Klein Epic '59 vs Fender Pure Vintage '59 Strat pickups

ljavan

Member
Messages
8
The Fender Pure Vintage '59s sound exactly like the pickups in my Pre-CBS '59 Strat, Fender hit it out of the park with these pickups. The Kleins aren't even close in comparison to the original pickups.
Hi Binaural,

Did you test PV59 in the same guitar?
 

Binaural

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,828
Hi Binaural,

Did you test PV59 in the same guitar?
No, I didn't try them in the same guitar, not going to take a soldering iron to an all original Pre-CBS Strat. But I did AB my Pre-CBS '59 to my AV '59 Strat through the same amps with the same settings and the same gauge and brand of strings, the two guitars sound virtually identical.

To compare, I also tried my RW Eric Johnson Strat, a Pre-CBS '61 Strat, a Pre-CBS '55 Strat, an AV '65 Strat, and a '62 Hot Rod Strat with Fender CS69 pickups. They all sounded slightly different from the two '59s with the same amps and settings. Like I said Fender real got it right when they made the AV '59s.
 

LJOHNS

Member
Messages
783
I put a set of pure vintage 59s in my latest Strat build. I used a 60s road worn body and a Robert Cray neck. I sounds like a perfect vintage Strat to me. I highly recommend the Fender pickups.
 

ljavan

Member
Messages
8
No, I didn't try them in the same guitar, not going to take a soldering iron to an all original Pre-CBS Strat. But I did AB my Pre-CBS '59 to my AV '59 Strat through the same amps with the same settings and the same gauge and brand of strings, the two guitars sound virtually identical.

To compare, I also tried my RW Eric Johnson Strat, a Pre-CBS '61 Strat, a Pre-CBS '55 Strat, an AV '65 Strat, and a '62 Hot Rod Strat with Fender CS69 pickups. They all sounded slightly different from the two '59s with the same amps and settings. Like I said Fender real got it right when they made the AV '59s.
Hi, Binaural,

I understand the risks.

Do you know what are the diferences between PV59 and Klein59?
 

thechamp

Member
Messages
577
hi thechamp,

Which Onamac do you have? Is it possible to compare them with Klein 59?
I have the Onamac Pink Tones set and they eat Klein Epic ‘59s for breakfast. Make the Klein’s sound like the stock SSS pickups on a Mexican standard strat.
 

Lauri Vennonen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,105
Thanks for mentioning. Actually, it was in Premier Guitar. Hear the Kleins for yourself:

https://www.premierguitar.com/articles/23144--way-frenzy-vintage-style-strat-pickup-review-roundup

The shootout includes Fender Custom Shop vintage-style Strat pickups, but I'm not sure if and how those differ from the Pure Vintage ’59 set. FWIW, my faves were the Kleins and Mojotones, but really, they're all nice. It's not real hard to make a good Strat pickup. Note, though that the shootout included only five sets, a tiny fraction of what's available.

Listening back now from a three-year-perspective ... and man, those Kleins sound real good. :)

One thing I took away from that shootout: I no longer believe it's a great idea to use a hotter pickup in the bridge position. Neither the Klein not Mojotone sets do so.
Hi Joe, thank you for the great shootout. Could you tell us more about the last point? What benefits you get from lower powered bridge pickup and in what styles of music they are most apparent. Also how do you set up the heights with that kind of sets?
 

Joe Gore

Member
Messages
406
Hi Joe, thank you for the great shootout. Could you tell us more about the last point? What benefits you get from lower powered bridge pickup and in what styles of music they are most apparent. Also how do you set up the heights with that kind of sets?
Well, this obviously becomes a matter of taste, so take anything I say as mere personal opinion. I suspect a hot bridge pickup is of greatest value if it suits your style. If you always play clean or cleanish chords on the neck pickup, and switch to the bridge for loud, distorted solos, a level discrepancy might be just what you want. But if you don't think in terms of "rhythm" and "lead" pickups, and simply choose a pickup setting according to the timbre you want (regardless of whether you're playing chords, single-note lines, or anything else) roughly equal pickup output may be more useful.

