Fender Wide Range Humbuckers are Back. How?

RMosack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,746
I finally got my partscaster 72 Thinline put together with the Fender Wide Range. Based on the old specs, I went with 1 meg pots. The guitar is bright, obviously. But I expected that. Part of the appeal of hte Fender CuNiFe pickups is that they AREN'T PAFs.

My concern at the moment is choosing the right tone cap. If the guitar is bright on 10, then it's nice to be able to use the tone knob to dial in nice flavors. I went with an .047, thinking that the higher value cap will allow me to remove a bigger chunk than, say, a .022 with a Gibson. But in practice, the tone knob does very little from 10 down to 2 or so. Then it gets really dark from 2 to 0, sort of like the rhythm setting on a Jag or Jazzmaster. So I'm sort of wondering on my next step...
 

macrossgeorge

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,190
I finally got my partscaster 72 Thinline put together with the Fender Wide Range. Based on the old specs, I went with 1 meg pots. The guitar is bright, obviously. But I expected that. Part of the appeal of hte Fender CuNiFe pickups is that they AREN'T PAFs.

My concern at the moment is choosing the right tone cap. If the guitar is bright on 10, then it's nice to be able to use the tone knob to dial in nice flavors. I went with an .047, thinking that the higher value cap will allow me to remove a bigger chunk than, say, a .022 with a Gibson. But in practice, the tone knob does very little from 10 down to 2 or so. Then it gets really dark from 2 to 0, sort of like the rhythm setting on a Jag or Jazzmaster. So I'm sort of wondering on my next step...
I find that the .047 caps make things too dark. I like 0.022 or even 0.01. Simon Jarrett did a video on YouTube about different caps you might want to check out. Also you might try a different pot for the issue with the range
 

RMosack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,746
I find that the .047 caps make things too dark. I like 0.022 or even 0.01. Simon Jarrett did a video on YouTube about different caps you might want to check out. Also you might try a different pot for the issue with the range
The larger caps, definitely make things darker. I guess that's why Fender typically uses .047 for their single coils while Gibson uses 0.022 for humbuckers. The frequency above which the roll off occurs is determined by the cap. Makes perfect sense on paper.

I seriously debated between the .047 and .033 as I wired it up. I feared the .047 would do "too much", as I think it does in lots of Fender circuits. And from your post, you seem to agree. Lollar actually writes in his blog that he uses 0.015 for EVERYTHING. But the .047 does almost nothing for most of it's range.
 

fuzzaholic

Member
Messages
359
I've been thinking about maybe getting one for my '72 tele custom ri. It's one from the original Classic series, with the rounder vintage style fretboard profile, and with an actual rosewood board.

The neck plays GREAT, and the guitar just oozes with mojo. Black w/ black guard, dings and scratches in all the right places,...

But for some reason it sounds weak as f*ck compared to my jazzmaster or LP. Just thin and un-telecaster'y.

Not sure if I wanna blow good money on a neck pickup upgrade if maybe upgrading the bridge pickup would get me a bigger difference, since I'm mainly play on only the bridge pickup. Or if anyone knows what else to try (cap value, wiring, pickup height,...)...would be appreciated.
 
Messages
1,024
I've been thinking about maybe getting one for my '72 tele custom ri. It's one from the original Classic series, with the rounder vintage style fretboard profile, and with an actual rosewood board.

The neck plays GREAT, and the guitar just oozes with mojo. Black w/ black guard, dings and scratches in all the right places,...

But for some reason it sounds weak as f*ck compared to my jazzmaster or LP. Just thin and un-telecaster'y.

Not sure if I wanna blow good money on a neck pickup upgrade if maybe upgrading the bridge pickup would get me a bigger difference, since I'm mainly play on only the bridge pickup. Or if anyone knows what else to try (cap value, wiring, pickup height,...)...would be appreciated.
Those Classic MIM guitars are wonderful. First thing I'd try is raising both pickups and finding the sweet spot. After that, you might find the neck HB is too woolly. Switching the pots on the neck pickup can also be a good idea, if they're original then they're 250k. Upping them to 500k is a good start, though the originals ran 1Meg.
 

fuzzaholic

Member
Messages
359
Those Classic MIM guitars are wonderful. First thing I'd try is raising both pickups and finding the sweet spot. After that, you might find the neck HB is too woolly. Switching the pots on the neck pickup can also be a good idea, if they're original then they're 250k. Upping them to 500k is a good start, though the originals ran 1Meg.

Thanks! What I didn't mension, is that the stock neck pickup sounded REALLY muddy to my ears, so I replaced it with the first affordable neck humbucker I found on my local used market. Ended up with a SD SH-4. Still doesn't sound great in terms of blending both pickups, but at least the neck position doesn't sound as woolly anymore.

