The Workbench

Fender Lead II pickups vs. Strat pickups

1

as a huge fan of Mission of Burma, i'm planning on picking up one of the Fender Player Lead II reissues since that's the guitar Roger Clark Miller used on all their recordings before and after the 2002 reunion. from what i'm able to ascertain, the original Lead IIs used Fender "X-1" single-coils--the earliest with fiber bobbins, the later ones with plastic bobbins--which were also used in the first Dan Smith Strats, while the reissues feature the current Player Strat pickups. i gather that these are somewhat different, but am kind of unclear as to whether i'll be able to get the clang i want from the newer pickups. has anyone any idea or information about the differences between these pickups? or is this more of a Seymour Duncan Forum question?

2

Well it's a bit obscure but someone will know.

What got me was back in the day dudes would be all raving about vintage Strat pickups and I always thought the Musicmaster/Duo Sonic/Mustang pickups from the same era were really just the same and no one was gone apes**t about them. There could not have been much difference anyway.

I do remember the Dan Smith things (early 80s) ---wasn't it just that some felt the traditional bridge pickup was a bit weak sounding and they hotted it up some...

3

correct me if i'm wrong, but weren't the poles on the vintage DS etc. pickups non-staggered as different to contemporaneous Strat pickups?

4

i did some research, and though some details (gauge of winding wire specifically) are elusive we may be in the ballpark. the X-1s were wound to 9600 turns, resulting in impedance of ~7.5 kΩ at a time when a typical Strat bridge PU ran at 5.8-5.9 kΩ. measurements of X-1s available on Re/Bay are in the neighborhood of 7.8 kΩ. the Player Strat pickups are non-staggered and appear to run about 7.3-7.5 kΩ. both use(d) Alnico V poles. so i think the stock PUs may be OK. if not, i'll have the Duncan shop run me up a set.


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