There's another TGP thread going based on my same pickup comment. I pointed out there that I didn't dig the Kleins and Mojotones because of the outputs — they'd probably have been my top choices even if the bridge were hotter. I also made the pretty obvious point that sets with extra-hot bridge pickups didn't exist until the ’70s, when Duncan and DiMarzio introduced it as a custom option. So for any guitar dating from before that era, the builder would have just inserted the next pickup in the stack. And we all know there are some pretty decent-sounding guitars made before the early ’70s.

I'm not a luthier by any stretch. I do a lot of my own setups, unless I screw it up, in which case I take it to a pro. You can find recommend pickup height measurements everywhere online. I have the appropriate measurement tools, but I'm usually too lazy to use them. With vintage-output pickups (which is pretty much all I use) I do it by ear. Here's how:

Fret high E string down at the highest fret. While holding it down, raise the bridge pickup's treble side so it ALMOST hits the string — maybe somewhere between a 32nd and a 16th of an inch. Play a little. While holding the guitar in your lap, raise the bridge pickups bass side till the balance sounds good to you. With hotter pickups, you probably need to set the strings slightly further fro the pickup. Paradoxically, strong magnets can diminish tone by exerting too strong a pull on string, inhibiting it’s motion.

Next, move on to the neck pickup. Lower it till you get the output you want. (As mentioned, I like equal volume. Your tastes may differ.) Because the string moves much greater distances at that point in its span, chances are you'll need to crank it REALLY low. It's not usual to have the pickup cover level with the body. Once you've got a setting you like on the treble side, adjust the bass side to taste again.

If you're using hotter pickups, you may need to position the strings slightly further from the magnets. Paradoxically, hotter magnets can inhibit strong vibration if the strings are too close.

Strings? Man, there is NO right answer, and my preferences are a) weird, and b) not recommended for most players. I use obscenely expensive Thomastik-Infeld flatwounds on most of my instruments, but I don't change them often. (You don't need to with high-end flats.) Even if flats don't work for you, it's an interesting experiment to put them on a Fender guitar with old-school staggered magnets. They you'll hear Leo's original conception of string balance.
 
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Lauri Vennonen

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,105
Well, this obviously becomes a matter of taste, so take anything I say as mere personal opinion. I suspect a hot bridge pickup is of greatest value if it suits your style. If you tend to always play clean or cleanish chords on the neck pickup, and switch to the bridge for loud, distorted solos, a level discrepancy might be just what you want. But if you don't think in terms of "rhythm" and "lead" pickups, and simply choose a pickup setting according to the timbre you want (regardless of whether you're playing chords, single-note lines, or anything else) roughly equal pickup output more useful.

There's another TGP thread going based on my same pickup comment. I pointed out there that I didn't dig the Kleins and Mojotones because of the outputs — they'd probably have been my top choices even if the bridge were hotter. I also made the pretty obvious point that sets with extra-hot bridge pickups didn't exist until the ’70s, when Duncan and DiMarzio introduced it as a custom option. So for any guitar dating from before that era, the builder would have just inserted the next pickup in the stack. And we all know there are some pretty decent-sounding guitars made before the early ’70s.

I'm not a luthier by any stretch. I do a lot of my own setups, unless I screw it up, in which case I take it to a pro. You can find recommend pickup height measurements everywhere online. I have the appropriate measurement tools, but I'm usually too lazy to use them. With vintage-output pickups (which is pretty much all I use) I do it by ear. Here's how:

Fret high E string down at the highest fret. While holding it down, raise the bridge pickup's treble side so it ALMOST hits the string — maybe somewhere between a 32nd and a 16th of an inch. Play a little. While holding the guitar in your lap, raise the bridge pickups bass side till the balance sounds good to you. hotter pickups, you probably need to set the strings slightly further fro the pickup. Paradoxically, strong magnets can diminish tone by exerting to strong a pull on a closely

Next, move on to the neck pickup. Lower it till you get the output you want. (As mentioned, I like equal volume. Your tastes may differ.) Because the string moves much greater distances at that point in its span, chances are you'll need to crank it REALLY low. It's not usual to the pickup cover level with the body. Once you've got a setting you like on the treble side, adjust the bass side to taste again.

If you're using hotter pickups, you may need to position the strings slightly further from the magnets. Paradoxically, hotter magnets can inhibit strong vibration if the strings are too close.

