View Full Version : 57/62 CS pickups - Harsh sound

06-04-2011, 05:46 PM
Do pots make much difference to the sound, as I have bought some, what seem to be good quality pots that are non Fender. The problem I am getting is a slightly overpowering harshness when the volume is above 5, and if I hit the strings quite hard I get a harsh sound. The do not seem to like distortion effects. This is the second time I have had this problem as I recently bought some CS 54's and they were worse. Could it be the kind of pickups that I am buying? I am looking for a John Fruishante/ Floyd kind of sound.

06-04-2011, 06:36 PM
Maybe try lowering the pickups, and tilt them so that they're closer to the strings on the treble side than on the bass side. They can be quite bright, depending on your amp set up, but they also can provide a convincing vintage tone when everything is dialed in right. Pots can make a difference - what values are your pots and cap? I get the best results with those pickups using the standard 250K pots and a 0.1 uf capacitor.

Dana Olsen
06-04-2011, 07:15 PM
Terry -

Welcome to TGP.

Are you pretty sure they're 250k pots? Maybe measure 'em w/ a volt ohm meter and see. I've noticed that some pickups sound harsh with slightly out of spec pots I've heard pots that measures 280k sound harsh to my ears.

I agree about the pickup height - I don't think they oughtta ever be closer than 5/64" on the treble side and 6/64" on the bass side, measured from the top of the pole pieces on the high and low "E" strings to the bottom of the strings, usually further than 6/64 on the bass side.

I respectfully suggest that if you're pickups are closer than that, back 'em down to the height I suggest above (that's from the Fender website - stock factory spec.) and check it all out again.

Hope this helps, Dana O.

06-04-2011, 09:59 PM
Bright top end is exactly what you don't need for good overdriven sounds, imo.
It's a balancing act between clean clarity, od smoothness and punch.
Run a hb equipped guitar into your rig for comparison.
The whole gear chain matters, a lot, in how it responds to distortion effects.

06-05-2011, 10:26 AM
This is going to come down to how well the pickups work with the rest of your gear and your setup. IME&O those are not bad pickups at all for the sound you describe, they'll do the vintage strat thing nicely. And yes, vintage strats have a lot of top and in some rigs can be overpowering in the bite and even a bit twizzy.

Do experiment with how they're adjusted as already suggested.

You'll also find that the tone controls really matter. I really like having a tone control on the bridge pickup with those. AMOF, the Fender Players Classic that comes with those is wired for one. So I guess they agree.

06-05-2011, 01:36 PM
Well, Fender uses Alnico 5, not alnico 3, for their pickups so they can be a bit cold and hard in the highs, more so on the bridge.

Having gone though the pickup adjustments and electronics you could replace strings with something less bright and see if that changes the way your guitar sounds. Then obviously your amp, valves (assuming you have a valve amp) and speaker combination could have something to do with this as well.

06-05-2011, 05:41 PM
I have adjusted just about everything and at no 5 on the volume they are not too bad. I find them very kind of popp-ie when the volume is higher and it is almost impossible to get any quality overdrive or distortion sound out of them. To be fair, if I play light kind of blues stuff and picking on chords they sound amazing, but I am looking for something that is more versatile and can rock out a bit as well. I may just be barking up the wrong tree with early custom shops. Can anyone suggest a really good pickup set for a great clean strat sound that can play nicely through some distortion as well?

Boris Bubbanov
06-05-2011, 11:14 PM
Those AV 57/62s like to be kept on the lower side. I keep the middle pup lower still so it does not interfere with picking.

BTW these AV 57/62s are "production" pickups and are not CS source. The emphasis was on their sound and function and not slavish attention to wire size/coating/winding direction like the Custom Shop pickups tend to be.

06-06-2011, 06:51 AM
The Fender CS 54s may be what you're looking for. They retain the vintage Strat tone with some more 'guts' in the bridge pickup to handle overdrive.

I'll be using a set in a build that I have in the works.

06-06-2011, 08:01 AM
Hi Kmaz, I tried the CS 54's first, and they were even worse, they were way too quacky. I sold them and got the 57/62's which are much better, however they are still not doing what I need them to do. The 57/62's are almost what I am looking for, if only they could handle a bit of distortion they would be great.

06-06-2011, 08:19 AM
What kind of amp/pedals are you playing through?

I have a 62 reissue Strat with 57/62 pickups and they sound harsh and strident through my Mesa Boogie Tremoverb. The same guitar sounds wonderful through a silverface Vibrolux Reverb. I can get Frusciante tones with ease.

06-06-2011, 08:21 AM
Maybe try Fat 50's. They have a tad more body (mids) but are not fat sounding. The name is misleading. I love the 54's, but they are a little lower wind and will have a bit brighter tone, tho' the bridge on that set rocks.

I love that old strat tone, like Frusciante gets. These pickups get that. what you need to do is lower the pickups, raise up the action a bit for a fuller tone, and dig in. Though a lot of times, Frusciante's strats sound real buzzy like it needs a setup. He gets a thin, harsh sound at times.

06-06-2011, 08:55 AM
Hi Kmaz, I tried the CS 54's first, and they were even worse, they were way too quacky. I sold them and got the 57/62's which are much better, however they are still not doing what I need them to do. The 57/62's are almost what I am looking for, if only they could handle a bit of distortion they would be great.

Whoops! I forgot reading that in your initial post. I do agree with the fellows suggesting that you lower the pickups. Less harsh, and results in a 'woodier' tone in my experience.

06-06-2011, 09:30 AM
don't forget most brave guys using vintage style single coils with distortion pedals or high gain amps use positions 2 & 4 and dance in front of the cab:-)

06-06-2011, 01:30 PM
I have got the pick-ups low, already and the distortion pedal I am using is a T-rex Mudhoney fuzz, which seems to suck all the life out of the sound. I use the Mudhoney at a very slight fuzz, but if I want to rock out a bit the whole sound gets harsh and quacky with no sustain. I am still wondering if I should change my pots for proper fender one's.

06-07-2011, 06:30 PM
Hi Terry. I did not like either the 57/62's or the 54's for the very reason you state. I personally would look for another pickup. You can get a million Strat pup suggestions here, but I have had great luck with Klein pickups.

06-08-2011, 10:38 AM
I really liked the 57/62s on the neck and middle but really need something a bit stronger and warmer in the bridge.

It's all a matter of taste and what works for you.