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Squire Vs Fender MIM Pickups

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Postby rparker » March 20th, 2009, 3:13 am

I know Vic owns both and I'm hoping he'll see this and give me his thoughts. I figure I'd post publically to get others perspectives if anyone has one rather than keeping it private with a PM to Vic.

So, I've got a MIM Tele and a Squire Tele. Both came with single coil pickups, neck and bridge. The MIM's got replaced with on of those split rail humbucker jobs as part of a transformation. I still have the neck pickup sitting in my closet. So, I was thinking and wondering, is the MIM neck pickup better or different than the Squire neck pickup, and how so tone-wise? I'm considering loading the Squire with the MIM pickup I have sitting in the closet.
Roy

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Postby CitiZenNoir » March 20th, 2009, 7:35 am

Hey Roy :D

As far as I know, both guitars use ceramic bar magnet/slug pups for both the neck and bridge.
These are not true single coil pups, but instead share a construction more similar to Gibbo Humbuckers.

Here's a pic of a bar/slug type Tele neck pup:
Image

Although, I have seen reports of MIM Tele's having AlNiCo bars in them, for the most part I would say they are ceramic mags
which are a bit harsher than the sweeter AlNiCo mags.

Depending on the model of the MIM, or if it was purchased by you used and may already have been modded -
it may very well have had true single coil pups in it.

If so, they will look more like this:
Image

*Both of these pics have the covers off

I'm not sure why you want to swap the pups out - but there's a big recomendation for swapping the pots on MIM/SQ
pups.... they apparently have 500k pots and 250k's are said to make it a bit more pleasant.

Also, there's the issue of covers - Brass covers are said to give it a warm/woody sound (some say dark/jazzy),
while Nickel/Silver covers are a bit more bright and twangy.
No cover at all is the brightest (some say clear, some say Strat-like), although care needs to be taken without a cover.
In addition to the material, they also come in different thicknesses, which can alter the tone as well.

Ken
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Postby Vic Lewis VL » March 20th, 2009, 8:26 am

Ah, now I wish I could help you out here, Roy, but in all honesty I wouldn't know....my Squire Tele is the Custom model, a copy of the '72 custom Tele....with humbuckers at neck and bridge. I like the sound of 'em and I marginally prefer them to the single coils for soloing, especially with the neck p/u on the Squier....

But that's as far as my knowledge goes, sorry. My Squier and my MIM are two different beasts - MIM's a great all round guitar, I prefer the Squier for slide...especially when I'm trying to nail some of George Thorogood's riffs and licks.

:D :D :D

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Postby rparker » March 20th, 2009, 8:31 am

Holy Smokes, Ken! That's a ton of info. Thanks! I gotta head out, but will compare my MIM pickup with the picks later tonight. I didn't know that covers could make a difference either. Interesting in it's own right. I'm still "learning" this Squire Tele, so to speak, and what it can do, what sounds good, etc. I think I've fiddled with this thing more than I've fiddled with any other guitar I have. :lol:

Am curious about the 250K POT being "a bit more pleasant". This guitar's sweet spot seems to be about 3/4's - 7/8th the way up on the volume knob. Normally it'd be fine, but turning down the amp so that I can handle it with my bum ear makes that go away quickly. I kind of have to limit playing this thing to "good ear days". Well, mostly. I did find a setting on my Fender Super Champ that was better.

I'm not neccesarily "wanting" to change them so much as a sudden and quite random thought that I have a neck pick-up from a more expensive Tele sitting in the closet than the one I actually use that came stock in my Squire. Curiosity led me to ask if it would make sense to swap pickups or not and if so, why.
Roy

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Postby rparker » March 20th, 2009, 8:34 am

Vic Lewis VL wrote:......My Squier and my MIM are two different beasts......


