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Author Topic: Upgrading from Texas Specials?  (Read 2021 times)

.50 Caliber Bob

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Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« on: June 19, 2012, 09:57:21 PM »
Hi folks, long time lurker, very occasional poster...

...I have a CIJ Strat, which I bought fitted with Texas Special pickups, I was wondering what peoples opinions of these
pickups were?

I always thought of them as bog-standard stock pickups, but it appears on other boards that people see them as an "upgrade"...Where do they sit in the pickup hierarchy?

I know that they will not be considered anywhere near BK pickups, but how do they compare to say, Tonerider pickups?

Is a BK a MASSIVE upgrade from a Texas Special, or a small jump? (Looking at Price the texas specials are pretty pricey for a set of 3 - 160ish which is near BK territory...)

Thanks for input...

AndyR

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2012, 10:44:10 PM »
I have a CIJ strat that came with Texas Specials. I quite liked them, and I'd probably still be happy with them now years later if I hadn't wondered what Irish Tours would be like.

I've since got Apaches and Sultans as well (the Apaches are what's in that strat now). The BKPs have an openess that enable me to feel I can express myself better. The Irish Tours can do the punch that Texas Specials can, but they can also get me clarity and an interesting sound when I'm being more restrained. It might be my imagination, but I feel I can do it better with ITs.

People who don't like or who at least dismiss Texas Specials (and they usually seem to be fans of BKP or other after-market pickups! :lol:) talk about the TS having a single sound - you like it or you don't - some even suggest it's not a totally natural strat sound. I can sort of see what they mean, but I don't think they're as bad as some people make out, or at least they weren't for me. I never gigged with them, but I'd have been very happy to have had them in my guitar when I was gigging years ago.

However, if they cost that much (and I didn't realise they were that expensive), then there's no way I'd buy them myself now, knowing what I can get from BKPs for a bit more.

I've not tried Toneriders, or much else, to be honest. So I can't really help there.

On the idea of Texas Specials being an upgrade, I suspect that they are viewed like that. Fender Japan certainly seems to think like that - but that might be what they think their export market wants. And that, in turn, might be based on what Fender USA thinks it can charge for the pickups. But if you don't actually want that "hot-texas-strat" tone, then it's not that much of an upgrade! :lol: (and, btw, I'm not convinced they're the best pickup to get that SRV thing going, I thought they were a little on the woolly sounding side for that, yes they'll push the amp, but they didn't seem to have the required clarity and bite when they're doing it).
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Andrew W

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2012, 10:57:48 PM »
I've played a friend's Strat that had Texas Specials in them and I thought they were fine. My only gripe with them is that I think are quite expensive for what they are, i.e. I think BKP, though more expensive, actually offer better value for money by being a lot better, if that makes sense? If Texas Specials were about 100 I'd think differently. I reckon if you try Irish Tours or perhaps Mothers Milks you'd eventually regret opting for Texas Specials. My two cents.

AndyR

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2012, 11:21:48 PM »
Yeah, I'd imagined Texas specials were around the 100 mark. And at that price I'd still want my BKPs, but I could see how the Texas Specials would be getting your money's worth.

But I agree, try ITs or MMs (for slightly slimmer/brighter, I believe), and I don't think you'd go out of your way to get Texas Specials again.

Personally I prefer the sound of the other pickups that Fender do - somewhat cheaper I believe - I've forgotten what they're called, they were in my Roadworns, er, "Texas Hot" or something? They are thinner sounding and seemed a lot more versatile than the Texas Specials. However, compared to BKPs (and Texas Specials), under the bonnet they are very cheaply made.
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BigB

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2012, 07:34:48 PM »
Have Texas Specials on my CiJ strat (bought it second hand with the TS already in), and well, they are rather decent pups IMHO. Now I'm not really a strat user and only play it @home for clean stuff (IOW, every once in a while - I'm not really into clean tones neither :mrgreen:), and just don't like how they sound overdriven.  To make a long story short: decent pups but not on par with BKPs, and ff I was to use the strat for a band project I'd definitly replace them with something like Apaches.
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TheyCallMeVolume

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2012, 03:46:21 AM »
I think I'd go with the IT's. Certainly won't be disappointed!

.50 Caliber Bob

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2012, 12:52:54 PM »
If I did go for a set of BK I think it would be the Apaches (or maybe Mothers Milks as I have a rosewood board and it seems to be the view on here that Rosewood = Milks, Maple = Apaches...).

The problem is money I guess! I could try flogging the Texas Specials on Ebay and see what they get me...

I can't justify dropping 180 on pickups at the moment though... *sigh*

Ah well, thanks for all the input guys! At least I know the pickups I have are "alright" as far as the pickup league of quality goes...

darrenw5094

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2012, 01:16:56 PM »
If I did go for a set of BK I think it would be the Apaches (or maybe Mothers Milks as I have a rosewood board and it seems to be the view on here that Rosewood = Milks, Maple = Apaches...).

The problem is money I guess! I could try flogging the Texas Specials on Ebay and see what they get me...

I can't justify dropping 180 on pickups at the moment though... *sigh*

Ah well, thanks for all the input guys! At least I know the pickups I have are "alright" as far as the pickup league of quality goes...

I know the feeling.  :) I have sold some of my old pickups in advance to pay for the new BKP's, so for a week or two, the guitar is pickup-less. Find myself looking around the house to sell some other bits and pieces to fund a set for another guitar.
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TheyCallMeVolume

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2012, 02:32:19 PM »
If I did go for a set of BK I think it would be the Apaches (or maybe Mothers Milks as I have a rosewood board and it seems to be the view on here that Rosewood = Milks, Maple = Apaches...).

The problem is money I guess! I could try flogging the Texas Specials on Ebay and see what they get me...

I can't justify dropping 180 on pickups at the moment though... *sigh*

Ah well, thanks for all the input guys! At least I know the pickups I have are "alright" as far as the pickup league of quality goes...

I know the feeling.  :) I have sold some of my old pickups in advance to pay for the new BKP's, so for a week or two, the guitar is pickup-less. Find myself looking around the house to sell some other bits and pieces to fund a set for another guitar.

Isn't that the worst? I like looking around my guitar room and NOT contemplating which item to get rid of next. Sucks

AndyR

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Re: Upgrading from Texas Specials?
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2012, 04:57:07 PM »
Bob, I nearly said "Apaches" earlier on.

There's a general impression that if you like Texas Specials "but"...
... then ITs are what Texas Specials want to be when they grow up.

I'm not so sure now. I have to admit that it is rather a long time since my CIJ had its Texas Specials, or the ITs that first replaced them, but my impression is that the Apaches in there nowadays make it seem a bit more like how it was originally than the ITs did.

And I wouldn't worry too much about the Apache = Maple thing. They work fine with a rosewood board (can't comment on MMs and maple though!).

I'd happily recommend you Apaches. But if you want a woodier/brighter tone (possibly to cut through the CIJ "darkness/warmth" - mine is a bit dark and warm sounding, that's kind of what I picked it for originally), then I'd lean towards MM.

In fact, if I had a spare 180 I'd be trying MMs at this moment! :lol:

So I kind of know exactly how you feel on the budget front. The other day, I was tempted by the idea of trying to convince a "well-known horder" on this forum that he'd like a set of Sultans under his bed... (but I'm not sure I actually want to part with them anyway!!).
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