Why do we make more than one 'vintage styled'
guitar... a 1987 USA Fender '57 reissue with a 1953
5C3? Fender Deluxe amp with 6 volt octal preamp tubes.
Before you ask... amp's not mine
It all depends on what you consider 'great
For example, if
you love Stratocasters do you consider Buddy Holly's first
1954? Strat sound on his first
records 'great vintage
How about Eric Clapton's 1957 'Blackie' or Stevie Ray
Those are just the 'preCBS' era... how about George
Harrison's 1965 Strat or maybe Jimi Hendrix's 1969 tone
from his 'brand new off the rack' guitars?
If you're a Tele fanatic
(like me) you have another set of great sounds to choose
from, ranging from the 'takeoff' lead tone
of the original 1950 Broadcaster to Luther Perkins'
Esquire on all those great Johnny Cash Sun records... or how
Steve Cropper's 1960s
Tele or even Tommy Tedesco's 1962 Tele (aka 'the
most recorded guitar in
Or how about my own personal favorite... Keith Richard's
You see, all
of these are great sounds, but there is one problem nobody talks
no one 'vintage' styled pickup can give your guitar
all of these tones!
Because the original pickups' basic designs have changed many
times over the years!
For example, the original 1954 Strat pickups
used Alnico III magnets and Formvar insulated (honey colored) 42
gauge coil wire.
The 1957 Strat
pickups used Alnico 5 magnets with a different magnet 'stagger'
with both the D and G magnets the same height,
which was changed to a
'new' G string magnet lower than the D staggering system by
1965, the coil wire was changed to 42 gauge plain enamel (dark
reddish brown) wire wound with a much lower amount of turns
than the 'preCBS'
models, and the bottom bobbin plate's material was changed from
black Forbon (vulcanized fiber) to gray colored.
In 1969, the
cloth covered 'pushback' hookup wire we know and love was
changed to vinyl covered wire,
and in 1975 new Strat
pickups had 'flush pole' bobbins with all six magnets the same
The Telecaster pickups were also changed over
the original 1950
Broadcaster lead pickup used Alnico III magnets and 43 gauge
plain enamel coil wire.
In 1952, the pickup was
changed to Alnico 5 magnets and 42 gauge plain enamel coil wire. Somewhere around 1955,
the D and G string magnets were made longer to try to even
the pickup's string response, and even later
the magnet heights were changed yet again, as well as the amount
of coil windings used for each pickup among other things.
deal, you say. So Leo couldn't make up his mind. So what.
Actually, it is a very big deal indeed. You
see, each time the pickup's design specifications changed, the
entire instrument's basic
sound changed too. While each different version of these pickup
models does have their players, the 'preCBS' guitars in general
so sought after in part because their pickups were much more
powerful and toneful than later models.
Angeltone could have been like
other pickup makers who make only
one or two 'vintage' style pickups
for each guitar model... and spend lots of time trying
to tell you how wonderful you will sound.
Instead, I am so tonally obsessive that I
couldn't settle for just one model like many other makers
it's impossible to get all the different sounds listed above
from just one 'vintage' pickup model. That's why.
Angeltone believes that if you have a certain
guitarist's tone in mind, it is easier to achieve it if you
use a pickup
closely resembles what was originally used by that player,
in actual construction details as well as in 'looks'.
I'm not saying we have 'real vintage
tone' here, after all, tone is in the ear of the beholder.
I do say that is easier to get the tone
you're seeking if you use pickups that are built more like
impossible-to-find original pickups your own personal
hero used. I learned this the hard way...