If you are bored with playing your Telecaster guitar, it’s time that you upgrade by buying the best telecaster pickups. By doing that, you’ll be able to explore new tones that may bring back the joy of playing the guitar once again.
The Telecaster guitar is one of the best guitars any guitarist can have in his music studio or rig. Since the introduction of this guitar model, Fender keeps improving it year after year. It’s not surprising to see someone going for a vintage telecaster because these guitars seem to have everything right right from the beginning.
Other than the appeal, Telecaster boasts of good sound. What the brand does is bring the sound of semi-hollow guitars and solid-body guitars into one instrument.
When you buy a Telecaster, you’ll find two pickups, the neck and bridge pickups. Each brings a certain tone quality when playing. For instance, the neck pickup is best for warm sounds, while the bridge pickup has a high treble for leads. But all of them produce clean tones, which most players love.
Having this in mind, if you have messed up pickups or you just want to upgrade the sound, the best thing to do is not to throw away the guitar but to replace the electronics. There are different Telecaster pickups you’ll find in the market. And we’ll help you find one.
Here are the best ten Telecaster Pickups you should consider buying the next time you are shopping.
Top 10 Best Telecaster Pickups 2021
1. EMG T SYSTEM Prewired Telecaster Guitar Pickup – Best Buy
If you’d like a pickup that takes your Telecaster guitar sound to another level, you should try the EMG T SYSTEM Prewired Telecaster Guitar Pickup. Here’s why they are a great replacement.
The package provides two single-coil neck and bridge pickups, together with a prewired control plate. Meaning, installation is pretty is easy since the manufacturer does all the soldering for you. Each pickup uses Alnico magnets. The pickup set is also an active pickup, which comes with a battery within the package.
The pickup set provides a clear tone right out of the box. You don’t need to make any adjustments during installation since everything is set. We listened to the way these pickups sound, and man, we understand why they are the best buy for most musicians. The pickups are responsive, and on top of that, they don’t pick any external noise that can destroy your playing experience.
If you’d like a pickup set that will deliver everything from modern to vintage tones, this is the set to buy. The fact that you get a prewired control plate makes the installation process easy. Hence, your guitar will be up and running within minutes. We would recommend this guitar to any player that loves a quiet guitar when playing rhythm or solos.
2. Lindy Fralin Tele Stock Pickup – Best For The Money
If you would like to give your Telecaster guitar an upgrade with a pickup that would bring a vintage-style tone, then trying the Lindy Fralin pickup would be a great solution.
The neck pickup is wound up to 7K and has a 43 gauge plain wire. It also has a chrome cover, which eradicates any electromagnetic interference. The bridge pickup comprises a 42-gauge enamel wire, which adds up to 6.6k turns.
When it comes to sound, most guitarists complement the manufacturer on what he does to the pickups. Both pickups provide a very bright sound, which makes the output superb. Another quality that you’ll love about these pickups’ sound quality is that the tones are full. You can hear everything from the mid-tones, highs, and lows.
Besides that, the tonal clarity on these pickups is excellent. It’s less likely that you’ll hear any sort of hum when playing your favorite tunes.
Although these pickups are expensive, you can be sure that you’ll be using them for a while, given that they shine on tone. The pickups are an excellent choice for any musician who wants their guitar to sound good when playing rhythm and lead tunes. It will also fit into any genre, especially funk and blues.
3. Fender Tex-Mex Telecaster Single-Coil Pickups – Budget Buy
If you want to save money on buying a Telecaster pickup, the Fender Tex-Mex should be the right solution for you. We tested it, and here’s what we liked about it.
You’ll find both a neck and bridge pickup in the box. Both use Alnico V magnets and come with extra copper windings to ensure that you have maximum output while playing your Telecaster. The package also includes all the hardware installations that you’ll need.
There’s no problem with wanting a vintage sound on your Telecaster. If you are the type that would love that, then this pickup should be your pick. We listened to the sound, and we can say that the output is clear. Other than that, the pickups provide a warm and balanced sound, and you can hear the bass, the mids, and the highs clearly.
The Telecaster pickup niche has many budget options to pick. However, not all of them promise greatness. For this Tel-Mex, sound output and construction are great. Therefore, the pickup would be a great recommendation for any versatile player out there. Rock guitarists should enjoy using this pickup on their telecaster, given that it offers a balanced sound, which would sound good when using overdrive or distortion.
