups. (The EMG Tele pickups and the SPC drain the battery 10x faster, each, compared to EMG humbucker pickups.)


You want "a bit better clarity and more punch", right? See, those are opposites. The hotter you wind a pickup for "more punch", the less clarity you get. The clearer you make a pickup, the more weakly it will hit your amp. Clarity comes from keeping the mid output controlled; punch comes from dialing the mid output way up.

You could try a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails, for starters. The Strat version isn't so great, but the Tele version is really powerful but doesn't get muddy. Of all the 'singlecoil-size humbuckers', it's the one which gets closest to a full humbucker tone. The DiMarzio Super Distortion T does a similar job, but has a little more bass and a little less treble than the Hot Rails. With both pickups, a good tip is to back them much further from the strings than you usually would set the pickup. That way you get a much clearer and more responsive sound, and the output is still pretty high.
The SD Hot Stack is another good option. Compared to the Little 59 you have in your Tele—I assume it's a Little 59 because you said "mini JB", but Seymour Duncan don't actually make a JB Jr for Telecasters—it'll give you a little more of everything. A little more treble, a little more bass, a little more mids. But it's not as overwound as the Hot Rails or Super Distortion T, so it stays clearer. It won't change your tone as much as the Hot Rails or Super Distortion T will, but it'll give you a nice 'tweak' to your sound.

For neck pickups, if you do go active, I'd recommend the 60AX over the 81 or 60. The 60 sounds like a Firebird pickup, and of course the 81 in the neck is going to massively overpower the T bridge pickup, if you do end up with the EMGs. An EMG T with an SPC on full is still about 1/3rd lower output than an 81, let alone an 81 in the neck position. The 60AX, however, balances everything out. The 60A has a tone more like the minihumbucker of a Les Paul Deluxe, compared to the Firebird-like tone of the 60, and the 'X' version gives you more output range and dynamics, which is really useful at the neck where the non-X EMGs can quickly becoming booming and muddy.

If you go with any of the above passive suggestions, try a Seymour Duncan Jazz or DiMarzio PAF Pro for the neck humbucker. Their output at the neck balances well with any bridge humbucker and they have a similar clarity to the EMGs you're looking at.

Given you're using a 5153, I doubt you actually need all that much output. That amp already has what, four gain stages? It equals the gain of a Marshall JVM or Orange Thunder, anyway. So my personal pick—as someone who has owned every single model of pickup EMG and Seymour Duncan currently make—would be the SD Hot Rails, set further from the strings than normal. You'll get a fuller tone than you currently have, and a little more output, but it'll stay clear. Then either the SD Jazz or DM PAF Pro for the neck; they're practically the same pickup.

If you're set on going active, I'd use the EMG TX and 60AX, either with an SPC control or with an EQ or boost pedal set to give a mid boost around 8-12dB. I wouldn't recommend the EMG T pickups—any version of them—without a boost or SPC. Not for anybody who wants to get into metal, anyway. Punk and hard rock is kind of the limit, if you don't have an SPC/boost pedal. The EMG T pickups are very clean.
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#7
Quote by JELIFISH19
I don't think you'll ever be happy with the Tele if you want a guitar for hard rock and metal.


John Lowery (John 5) might disagree...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#8
Quote by Arby911
John Lowery (John 5) might disagree...

Would he? He uses full-sized humbuckers on his.
#9
Quote by JELIFISH19
Would he? He uses full-sized humbuckers on his.


If he didn't I expect he would have quit using tele's a long time ago.

The point was it's not the guitar shape that determines the suitability, it's the player and the pickups.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#11
sorry for the late reply everyone. managing shift work and 2 bands is getting a little rough.

Quote by MrFlibble
The EMG T pickups sound like normal Tele pickups. Don't think that just because they have 'EMG' written on them that means they must be a rock/metal pickup. Most of EMG's pickups are actually made for lower-gain tones; the humbuckers were first made for jazz, all the Strat pickups were designed for progressive rock, and all the Tele pickups were designed for country. It's just a weird twist of fate and timing which has meant the more powerful EMGs got more popular, and now everybody assumes every EMG pickup is made for metal...

As for specific models, the EMG T pickups with an SPC mid boost control can do hard rock quite nicely, just like many people use passive overwound Tele pickups. The 'TC' pickups have the most 'twang' and thin tone and the 'T' models have a slightly more controlled high-end and soft wound strings. The 'X' version of each gives you more minimum/maximum output range, meaning you get a cleaner tone for single notes and more output when you strum a full chord really hard. Adding the SPC control basically allows you to switch from standard Tele tones to overwound Tele tones. For hard rock and punk, it does great. for metal... eh. You could make it work but it's not what I'd ever advise.

From the sound of it you'd end up with the SPC on full all the time, so you'd only be getting about 100 hours of use out of each battery, compared to about 1500 hours you usually get with a set of EMG pickups. (The EMG Tele pickups and the SPC drain the battery 10x faster, each, compared to EMG humbucker pickups.)


You want "a bit better clarity and more punch", right? See, those are opposites. The hotter you wind a pickup for "more punch", the less clarity you get. The clearer you make a pickup, the more weakly it will hit your amp. Clarity comes from keeping the mid output controlled; punch comes from dialing the mid output way up.

