Telecaster pickups are an important element of music. They determine the output quality that you get from your Telecaster.
You need to be careful about ‘em if you don’t compromise on sound. That is why we’ve put together a list of the best telecaster pickups that’ll ensure your playing will be backed by solid, reliable pickup technology.
Let’s get started:
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 10 Telecaster Pickups Comparison Chart
- 2 A Few Pickup Device Features
- 3 #1 Fender Vintage Noiseless Tele Pickups
- 4 #2 DiMarzio Vintage Twang King Pre-Wired Pickups
- 5 #3 Vortex Vintage Hot Tele Pickups
- 6 #4 EMG TX X Series Tele Active Pickups
- 7 #5 Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Tele Pickups
- 8 #6 Tonerider TRT2 Hot Classic Tele Set
- 9 #7 Seymour Duncan APTL-3JD Jerry Donahue Model Telecaster Bridge Pickup
- 10 #8 JBE Joe Barden Modern T-Style Pickups
- 11 #9 Twister Vintage Tele Pickups (Nickel)
- 12 #10Lindy Fralin Blues Special Tele Pickups
- 13 The Best Telecaster Pickups: Conclusion
Top 10 Telecaster Pickups Comparison Chart
|Bridge or Neck|
|Fender Vintage Noiseless Tele Pickups||Alnico||Single coil||Both|
|DiMarzio Vintage Twang King Pre-Wired Pickups Set||Hand-calibrated magnets||Single coil||Both|
|Vortex Vintage Hot Tele Pickups||Alnico-III||Single coil||Both|
|EMG TX X Series Tele Active Pickup Set||Alnico||Single coil||Both|
|Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Tele Pickups||Alnico-V||Humbucker, double coil||Both|
|Tonerider TRT2 Hot Classic Tele Set||Alnico-III||Single coil||Both|
|Seymour Duncan APTL-3JD Jerry Donahue Model Telecaster Bridge Pickup||Alnico-II||Single coil||Bridge|
|JBE Joe Barden Modern T-Style Pickups||Staggered dual-blade||Single coil||Both|
|Twister Vintage Tele Pickups (Nickel)||Alnico-V||Single coil||Both|
|Lindy Fralin Blues Special Tele Pickups||Alnico-V||Single coil||Both|
A Few Pickup Device Features
Before you check out the best telecaster pickups, it is important to know what to look for when making a purchase.
Telecaster pickups are constructed in different ways. The components and quality of the T pickup will determine how well it can remove excess noise and undesirable hum from the output. This is one of the major concerns of telecaster players.
A single-coil construction means that there is one coil, while a double coil construction means there are two coils. The latter is also known as a humbucker.
A humbucker design was brought forward after the single-coil exhibited too much hum in some pickup systems. So, it’s safe to say that double coils will give you better output than single ones.
The magnets used in making the pickup system also influence the quality of sound. Telecaster pickups use Alnico magnets which are separated into Alnico-II, Alnico-III, Alnico IV, and Alnico V. These magnets contain aluminum, nickel, and cobalt, the three elements that produce the name “Alnico.”
The type of Alnico magnet does not necessarily determine the quality of sound but it does impact tones.
For example, Alnico-II is the lowest in strength and gives warm, soft tones while Alnico-V is the strongest type and generates very sharp treble notes.
Alnico-III magnets are also on the weaker side and they generate distinguished treble notes. These are often found in neck pickups.
Alnico-IV magnets don’t alter the guitar’s original sound too much. The type of magnet you need depends on your desired output sound.
Bridge, Neck, or Both?
Telecaster pickup products might include a set of both bridge and neck devices or a bridge or neck by itself. Bridge pickups are usually stronger than the neck pickups.
The bridge pickup rests in a slanted position and is made to fit into the bridge by connecting the metal base plates to it. A bridge pickup system is what’ll give you the bright and punchy classic telecaster sound.
A neck pickup is smaller in size and gives weaker output than the bridge pickup. It must be placed close to the strings.
This Vintage Noiseless Tele Pickup set by Fender is one of the best you’ll find on the market. Both the sound and quality will give you exactly what you’ve been searching for in telecaster pickups.
These pickups are made from an enamel-coated magnet wire which brings out a warm tone, producing a complete vintage vibe just as advertised.
You’ll instantly feel transported forty years back when the original vintage sound came to be.
The pickups are made from two Alnico magnets and feature a vinyl-covered wire for output which is wrapped around a plastic reel.
In this set, you’ll find a bridge and neck pickup, each with its distinctions. The neck pickup’s cover is made from nickel-silver material that allows it to deliver an extremely clear sound. There’s no sign of muffled sounds that you might find in other neck pickups. Additionally, the bridge pickup device offers a rather classic sound.
