Why did Fender stop using Lace Sensor pickups if the design is "superior"?

CoryA

Member
Messages
42
Lace Sensor pickups are a really interesting evolution of a true single coil. However, modern Fender guitars either have the classic design or noiseless singles. They used to be all the rage a few decades back.
Are Lace pickups less common simply because they break tradition? I've never heard a complaint about their sound, and all the users of them seem to love the reduced hum. I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't be more common.
 

Rhythm Rocker

Member
Messages
2,211
My '87/'88 Strat Plus manual shows the "Transducer" without the pup cover.
It's probably online if you google it. Mine had the Golds, guitar is long gone.

Trower used the Laces on a couple of albums ('87 on Passion and in '88 on Take What You Need).
He was still using them on one of his 3 Strats when I saw him in '89.
 
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Mark Robinson

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
8,743
Perhaps they prefer to be vertically integrated and have as many pickups made in house as possible?

Add to that, the incredibly conservative nature of guitarists with regard to “vintage” specs. I bet that “ noiseless” is a fairly slim slice of what Fender ships. The lace stuff Fender used is pretty old tech now, designed 20 plus years ago, pre-a lot of stuff.
 

smallbutmighty

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
9,845
"Superior" is marketing, in the same way every new guitar EVH endorsed he pronounced as "superior" to the last. (Or every new lead singer, for that matter.)

Fender almost certainly moved on from Lace Sensors because they thought they could make more money manufacturing their own noiseless pickups. They also perhaps studied the market and believed they saw a greater demand for traditional looking pickups vs the Sensors....aka more money to be made with traditional looking pickups.
 

Silent Sound

Member
Messages
5,343
Fender sells legacy, not guitars. If Fender was really interested in selling guitars, they'd be focused on selling new models instead of reissues. Lace Sensor pickups don't do the Legacy thing.

For what it's worth, I have a guitar with one. I find them to clean, full bodied, but generic. Inoffensive is the best word. They're definitely good pickups. But they're not drool inducing.

Much like G&L's MFD pickups, in that they're definitely an interesting design and really hard to complain about. But they're also not that interesting.
 

sahhas

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,497
in the 80s and 90s a number of artists used fenders w/ lace sensors: Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, and Billy Corgan (i'm sure there are more, but that's who i can think of off hand). i think they were on the Beck and Clapton signature strats until the mid-90s, until as someone above stated, fender designed their own. I always thought it was a cool design for the pickups, and i have a red sensor in one of my guitars and it sounds fine, and single coil enough for me....but as stated, things change, new stuff is developed and that is then pushed to the masses....
my memory is this ad for a long while:


seems to me the lace sensor was sort of part of the "current high tech-state of the art guitar" for a short while, which of course was basically the Jeff Beck Signature Strat for a while....
but as you know "high tech-state of the art" changes over time!!!!

Lace Sensor pickups are a really interesting evolution of a true single coil. However, modern Fender guitars either have the classic design or noiseless singles. They used to be all the rage a few decades back.
Are Lace pickups less common simply because they break tradition? I've never heard a complaint about their sound, and all the users of them seem to love the reduced hum. I can't think of any reason why they shouldn't be more common.
 
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Presc

Member
Messages
1,404
Lace Sensors were cool pickups but they didn’t really sound like strat pickups. The golds were kind of in the ballpark and all were good for more processed 80’s tones but over the next decade folks wanted more and more vintage sounding tones.
Agreed - I have an EC Strat with golds. They are quiet and clear sounding and are killer for getting more hi-fi / processed 80s tones, but they do not sound like vintage Strat pickups. Combine shifting tastes with the strange look and now they’re out of style.
 

'63-Strat

Member
Messages
404
They sound good and certainly were quieter and handled gain better than traditional single coils. But they didn't sound like traditional single coils so people expecting to get classic fender tones got something else and that may or may not have been a good thing. I like them for what they are but don't own any guitars with them either.
 

proxy

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
719
FWIW, I have their V4 Noiseless pickups and love them. Not my only Strat but a useful variant for when I want stratty tone with less noise.
 




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