How do Tele-style single coils and Strat-style single coils differ and what does that mean for how they sound?
If you're in the market for a new electric guitar, you've probably come across the terms "Tele-style" and "Strat-style" single coils. But what do these terms mean, and how do they affect the sound of your guitar?
First, let's define what we mean by "single coil." A single coil pickup uses a single coil of wire wrapped around magnetic pole pieces (one for each string) to capture the vibrations of the guitar strings and convert them into an electrical signal. Single coil pickups are known for their bright, clear tone and their ability to pick up subtle nuances in playing technique. Interested in learning more about the different types of pickups, check out our blog post on this topic.
Now, onto the differences between Tele-style and Strat-style single coils.
Tele-style is actually two distinct styles. The Tele bridge pickup is wider than its neck counterpart, and has a solid metal baseplate underneath the pickup. The neck Tele pickup is narrower and taller and almost always has a metal cover on the top. Tele-style pickups are known for their "twanginess" and and found a lot of use in country and rockabilly music as a result. That said, you see Tele-style pickups in use in almost every musical genre except hard rock and metal - and in the hands of players as diverse as Keith Richards, Jonny Greenwood, Graham Coxon, Andy Summers and The Boss himself, Bruce Springsteen.
Strat-style pickups are the same basic design in all three positions - bridge, middle and neck - although they're usually wound with different numbers of turns of magnet wire to account for their position in relation to the strings. Strat-style pickups are super versatile, especially in switch positions 2 and 4, each of which combines two pickups together to give unique sounding tones, especially when when played without overdrive.
In terms of genre, Strat-style pickups are great for pop, funk, blues and rock - and perform especially well when you're looking for a clean, "chimey" tone.
Ultimately, the choice between Tele-style and Strat-style pickups comes down to personal preference and the style of music you play. If you're not sure which type of pickup is right for you, try playing guitars with both types of pickups and see which one you prefer.
At Johnny Foreigner Guitars, we offer a wide range of custom electric guitars with a variety of pickup options, including Tele-style and Strat-style single coils. Design your dream guitar today and get the perfect tone for your playing style!