Fender pickup shootout: Eric Johnson, Fat 50s, and Texas Special sets, clean and lead

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Thread: Fender pickup shootout: Eric Johnson, Fat 50s, and Texas Special sets, clean and lead

  1. #1


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
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    Fender pickup shootout: Eric Johnson, Fat 50s, and Texas Special sets, clean and lead

    So, this was my weekend project - less so the wiring and filming, more than all the editing. I took some of suggestions from the last one of these I did and edited the video so all the neck position sounds were together, all the neck/mid ones, etc. Then, for kicks, I mixed it down both against bass/drums, and with the guitar tracks solo'd. The upshot is there's 21 minutes of me demoing three Fender singlecoil pickup sets.

    The main reason I started doing these is to be able to get an objective comparison of the differences between pickups after I did a swap, so I didn't have to trust my gut impression or recollections of the differences that may or may not have been accurate, and this was no difference - the silver lining of all that editing was that I spent a lot of time listening to these clips, and I think my preference for different pickups shifted as I worked. I'll withhold further comment for now, so without further ado, behold! 21 minutes of me playing the same two riffs and licks 30 times each!

    "They can kill you, but the legalities of eating you are a bit dicier." - David Foster Wallace

  2. #2


    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: Phx, AZ
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    I like the EJ's but man there is something about the texas specials that gets my jimmies rustled.

  3. #3


    Join Date: Sep 2008
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    What time do I have to skip to for Holy Wars?


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  5. #4


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
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    MA: Martin MC16-GTE
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    What time do I have to skip to for Holy Wars?
    22:08

  6. #5


    Join Date: May 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cameron View Post
    I like the EJ's but man there is something about the texas specials that gets my jimmies rustled.
    Me too.
    Making metal every night and day.

  7. #6


    Join Date: Sep 2010
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    Crap man, good job. Those all sound really good. I think I liked the EJs best. That is way more effort than I could ever put into something.

  8. #7


    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: Washington
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    Fat 50s FTW. Nice job!

  9. #8


    Join Date: Sep 2008
    Location: Somerville, Ma
    ME: Suhr Modern 7
    MA: Martin MC16-GTE
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    Rig: Mesa Roadster, Recto 4x12

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    I find it kinda cool that everyone seems to be having different favorites here, and that there isn't one clear "best" pickup - I liked all of these for different reasons, but they're clearly great pickups all around.

    FWIW, I'm going to give it another week to be sure, but I'm most likely putting the Eric Johnson set back in. It took me a little while to warm up to them, but I think the neck pickup is the roundest and fattest of any of the options here, with kind of a chewy low end, while still remaining very transparent and articulate. The middle was very similar to the Texas Special, which I already really liked, and the bridge had this awesome burnished "searing" sound to it without getting brittle or fizzy - you can tell that this was a set wound for a guy who actually spends a lot of time playing on the bridge position, because it's such a great sound. The Texas Special set was my second favorite, they're a little more forward and aggressive, with a lot of character to them as well, but I think the EJs are a little closer to what I'm after. The Fat 50s, while my least favorite of the three, are still great - very balanced, and while maybe a little less "colored" in any particular direction and for it a little less exciting, maybe, they're also a great all-around set and considering for a while these were the stock pickups that shipped with an American Standard, I'd be pretty happy if I bought a guitar off the rack with these in them.

    That said, again, I think it's awesome that so many people are listening to these and coming away with different opinions - to me, that probably means it was a fair, balanced comparison.


    Unfortunately, the EJ set was a little out of tune on one of the strings while I was shooting the clean video, and while I'd been retuning periodically while shooting this, it had drifted out a hair before the take where I was happy with my playing (as I was still kinda figuring out what the parts were going to be, there was a lot of trial and error). The other two sets I nailed in only a take or two, so there just wasn't time for anything to go wrong. Oh well.

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