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Noiseless Pickups

7/30/1999 5:18 PM
Noiseless Pickups
I've been wondering about the construction of Fender's new "noiseless" pickups, ever since I tried them in an American Deluxe guitar. They sounded amazingly close to vintage, and they were dead quiet. I wondered if they were somehow an evolution of the lace sensor design from AGI, or whether there might very well be a licensing agreement w/ DiMarzio using their Virtual Vintage design.  
Well, the new Frontline magazine/Fender catalog is out (Jeff Beck on the cover). There is a short article (pp 34,35), along with a cutaway drawing, describing the noiseless pickup design. It's basically a pair of stacked, electrically matched coils wound on alnico pole pieces. The magnets go through both coils. The coil bobbins are separated by an iron plate which has oversized holes so the magnets don't touch where they penetrate (don't know if the plate is connected electrically to ground or icompletely insulated). What wasn't stated was whether the coils are connected in series or in parallel. Farther back in the catalog section, the Strat pickups are listed as having an inductance value of 3.0 henries, and a DCR of 9.8k, characteristic values which might point more toward a series coil connection.  
The noiseless pickups are available with aged white covers only (at this time). I believe the covers are removable, but the wire connection plate, where the mounting screw holes are, is located in the middle of the coil sandwich. So the pickup covers may be not as tall as standard single coil covers. I'm only talking about this because I can't stand logos or names written across my guitar's pickups. And the font chosen for the word "Noiseless", at a glance, looks too much like it says "Norelco". You know, like in electric shavers! I always have to spend time polishing off the "seymour duncan" on humbucker bobbins before I'll mount the pickup in my instrument.  
(No, I'm not a fender employee or stockholder. I just thought that someone there has finally done a great job in a modern pickup design, and thought I'd mention it.)  
These pickups even have staggered pole pieces, but with a short G and a tall D (like the DiMarzio blue velvets), the way it should be for modern string sets. I could never figure why fender made higher output Texas Special pickups with the old magnet stagger (tall G). The loudness disparity between strings is even more pronounced with a hotter winding.  
Oh, yeah. The noiseless pickups are available for Tele also. The bridge model is black, the neck model has the traditional metal cover, so they look fairly original. I haven't heard them at all, so I can't give an opinion on their sound. I do think that Tele players are even more critical when it comes to pickup sonics than Strat players, so I'll wait & see if there's a taste test in future guitar magazines for the noiseless tele version.
7/30/1999 5:32 PM
I think they are series connected because they use 500k pots with them. I heard the pickups in a local music store they sounded good.
7/30/1999 6:48 PM

I should have thought of that. The pots (all three: Vol, Tone, Tone) are actually 1Megohm.
7/30/1999 5:45 PM
Cono F.
>>>These pickups even have staggered pole pieces, but with ashort G and a tall D (like the DiMarzio blue velvets), the wayit should be for modern string sets. I could never figurewhy fender made higher output Texas Special pickups with  
the old magnet stagger (tall G). The loudness disparitybetween strings is even more pronounced with a hotter  
I guess lefthanded people (like myself) can be lucky too sometimes. I have a set of Texas Specials in one of my lefty strats, since the D and G strings are reversed, the tall magnet sits under the D while the shorter is under the G. Cool!
7/30/1999 6:10 PM
Magnet Stagger
Nobody uses a wound 3rd string anymore, huh? I'm shopping for two pickups for my "Cheetahcaster" (maple-neck Strat copy with a burnt white body and cheetah fur on the pickguard. I'm sick, I know) and I need the old-school stagger. I play strings gauged .013- .018- .024- .032- .042- .052 and the old pickups are definitely too quiet on the G.  
7/30/1999 6:46 PM

I didn't mean that nobody uses a wound third (I do for guitars set up for slide), but in general, most electric players don't.  
So you're saying that the old pickups, with the elevated third magnet, are too quiet on the wound .013? I would think Texas Specials would work well there. Although not vintage type, the dual rail type DiM. Cruiser & Fast Track type seem to have a more even magnetic field and equal string volume.
7/30/1999 7:04 PM

First, thanks to tboy for putting this bbs back into the great shape we had all taken too much for granted. Secondly... One thing I've really wondered about is why Fender hasn't made some kind of deal with Kinman. They went nuts for years over Lace sensors, and the Arbiter/Fender British manufacturer uses Kinmans in their Custom Shop Hank Marvin model. It just seems like Fender could use that opportunity to get into the noiseless start/tele thing without requiring changes in pots. But maybe DiMarzio is a stumbling block? The new Fender vintage noiseless seem more like the "Virtual Vintage" type...  

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