Home > Pickups >

Axesrus "Late 50s"
Axesrus "Late 50s" Single Coils


 
Alternative Views:


Prices From: £50.00 Inc VAT


Availability:: Usually Ships in 2 to 3 Weeks


Magnet Type*:


Set or Single?:


Pickup Cover Colour*:


Screw Colour*:

Extra Options

Polarity:


Focusing Plate:

More Options

Pole Style:


Winding Direction (Phase):


"Low E" Pole:


"A" Pole:


"D" Pole:


"G" Pole:


"B" Pole:


"High E" Pole:


Top Board Colour:


Bottom Board Colour:


Qty:  
Description Technical Specs
 

Main Description

Late 50s - Come ride to tone

The Late 50s single coils are one of a new range of pickups we're winding, along with the Late 60s, which aim to accurately re-create the pickup from certain notable points from the electric guitars history.

What you're looking at here is a pretty cool design, and one that really captured players imaginations right from the very off, because of some interesting little design ideas that weren't really seen before or since.

The most striking feature on offer here, is the actual height of the bobbins being used - slightly squater then most other single coils, the late 50s are wound up to a fairly weighty six Kohms in neck, middle and bridge positions, and whilst it might not seem the most suited of winds to give a beautifully warm, rounded tone, the way the coils lay really does give some fantastic results - certainly something you dont see with the less well designed imitations you'll see on the market

Tonally, the pickups are actually much warmer then you'd maybe expect too, a nice tight bottom end, a very chimy, bell like upper register, and a fair pressence in the mid range mean they're actually pretty far removed from some of the razor sharp 50s style pickups we've tried in the past. Think very early Rock & Roll - that sort of fairly thick, textured tone, capable of being delivered over a fairly broad spectrum of gain settings. Very biting, very throaty in the bridge, mellowing to a creamy, also chewy, marshmellowy warmth in the neck positon.

The magnets are, as you'd expect, an 3/16" Alnico V, light bevel as standard to really focus the field of influence, and retain a little more "snap" in the EQ - obviously, all parts of a pickup work in combination to produce the overall tone, but for us, a smaller Alnico 5 poles really does help bring out a healthy dose of pick attack, and in turn that goes a long way to really eccenuate your playing.
And keeping firmly with that 50s theme, we've wound these up with 42 AWG heavy build formvar, all by hand, here at Axesrus in the UK, all fed by hand, and wax potted in a 50/50 blend of parafin and bees wax.

Beyond that, its business as usual really - everything is pretty much customisable, huge range of colours on the covers, you can get them built up in right handed, left handed or non staggered, you can pick up a set with a RWRP middle or not, you can buy each pickup individually if you want to mix and match them with different pickups, and if you REALLY know your stuff, you can even stipulate the wind direction and polairy - all you'll ever need to get exactly what you want!

 

Fender®, Squier®, Stratocaster® and Strat® are registered trademarks of Fender Musical Instruments Corporation and Axesrus® has no affiliation with FMIC

Sound Clips

Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.

Sound Clips - Explained

Right then - the sound clips! What are we doing with them? What are they good for?! Let’s see if I can get this explained without it turning into a complete wall of text eh?

What it used to be!

Basically - way back when, we used to record the all the pickups we make, doing "something fun" - we know what they're good at, so the original clips were simply a way of us showing them at their best - easy! Late 50s single coil is going to knock a bit of doo wop tinged Rock'N'Roll out of the park all day long, the Texas blues are going to do…well…Texas Blues pretty well!

And, honestly – it was pretty fun! It let us indulge our inner rock stars, we got to put pickups through their paces, and it always felt like the natural end point in the R&D – proof, in the flesh, that a pickup did exactly what we thought it did. Lovely stuff right?!

BUT – there’s a few little problems with making this wonderful, finished recording of a pickup!

Firstly, they’re useless for making comparisons between different models (How do the Late 50s do Texas Blues? How do the Texas Blues do Reggae funk fusion?!(… I’ve been asked that before, I’m not joking!)

Secondly – and anyone who’s ever been in a studio for a few days will know this – a guitar on a record and a guitar in real life are very different beasts! And obviously, we were trying to make the pickups sound as good as they possibly could – so there was a fair bit of mixing and tweaking and tidying up to really translate “how good these pickups are” – and whilst we didn’t take liberties, I’ll concede that there’s shades of dishonesty about it. Those recorded tones are studio tones – not live tones.