Strings? Man, there is NO right answer, and my preferences are a) weird, and b) not recommended for most players. I use obscenely expensive Thomastik-Infeld flatwounds on most of my instruments, but I don't change them often. (You don't need to with high-end flats.) Even if flats don't work for you, it's an interesting experiment to put them on a Fender guitar with old-school staggered magnets. They you'll hear Leo's original conception of string balance.
Oh man, thank you for your elaborate answer. Your points really made sense to me: I never think about pickups as rhythm and lead units but as different hues of the same colour. I usually use the volume pot and my attack to change from rhythm to lead. I have tried flatwounds but I missed pick scrapes with fuzz, so roundwound 011s are my choice, 99% of the time in DADGAD.

Thanks again, my EJ strat is the guitar I've been a little unhappy with, feels like the difference between the neck and bridge pickup is too big for my taste and overall the sound is not what I'm looking for.

Here's a clip, it doesn't sound bad to me, but it could be more me. Have a great weekend!
 

aequitas

Member
Messages
248
I used to have both! Although it's on 2 different guitars and was try on 2 different amp.

It was a few years ago but as my memory serves, I'm impressed with PV59 but not so much with Klein. Klein is a bit too bright and thin for my liking. PV59 is pretty clear and balance to my ear. I think it has more mid? Smooth high but articulate. If I'm using the right word.

I sold Klein after having it for a while and realized that no change in pickup height can make me like them. I replace PV59 with Lollar Blond and happy with it. PV59 is now sold when I'm clearing out stuff along with PV65 (which I kinda miss)

I think Fender Pure Vintage pickups lineup are very good pickups. Especially PV65 which I love and miss but have no guitar to put them in. PV59 is nice but IMO Lollar Blonde is a little bit better. Not by a lot though, I would even say it's close. Lollar just has something special in them that makes me like it a bit more.
 

asilker

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
189
I have the Onamac Pink Tones set and they eat Klein Epic ‘59s for breakfast. Make the Klein’s sound like the stock SSS pickups on a Mexican standard strat.
I like Mexican standard pups. They don't sound like an old strat, but they're kinda rough and I think it works. FWIW.
 

TubeStack

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,382
I have the PV59s in an AO Strat and love them. I’m kind of pickup-fussy and always put in Lollars or BK, but with these I’m leaving them in. Great string to string clarity and dynamic response, and the bridge pickup is my favourite Strat bridge ever, it has an addictive midrange sweetness I really love.
 

dank

Consummate Beatles Fan
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,264
Without hijacking this thread, one of my Strats is a ‘65 Reissue. Has anyone compared th Pure Vintage 59s to the 65s?
 

VintagePlayerStrat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,580
No experience with the Klein pups, however I recently purchased an A050s Strat (maple/alder) with the PV59s stock.

They are indeed very good pickups with just a touch of mids, some nice chime, and a slightly stronger bottom. Maybe a little too much bottom for a Strat pup, actually.

I also wasn't in love with the fact that they are not hum canceling in 2 and 4 and I do like a slightly hotter bridge pup, so I did swap them out for Fralin Vintage Hots, which I'm really pleased with in this guitar.

Interesting thing though, when I pulled up the hood for the pup change I saw Fender uses a vintage repro .1uf cap in the AO50s. That could be part of the reason why the PV59s weren't exactly perfect to me. I changed that cap to a .049 orange drop with the Fralins and they are awesome.

I still have the PV59s, however, and ya'll are inspiring me to try them out in another Strat. I have Rocketfire Total 60s in an Ash/Rosewood Strat of mine and I might A/B those two sets at some point.
 

jzgtrguy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,567
You might want to look at K-Lines also...https://k-lineguitars.com/pickups/
 

Gris

Member
Messages
398
I’ve used a bunch of Strat PUs over a lot of years, pre-CBS Strats too. On a lark I snagged a used Klein epic 57 neck PU cheap to try in a partscaster. Man was I pleasantly surprised. A strong PU with a big bottom end, very ‘open’ & clear, sounds like the real deal on my pre-CBS. Just my $0.02 based on 55 years o playin...
 

Dannyz

Member
Messages
2,187
Stupid question but...

Anyone compared the cheap TexMex set with one of these?

It would be nice knowing how much better these sets sound compared to the TexMex that i have installed in my 50s Road Worn Strat.
 




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