So what should I expect from the 500K pots, opposed to the 250K ones?
 
Messages
1,024
Thanks! What I didn't mension, is that the stock neck pickup sounded REALLY muddy to my ears, so I replaced it with the first affordable neck humbucker I found on my local used market. Ended up with a SD SH-4. Still doesn't sound great in terms of blending both pickups, but at least the neck position doesn't sound as woolly anymore.

So what should I expect from the 500K pots, opposed to the 250K ones?
They'll open up a lot more, the high end content will come through. It's frankly bizarre that Fender insisted on using 250k pots on humbuckers in any context, the vast majority of builders would typically use 500k for both volume and tone.
 

HesNot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,657
Thanks! What I didn't mension, is that the stock neck pickup sounded REALLY muddy to my ears, so I replaced it with the first affordable neck humbucker I found on my local used market. Ended up with a SD SH-4. Still doesn't sound great in terms of blending both pickups, but at least the neck position doesn't sound as woolly anymore.

So what should I expect from the 500K pots, opposed to the 250K ones?

I have the same guitar albeit maple board - and I keep see sawing what to do with it as the stock neck pickup is not doing it for me… heck the bridge is just OK so you start looking at $400 worth of Fralins to bring it to life and I don’t know… It does have mojo for sure but it’s hard to drop that amount of coin when I’m lukewarm to the neck profile as well.

Maybe I’ll try a pot change first just to see if that makes it more usable.
 

npappas

Member
Messages
1,253
The Lollar WRHBs are far superior.

This Fender CuNiFe is one of the only pickups around where the major discussion around it is "if you don't think it sounds good, you're using the wrong pots"

Sorry but for a passive pickup I shouldn't have to swap out my pots for it to sound good. The Regal sounds incredible no matter what guitar it's in.
 
Messages
1,024
The Lollar WRHBs are far superior.

This Fender CuNiFe is one of the only pickups around where the major discussion around it is "if you don't think it sounds good, you're using the wrong pots"

Sorry but for a passive pickup I shouldn't have to swap out my pots for it to sound good. The Regal sounds incredible no matter what guitar it's in.
The conversation about pots in this instance was about the MIM "reissues" - those are certainly not CuNiFe or even trying to be WRHBs for that matter, just regular HBs in disguise. It's almost a given at this point that those MIM pickups are pretty muddy without the pots being upgraded to a more conventional 500k.

The Lollars are good though, I played them in a Bilt once and came away impressed. But Fender's WRHBs got me to the same place tonally. I personally wouldn't go so far to say they superior, just a different flavour.
 

RMosack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,746
The Lollar WRHBs are far superior.

This Fender CuNiFe is one of the only pickups around where the major discussion around it is "if you don't think it sounds good, you're using the wrong pots"

Sorry but for a passive pickup I shouldn't have to swap out my pots for it to sound good. The Regal sounds incredible no matter what guitar it's in.
I put 500k in with my new Fender CuNiFe WRHB set in my 72 Thinline partscaster. Works great.
 

Jess 1971

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,472
I had an original 1973 Tele Deluxe with original Fender Wide Range Humbuckers as my main guitar for a long time, and those pickups really did sound great. That said, I have the Lollar Regal in my Tele Custom with comparable pots, and they sound virtually identical to the original Fender pups. The Lollar might be marginally brighter, but hard to know for sure, as it might just be more the differences in the actual guitars.
 

pacemaker

Member
Messages
763
new CuNiFe deposits discovered at the South Pole, under a penguins home. Fender negotiated with the penguin king to excavate and it was allowed only because the king loves WideRange tones. who knew...
giphy.gif
 

IAE

Member
Messages
2,635
I was thinking of getting a set of Fender WRHBs for one of my Jazzmasters to Jazzblaster it but they’re damn expensive pickups at around $200 each.

Still, it may happen.
 

macrossgeorge

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
3,190
I was thinking of getting a set of Fender WRHBs for one of my Jazzmasters to Jazzblaster it but they’re damn expensive pickups at around $200 each.

Still, it may happen.
Well compared to many boutique pickups they are still reasonable. I just bought a Guitar Fetish pickup for $37 though. I have also bought expensive pickups. Pickups are fun to experiment with.
 

IAE

Member
Messages
2,635
Well compared to many boutique pickups they are still reasonable. I just bought a Guitar Fetish pickup for $37 though. I have also bought expensive pickups. Pickups are fun to experiment with.
Sure are.

However, I think Fender pricing on these is a bit steep. At $150 they would sell far more I would think.
 




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