And Thirdly (maybe two-and-a-halfly) – there wasn’t a great deal of standardisation on the recordings either – we might have recorded the Bourbon Cities in a Les Paul® through a Marshal® JCM800 to give all those lovely chewy rock tones, but then the next “rock” pickup, was recorded in an Ibanez® RG and a dialled back Messa® Dual Rec… So obviously, they’re going to sound wildly different… and that’s not fair either.

And obviously, we’re all for fairness with this stuff – so we figured it was time for a change!

Time for a change
So – the master plan ran something like this!
“We write 4 tracks* - Clean, Rock, Blues and Metal – and each pickup gets recorded doing each one**. Always using the same amps, the same guitars*** and there will be absolutely no mixing on any of the guitars! Let’s get a true capture of the pickup on record!****”

Now – the problems with 2016 Craig’s genius idea (easy with hind-sight eh?)

* It wasn’t originally 4 tracks! I can only dream of being so concise – I think at one point there was 10 different tracks – Country, Brit Rock, US Rock, Classic Metal, Funk, Modern Metal… that’d have been fun! Eventually it boiled down to the 4 big ones!

**We figured out pretty quickly that not every pickup needed to showcase every track – we settled on 3 of 4… no one needed to hear a Telecaster® make a fool of itself fighting a metal track (unless it can… so do!).

***… it ended up that it wasn’t always the same guitar – tuning issues with some meant a shift to other guitars, not all pickups fit all guitars (P90s!) – we’ve tried to stay fair with it, but there’s been some chopping and changing (we’ve recorded them all in the track player if it bothers anyone)

**** IT turns out that when you record a guitar as part of a “band” – you can’t escape a bit of mixing weirdly – when you start including bass and drums, the cross talk between all the instruments means you can’t pick out the detail of the guitar with its full frequency spectrum – so we did have the apply a bit of an EQ – but because this is all about fairness – the EQ is always the same. It’s just there to tidy up the guitars and get them “clear” of the other instruments. So yeah – recorded guitars don’t sound like live guitars without a bit of a tidy up.

Do we did it!

Each pickup now has 3 recordings that best suit its style, and allows you to listen to each one playing the same track as the next! So you can hear exactly how the pickups differ.

Just a few things to remember with it though – the difference between pickups can be subtle! So you’ll want to be listening to these things through a decent set of speakers or a pair of headphones. What we’re showcasing here boils down to differences in frequencies – if you’re listening through a phone speaker, chances are it isn’t going to be capable of showing the finer details. (my PC speakers cant even make the bass frequencies on the tracks!)

And remember too, that these tracks haven’t been written to blow your socks off. They’re about as generic as they come. They’re nothing ground breaking musically, and you will, if your using the clips as intended, get pig sick of hearing the same song over and over again…but that’s kind of the point. Listen to the tone, not the track. Best advice I can give.

The Player

The players my little baby in all this – it’s a bit clunky at times (because we’re having to store and load the tracks as you call for them, so there can be a delay here or there – just, you know? Go gentle with her!) its got a few nice little features in it that make it really useful.

First thing is the “bookmark” button – find a pickup/position you like, click the little bookmark, and it’ll store it – go to another pickup and right at the bottom of the list, you can recall that bookmarked pickup.

Now, that’s great, because it means you can very quickly A/B pickups – and that’s one of the problems when pickup shopping. A humans audio memory is about 4 seconds – its much longer for something you’re familiar with (where you’ve committed a sound to “true” memory – your own guitar for example, but short term audio memory is amazingly short) – so the less time between hearing one pickup and the next, the better! Use it! It’s a great tool to base your decisions on.

The other “gem” – you can switch between the full band and the isolated guitar track – and that’s about as honest as it gets! They’ve not had any of the “tidy up” EQ applied to them, so what your hearing is the full frequency spectrum, as its been recorded, no messing about with it – just pure guitar. It’s amazingly unimpressive again, but if it’s the final piece of the A/B testing puzzle, it’s pretty helpful!

What about my Legacy?!