This set of single coiled pickups produces high-quality frequencies without any noise, even though single coils are known to come with some sort of interference. That’s what makes these Fender Vintage Noiseless Tele Pickups truly hum-free.
- Includes 1-year warranty
- The noise-free operation makes it stand out from other single-coil pickups
- The two Alnico magnets offer excellent response
- Installation requires soldering
It’s safe to say that the Fender Vintage Noiseless Tele Pickups is a very versatile pair. It delivers excellent sound quality without the occurrence of noise or interference. This product is one of the best for heavy playing styles.
DiMarzio has put forward a convenient, pre-wired pickup set with premium-quality and spectacular sound output. Although the price tag is slightly high, we can’t help but marvel over the amazing clarity of the sound.
This product comes pre-wired which means you don’t have to go through the hassle of soldering and wiring. There is a set of two pickups which include the Twang King Bridge DP173 Twang King Neck DP172 single-coiled pickups.
The set also includes all necessary equipment such as a control plate, wiring components, and knobs.
As far as sound quality goes, this DiMarzio pickup set doesn’t disappoint. With light strumming, you can expect to hear warm, quiet tones while with hard playing you’ll notice an amazing dynamic range.
This pickup set generates a much louder and more powerful sound than the standard single-coil pickups. This is why for many it is the best telecaster pickup.
- Hand-calibrated magnets offer near-perfect precision
- High-quality sound output
- Includes necessary parts to effortlessly install the device
- High price tag
All in all, the DiMarzio Vintage Twang Pre-Wired Pickups Set gives you great value for money with its hand-calibrated magnet features and a beautiful sound ranging from warm and quiet to loud and dynamic.
If you’re looking for a pickup set that fits into a tight budget, the Vortex Vintage Hot Tele Pickups might just be the perfect one for you. It is made up of two Alnico-III magnets that allow for a well-balanced response. The set also contains original style vintage lead wires so you can easily make connections.
There’s a dedicated neck pickup with a three-lead construction and a separate pickup for the bridge.
It supports both three-way and four-way switch wiring, giving you flexibility during set-up. However, the installation process can take you almost two hours since it requires soldering.
- Quite affordable
- Supports both three-way and four-way switch wiring
- Beautiful, high-quality telecaster tones
- The installation process requires soldering
The Vortex Vintage Hot Tele Pickups offer are budget-friendly hence a good option for those looking for an affordable product.
This premium quality TX X Series Tele Active Pickup set by EMG is part of their exclusive pickup range. The set includes two pickups, one for the bridge and the other for the neck. There is a pair of Alnico magnets within each device that minimizes interference and offers impeccable response times.
The installation process is effortless because you don’t need to do any soldering.
There are springs and screws included with the set that’ll allow you to easily install the devices. There is a battery clip set as well, making it one of the best telecaster pickups.
This EMG set gives you access to volume and tone control so you can adjust the tones and sounds according to your preferences. This split shaft control feature gives players complete control over the telecaster’s sound output.
Overall, these pickups produce some very warm, pleasant tones when picking lightly and bold impactful tones during intense jamming.
- Installation does not require soldering
- Split shaft control feature to get the perfect sound output
- Alnico magnet pair minimizes interference
- Neck pickup slightly larger in size than standard pickups
Overall, we would conclude that The EMG TX X Series Tele Active Pickup set is great for any type of player and the installation process is fairly easy. The pickup system offers excellent quality sound and tones.
The Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Tele Pickups consist of a bridge and a neck pickup of very high-quality. Even though the price tag falls in the high range, the amazing quality of the product completely justifies it.
The bridge pickup system works really well to boost the output with its steel bottom plate coated with copper. On the other hand, the neck pickup has a nickel-silver exterior that helps produce clear sounds.
The combination of these two systems offers excellent sound quality with a unique and extremely desirable punchy tone.
The pickup set is constructed using Alnico-V magnets which have been specially crafted for optimally balanced tones. The magnets are set into a bobbin made from fiber and then they’re wrapped with a magnet wire that’s covered with enamel.
- Quiet, clear sound output
- Includes all necessary hardware tools
- Uses high-quality, specially crafted Alnico-V magnets
- Not suitable for heavy play output
If you’re planning on jamming classic rock, jazz, country, or blues, the Fender Custom Shop Texas Special Tele Pickups will sound great. The product is made from excellent quality materials and even with a high price tag, it is worth each penny.
