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Thoughts on tone

What are the differences between a telecaster neck and a stratocaster neck pickup?

Classic Telecaster and Stratocaster neck pickups sound completely different - why?  Really it comes down to design and construction choices. So how do they sound?  I'm stereotyping heavily here, but for classically constructed/designed pickups, the following is generally true: Telecaster neck sound:  Warm, bass-heavy, muffled;  Some might say "dull" or "dead" sounding Stratocaster neck sound:  Bell-like, piano-like, clear;  Immediate attack The Stratocaster neck sound is a classic found on many recordings.  The tele neck sound is definitely still used and "out there", but it is generally (and I mean that in the broadest sense) not a color used as heavily...

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What tele neck pickups sound the most like a strat neck pickup?

Many players, for whatever reason, have trouble bonding with the stock telecaster neck pickup sound.  Typical complaints are that the sound is "muffled", "bassy", "lifeless" etc.  My guess is that this perception is driven by comparison to:   1) The sound of a stock stratocaster neck pickup, which has a classic and very well-loved almost piano or bell-like tone 2)  The sound of a stock telecaster bridge pickup, which generally has a very pronounced treble spike/resonance and has a punchy, "ballsy" lower-midrange So compared to these two sounds, many guitarists wind up wishing they had something different in the neck...

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Is the "cream" color for DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan pickups the same?

The short answer is "no", and actually "not even close".  For a side project, extended scale guitar I'm building (bloodwood and Alaskan yellow cedar, should be stunning!) I am planning to use a zebra DiMarzio Crunch Lab in the bridge, a zebra DiMarzio Liquifire in the neck, and a Seymour Duncan SSL-6 Tapped in the middle position.  With the humbuckers coil-split and the SD tapped, I should be able to get strat-ish sounds, and then with all full on I'll have three soloing/rhythm options - should be sweet.  Anyhow, on to how this will actually look - see the image...

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What are Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups and how to they differ from non-antiquity pickups?

Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickups offer vintage sound, construction, and looks, right out of the box - no need to wait four decades to get the tone and mojo you want!  While many manufacturers offer "vintage"-themed or inspired pickups, and Seymour Duncan is no exception, these are really the "next level" of vintage correctness.   In case there is any confusion about the "Antiquity" vs. "Antiqutiy II" lines, the Antiquity product line generally replicates pickups from the 50s and/or use Alnico II magnets, while the Antiquity II line generally replicates pickups from the 60s and/or use Alnico V magnets.  Both of these lines...

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What is a "tapped" strat or tele guitar pickup and how does it sound?

Some of the Seymour Duncan single-coil pickups are available tapped, like the well-regarded Custom Staggered Strat SSL-5.  First, let's describe a normal pickup.  Essentially what you have in the SSL-5 is copper wire wound around a bobbin, with 6 rod magnets going up through the center.  The SSL-5 is a pretty high-output single coil, so it has more turns of wire than say a SSL-1.  You can see that in their different DC resistances - 13.3K for the SSL-5 vs. 6.5K for the SSL-1.  Now, you can't equate that to number of turns of wire directly unless they used exactly...

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