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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Tele pups



The radio makes hideous sounds-Dylan
Feb 25th, 2018 12:01 AM   Edit   Profile  

How come Tele bridge pup pole pieces are not staggered like Strats?
Sorry should have mentioned mine is a FSR MIM telecaster. All pole pieces are level with the bobbin top.

Supplementary question, can my pole pieces be altered to better reflect the radius?

(This message was last edited by avsalesman at 02:11 AM, Feb 25th, 2018)

Contributing Member

Broke Down

in the Brassicas
Feb 25th, 2018 02:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

Strats and staggered pole pieces came along later than teles. On 7.25" radius necks I would buy staggered although I still find the G too loud. This is because the stagger of the G was originally to compensate for a wound G, which hardly anyone uses these days. I think players get used to the difference and compensate automatically in playing.

As to whether polepieces can be altered, it depends on the pickup design. 'Modern' pickups with plastic bobbins have plastic around the poles and they can be pushed. Fibreboard pups may have the poles right up against the winding and that can be dangerous to try to move the poles.

On the whole, I would just play what I had and not worry about the stagger. If it really bothered you, and you have fibreboard pups, it would be safer and easier to just get new ones.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Feb 25th, 2018 03:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

I don't have an answer re: why, but all my tele pickups have been flat and I never felt like I was missing anything balance-wise.
Just adjusting the pickup screws for treble & bass E's seems to work for me.

What is it you're looking for or trying to achieve?

FWIW, all mine have been 9.5" radius if that makes a difference.

The only issue I've ever had with tele pickups, is the neck being too muddy for my liking. I fixed that by going with a Twisted Tele pickup.

Contributing Member


I say stuff
Feb 25th, 2018 07:48 AM   Edit   Profile  

Maybe Aaron will chime in with some history.

RE: re-staggering poles. I did it on a set of Fat '50s (Strat pickups) to include the outer-most poles. I rolled the dice and won. I could have lost and was aware of that before I did it. If it didn't work out I was going to buy a custom-built set of pickups from Aaron.

I'm guessing on any MIM you can re-stagger without issues. That is my guess. I assume they would have plastic bobbins as mentioned above. If they're ceramic magnet pickups, there will be a bar magnet underneath the pickup over the poles. That is the producer of the actual magnetic field. In that setup I'm not sure how much of a difference pole height makes. And, really, I don't think moving those poles is advisable.

I think I'm about to un-stagger a Tele bridge pickup. I have a StewMac Golden Age Tele set in a guitar and the D and G poles are raised a little. I think I'm going to push those down to level with the other poles. The neck is a Warmoth with a 10"-16" radius.


U.S. - Virginia

Feb 25th, 2018 01:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

You guys know the deal so I don't have much to add.

It's always a risk trying to move your pole pieces. I wouldn't do it. It may be a subtle change in the end because the magnet will still be a short magnet, just closer. The taller magnets in staggered pickups are not only closer to the string, they are taller. So they have more magnetic power because of their size.

They definitely had to move to staggered to get the whole "wound G" thing going on in balance. It doesn't matter so much these days. I talked to Neil Levang's son on youtube(Neil played guitar on Lawrence Welk's show with Buddy Merril) and he recalled playing 13 gauge strings back then :-)

Different sounds than now!

Contributing Member


I say stuff
Feb 27th, 2018 06:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

To expound upon Aaron’s point...

It is a subtle difference. And yes, the lower poles in a staggered set at shorter.

It was a minor but noticeable difference on my Fat ‘50s. My major gripe was with the muted high E string because the poles were so low. I semi- alanced the poles. They’re not exactly flat. It took the pickups into the tone zone I was looking for.

If it hadn’t, or if I had screwed up a pickup in this attempt, I was going to order a set from Aaron. (-:

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Feb 27th, 2018 04:25 PM   Edit   Profile  

I told a lie in my previous post!
"...all my tele pickups have been flat..."

Yesterday I looked at the bridge pickup that's going into my current tele build and lo and behold, it has staggered poles!

It's a Tonerider Hot Classic (alnico 3). Great sounding pickup. (I previously had it in another guitar)

I know you had good results with the TR strat pickups, so there ya go.

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Tele pups

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