Fender Noiseless Pickups
The Fender Noiseless series is a line of electric guitar pickups made by the Fender Musical Instruments Corporation. Introduced in 1998, they feature and are a row of (six, one for each guitar string) dual (opposite phase) stacked-coil (axially adjacent) design to cancel hum noise. This single-coil (size) stack consists of a row of paired single-coils stacked one on top of the other (compacted), so as to fit (incognito) into the same size width space as a regular single-coil pickup. This is to be contrasted with the original humbucking pickup design, which is a row of paired (opposite phase) single-coils double wide.
The series includes models for electric guitars and bass guitars.
The Noiseless pickups now referred to as Vintage Noiseless were original equipment on the Fender American Deluxe Series Stratocasters made between 1998 and 2003. They are now widely used on many Fender guitars made in their Ensenada, Mexico facility (so-called "Made in Mexico", or "MIM" guitars) and Fender Custom Shop guitars, and have been the stock pickups on the Eric Clapton Stratocaster signature model since 2001. Vintage Noiseless pickups use Alnico 2 magnets. These pickups were the result of three years of research aimed at combining the advantages of single coils with those of humbuckers: the sound of the first and the silence of the second. Fender wanted to develop a pickup that could evoke the vintage Stratocaster sound and the silence of Lace Sensor pickups. The Stratocaster version is identified by the word "Noiseless" in gold cursive on the aged white or black pickup covers and the staggered pole pieces. The Stratocaster set of Vintage Noiseless pickups comes packaged with two 1MΩ potentiometers ("pots") and a .022µF capacitor for tone controls, one 500KΩ pot for volume control, a 680pF capacitor and a 220KΩ resistor for a treble bleed circuit, and a wiring diagram. Vintage Noiseless pickup sets are also available for the Telecaster and Jazz Bass. Features include:
Samarium Cobalt Noiseless (SCN)Edit
The Samarium Cobalt Noiseless (SCN) series was a subsequent line of stacked electric guitar and bass pickups; these were designed by Bill Lawrence with the goal of further reducing noise while improving the "single-coil" tone of the pickup and were fine tuned by Fender. Introduced in 2004, they were similar to the Vintage Noiseless pickups, but Lawrence's research into controlling magnetic eddy currents led him to employ miniaturized samarium cobalt alloy magnets instead of Alnico 5. Samarium cobalt is a rare earth magnet that is more powerful than the Alnico 5 magnets traditionally used in pickup design. The SCN pickups were a standard equipment feature on the American Deluxe series Stratocaster from 2004 to 2010, and were available for the Telecaster and Jazz Bass, but are no longer manufactured by Fender. The Stratocaster SCN pickups have the SCN logo lightly etched on the pickup covers, and the letters are not colored, making them hard to discern. The covers were available in white, black, aged white and parchment, but the Tele sets were offered in black and chrome only.
SCN Features include:
Hot SCN pickups were used only on the HSS (Humbucker/Single/Single) American Deluxe Stratocaster from 2004 to 2010. Hot SCN pickups claim a hotter output than a standard SCN Strat pickup and were designed for proper balance with a hot humbucker in the bridge position. The American Deluxe Series HSS Strat was designed with one single-coil SCN pickup in the neck position, one single-coil Hot SCN pickup in the middle, and one DH-1 ("Atomic") humbucking pickup at the bridge.
The Fender Hot Noiseless Strat Pickups are a ceramic version of the original Fender Noiseless pickups. Ceramic magnets are quite strong and as such are normally hotter. When applier to pickups, the term "hot" means that the pickup has higher output, and thus will distort more readily. They produce pronounced mids and a quick bass response. The strong magnets allows the pickup to retain articulation and clarity, even when introduced to extreme gain. These pickups are identified by the word "Noiseless" in silver cursive on the aged white pickup cover, just like the Vintage Noiseless. However, they can be distinguished by the fact that all pole pieces are flat (non-staggered). Hot Noiseless Strat pickups have been standard on the Jeff Beck signature model since 1998, but were never available on the American Deluxe. They are still available from the Fender Custom Shop. Features include:
- Ceramic magnets
- Polysol-coated magnet wire
- Flush-mount pole pieces for every string
- Vinyl-coated output wire and plastic bobbin
- DC resistance: 10.4kΩ (Neck/Middle/Bridge)
N3 Noiseless pickups were available on American Deluxe Stratocasters from 2010 until 2016, at which time the American Deluxe was superseded by the Elite Series Stratocaster. The N3 Noiseless set was designed with different types of magnets at the three pickup positions: Alnico III at the neck for a rounder sound, Alnico II at the middle for a sweeter sound, and Alnico V at the bridge for a hotter sound. N3 Noiseless pickups were manufactured by Fender for the Stratocaster, Telecaster, and Jazz Bass but are no longer available from Fender. They are identified by the cursive Fender logo and "N3" in silver cursive on the white pickup cover.
N3 features included:
Gen 4 NoiselessEdit
Gen 4 Noiseless pickups were introduced on the Fender Elite Stratocaster in 2016. They are identified by the cursive Fender logo and the word "NOISELESS" in silver, upper case, block letters on the aged white or black pickup covers. Gen 4 Noiseless™ pickups for the Stratocaster, Telecaster, and Jazz Bass are still available from Fender.
N4 features include:
Ultra Noiseless pickups were introduced on the Fender Ultra Stratocaster, Ultra Jazzmaster, and Ultra Telecaster in 2019. The Ultra Noiseless pickups are a complete redesign over the Gen 4 Noiseless pickups, including different magnets and staggered pole pieces. Ultra Noiseless™ pickups come in two versions. The Ultra Noiseless™ Vintage pickups come standard on the Ultra Telecaster and Ultra Stratocaster SSS, and are said to deliver "authentic Fender single-coil sound without hum." Ultra Noiseless™ Hot pickups are standard on the Ultra Stratocaster HSS, and are said to offer modern performance and classic tone so the user can launch their amp into overdrive. These pickups are currently sold separately by Fender.
- "Bill Lawrence Website". www.billlawrence.com. Retrieved 2019-12-04.