You could try a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails, for starters. The Strat version isn't so great, but the Tele version is really powerful but doesn't get muddy. Of all the 'singlecoil-size humbuckers', it's the one which gets closest to a full humbucker tone. The DiMarzio Super Distortion T does a similar job, but has a little more bass and a little less treble than the Hot Rails. With both pickups, a good tip is to back them much further from the strings than you usually would set the pickup. That way you get a much clearer and more responsive sound, and the output is still pretty high.
The SD Hot Stack is another good option. Compared to the Little 59 you have in your Tele—I assume it's a Little 59 because you said "mini JB", but Seymour Duncan don't actually make a JB Jr for Telecasters—it'll give you a little more of everything. A little more treble, a little more bass, a little more mids. But it's not as overwound as the Hot Rails or Super Distortion T, so it stays clearer. It won't change your tone as much as the Hot Rails or Super Distortion T will, but it'll give you a nice 'tweak' to your sound.

For neck pickups, if you do go active, I'd recommend the 60AX over the 81 or 60. The 60 sounds like a Firebird pickup, and of course the 81 in the neck is going to massively overpower the T bridge pickup, if you do end up with the EMGs. An EMG T with an SPC on full is still about 1/3rd lower output than an 81, let alone an 81 in the neck position. The 60AX, however, balances everything out. The 60A has a tone more like the minihumbucker of a Les Paul Deluxe, compared to the Firebird-like tone of the 60, and the 'X' version gives you more output range and dynamics, which is really useful at the neck where the non-X EMGs can quickly becoming booming and muddy.

If you go with any of the above passive suggestions, try a Seymour Duncan Jazz or DiMarzio PAF Pro for the neck humbucker. Their output at the neck balances well with any bridge humbucker and they have a similar clarity to the EMGs you're looking at.

Given you're using a 5153, I doubt you actually need all that much output. That amp already has what, four gain stages? It equals the gain of a Marshall JVM or Orange Thunder, anyway. So my personal pick—as someone who has owned every single model of pickup EMG and Seymour Duncan currently make—would be the SD Hot Rails, set further from the strings than normal. You'll get a fuller tone than you currently have, and a little more output, but it'll stay clear. Then either the SD Jazz or DM PAF Pro for the neck; they're practically the same pickup.

If you're set on going active, I'd use the EMG TX and 60AX, either with an SPC control or with an EQ or boost pedal set to give a mid boost around 8-12dB. I wouldn't recommend the EMG T pickups—any version of them—without a boost or SPC. Not for anybody who wants to get into metal, anyway. Punk and hard rock is kind of the limit, if you don't have an SPC/boost pedal. The EMG T pickups are very clean.


boom!!!! thank you for this. I have read mixed reviews on the t system on what it sounds like and I have listened to the youtube vids. the SD mini 59 that's in there now slays the emg for the tone I'm after. i used a hot rails in an old tele that i had and totally forgot how much they kick ass. thanks for reminding me about them. I'm going to shy away from the T-system. it seemed like a good idea until I looked a little deeper after reading this a few days ago. perhaps a look at the SD hot rail and the Dimarzio Chopper T is in order. maybe a SD 59 for the neck would be cool too. we will see. Also i don't know why i said mini JB i stand corrected it is in fact a mini 59. sorry!!!

cathbard: i checked out those pickups you suggested....beastly. I'm currently looking all over that site for something to drop into a strat build I'm working on. thanks man

Oh and whoever says telecasters aren't meant for hard rock and metal.....puhhleeasse...traditional teles no...teles like mine??? yes. yes they can.
i play teles for the body shape because i like it. my next telecaster custom from MK will have a similar configuration as this one. probably reversed. and ill probably put emgs in it just because i can.
Live Rig
Michael Kelly Custom Shop Plum Telecaster
Michael Kelly Custom Shop Plum Patriot


EVH 5153 50w
Jet City 2x12
Custom Board

It is NOT trash metal it is tHrash metal...get it right
Last edited by iheartgun at May 5, 2016,
#12
Quote by iheartgun
. my next telecaster custom from MK will have a similar configuration as this one. probably reversed. and ill probably put emgs in it just because i can.


I've said it numerous times, but in my opinion there is no better guitar sold for the money (or twice the money) than a MK. I own 2 and am always on the lookout for another. It's easy to find a Gibson that plays as well, but you've got to add a zero on the end of the price...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#13
Quote by Arby911
I've said it numerous times, but in my opinion there is no better guitar sold for the money (or twice the money) than a MK. I own 2 and am always on the lookout for another. It's easy to find a Gibson that plays as well, but you've got to add a zero on the end of the price...


agreed good sir! they are superb instruments. the craftsmanship is amazing from top to bottom. i pray every day that they would do an explorer style. id be all over that. your right though a mid 600 dollar MK will out class and outplay any gibby any day all day. my local shop is a MK dealer and he has a SWEET gold top telecaster with TV jones pickups in it....good lord i want that guitar.
Live Rig
Michael Kelly Custom Shop Plum Telecaster
Michael Kelly Custom Shop Plum Patriot


EVH 5153 50w
Jet City 2x12
Custom Board

It is NOT trash metal it is tHrash metal...get it right