Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by SteveGaines, Nov 7, 2019.
IIRC there is a difference between aftermarket ones and ones that came stock on strats.
The earlier ones were slightly hotter, particularly the bridge. Over the years they cooled them off so the set as sold now simply resembles a 60s set of pickups that sits on the higher end of what you might find in a vintage Strat. Personally, I think the old bridge was just a bit too hot.
The sticker with the stolen Cadillac emblem is the difference, other than finding ones from earlier production in the wild vs. new production in the box.
There were other differences, some of stock Texas Specials had modern stagger instead of vintage stagger, which is to say, all the pole pieces are more level and the G pole is significantly lower than the D pole. Fender doesn't give a crap about consistency when it comes to their pickups. They don't even label them. The idea that they should give a crap about pickups owes to DiMarzio and Seymour Duncan, who put it in people's heads that you can have a whole bunch of variety in a fixed pickup footprint.
I don't think I've ever seen them with a modern stagger. I know there are some variants like the Robert Cray pickups that have a different stagger.
These are stock Texas Specials from an 90's Roadhouse Strat with the mild / low G stagger.
I have a 1990 CS Texas Special Strat that has what later become Texas Special
pickups. These were originally made for Fender dealers in Texas. Great sounding!
The guitar itself is like a late '56 model with the large V "boat neck".
I put a set in my AVRI '52 Tele in '97 and haven't thought about changing them since,
What's wrong with the post-early-nineties Texas Specials?
Mine are circa 2002. Sound great.
I'm fairly sure circa 2019 would sound just as awesome.
Nothing is wrong with any of them, old or new. The idea that they used to be better is just rosy memories of the past.
This seems to be the case with many pickup types doesn't it? Especially older gibson or say dimarzio pickups? I don't know how or why it would be like this.
I'm not getting better with age for sure!
Yes, I remember when the epiphone 60s tribute plus came out there were discussions about the 57 classics in them. About how they were not as good or weren't the same as 57s that were in Gibsons. As if they were aftermarket or something like that.
I owned a epi tribute plus for a short time and I couldn't tell by the sound. I did take the neck pickup out, and the sticker did say 57 classic, but who knows.
My #1 tele has a TS neck from the early 90s in it, for the last 25+ years now. Love that thing. Did NOT like the TS bridge tho, replaced it with a Rio Grande Muy Grande, it's been in there 25+ years also.
I swapped my stock 90's Texas Specials with Lindy Fralin Blues Specials. The bridge pickup is very usable to me now. The middle pickup has a more woody sound to it which i like better, making 2 and 4 position better to me as well. The neck pickups were about the same, both great.
I found a source that said the early Roadhouse TS were staggered, then later went to the more even stagger. My question would be, did Fender still call those Texas Specials or did they get some new moniker, or at least a different internal part number? They absolutely would have had a different part number because it's a different build, like the Cray pickups or any number of oddball variations.
EDIT:I found more info- Fender specifically noted that the Roadhouse was equipped with Texas Special pickups with a flatter pole stagger. So the Roadhouse pickups, I would consider a variation, not a stock Texas Special pickup.
I have loved and hated TS pickups over the years. I have attributed the ones I love to the guitar. Maybe the pickups have varied?
My findings as well on some MIM strats that had "Texas Specials" in them.
You can consider it whatever you want, but if Fender didn't give it a special name or anything, then it's just the same product having been manufactured two different ways. Having no labels or serial numbers of any kind on the bottom of the pickup doesn't help matters.
I'll guarantee those pickups had their own part numbers. Just because those part numbers aren't shared or that Fender tends not to label their pickups doesn't mean they're sloppy as a manufacturer, or that the company doesn't care. Duncan and Dimarzio make aftermarket pickups as their main product. Fender makes guitars and sells a limited selection of their pickups used in manufacturing as aftermarket sets.
Gibson has done the same for decades. They have an extensive list of specific part numbers for assembly that the public rarely, if ever sees. They change the pickups that are standard on certain models with maybe a mention in published specs.
The difference in poles on the Roadhouse pickups is sort of the same as a Gibson 498 with, or without a cover, or with long or short legs, with 4 conductor vs. single conductor wire. There are variations seen in ones used in production that are not seen on the version made and labeled for aftermarket sale.
I agree that it might be nice if Fender found a good way to label all their different pickups but then again, they're the biggest guitar company out there. They know what works for them and apparently, leaving a bit of mystery is how it's going to be.
I have a set of 1995 CS Texas Specials that my son and I put into a Johnson Squier Strat as an electronics project when he was young.
Great sounding combination that I used as a song writing guitar at the lake.