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Axesrus "Late 60s"
Axesrus "Late 60s" Single Coils


 
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Description Technical Specs
 

Main Description

Late 60s - A timeless formula for a great single coil

Where the Texas Blues represent a sort of "natural evolution" of a 60s pickup (they're hotter, feistier, they're a touch more specialist!) the Late 60s represent a very traditional take on the idea.

Crisp, clean, and clear - these single coils work exactly as you'd expect. Less aggressive then the TBs, with a touch more snap in the top end, they work exceptionally well under fuzz and 60s levels of gain - and perform admirablly through big stacks and little valve combos.

This final revision has been perfected thanks to it actually being hand wound here in house – and that means we can offer a much greater range of options with these pickups, ranging from brass backing plates, right through to different staggering options on the poles to allow.

Supplied with cover (choice of colour) and screws (choice of colour) and springs as standard, and with a few little extra options to really help you nail the tone your chasing.

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

Sound Clips

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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 60s are 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 60s is very similar to most other "historic" single coils, pretty sharp, pretty well defined, and thats going to translate into the feel of the pickup - its a very snappy, very biting pickup, it really wants to be driven, and that Q factor really highlights that. For what these pickups are designed/were designed to do - definition is king.

Single Coil Winding

Winding

We use MWS 42 AWG single build plain enamel wire on the Late 60s, which is historically correct for this period of pickup - with thinner insulation then an early 60s/late 50s single coil, we've more room for the coil, and you're dealing with less "gapping" between layers, which helps increase the inductance and capacitense

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.

Interestingly, the Late 60s peak freuqency is actually lower then both the late 50s and Texas Blues (both great examples of a 50s pickup and a "modern" pickup) 9.7kHz vs 10kHz+- and that peak is again, "weaker" then both (the dBV is lower)- now, based on the plot alone, you'd assume that meant that the late 60s were warmer/darker pickups, with a less noticable top end - and this is where bode plots/pickup specs only tell half the story!

For whatever reason (its to do with how our ears process certain frequencies) - the late 60s actually feel a very bright, fairly britle pickup - they certainly wouldn't be my first choice for a Clean strat tone - but that sharpness? That focus that our brain clicks into? Thats what makes them excel at that late 60s/70s (and even 80s and 90s - this spec lasted a LOOOONG time!) rock tone - big amps, biting guitars, lots of volume - needs that extra cut (even if, based on the graph, there are sharper/brighter options)

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 60s 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
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Average Rating: Average Rating: 5 of 5 5 of 5 Total Reviews: 3 Write a review »

  5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
 
5 of 5 Gave my old Squier a new lease of life June 2, 2020
Reviewer: Christian from Stourbridge, United Kingdom  
I bought the Late 60s pickups to fit into my 92-93 MIJ Squier. It was my first guitar and the original (obviously cheap) electrics had been failing it for a while. Given the sentimental value, I couldn't bring myself to get rid so I did some research and decided to invest in these pickups on a custom loaded pickguard. Assembly and delivery was ridiculously quick (especially given the lockdown), the customer service was great and fitting it was a breeze. I'm thrilled to say it's given my cheap old Squier a new lease of life; I didn't think I'd ever get it sounding so good. Great job from the Axesrus team - thank you!

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  2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
 
5 of 5 Axesrus "Late 60s" October 25, 2018
Reviewer: TS from Essex, United Kingdom  
I dropped these into a 1993 MIJ 1966 (Large Headstock, Transition Logo) RI strat, beautifully constructed guitar let down by awfull electronics. So a complete rewire was in order I opted for Axesrus vintage cloth wire, CTS pots, Oak Grigsby 5 way switch and a reisue ZNW1P1 1MFD 150 volt cap all delivered super fast and bang on the money. Well that was almost two years ago and wow what a transformation this guitar now sounds crisp tight beautifully defined and really well balanced across frequencies, the range of tones just sweeping across the 5  way switch is breathtaking, absolutely nails the vintage strat sounds with bell like clarity clean and a wonderful warmth when driven. Top job Axesrus, I have owned this guitar since new and its always looked great but never been a go to, now my RI 66 strat finally sounds like a true 66 strat.

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  5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
 
5 of 5 Under rated August 11, 2016
Reviewer: Keith from Dunfermline, United Kingdom  
Look. I've switched 5 of my builds to Craig's pickups. I dropped these in tonight on my 66 build, as much as I like cooking with high output, there's something we've forgotten about by putting low output through a fuzz! This just brought me full circle tonight. I feckin love them. The leads are so tight like QOTSA and a lot of stoner rock and the rhythm too, you forget that fuzz doesn't respond like distortion. Less is more. The cleans are very F*ndery, and the middle pickup (I only use 3 way switches) is so good in the middle of the fretboard. Hats off to Craig and the team at axes. Why do the guitar mags not support these guys? They are the punk DIYers we need! Good price and excellent product!

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