Were going Custom?!
Please be aware, you have opened the "Want to Customise your Pickup?" Menu, which means your really getting into the nitty gritty of the pickups - and thats fantastic! It'll really allow you to make the pickups your own, so wether your looking to make a set that matches up with a certain historic specification, or you'
re trying to match a single pickup to another from a different manufacturer - this is the way to do it!
Its worth keeping in mind though, that with every tweak you make, you'll be getting further and further away from what we'd call the "standard setup", and as such, that means the pickups will come under the remit of Custom work
Texas Blues – The Malice from Dallas!
The Axesrus® Texas Blues represent the pinnacle of the development in this line, taking elements from the “Original” model, designed way back when Axesrus® first started, and working pretty closely to the template used for the incredibly popular Alamo edition, this version finally ticks every box, dots every I and crosses every T when it comes to nailing that rich, soulful Texan tone.
We all know the tone! The one that oozes swagger and swing in its tone with a drum tight bottom end, a mid range that smooth’s out the normal single coil "twang" and brings a fair amount of growl into the mix, and a top end, with a slight boost, to maintain that bell like clarity that makes the Stratocaster® one of the most popular guitars out there today all genres of blues.
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.
What does the customisation do?
This section is probably going to be expanded on more as time allows, but in brief.
Because all of our pickups are wound to order, we figured, "why not give the option to use different magnets?" - its not a bad way to customise the tone of a pickup (but remember, no gaurantees if you come away from the standard magnets we use in the design, that its going to sound anything like we intended it to (might be great, might be garbage - tinker at your own risk!)
As a rough guide, the higher the Alnico number, the strong the magnets are going to be, the "louder" the pickups going to be, and the more lively its going to sound. Stronger magnets normally result in a stronger "mid scoop" and obviously, more "louder" normally translates into amp distrotion more easily - but, honestly, its a bit more of an art form then an exact science - one saving grace though - its very difficult to design a "bad pickup" just around the grade of Alnicos - its likely to sound good anyway, but, you know? be warned that it might not do what we say it does once you've swapped the magnets.
Traditionally, single coils pickups used in the Fender Stratocaster® have staggered poles, it varies a little from year to year, but normally, you always had a talled D and lower B pole - didn't matter if the guitar was left handed, right handed, or a reproduction built in 2019 - staggering has always been a thing (and the reasons why it was done aren't really relivent any more.
So, whilst we still offer the pickups "staggered as standard" - we also offer non-staggered, and left handed staggered.
Tone changes slightly when you do away with staggering (or have the staggering in reverse) but you normally dont lose the "flavour" of the pickup - just changes slightly.
Phase & Polarity
This ones a historic point of note more then anything - as standard, we wind all pickups clockwise, north polarity, except the middles, which to maintain hum cancelling when used with either neck or bridge "on", are wound counter clockwise, south polarity (reversed, reverse wound reverse polarity!)
Originally (right up until 1977 infact) the Stratocaster® always came with non reverse wound middles, and hum cancelling wasn't an option - relatively new idea with single coils, but its proven so popular that everyone thinks its the norm.
Either way - when buying your middle pickups, if you want a full vintage reproduction, hum and all, you can change the options back to north/clockwise.
Personally though, i'd suggest leaving well enough alone unless you're really into this sort of stuff.
Metal Base Plates
We've been building single coils with metal bases for a few years now, and its a great way to tweak tone (and its handy for blocking out a little external interference too)
Brass bases have a habit of sucking out a little of the top end of a pickup - great if you want a little more darkness from a single coil, and a lovely addition to the bridge.
Steel increases a pickups inductance, making them slightly more aggressive sounding, and boosting the top end - essentially, it makes the magnet "larger" (not strictly true, but a comforting lie!)
Nickel also increases the top end, but without boosting the pickups output - gives a little more glassy sparkle - nice way to rince a bit more chime from a potentially muddy neck pickup.
Beyond the obvious colour option, we also offer single coils with a side loading base - a slightly smaller footprint makes it idea for guitars that have surface mounting routes.
Help with colours
Colours on single coils is a bit of a funny one believe it or not - but, there are a few general rules to work with to get a good finished look when its all loaded onto the pickguard.
Whilst the Covers on pickups, the knobs, the tips and the pickguard itself are all made from PVC, the different thicknesses on each individual part sometimes causes a bit of a difference between one part and the next.
The worst offenders for this, are Mint (both A and B) and Ivory (or Creme) - you'll probably notice that Fender® never put out a guitar with"mint on mint/Cream on Cream" - thats why! its next to impossible to get a decent match between covers and plate.
Parchment, White and black are actually pretty safe bets if you want everything the same colour - so whilst they can be a little "tame" - its atleast a safe bet.
If you've got your heart set on a mint pickguard though, best to shy away from mint plastics, and go for something with an intentional contrast - vintage is nice, as is ivory and parchment.
Vintage is the one weird exception in this too, because it doesn't have a corresponding pickguard colour - just never gets used in sheet form for some reason.
The Texas blues are a fairly straight forward single coil, so, electrically atleast, you'd treat them as such. 250k pots, 0.022 cap on the tone, and with a standard RWRP middle, you'll get the most from them with a 5 way switch.
They actually dont behave too badly on 500k pots either to be honest - so they're a nice pickup to pair with a humbucker bridge too - they get a little brighter, but they've got the body to pull it off without much loss of character.
We normally suggest CTS pots (Vintage Audio taper for both volume and tone as personal prefference) and Oak Grigsby Switches, and, if you fancy avoiding the hastle of soldering the things up yourself, we do the Texas Blues on a loaded pickguard for easy installation.
A little beyond the remit of "suggested setup", but, remember, string gauge is a factor in pickup tone too - if you REALLY want to nail that Texas tone, heavier strings really do help! 11s and 12s are great over the Texas blues - they make the guitar "fight back" a little, but thats all part and parcel of getting this sort of guitar tone.