Duh! I remember that now. :oops:

Thanks for responding though. :D
Roy

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Postby CitiZenNoir » March 20th, 2009, 9:37 am

You're welcome :wink:

Hope it helps.... it's always fun to play with the small things that change tonality :D

The pic of the bar/slug on my above post is a Fralin pup, and I'm thinkin' that they're AlNiCo mags.

Here's some AlNiCo mags to help I.D. what you might have:
Image

Image

Image

As you can see, they have a bit of a metallic look.

While ceramic mags may have a dull grey look:
Image

Or maybe a darker to black color:
Image

I'm not sure what HB pup you put in your MIM's neck, but I'm pretty sure that the SD Hot Rail has a ceramic mag.

Ken
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Postby AKFlyingV » March 20th, 2009, 11:40 am

Vic:

This may be a little off topic but I read somewhere that the humbuckers that they put in the Squier and Mexican version of the '72 telecaster deluxe are just regular humbuckers with a bigger cover. They are made to look like the original wide range humbuckers. I'm not sure if the American version, which I think is called the '72 telecaster custom, uses the original "wide range humbuckers" or not.
Thought this might be some helpful information if you ever decide to switch pickups, I'm not sure how they are attached to the cover.

Sry for hijacking!
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Postby U2Bono269 » March 20th, 2009, 1:09 pm

I can't commect specifically on Teles but seeing as I own/have owned a Squier, a MIM (strat) and an MIA (tele), I've noticed some differences

I started with the Squier 51 (which has since left me), and then I got the MIM. Both had strat pickups in them. I found the MIM's to be superior to the Squiers...more output, more clarity, and a general sense of "it just sounds nicer." With that alone I would imagine upgrading to an MIM pickup in your squier wouldn't be a bad idea. On top of that, I've found the Tele pickups on the MIA to be superior to both the Squier and MIM...combined.

Anyway, if you want my opinion I say yeah, put the MIM pickup in the squier.
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Postby Vic Lewis VL » March 20th, 2009, 2:36 pm

AKFlyingV wrote:Vic:

This may be a little off topic but I read somewhere that the humbuckers that they put in the Squier and Mexican version of the '72 telecaster deluxe are just regular humbuckers with a bigger cover. They are made to look like the original wide range humbuckers. I'm not sure if the American version, which I think is called the '72 telecaster custom, uses the original "wide range humbuckers" or not.
Thought this might be some helpful information if you ever decide to switch pickups, I'm not sure how they are attached to the cover.

Sry for hijacking!


Gotta be honest with you, what I know about p/u's could be written on the back of a stamp with a whitewash brush....

As regards MY Squier Tele, it's this model.... http://www.squierguitars.com/products/s ... 0327502506

I like it, always have done since the first time I played it - when I was looking for a Fender Tele after seeing Status Quo. The Squier felt better and sounded better than the Fenders I tried....

Fast forward a couple of years, I'm looking for another Squier Tele - this time I wanted one with P90's, several people whose opinion I value had suggested trying those out. There wasn't one in the shop, but I fell in love with the white Fender (MIM) Tele which is my main guitar now - and probably always will be.

Oh well....maybe it doesn't pay to have preconceived notions? Just play it by ear when buying a guitar? I've been lucky so far!

:D :D :D

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Postby Vic Lewis VL » March 20th, 2009, 2:55 pm

Back to the original question....

rparker wrote:So, I was thinking and wondering, is the MIM neck pickup better or different than the Squire neck pickup, and how so tone-wise? I'm considering loading the Squire with the MIM pickup I have sitting in the closet.


Let's think about this logically for a moment.... we know Squier make pretty good guitars. We know Fender make good guitars. Both companies are proud of their QC....so what's the difference? A Fender, over here, costs roughly three times what a Squier costs - so you'd think they're not going to cost the same to make, per unit, right? The Fender MUST be a better guitar than the Squier, 'cos it costs three times as much - but is it three times better? Is it 'eck as like, as we say in Lancashire. (Translation - "No.")

