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Phil O'Keefe

The return of real CuNiFe Fender pickups!

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They're on the new American Original Telecaster Customs... 

https://shop.fender.com/en-US/electric-guitars/telecaster/american-original-70s-telecaster-custom/0110182829.html

I wonder if they're going to release a Thinline and Deluxe at some point too. As a former early 70's era Thinline owner, I can attest to their rather unique sound - a sound that you just can't get out of anything else other than pickups with CuNiFe magnets - it's still a humbucker sound, but decidedly "Fender" with a more open and bright tone.

The fact that they're making them once again is really cool IMHO. Hopefully they'll offer them as aftermarket pups too, which would be a no-brainer upgrade IMO for anyone who owns a MIM Thinline, Deluxe or Custom. 

 

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If they are really doing them to the original Seth Lover design for the Wide Range humbuckers, that is fantastic, because IMHO Tele Customs from 1972 have the most fabulous fat yet clear tone. Better in some ways than the PAFs and Classic 59s, which I also am partial to. If, on the other hand, they are just using the magnets, but not the Lover design, then it is just a marketing ploy...will they only include them on custom shop models, or will they be available to buy as a stand-alone item?

EDIT: Just saw the email...when they use the word 'authentic', I get a bad vibe...and could they not have done something more interesting with that hideous pickguard design?:philpalm:

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From the link in the OP:

 

Fender hired legendary humbucking pickup designer Seth Lover to create a distinctly Fender-flavored take on a higher output dual-coil pickup. The resulting Wide Range pickup used large bobbins and threaded CuNiFe rod magnets to achieve its unique and brilliant sound. The Telecaster® Custom was discontinued in 1979 and real CuNiFe-magnet pickups disappeared with them.

The American Original ‘70s Telecaster Custom features the first authentic CuNiFe magnet powered Wide Range neck pickup in over 40 years, complimented by a calibrated Tim-Shaw-designed ‘70s Telecaster single-coil bridge pickup.

 

The covers and pole piece configurations look correct, but the pickups in the earlier 70's style Tele reissues had the right sized covers too, but were concealing basically standard sized humbuckers within, which gives them a completely different sound than the originals. That, plus the insane prices for used WRHB's is what always kept me from buying a reissue Thinline. 

The only way we'll know for sure about the new pickups and their design is when someone opens one of the new CuNiFe pickups up and has a look at the magnet configuration (the originals used threaded rod-style CuNiFe pole piece magnets instead of the bar magnets and metal slugs / screws you'll find on a PAF style humbucker) as well as the size of the coils - CuNiFe equipped pickups require a lot more winds than AlNiCo magnet-equipped humbuckers do (which is why the original cases were made so large - to accommodate the larger coils), so I really don't see how Fender could build them using CuNiFe bar magnets, non-magnet slugs & screws, and smaller coils with fewer wraps. The whole reason Seth Lover went with CuNiFe magnets to begin with was that they could be machined and threaded and used as individual rod magnets for each pole piece, while AlNiCo and ceramic magnets can't. The threaded screws on a regular PAF are just metal - the magnets are the bars below the coils that provide the magnetism to the pole pieces. I suppose it's possible that Tim Shaw radically changed the design, but I don't see how he could do that, or why he would want to - if he did, it certainly wouldn't be likely to be well-received by the folks like me who have been hoping for Fender to reintroduce the classic Seth Lover WRHB's, and I can't imagine he - and Fender - aren't well aware of that.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, daddymack said:

could they not have done something more interesting with that hideous pickguard design?

I have to agree with you there - I was never a big fan of the pickguard designs of the Tele Deluxe or the Telecaster Custom; I always preferred the look of the 70's era Thinlines; I even prefer the aesthetics of the 70's era Thinlines over the earlier, late 60's era models with the dual single coil pickups. But the Deluxe and Tele Custom both have legions of fans, and if they changed that part of the design, many people would scream and holler just as much as I'm probably going to if they messed with the original design of the WRHB's. :lol: 

 

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I have a lot of respect for Tim Shaw, and I agree it wouldn't make sense for him to do a radical redesign, but this is not the Fender you and I grew up with, or even the CBS version we managed to outlast...and cost cutting measures are the manufacturing norm, so I would not be too surprised if we 'looked under the hood' and found a straight 6 instead of a V8...like I said the word 'authentic' does not translate to 'accurate', or 'actual'...which is not to say they couldn't reproduce the sound of a WR in a more cost effective way, but Seth Lover was pretty much the humbucker genius of his day...as Tim Shaw is today. 

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