Help Me Choose My Next Set of Pickups

Cactus Jack

Senior Member
I have a custom Split Jazzmaster on order. It has a Basswood body and Quilt Maple top ala Suhr/Tom Anderson. It's routed for Humbuckers and now it's time to decided on the pickups.

I'm a house player and don't stick to one genre. Classic Rock is about as hard as I go, and I spend most of my time playing pop hits with my kids ranging between Coldplay, Panic at the Disco, Nirvana...whatever they're into at the moment is what we play. As such, I really appreciate versatile pickups and guitars.

Currently, I rotate between the 5 Warmoth builds below. Collectively, I can nail just about any tone. What I'm missing is a Filtertron option, which is what I initially thought I'd drop in my new build. Between Singles and Humbuckers I lean toward singles as I really love clean sparkly tones. Seems like Filtertrons hit the mark there too.

It's tough to pick a favorite guitar but if I had to, I'd say it's my Tele with Flat 52s. Besides Filterons I'm thinking Fralin Unbuckers, or Fralin High Output, as their coil splits apparently sound great. I'm also toying with the idea of a P90 Neck and Humbucker bridge for an ultimate rock machine. My last thought was to try out a set of P-Rails with Triple Shot rings for max versatility. Lots of options.

Let me know what you think would round out my tonal options. I have two months before the body is done so just want to make sure I think through everything so I'm ready to build once it gets here. Thanks for your time and I appreciate your insight.

Current Guitars:

- Alder Tele, Roasted Maple/Rosewood neck, with Bare Knuckle Flat 52s
- Ash Tele, TBD neck, with Lollar P90s
- Ash Strat, Roasted Maple/Pau Ferro, with Fralin Blues Specials
- Alder Jazzmaster, Maple Neck, with Duncan Jazz & JB
- Mahogany VIP, Maple/Ebony neck, with Suhr Thronbuckers
Definitely check out the DiMarzio EJ Custom set.  Some of my very favorite pickups.

It seems we have similar taste in guitars. My main three are a Squier Tele with Bill Lawrence Microcoils (soon to have a Warmoth neck), a Fender Jazzmaster and a Mooncaster with TV Jones Filtertrons.

I like the filtertrons a lot. They can cover a lot of ground but always retain a hint of their own character, which I enjoy. I often struggle with clean humbuckers but these are very sweet sounding clean, particularly in the middle position.

They're expensive but you only have to pay for them once.
So much to choose from!  Right now I'm high on railhammer anvil and chisel, bright and meaty.
I had a Filter'Tron itch a while back, and I'm very glad I scratched it. I went for the Lollar'Trons and I dig them a lot! I had them in my ES-137 and then I ended up moving them into a ThinLine Tele.


I'd like to echo VB:  For the filtertrons, go with Lollar.  Expensive yes, but the sound is there.

oh - and at the risk of sounding like a Lollar fanboy, I'd go Lollar for the P90s as well if you go that way.
I just got off the phone with Brian Porter of Porter Pickups. He's a total class act and we had a great conversation about all things guitars. We walked through all of my other guitars and the various tones and he recommended a P90 neck and humbucker bridge combo. Honestly, I was so impressed with him as a small business owner I'll probably buy a set from him because I want to see him succeed.
For a nice wiring solution for that setup, check for the Duesenberg Starplayer TV wiring diagram
Over the last few days I've had some great conversations with the folks at Porter Pickups, Tom Anderson, and Lace. As such, I'm now down to the following combinations:

Porter Pickup: We decided a "Clear" humbucker would be a better fit than the H90. It's ceramic, which would be interested, and would be a pretty dynamic combination with the Alnico 8 bridge humbucker. The pickups would be custom made with black open faces and chrome surrounds. Would look pretty slick.

Tom Anderson: Awesome guy, awesome guitar, and from what I've heard, awesome pickups. Tom instantly recommended the H1- for the neck, and the H2+ for the bridge. Apparently this is by far the most popular combination and is highly recommended. These pickups are also perfect for splitting and sound wonderful in Parallel...or so I'm told.

Lace: Darkhorse that came out of nowhere. Honestly, I hadn't thought about these pickups in 15-20 years. However, after discussing the Triple Shot humbucker rings with a few folks it became apparent that Lace Sensor Dually are essentially made for the Triple Shots. For total versatility and multiple usable tones the Red/Silver would go in the bridge, and a Purple/Emerald would go in the neck. There are so few samples of the pickups, but from what I gather you either love or hate sensors. I like the idea and think they could be a winner.

What do you think? Wanting to cover pop to classic rock, while playing mostly clean to a touch of overdrive. Let me know and hope all is well.
The only ones I'm familiar with are the lace and they are very good.