4. Fender Pure Vintage ’64 Telecaster Pickup
A good sound guitar, especially if it’s a telecaster, inspires you to play like the pros. The Fender Pure Vintage ’64 Telecaster Pickup would be a great upgrade. Here’s what you should know about it.
Right of the box, this pickup offers the player a unique pickup set that you’ll love. Both the neck and bridge pickup use Alnico V magnets, which are superb in delivering warm tones. It also has a copper shielding plate on the bridge pickup, copper fiber bobbin, and enamel-coated magnet, contributing to higher output.
When it comes to sound, this best telecaster pickup takes you back to the 60s. The sound is super clear whether you are using the neck, bridge, or both pickups. You’ll also love the clarity that this guitar brings to your guitar. No frequency is higher than the other is; everything sounds balanced.
If you want a pickup that helps you express your musicality, this is the Telecaster pickup to buy. You can fit it into any telecaster, and it will provide the kind of sound that’ll move the crowd. Other than that, the pickup set fits properly into any rig. And if you’d like modern tones, this best Telecaster pickup will deliver just that.
5. Seymour Duncan Hot Rails Tele Guitar Electronics
Nothing is as frustrating as using a noisy pickup or one that picks external noise. The Seymour Duncan Hot Rails pickups offer a solution for this, which is why you should consider buying them.
The product comes as a set of both neck and bridge pickups. Both pickups consist of a powerful ceramic magnet with dual steel blades and wound coils on it.
You can’t say much about the appeal of these pickups. However, the pickup set brings more to your guitar more than you can imagine when it comes to sound. The two pickups go big in terms of output as it adds a bit of crunch on both pickups without having to distort the clean tones you’d want from a Telecaster.
Also, the pickups operate similar to a humbucker. Though it’s smaller than the original humbucker, the Seymour eliminates every kind of external interference; hence, it’s noiseless.
This Telecaster pickup set is suitable for people who want to add an extra sustain on the pickups. Whether you’re playing traditional music or modern music, this pickup will certainly adapt to your style of playing. And with the extra crunch on its clean tone, a metal guitarist will surely enjoy playing the Telecaster more than ever before.
6. Tonerider TRT2 Hot Classics Telecaster Pickup
Every musician wants a clean tone out of his or her guitar. The Tonerider TR2 is a good example of a Telecaster pickup that you’ll enjoy playing with, especially for rock and blues lovers.
The Telecaster pickup manufacturer seems to prioritize the musician’s needs with this package. Inside it, you’ll find both the neck and bridge pickups, a manual, and two sets of height adjustments screws.
Looking at both pickups, we noticed that the pickups have a wax around the pickups to reduce external noise. Both pickups also use a 43 gauge on the neck and a 42 gauge on the bridge pickup. The neck pickup has a nickel-silver cover, which ensures that the sound produced is clear.
This best Telecaster pickup comes with a wax wound on the bobbin to provide a modern tone. We listened to the pickup after installing it, and every signal was quite clear. Also, every note is clear whether you are playing rhythm or solos. We also noticed that the guitar doesn’t have any unnecessary hum thanks to the nickel-silver cover.
Suppose you are the kind of player that loves a guitar that will help you shine as you play blues and rock music; this is the gear to buy. The pickups will absolutely fit into any Telecaster model, and with the quality sound it produces, you’ll use this set for years.
7. Fender Generation 4 Noiseless Telecaster Pickups
Getting a noiseless Telecaster pickup is quite challenging. However, the Fender Generation 4 presents a new generation of pickups that can deliver that in any rig.
The package includes a set of two pickups. Both of them are prewired and comes with a shielded wire, which helps in noise reduction. The magnetic material used is Alnico V, and its DC resistance is 10.6K, which ensures that output is good.
If you are looking for a noiseless single-coil pickup, this would be a great choice. The pickup has the ability to provide both modern and vintage style tones; hence, it’s suitable for most genres. On the other hand, although they are noiseless, be sure that you’ll get some form of hum when you connect it to an overdrive or distortion pedal.