Tonerider has put forward an impressive quality Telecaster pickup set called the TRT2 Hot Classic. It’s one of the best-selling bridge and neck pickups pairs out there with Alnico-III magnets. It comes with a full-sized base plate with a copper exterior that’s further wrapped in black string.
The neck pickup device gives off some interesting rich tones resembling the blues sound.
The bridge pickup has a special pole piece type known as the Modifier Vintage Stagger. It delivers a classic telecaster resonance with a louder sound and deeper mid-range tones.
With no surprise, both pickup systems offer smooth output and you can barely hear any noisy shrill.
- Very reasonably priced
- Excellent customer support
- Fantastic tone quality with great balance
- You must place the pickups very accurately to achieve the best sound
The Tonerider TRT2 Hot Classic Tele Set has made quite an impression for such a budget-friendly product. This pickup pair offers an overall rich, clear, and smooth output to make your playing worthwhile. Hence, it is one of the best telecaster pickups.
Seymour Duncan came together with Jerry Donahue to craft up a signature telecaster bridge pickup design with special single coil construction and Alnico-II rod magnets.
The idea of this innovative product originated when Jerry Donahue requested a pickup for replicating his ’52 telecaster tone on other guitars.
The special coil wind, Alnico-II magnet pair, and pole pieces that are symmetrically-staggered all work together to create bright, vintage-inspired tones. This bridge pickup offers an amazing warm sound with brilliant sustain.
- Great value for money
- Very durable product
- Excellent tones with a nice vintage edge
- Might exhibit sharp, stabbing sound at certain high frequencies
If you’re into different playing styles such as country or classic rock, you’ll find the Seymour Duncan APTL-3JD Jerry Donahue Model Telecaster Bridge pickup to be one of the best telecaster pickups. You’re getting a whole lot of quality, top-notch construction, and wonderful, warm sound output all in a budget-friendly price.
This Telecaster pickup set by Joe Barden is not your average single coil pickup system; it is known to fully eliminate any noise or hum and provide a nice, well-adjusted tone.
The pickup set can be fitted in almost every telecaster model out there and the installation process is a breeze.
Joe Barden’s T-style design features a distinct staggered-blade which helps to maintain a well-balanced response and enhances chords and notes. Overall, you can expect to get a fatter tone than most other vintage-style bridge pickup systems. Plus, the pickups are adjustable so you can get your desired level of output.
- Suitable for all telecasters
- Eliminates all noise and hum
- Well-balanced response
- Adjustable output level feature
- Designed specifically for modern playing styles such as country or rock
If you’re into the modern age of music, then this Telecaster pickup pair is a great option. It offers a clear, noise-free output with an adjustable level feature and a wonderful vintage-based tone.
The Twister Vintage Tele pickup pair features a sharp but clear 60’s sound without any noise. The Alnico-V magnets contribute to the result and allow you to play almost any type of music with the pickup’s versatile mid-ranges.
These nickel-coated Twister Vintage Telecaster Pickups are made using the reverse-wound, reverse-polarity (RWRP), and a correct upper base design so there is no noise or humming in your music.
You’ll get a clear, sharp sound that gives your output a little more edge than usual.
- Wonderful classic vintage sound
- Amazing value for money
- Well-explained wiring and easy installation process
- No noise or hum
- Designed specifically for rock and blues tones only
With this beauty, you will get a versatile mid-range and a very clear classic 60’s output. Plus, it is quite affordable as well, making it one of the best telecaster pickups you can buy today.
This Lindy Fralin Blues Special Tele Pickup set features a 2% overwound neck with a cover telecaster.
This design gives you the ability to achieve five percent fewer highs and five percent more mid-ranges when compared to the previous Stock Tele Pickup set. There is also a chrome cover for only the neck pickup device.
This product is known to produce very soft and bright sounds, keeping an emphasis on the blues. Although you’d expect soft, rich output, these Lindy Fralin Blues Special Tele Pickups provide some edgy tones filled with sharpness. Plus, it is quite durable.
- Bright, soft, rich sound with a sharp edge
- Very budget-friendly
- Excellent highs and lows
- Specifically designed for a blues output
This product is perfect for those who love playing blues. The Lindy Fralin Blues Special Tele Pickup set offers great tones all within a highly affordable price. For us, it is one of the best telecaster pickups you can purchase for your instrument.
The Best Telecaster Pickups: Conclusion
While all the products discussed above are amazing, if we had to pick one we’ll go with the Seymour Duncan and Jerry Donahue Model. This Telecaster Bridge Pickup has everything you’ll ever need in a pickup set.
It offers extremely clear sound with bright, warm tones and a wonderful vintage feel. Not to mention, the price is highly affordable for those who are on a tight budget.