10 best Telecaster bridge pickups
You won’t find any stacked humbuckers or tapped coils in this selection. Instead, here’s a handful of bridge pickups that cover every type of Tele sound you desire, from classic twang and sparkle to modern sizzling, meaty tones. We’ve even thrown in a couple of left field options for the more adventurous of you. Read on to find out more about the best Telecaster bridge pickups on the market right now.
Fender Custom Shop ’51 Nocaster Tele Pickups
If it’s vintage chime and spank you’re after, why not go straight to the company that pioneered that sound? This set of pickups features alnico III magnets, enamel-coated magnet wires, a tin-plated copper base plate and other period-correct components – the bridge unit, in particular, is known for its relatively high output (7.3K), and tight, slightly boosted bass response. That top-of-the-line Custom Shop Nocasters sport this exact pickup set is a bonus.
Lists for $159 per set (with neck pickup)
Seymour Duncan Hot Rails
Image: Seymour DuncanAs its name suggests, this pickup is designed to produce the output and bite of a full-sized humbucker. The pickup features ceramic magnets, dual steel blades and overwound coils that combine for a heavy tone with plenty of sustain. Rock and metal guitarists will also appreciate this pickup’s extra crunch that comes courtesy of a harmonically rich midrange and a tight low end.
Lists for £159 per set (with neck pickup)
The Creamery Classic ’67
Image: Creamery PickupsHand-made in Manchester, UK, this pickup features late-60s spec staggered alnico V slugs, a copper-plated steel plate and an aged white string wrap around the coil. It’s scatterwound with 42 AWG plain enamel wire to 6.4K with south-up magnet polarity.
Lists for £72
Lindy Fralin Split Steel Poled Tele Bridge
Image: Lindy FralinThe assertive sibling to Fralin’s Split Blade model, this pickup combines traditional Tele tones with P-90 bite in one package. A key feature on this model is its beefy midrange, which is paired with a thick low end and slightly darker highs. Its Left-Right coil design tempers the aggression somewhat, resulting in an articulate – yet noiseless – pickup. And, last but not least, fine-tuning string balance is made possible with adjustable pole pieces.
Lists for $125
Monty’s Retro Wind Tele
Image: Monty’s GuitarsThis pickup promises lively touch responsiveness for clean country and blues rock. It’s scatterwound to 6.6K with 42 AWG wire and has flat alnico III magnets for open tone with sweeter treble response than typical Teles. It’s not relic’d, but the materials and cloth-covered wire are vintage correct.
Lists for £92
Porter 9T Tele Pickup (Bridge)
Image: PorterLike the Fralin, the Porter 9T will add muscle to your Tele’s tone. It has a mid-6K output, dual ceramic bar magnets, adjustable poles and a responsive character that reacts to your pick attack and volume knob. It’s more unabashedly P-90-ish than the Fralin, though, so Porter recommends using it in guitars whose twang needs taming.
Lists for $105
House Of Tone Texas Tea T-type
Here’s the bridge component of Chester pickup guru Matt Bascetta’s reimagining of a mythical set of pickups with heavy formvar-insulated magnet wire, wound briefly by Fender in the 50s. For the bridge pickup, the result is woody, quacky and balanced design that’s pretty much an idealised version of Tele tone. Check out our review here.
Lists for £65.
Oil City Wapping Wharf
Wapping Wharf bridge (right), pictured here with a HonkyTonk Angel neckHand-made in London, Oil City Pickups’s appropriately named Wapping Wharf bridge pickup offers the discerning Tele player remarkable sonic quality for a relatively affordable price. Offering a wonderful blend of both vintage and hot Tele tones thanks to a coil-switching option, it’s hugely versatile, too. Check out our review here.
Lists for £76
Lollar Special T
Image: LollarHere’s another one for those in search of a bit more heat. Wound to be hotter than its Vintage T Series cousin, the Special T measures in at 8K, providing a little more beef and a rounder top end, but does not lose its Tele identity. Combine this with a Vintage T Series neck pickup, and you’ll find that middle ground Lollar fans just can’t get enough of.
Lists for $115
Joe Barden Modern T-Style Bridge
Image: JBELet’s face it. If you’re playing modern, heavier styles, stock Tele single-coils probably won’t cut it. Built on the back of Joe Barden’s popular Gatton T-Bridge pickup, this pickup was designed to inject more muscle to the bridge position. It’s slightly hotter than its predecessor, plays well with distortion, and also tidily reins in those highs. Our only gripe with this pickup is that it costs a pretty penny.
Lists for $159
Read all about the history of the Telecaster bridge pickup in our guide here.
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