With the clear tones, you can be sure that this pedal will take your playing level to the next level. The guitar is ideal for any modern player who would like a sensitive that is responsive even with the slightest touches. It would also be a superb pick for any player that wants vintage-style tones on their Telecaster.
8. Fender Custom Shop Twisted Tele Pickups
If you want a Telecaster pickup that delivers both warm and clear tones, this should be the best Telecaster pickup to select.
The reason why we loved this pickup is that it is a bit different from the others. Inside, you will find two single-coil pickups, which have different lengths. The neck pickup is longer to increase more windings, while the bridge pickup is shorter to bring out those warm tones that you’d love to hear on your guitar.
Note that the manufacturer provides a one-year warranty; therefore, you can return it when you need a replacement or repair on any of the pickups.
When it comes to sound, this Telecaster pickup is certainly a must-buy for anyone that loves balanced sound. They will fit into any rig effortlessly, and after trying it for hours, guess what, there was no noise on it. And note that the sound remains true and noiseless even when you add a distortion pedal to it.
Given that this Telecaster pickup offers clear tones, even when you add some dirt, it would be a great fit for anyone that wants a pickup that fits all genres. You’ll enjoy using it for blues, jazz, rock, and any other performances on stage. Rhythm players, too, will have an awesome experience while playing on stage.
9. DiMarzio Twang King Neck/Bridge Pickup
The DiMarzio Twang King Neck/Bridge Pickup is one of the most recommended best Telecaster pickups because of the sound quality it brings to your instrument. Here’s why it creates such a buzz.
The package comprises two single-coil pickups. Its neck pickup has a chrome cover, while the bridge cover comes with a ferrous base plate. Both pickups use Alnico V pickups, and they both use controlled-tension winding, which ensures that the output is excellent.
What we liked about these pickups is the way they adapt to different playing styles. Right out of the box, these pickups don’t need any alterations. They are not too loud, neither are they noisy. When you hit the strings softly, the sound produced is soft and clear. Harder hits bring out that extra crunch that most rock lovers would like to hear.
Other than that, we loved that these pickups don’t hum even when connected to a distortion pedal.
The best thing about these DiMarzio pickups is that it helps the modern player achieve excellent tonality on both their rig and their Telecaster model. It would also be a recommendable set for anyone who wants a Telecaster pickup that adapts to modern and traditional music styles.
10. Fender Yosemite Telecaster Electric Guitar Pickup
The final Telecaster pickup in our list is the Fender Yosemite Telecaster Electric Guitar Pickup. You probably have seen it being used with the American Performer Telecaster guitar. Here’s why it will impress you.
This best Telecaster pickup thrives because it brings a mix of Alnico IV and V magnets. The neck pickup comes with a shellac coating, while the bridge pickup has a wax coating, which ensures that there’s no feedback whatsoever when playing the instrument.
Given that each pickup has a unique construction, the sound outputs are also different. When you switch to the neck pickup, you’ll get a clear and high output, while the bridge pickup is quite aggressive. The pickups, however, ensure that you can hear the natural voice of your guitar.
The electric pickup ensures that the musician has a variety of tones to explore. Whether you want to sound aggressive or cool, these Telecaster pickups will provide that. It would definitely be an awesome pick for any modern blues or rock guitarist.
Best Telecaster Pickups – Buying Guide
Beginner guitarists may wonder why it’s important to buy the best Telecaster pickups. But as you progress musically, even after acquiring a good Telecaster guitar, you may desire to test out different tone qualities. To achieve that, you may have to change the pickups since they have a huge impact on the guitar’s output.
When you go to the Telecaster pickup market, you’ll find a variety of products to pick. It doesn’t come easy. Therefore, in this article, you will know everything about these pickups and choose the best one for your needs.
Let’s first understand how pickups work
Primarily, a pickup consists of a copper wire wound up on a magnet. It has been the standard ever since electric guitars came into play.
When you open up a pickup, you’ll find the magnet, the copper wire, and the bobbin (which connects the magnet and copper windings).
Different pickups use two types of magnets. That is Alnico (which comes in a variety of forms) and ceramic. Each has a unique attribute it brings to the sound of your guitar.
You also need to know that the copper windings go round the bobbin several thousands of times. The more windings you have, the more output you get.