So – full disclosure? It aint half boring listening to the same 4 tracks over and over and over again – it’s great for making comparisons between pickups, but it aint exactly entertaining – and it’s not exactly a great sales pitch (is honesty ever?!) – so – we’ve kept the old tracks too – they’re under the heading of “Legacy” in the player – those tracks show the pickup doing their thing as well as they possibly can – Texas blues cranking some Texas Blue, Late 50s doing Rock and Roll, Bourbon cities pushing a bit of hard rock.

Its fun, it’s a nice listen, it gives a bit of a better idea of what a pickup wants to be doing (even if it can do other stuff) – they’re worth a listen, but go in eyes open, they’re “the pickups at their best” – mixed/EQed/Mastered and polished as if they were being recorded “proper” (*well… as much as a solo guitar track can be)

In Closing.
And that about covers it – 3 tracks on each pickup, allowing you to compare one pickup to the next. Bookmark button to make A/B swapping quick and easy, and isolated guitars if you want them. Minimal mixing, minimal tinkering and “little white lies” – just a straight representation of what the guitars going to sound like doing some of the more common musical styles.

And you get the Legacy tracks too – which are useless for making comparisons, but they do show the pickup doing what it does as well as possible.

More Tech stuff!

So - a lot of us think about pickups in the simplest terms when it comes to the technical side of things - and, honestly, for most people, that’s absolutely fine - few of us are actually all that concerned about how pickups are constructed, and how that process effects the sound of the things, and a lot of the time, it’s just easier to trust in the marketing hype surrounding stuff (and I’m not knocking that mentality at all – we all do it in some aspect of life or other don’t we? You can’t be an expert in everything!)

BUT – pickups? I’m very much on the engineering side of things before I buy into the marketing spiel myself, so, it scratch that particular itch for myself, and for anyone else who’s interested in this side of things – I figured I’d publish the more “in depth” specs of these pickups, and, hopefully, maybe bust a few myths along the way too.

So – whilst its fine to think of pickups in terms of “Its XXX Point XXX Kohms and its Alnico YYY!”… That’s fine! (it actually tells you more then you’d think too!), but its only part of the picture – so lets get stuck in to this set, and see what really makes them tick!

And the best way of doing that, is with a bode plot!

Swap Graphs?

 

 

Texas Blues Magnets Close Up

Magnets

The Late 50sare wound using Alnico 5 rod magnets – as standard, in a staggered setup (it’s a little obsolete nowadays, but it’s one of those weird historical things that hangs on despite all logic) but they are available non-staggered too (customisation menu!) – Alnico 5s generally give you a very crisp tone, very defined in the top end, and it’s one of those components that’s almost essential to give you a tradition “Strat® Spank” - and because these pickups are "historic" and they're using 3/16" magnets, that reduces the ferrous content within the coil, and keeps in inductance a little lower then a modern pickup (with 5mm magnets) - this keeps the low end "oomph" a little tamer, and the pickups a little more "sparkly" as a result.

We can see the Q factor of the Late 50s is actually slightly more rounded then a "modern" single coil (like the Texas blues, so whilst the peak frequency is actually slightly higher, its also slightly smoother, and that translates into a slightly more forgiving feel to the pickup, and thats definiately one of the characteristics of a late 50s Stratocaster®

Single Coil Winding

Winding

We use MWS 42 AWG heavy build Formvar wire on the Late 50s, and that’s about as close as you get to the original design of a 56-57 single coil – the thicker insulation on heavy build wire changes the coil geometry of these pickups (again, compared to a "modern" offering, and again, helps resude inductance and increase capatisense without an overall loss in "power" - this again, helps keep the pickups nice and breath, with just enough warmth to offer a counter point to those high frequencies that single coils have in spades.

We can see that the peak freuqncy is actually very high too - right up above 10kHz, with a pretty sharp Q factor, so whilst these pickups are very defined, and very snappy, they've got a little more roundness to them as a result.

As standard, we wind these pickups with a revered middle (both wind and polarity) – so its clockwise winds on neck and bridge(North polarity*), counter clockwise on the middle (South Polarity*) – this is standard on most single coils nowadays, but worth double checking if your mixing and matching ours with someone else’s.

Hand Winding explained

Why Handwinding?

