Yorkshire Jack - He's not soft!
The Yorkshire Jack pickups are a bit of a strange one to be honest - for the longest time, we wanted to capture the same tone we've been getting from our Texas blues single coil pickups, in a set that'd drop into a Telecaster® without any fuss! That slightly hotter, slighter cock-sure tonal swagger that really makes a great blues pickup - and, frankly, it just wasn't happening! Winding a Texas blues coil onto a Telecaster® mount resulted in a pretty uninspiring tone - it was too sharp, it lacked sustain, it was a little on the cold side, both in tonal character and in that "excitement" factor - like so many "vintage pickups" for the Tele®, frankly, it was hard work to make it dance to your tune! The construction of the Telecaster® means that it just wasn't going to be a simple copy and paste job. So we went back to the drawing board! Rather than flogging a dead horse, trying to flat out replicate a pickup we love in a Strat®, we've taken that feel, that personality, and designed something new from the ground up, and its yielded made a fantastic pickup in its own right!
Now, normally, we don’t talk about single coils or pickups for the Tele® in terms of high/medium/vintage output like we do with humbuckers - purely because, strictly speaking, 95% of the offerings on the market are pretty firmly planted in the low output/vintage camp! That’s where we've got to think differently with the Yorkshire Jacks - they've got to definitely come under medium output! There’s just more about them - they're warmer then something traditional, they're fuller in the lower mid range, there’s much more responsiveness about them, they give you this throaty purr, bordering on a growl, not so much with unbridled aggression like some "hot singles" do, but with a comforting confidence that anything you can throw at them, they're going to smile up at you, give you the knowing nod, and chuck it straight out of the speaker. Sort of feels like you’re in safe hands really - you try a fast hammer-on lick, or a big bend - there’s no need to strangle the life out of the neck to get every last ounce of the note - here, the pickups are doing the heavy lifting.
The actual build of the frame comes away from the “trad Tele®” with the bridge pickup. We’ve recently been working on the “Late 50s single coils”, which are a shorter frame/coil – and it had this beautifully warm character. I think we can all agree with the Telecaster® bridge position, the last thing you really need is more top end, so we’ve taken that idea and ported it onto the Yorkshire Jacks. A much shorter frame paired a higher DC resistance has made a beautifully warm pickup underneath that power. Its also meant we can bring across another aspect of the Texas Blues – those all important staggered poles.