Fender Custom Shop '69 Pickups Pole Stagger & Miscellaneous
The Fender Custom Shop '69 pickups or CS '69s as they are sometimes referred to are probably my favorite set of pickups from Fender because like the marketing says, they really do have thumping lows, with clear transparent highs and searing overtones when overdrive, not unlike that of an Octavia with enough midrange added. These can produce all the sounds from the Jimi Hendrix era along with some of the fattest Stevie Ray tones with some tweaking of the midrange. For sound demos listen here However, the purpose of this page is for pickup specs so you know when you're getting a genuine set and what kind of differences they may have when you open the box.
The poles have sharp un-beveled edges. On the first 2 low string poles "E" & "A" strings measure "4/64's" height from the pickup cover, Middle 2 poles "G" & "D" string poles are up equally higher at 6/64's", the 2nd "A" string pole is indented 2/64's below the pickup cover surface and the 1st String high "E" is 2/64's" above pickup cover surface.
In this particular set, I received 3 totally different pickups from different batches. First, if you look at the pics with the covers off, you can see 3 distinctly different colors of the dark enamel wire that was used from late 1966 through the early 70's. Also, notice that the middle pickup doesn't have the Abigail Ybarra initials or date as marketing says it should but they all have the distinct gray bobbin. Also, notice that Abigail's initials are dated 4 months apart with a different type of marker of the 2 that have been initialed and dated. So if you get a set with no initials on one, I wouldn't worry too much if you already installed them. If you didn't install them, then you may want to return and exchange IF they have them in stock, because the wait for the next batch can be several months.
Upon measuring the output levels using an Ohm Multi-meter set to 20 Ohms, the first pickup measured in at 5.32K, the second one was broke and measured .1 (no reading - which I may have broken removing or changing) and the 3rd pickup with no initials or date measured 5.51k. So none of them measured at 5.8k like marketing specs say, but maybe that makes each set unique? The lower 5.32k pup makes it perfect for a neck pickup to get more of a 50s-60s tone in my opinion. I have a couple of the same pic so you can get a closer look if one is a tad out of focus.
Update: Just added pics in this gallery at the bottom of a new set I just received. All 3 are initialed by Abigail Ybarra and dated the same 10-17-06 which is VERY recent consider it is now 12-27-06. What's interesting about this is that several folks on the fenderforum.com have expressed concern that Abby will no longer be working in the custom shop '569 pickup area but instead will be working strictly on masterwound projects. So this could be one of the last sets to be initialed! One other note, these are much closer to marketing specs than the first set.
Click on thumbnail pics above for larger view
Fender's Description and specs
The "Summer of Love" doesn't have to end- the '69 Strat pickups have the tone you'll fall in love with. Own the tone that defined an era. For a short period in the late 60's, Fender® used a height staggered Alnico 5's and a special grey bobbin which produced clear, transparent highs and thumping lows. Each pickup is created, dated, and initialed by Abigail Ybarra who has been winding pickups for Fender since the late 50's. OEM on the Custom Shop '69 Stratocaster®. Available in white only. Sold only as a set of 3.
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