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strat pickups, jag pickups, mustang pickups... whats the difference?!

Carbohydrates

Member
Messages
3,053
Here's the little bit I know. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable can drop in!

Musicmasters, Duo-Sonics, Mustangs, and Broncos used the same pickups. In fact, not only did the whole student model family use the same set, but these pickups were used on some slide guitar models, too. They were by far the pickup manufactured in the greatest quantity for a while at Fender. They measure out very close to strat pickups, they sound a lot like strat pickups, the magnet spacing and bobbin size are the same and fit in a strat cover, but they aren't wound quite the same. Magnets are flush to the upper bobbin, not staggered (obviously). Still, stick one in a strat and it'll sound like a strat pickup, because they ARE crazy similar. Some Mustangs and similar may have escaped the factory with actual strat pickups around the mid 60's, as Fender was really low on these pickups at the time and did some wacky stuff.

Quick note - original Duo-Sonics were wired in series, not parallel, so they're gonna sound different from a Mustang in the middle position.

At some point, I've heard Duo-Sonics and Mustangs got distinct pickups from one another, but I'm not sure when that would have been exactly.

Jaguar pickups were intended from the start to be 'punchier' than strat pickups. They have a couple hundred extra turns of wire. They also have a serrated 'claw' around the covers - the idea behind this was to focus the magnetic field more tightly, again for that 'punchy' effect. I don't know much about Jag pickups, so I don't know exactly how similar they sound to Strat pickups or any other in practice - I mean, if you stuck a strat pickup and a jag pickup in the same guitar, I'm not sure exactly how much difference it would make. I do know that, between the short scale length (most important factor here) and the pickups, Jags have a really percussive attack compared to most guitars. It's a REALLY distinct sound, to the point where it challenges you to try new things with it, IMO. Too many people buy Jags and sell them when they don't sound classic Fender-y enough.
 

Godspeed64

Member
Messages
4,259
It's a REALLY distinct sound, to the point where it challenges you to try new things with it, IMO. Too many people buy Jags and sell them when they don't sound classic Fender-y enough.
Must agree with you on this. Buying a Jaguar changed my approach totally and set a new direction for my band! What an inspirational guitar!
 

GreenKnight18

Member
Messages
2,209
I really like Jaguar pickups for some reason. Maybe it's the claws, or perhaps it's just me trying to avoid the endless Strat pickup chatter by going for something a little different. I have some Seymour Duncan Jag pickups in a 25.5" scale guitar. I also have a vintage 63 Jag neck pickup in a Kramer aluminium-neck guitar.

In those guitars there is still a bit of that Jaguar-style tone... but not much. They all sound like they are in the Fender single coil family, but they also retain/project each guitar's specific tones.
 

jimshine

Member
Messages
1,594
At some point, I've heard Duo-Sonics and Mustangs got distinct pickups from one another, but I'm not sure when that would have been exactly.
They were always the same. The whole pickguard assembly was pretty much universal to those 2 models.

Solid info on the rest. Especially the Jaguar pickups. Few understand the real reason why those claws are there. Even Fender calls them "shields" these days.
 




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