Now, for the sake of honesty, we do hand wind all our pickups. Theres no big bin of pre-wounds ready to drop in a box and ship out, so everything is made to order. Why do we hand wind I hear you ask? Because it’s easier! Theres no magic in it, theres no hidden talent or fairy dust to sprinkle into the coils – hand winding and machine winding produce near identical results (if theres any difference in tone, I cant hear it, and I cant see it – a 6.5k coil behaves like a 6.5k coil – it doesn’t matter how the wire gets on there!

But – Hand winding gives you much greater control. It’s a very tactile process – any “mistakes” in the winding process (the bobbins being slightly misaligned to drive motor is a big one) are relatively easy to keep under control if your going by hand, so coils are generally neater, theres less chance of a string break – it keeps waste down and quality up, because theres always someone sat with the pickup. It also means we can keep production runs very small, so the amount of customisation available is pretty much endless.

The downside, is that because we’re not batching out a huge box of pickups ready to go, your literally paying for a human being to sit and hold a length of wire for 20 minutes – and that aint cheap.

So yeah, when it comes to pickups, we are small scale production, and as such, its hand winding all the way, even if, tonally, there isn’t a great deal of difference between a machine wound and hand wound coil. (no matter what anyone else tells you!)

Pole Spacing for Single Coils

Pole Spacing

As with all our single coils, these pickups are spaced at 52mm, centre to centre, E-e across the poles.

Now, the eagle eyed out there have probably spotted that this isn’t actually quite right – no matter what era of Stratocaster you’re looking at, the poles don’t really line up with the strings! ( either “inside” or “outside”) There is, hoever, some logic in this.

By maintaining the same pole spacing, we maintain the same internal dimensions on the frames, and as such, the coils remain the same size/shape – the only thing varying, is the number of winds.

And that’s vital to ensure that you get a correctly matched set, and that’s why the “problem” exists to this day – it’d be perfectly possible to space the pickups “correctly” to match up with string spacing (atleast with modern Tremolos with a 52.38mm spacing – 52mm/50mm/48mm pickup spacing matches up near perfectly!) – BUT – that 48mm neck pickup has considerably more turns on it then the bridge pickup to bring it up to a similar resistance – and that’s when we start seeing weird things happen (more turns, same resistance, lower capacitance, and higher inductance - its darker!) – it just gets messy – so, honestly? Learn to love the 52mm spacing – it can look odd, but it’ll give you the best results tonally.

Remember too, that the magnets “field” is conical – its not just a straight line up from the centre of the pole, it’s a cone shape – and you’ve only got to move that string into and out of the field to excite the magnet/make a signal. Its purely a cosmetic thing, so don’t get too bogged down with it – at this depth of thinking with pickups, its really got to be function over form.

Customisation options

All the bumf about customisation

Strat with Focusing Plate Fitted

Focusing Plates

We offer all of our single coils with the option of a “focusing” plate if you want them – the theory behind this is that different materials effect the eddy currents of the magnets – and whilst the jury is still out If it’s all that noticeable, its something to bare in mind.

We’ve actually run bode plots on the base plates (as we have done under the “More Tech stuff” section) and it doesn’t seem to make that much of a difference, however this doesn’t quite prove everything “in the real world” – so, considering the price? Its sort of the Father Christmas paradox if you ask me – if you believe it, then brilliant, you’ll have a great time, if not? That’s fine too!

The theory is as follows.
Brass bases attenuate the top end (by flattening out the Q factor, making the pickup a little smoother, a little more forgiving)

Steel (either copper or zinc plated) help increase the ferrous mass of the poles, and make the pickup “hotter” by increasing the inductance (this is actually true!) – this in turn makes the pickup more aggressive, slightly darker, and more “capable”

Nickel – honestly? I cant taste the difference, if sounds the same as an “unfocused” pickup to me (which corresponds with most peoples thinking when it comes to nickel bases on humbuckers) – if anything, it looks nice eh?

The base plates also seem to help reduce external interference, so the pickup is slightly less prone to picking up noise from lights and electrical gear in the vicinity.

Non-Staggered Single Coil Pickup

Pole Staggering

Traditionally, single coils come with staggered poles – and the logic behind this, is sort of two fold.