Types of pickups
Each electric guitar model you find in the market uses a different kind of pickup. For instance, strats use single-coil pickups. Epiphone guitars use humbucker pickups, which comprise of two single-coils stacked up to each other. Some humbucker pickups use series windings while others parallel windings.
Telecaster guitars use two single-coil pickups. One sits at the bridge position while the other sits at the neck position. The neck pickup is usually covered while the bridge pickup stays uncovered.
How do you choose the best Telecaster pickup?
Telecaster guitars shine because they offer cleaner and warmer tones thanks to the best Telecaster pickups.
But for most guitarists, choosing the best one can be one difficult task. Therefore, here’s what to consider when choosing.
- Cheap vs. expensive
Some experts will recommend that if you want to buy a Telecaster pickup, you’ll have to dig deep into your pockets. But music is not about money. And to remind you, that’s just a marketing gimmick.
Furthermore, it’s possible to find an expensive Telecaster pickup that sounds awful. It’s also possible to find a cheap Telecaster pickup that sounds just like heaven.
Creating music is about the needs of each musician. For that reason, let your choice not be about money. It should be about excellence and good sound.
- Windings; More or less?
As mentioned earlier, pickups depend on copper windings to give the best output. When doing your research, you’ll find that each pickup has a different number of windings.
More windings mean that the output is high. If you want a higher output or gain, then going for more windings is the best option. Nonetheless, if you want something chilled out, or warm, fewer windings will do for you.
- The wire’s gauge
Usually, the wire’s thickness is what we refer to as gauge. The conventional standard of the gauge used was 42, which was thicker. But now, modern guitars use 43 gauge.
The wire’s thickness determines how many windings you’ll have to make to get the desired output. And the thicker option is superb if you want lesser windings on your pickups. Meaning, you’ll get the desired output even with fewer windings.
- The type of magnet used
There’s, of course, a lot of debate on this given that there are two main types of magnets used on Telecaster pickups.
Ceramic often provides more gain and attack to the guitar. Hence, they will be good for modern players. Alnico magnets are superb for clearer tones, which is why jazz and blues guitarists will opt for this.
Nonetheless, you will also come across different types of Alnico magnets. When asked, which one to choose, this will depend on how balanced the output is. If you want more gain, going for a higher type such as the Alnico VIII is the way to go. Alnico II and V are the most popular options amongst guitarists.
But be careful. Higher gain might not suit your playing style. Therefore, test out each magnet to find out what fits your Telecaster the best.
- Single coil vs. Humbuckers
Choosing between both pickup types can be difficult. Nonetheless, you have to consider many factors, including the type of sound you want to achieve.
Humbuckers have less feedback. But they can be louder since they consist of two single-coil pickups. Single-coil pickups are ideal if you want that warm tone and not-so-loud output.
When choosing a humbucker, consider whether the humbucker has coil-tapping and coil-splitting features. The coil-tapping feature determines the number of windings the humbucker will use. And when it’s on, both single-coils will be on, but it will use fewer windings, making it sound like a single-coil pickup.
On the other hand, the Coil splitting feature switches off one of the single coils and uses the other one.
- Active vs. passive pickups
Both are suitable for different kinds of players. Active pickups mean that the pickups contribute to the output of your guitar actively. The pickups use a battery to operate.
Passive pickups are the opposite. The current brought to them is what they will give as the output. And you don’t require any batteries to operate it.
If you have to choose between the two, again, go for what suits your playing style.
There you have it, friends. Those are the best Telecaster pickups that, in our opinion, would be a great fit for any Telecaster model out there. Ensure that you do enough research on the best Telecaster because people end up returning the product since the device could not work the way they desired it to sound.
You can also avoid returning the pickups by testing them yourselves. Go to your nearest guitar store and try out different pickups. Checking out different online video reviews may not be suitable since most sites compress the video’s sound to fit different needs.
Finally, we would like to recommend the EMG T SYSTEM Prewired Telecaster Guitar Pickup. It’s our best buy Telecaster pickup because it offers the player a set that can adapt to any playing style. Everything from the construction to this pickup’s sound quality makes it a superb pick for the most versatile guitarist. And on top of that, the pickup comes at an affordable price, which is difficult to get at this price range.