I have a modded fender jazzmaster, which is cool (for single coil sounds at least), but if you've ever owned one, you'd be frustrated. they're badass, yet broken by design (the new ones may not be). i'm more frustrated that i don't have anything good with humbuckers atm.. i have a beater guitar with hb's, but something about the sound is very "tin" like.
tele's naturally buzz just a little (maybe not buzz, but snap), but you might just need to raise a saddle or something. my first decent guitar was a tele..wish i still had it!
I don't play the neck on that one guitar.. that sounds even worse. It's weird, since the pups are seymour duncans..not an off brand.. i've played the same kind of pickups in other guitars and they sound fine. i used to not pay much heed to wood, but maybe there's something to do with that
Are you sure it's not wired single-ended, or has a lead broken?
HBs depend on the proper polarity of the leads since they use phase tricks to lower the hum. You might want to check the phase, and reverse the hot and ground on one of the coils to see if that fixes it.
And if I remember correctly, they'll play when they're single-ended (only one pickup of the pair is working) but they won't sound right.
Sounds like you probably know all this -- just a thought.
cool.. i'm not sure how it's wired. i bought it cheap a yr ago just to toy around with (i suppose i got what i paid for). it was used, but maybe these were replacement pickups that someone put in. i'm a little familiar with replacing parts, but don't know anything about what you're pointing out. i'll read up on it.