Primarily, it’s to account for the radius of the guitars neck, but also, they’re built to accommodate for different “strengths” of the strings – and this is where things get a bit weird, because the staggering we’re all familiar with (where the G pole is much taller then the B) is actually to accommodate a wound G string… and wound G strings don’t really exist any more (they were very wimpy… hence the taller pole)

So – traditional staggering is… well… a bit obsolete if you ask me, however, there is always the chance that there’s something in it that gives you a chance of getting all those classic tones – and, frankly? The idea doesn’t exactly break when you don’t have a wound G string, so its survived – as standard, most all single coils will come staggered.

However – it can cause you a pain in the neck if your start getting away from the “vintage correct” thing – if you end up with a guitar with a very flat fret boat? That staggering starts to get too close to the things/too far away – so in those instances? Worth avoiding a stagger – go non-staggered.

And Lefty staggering is as you imagine – it’s the same as right hand staggering, but in reverse, so the poles match up to the strings “in reverse”

Side Loading single Coil

Fibre Boards

Right –Fibre board’s aren’t the most exciting part of a pickup, let’s be honest – but there’s a few nice little tricks you can do with them.

The first, and most obvious, is that they’re actually available in different colours – so you can do Grey or black (or a mix and match, which is actually quite traditional) –its not going to change your tone, its not going to make you a better person, but, you know? Nice to be able to get the colours you want eh?

BUT – with fibre boards, we also do side loading versions of all our single coils – they’re a great little idea, because they take up less space in the routing – so if your surfacing mounting pickups without a pickguard, the routes smaller and tidier. They’re also quite common as a bridge pickup (where the pickup sometimes fouls against the guitars routing)

Close up of termiantions on Single Coil pickups

Phase/Polarity

An explanation of how and when you'd want to alter the phase/polarity of a single coil

Suggested Parts

This is just a load of links out to products that either pair with these pickups, or are compatible with them (Covers and Screws etc)

Late 50s Loaded pickguard

Loaded Plates

We do actually sell completely loaded pickguards for all our single coils - so if you know your dropping these into a Strat® and its a full rip out and re-wire, you can actually save a little buy having us assemble everything together for you and loading it onto a pickguard.

Loads of options on there too, including colours, pickup customisation, and pickguard specs, and its great if you dont fancy the soldering, lets be honest!

Wiring kit for a Fender Stratocaster

Wiring kit

And if your a complete glutton for punishment - we do wiring kits too - its a very standard setup - 250k audio taper pots, 5 way switch, 0.022 cap - all as you'd expect!

52mm Spaced Single Coil Covers

Covers

Replacement covers for our single coil pickups, as discus earlier, 52mm spaced, centre to centre on the E poles - very much standard fare, but we carry a really wide range of colours.

6/32 UNC Height Bolts for Strat

Screws

And Screws (or bolts, depending on your prefference for naming little threaded metal sticks!) - 6 -32 UNC - again, very much the USA standard - we do a few different lengths, and a few different head options incase your doing something weird.

Sound Clips
Error: Embedded data could not be displayed.

Average Rating: Average Rating: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 2 Write a review »

  2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
 
5 of 5 Amazing fat 50s single coils January 12, 2018
Reviewer: Vinny Irvine from Nottingham, .United Kingdom  
A strat single coil that captures the classic 50s sound - fatter sounding than later pickups with a warmer almost P90 like tone makes by them very versatile and great for blues, country, classic rock and rockabilly.
Out of all my single coils, they are my favourites (including Fender Tex Mex) - they stand out as having a warmth to them which still retains all the sparkle of a strat pickup with none of the brittleness they often suffer. There’s also a magical singing quality that comes out clean, or at the edge of break up in the upper mids (not so much when under higher gain but definitely clean and cranked) where the notes really swell - and for arpeggios or chords, especially dyads triads the notes melt into each other yet you can still hear the separation. Neck and middle never used to be a selection I used much but I can’t stop playing with that selection on these.

In my HSS strat they go really well with the Dimarzio Virtual PAF I have in the bridge. Truly awesome

Was this review helpful to you?

  3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
 
5 of 5 Neck - Fender Classic 50 August 30, 2017
Reviewer: Jonathan M Leonard from Swansea, United Kingdom  
This is a really nice pickup. Rich, rounded, lush. Low E pole piece is taller than usual, appears this is a deliberate design choice, and a good one at that. As said in the sales pitch, this gives a tight bottom end. Not muddy just clear.
A great pickup for blues, clean or edgy breakup, and even high gain, just works well all round.

Was this review helpful to you?