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Fender Custom Shop '60s Pickup Installation & Fender CS '69 Strat Sound Clip Demo

Pickup Comparison Clips - Fender Custom Shop '60 & Custom Shop '69 Pickups
CS '60 Neck Pickup Position 5 CS '69 Neck Pickup Position 5
CS '60 Neck & Middle Pickup Position 4 CS '69 Neck & Middle Pickup Position 4
CS '60 Middle Pickup Position 3 CS '69 Middle Pickup Position 3
CS '60 Bridge & Middle Pickup Position 2 CS '69 Bridge & Middle Pickup Position 2
CS '60 Bridge Pickup Position 1 CS '69 Bridge Pickup Position 1
CS '60s with new Hendrix JH1B Wah! Got this here and has more killer musical growl than my Fulltone Clyde Deluxe, Vox Clyde McCoy, Dunlop Hendrix and others.

Here's a couple clips I just put together using Fender Hand Wound Custom Shop '60 Pickups removed from this awesome Fender Custom Shop '60 Stratocaster (pdf pic file here thanks to SMark on the FenderForum.com who helped me find them!) installed into a U.S. Made Fender Highway 1 Strat 2003 (See installation and pickup specs below). I first removed the existing Fender Custom Shop '69 pickups just for a change of pace and because I already have a set of CS 69's in a Classic '70s Stratocaster and I have a set of Custom Shop '50s pickups installed in another AmSe Stratocaster giving me a range of different era tones to work with.

The clips were played fairly clean into a Marshall JCM 900 Head with a 1x12 Celestion Vintage 30 Speaker using a Fulltone OCD overdrive pedal for just a hint of extra tube tone. It was recorded with a Shure SM48 mic about 1 foot away, aimed at the outer cone of the speaker and into a Boss BR864 Recording Mixer. The master volume was set at around 1, gain at around 9 o'clock. Gain on the OCD at around 1 o'clock, tone at noon - unity gain on OCD volume.

Note: There is some nasty digital clipping due to the high record level being  a little too high on some of the CS 69 clips.

Strings used in both CS '69 & CS '60 demos were Fender Nickel Wound F150 Lights .09-.42 Gauge. The strings on the CS '69s were a couple weeks old, not played a whole lot but not as brand new as the set put on the CS 60's. Pickup height is spec at 5/64's on the high E and 6/64's on low side as per Fender's customer support rep recommendations, though he did tell me that I could adjust them to taste.

My Opinion: I was after getting a similar tone to Andy Aledort of Guitar World Magazine's new Axis Bold As Love DVD where he's using a stock '61 Strat with original pickups into a Jimi Hendrix Marshall Stack at Electric Lady Studio. See clip below.

One thing I noticed first off about these pickups was the steely, shimmering tone especially in bridge and middle-bridge position 2! Wow! It seems to ring and chime like a cymbal overtone when you play a chord and man does it sound really nice!  Overall the notes sound balanced and a little bit brittle when overdriven compared to the warmer tone of the CS '69s but it really kicks butt and cuts straight through the mix without ice picks. The CS 50s' (link above) has a nice warm, glassy and open sound with rich fat notes, the CS '69s have a warm, thumpy low end, scooped but very bluesy mids and smooth transparent high end. The CS 60's have a combination of both the CS 50's richness along with very ballsy mids and screaming high ends and the lows seem just a tad harsh and brittle, but that could just be in how I EQ'd them being used to the CS 69s. I'm sure these are going to grow well on me as they do nail that shimmering chime of Jimi's "Castles Made Of Sand", "Angel", "Hey Joe" to the Tee and are probably similar to what he used since those were recorded in mid 60s not like Woodstock in '70. For mellower songs like "Hey Baby" the CS '69s sound best into a Uni-vibe to my ears. The 69s are spec'd at 5.8k while the CS 60's are spec'd at 6.06k neck, 6.07k middle, 6.08k bridge. I really love the tones these give and am going to spend a lot of time learning how to tame them with various fuzz, wah, vibe effects as they react very differently to a Uni-vibe than the CS 69s. I've heard Andy playing his '61 Strat through a Fender Super Reverb using an Ultra-Vibe and it was the closest I've ever heard anyone get to Jimi's Machine Gun at the Fillmore East. See below for install pics.

If you're a pickup junkie like me, a good friend of mine custom winds Fender type pickups to spec from any era and can customize to suit. Check out his site here

Installation and Multi-meter reading of Fender Custom '60 Pickups

Fender Custom Shop '69 Pickups with grey bobbin

Check out the nicely beveled-aged poles!

CS '60s Neck Pickup Reading 6.06K

CS '60s Middle Pickup Reading 6.07K

Fender Custom Shop '60s Bridge Pickup 6.08k

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