Tele pickups with a twist. What makes Silver Hand Tele Pickups stand out?

Posted by Brad Perry on

What makes Silver Hand Tele pickups stand out is our ability to create unique designs without abandoning the core concepts that make vintage pickups iconic. When we create a new Tele pickup, we only make changes where it will help us achieve the tone we’re going for. Variations from vintage standards are never done for economics...they are done purely for seeking the tone in our heads!

Tele Pickups

In this blog, I’m going to talk about our 78’ and S-Tele pickups. They both use the vintage style Alnico powered foundation, but contain unconventional elements for a unique twist on the classic Tele sound.

How about that ‘78 Tele Pickup?

Many Tele pickups are named after a specific year of pickup. Usually the year is a very early design from the 50’s or 60’s that was made in a particularly desirable manner by Fender. Our ‘78 Tele pickup differs in both its namesake and tone.

Once upon a time, Eben came across a 1978 Fender Tele that just sounded better than all of the other Tele’s that he had come across. He knew the pickups weren’t original, and had no idea who wound them, but he did know there was some magic in that much so that he kept it instead of selling it. When it came time to design the pickups for the Hollowtop guitars he had me inspect the bridge pickup, run some tests, and build some prototypes to replicate it.

What I ended up finding was a Tele pickup that used 41 AWG and was wound almost as full as the bobbin could take. You see, typically Tele pickups are wound with a thinner 42 AWG, and sometimes an even thinner 43 AWG wire. You could hear the differences when played, and you could see them when running frequency response sweeps.

Ultimately, this meant was the ‘78 had a bit more evened out mids and treble, paired with stronger bass. The ‘78 we created in homage to Eben’s favorite tele pickup was a winner and deemed worthy for all our Hollowtop models moving forward.

How about that S-Tele pickup?

The S-Tele pickup was made with a very simple goal in mind: transparent clarity.

The physical design borrows some elements from other classic vintage pickups. The magnets are .781” long magnets (used in Jazz Bass pickups) and the wire is 42 AWG Heavy Formvar (used in Strat pickups).

The taller magnets allow for a wider dynamic range and more upper harmonics. The Heavy Formvar wire allows us to wind the pickup in a pattern that allows high frequencies to pass without a large treble peak in the “ice pick” range, and we also use Open Top Nickel Silver covers to reduce Eddy Currents and retain treble frequencies essential to a clear tone.

When you play through an S-Tele pickup, you end up with an extremely balanced EQ, where clear and airy frequencies are allowed to shine though. Between the clear harmonics and extended dynamic range, the tone has an almost acoustic guitar quality to it. The S-Tele is also extremely useful as a transparent platform for other effects.


If you’re a looking at Tele pickups and want a great range of diversity, clarity, and output, check out the ‘78 Tele bridge pickup and Tele S neck pickup. The pairing of these pickups builds upon the already versatile nature of a Tele and expands it into a tonal workhorse.

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