Comparing my Squier Tele to my Fender Tele....looking for obvious differences.

Well, all I can find is that the machine heads have "Fender" written on them on the FT - nothing at all on the ST. The bridge set up looks identical, the necks feel identical - both are smooth and easy to play, although the ST has had the action raised a little for slidework.

There's a little more wood behind the neck of the ST where the headstock tapers into the neck - I can feel a difference holding down an F chord, barred.

But there really doesn't seem that much difference between them, quality-wise.

The MIM seems better for playing classic rock - I usually use the bridge pick-up all the time, whether for rhythm or lead. That famous Tele Twang is there, more so than on the ST - it is there, just not as pronounced. The neck pick up on the ST's great for soloing, though - a nice sweet scream is the only way I can describe it. Think the opening riff of "Sweet Child Of Mine" - sounds great through the neck p/u of the Squier, sounds OK through the neck p/u of the MIM.

Y'know, one of these days I'm going to run a real test, one against the other - try every setting on the amp, try every combination of p/u's on the guitars, and see which scores highest. I've a sneaking suspicion there really won't be much in it!

:D :D :D

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Postby rparker » March 20th, 2009, 3:41 pm

We just got back and have been reading the replies. Anyhow, here's what I have that came off the MIM. Not sure if these will mean anything to anyone. Chrome cover removed of course. Doesn't look like anything in the pics Ken posted unless I'm really blind. :oops:

Image
Image
Image
Image
Roy

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Postby rparker » March 20th, 2009, 3:54 pm

Vic and U2Bono269 make sense and that kind of thinking is what did lead me to this line of questioning. Is it, in theory due to increased price of guitar, a better pickup and worth replacing? Or, is going from the Squire to a real Fender just plain marketing hype in this instance (meaning you don't realize full value of Fender increase untill getting higher end models like for a grand or more?) That's about what started me on this.

I'm curious to to see if Ken recognizes the pickup type from the photos I took. The web site says nothing about about the MIM single coil pick-up type. Even if it did, it might be different as it's an '06 model MIM (I think).
Roy

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Postby CitiZenNoir » March 20th, 2009, 4:15 pm

Cool Roy!
That's def a 'real' single coil pup (in the Fender sense of the word).

Here's an exploded view of what makes a SC Tele neck pup:
Image
Sans the windings around the pole pieces (which are the magnets in a SC).

If your SQ has a bar magnet pup, I say go with the MIM pup - a def upgrade IMO.

I don't see any I.D. marking on your pics, so I'm looking for matching bobbin ends (with the little square cutouts in them).

I looked in an old Fender catalog (2004), and it just says '2 std Tele SC' for the MIM Standard series.
I was under the impression that MIMs had bar magnet pups.... maybe only the bigger Strat style ones?

Anyway - I'll keep looking for a match.

Good find!

Ken
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Postby rparker » March 20th, 2009, 6:28 pm

Oh sweet then. It's pretty much unanimous then. I'll do the switch tomorrow night or Sunday. I'll do before and after recordings for an A/B comparison. Nothing like a "free" upgrade.
Roy

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Postby greybeard » March 21st, 2009, 12:46 am

Right, I'm going to waste about 3 or 4 hours of your time, here. There is a company called Bare Knuckle Pickups - expensive but excellent pickups and one day I will have the moolahs to buy myself a set.

They have a forum, where there are loads of sound clips of the various BK pickups and you can hear the, often subtle, differences in the various models.

Warning! Don't go there unless you're willing to spend some time listening, there are some very well played and excellent sounding clips. I tend to lose an hour or so every time I go there.

http://www.bareknucklepickups.co.uk

Go to one of the pickup models and click on "Sound Clip". It'll take you straight to the forum.

You'll quickly realise that pickups can make an enormous difference to your sound and every component, in the pickup, will have an effect on the end result. I would say that, in general, the better quality the pickup the better it will sound.
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