Anyone tried the Fender WRHB CuNiFe Reissue?

Digger73

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With some help from the sound engineer who runs our board typically, I feel now that I have the CuNiFe pickup and the bridge perfectly balanced. This WRHB upgrade was worth it in my opinion. We played out again and I am getting used to the Fiesta Red hanging on the strap. Gotta admit, I sometimes feel it would fit better in a surf band maybe, but I am loving the guitar. I picked up a 2012 Cabronita a little after this one because I have always had an interest. The previous owner had replaced the pot and switch and put Gretsch Filter'tron HS pickups in it. When playing across the many cuts in a set, I have really grown fond of this guitar and how well it fills the sonic space with this Vintera. Nice to have these guitars in the arsenal.
 

ruger9

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With some help from the sound engineer who runs our board typically, I feel now that I have the CuNiFe pickup and the bridge perfectly balanced. This WRHB upgrade was worth it in my opinion. We played out again and I am getting used to the Fiesta Red hanging on the strap. Gotta admit, I sometimes feel it would fit better in a surf band maybe, but I am loving the guitar. I picked up a 2012 Cabronita a little after this one because I have always had an interest. The previous owner had replaced the pot and switch and put Gretsch Filter'tron HS pickups in it. When playing across the many cuts in a set, I have really grown fond of this guitar and how well it fills the sonic space with this Vintera. Nice to have these guitars in the arsenal.

Interesting... so how would say the WRHBs differ from the Filtertrons, sonically? I have used several different WRHBs before, but never CuNiFe ones, and I have tried just about every Filtertron there is in my Cabronita until I found one a set was happy with.
 

Digger73

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Interesting... so how would say the WRHBs differ from the Filtertrons, sonically? I have used several different WRHBs before, but never CuNiFe ones, and I have tried just about every Filtertron there is in my Cabronita until I found one a set was happy with.
I just got a chance to look at this Ruger 9, wife got struck by a car while riding her bike and is plenty busted up, but at least not severe head and spine injuries. She's now home and I am the nurse and human support animal. I will sit down and play these two through some amps I have set up at home and feebly try to describe what I hear. I look forward to it...haven't had much time to play in a week. I intended to pick up TVJ pickups for the Cabronita, but now I believe I like the HS Gretsch's. May I ask what you finally settled with in your Cab?
 

Bruxist

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I just got a chance to look at this Ruger 9, wife got struck by a car while riding her bike and is plenty busted up, but at least not severe head and spine injuries. She's now home and I am the nurse and human support animal. I will sit down and play these two through some amps I have set up at home and feebly try to describe what I hear. I look forward to it...haven't had much time to play in a week. I intended to pick up TVJ pickups for the Cabronita, but now I believe I like the HS Gretsch's. May I ask what you finally settled with in your Cab?

Hope she is on the mend soon!
 

ruger9

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I just got a chance to look at this Ruger 9, wife got struck by a car while riding her bike and is plenty busted up, but at least not severe head and spine injuries. She's now home and I am the nurse and human support animal. I will sit down and play these two through some amps I have set up at home and feebly try to describe what I hear. I look forward to it...haven't had much time to play in a week. I intended to pick up TVJ pickups for the Cabronita, but now I believe I like the HS Gretsch's. May I ask what you finally settled with in your Cab?

OMG I hope your wife is ok and recovers 100%!!! That's awful!!

As for my Cab, I have run the gamut of pickups in it.

Fender Fidelitrons- much better than people give them credit for, and I actually like them them better than TV Jones for rock and blues. They are grittier.

TV Jones- Setzer Signatures (which are just tweaked Classics; I have them in my Gretsch), also Powertrons. It's hard to explain exactly why, but I just did not get on with these pickups in this guitar. They are great in my Gretsch.

So then I went single coil: TV Jones T-90s. These are GREAT pickups in a Cabronita. They sound like a P90 and a Dynasonic had a baby LOL. 250K pots help them sound more P90s-ish. Then I installed TV Jones T-Armonds. These are also great, but they make the Cabronita sound more like a regular tele (that's not a bad thing). They are like tele pickups on steroids. More low and and volume than standard tele pickups. I really liked these, but since I have a tele, I really wanted my Cabronita to have it's own voice- sort of a "FAT tele". T-Armonds have GORGEOUS clean tones tho. If I played clean tones all the time, the T-Armond neck pickup rivals my tele's neck pickup for gorgeous clean tones.

SO. I got a set of Rio Grande BBQ'Trons (which is actually a BBQ Tron in the bridge and a Texas Tron in the neck). These pickups are FANTASTIC. Think Billy Gibbons/David Grissom. These pickups sound like PAFS, but with the clarity of Filtertrons thrown in. IMHO, they lean more PAF than Filter. Like a PAF but with tighter bass and thicker trebles. They are great, unknown, pickups. There are only 2 reviews on the Rio Grande site, and I wrote one of them. Loud, proud, FAT, ZERO ice-pick, they really make a Cabronita sound more like 2-humbucker(PAF) type guitar, believe it to not. Like I said- Billy Gibbons and David Grissom tones, easily. (also, great thick jazzy tones, like Julian Lage when he plays his Gretsch Jet or new Collings 470JL signature guitar)

They aren't cheap, but they were worth every penny. I sometimes think about putting T-90s or TAs back in, but the BBQs really make this guitar unique. Maybe if I had a PRS DGT in my arsenal I wouldn't keep the BBQs in the Cab, but I cannot yet afford a DGT... (also keep in mind, I don't need the Cab to sound "Gretschy", because I have a Setzer Hot Rod for that).
 

Digger73

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Well, I got in the game by playing the Fender new CuNiFe equipped Vintera, the Mojotone 72 Clone FeCrCo equipped, and the Gretsch Filter'Tron HS equipped Cabronita and just listening to similar licks. This was done through a Vibrolux (Jupiter 10LCs, Stapleton 62 Princeton (Eminence Stock). and a Vox AC15HW (ASW Crossroads). My ears tell me the Cab is in your face with an edgy, grittier, and not as refined tone. The WRHBs were what some call more polite. I did not adjust amp settings between guitars. The guitars at "10". I played Texas shuffles. I know the following belongs in a Cab thread, but I did discover that the neck and middle position in the Cab sound exactly the same...like the neck, but in neck and bridge positions it sounds like it should..stark differences. So, please don't beat me over the head with a WRHB, I will ask in another thread to best approach to solve that. Perhaps an Emerson wiring harness with a new switch?

Oh, Ruger 9, I have a Rio Grande Big Bottom set in my G&L ASAT. Liked 'em better than the stock MFDs, but they have been in there at least 4 years and I cannot remember why. I keep that guitar tuned to Open E and use it for slide a lot.
 
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Digger73

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@Digger73, Vinteras don't have the CuNiFe pickups AFAIK, unless these were aftermarket?
Piotr, you are correct. A few weeks ago, I purchased a new Fender CuNiFe neck pickup and installed it in this Vintera. I do not pretend to be an expert, but I have been playing WRHB equipped guitars since 1972. Based on my ears, I felt that the stock Vintera pickup sounded a little dark and not as "expressive" as the single pole design. And, I was interested in Fender's effort to recreate the pickup. When installed, it was out of phase, so I swapped the bridge leads and installed a separate ground wire from the bridge plate as I described in a previous post. I played this guitar last evening for quite a while. I really enjoy this new pickup. I picked up this Vintera used "mint" for $650. This was my first MIM axe and I have stayed away from them preferring made in USA. But, I have to admit the build quality is fine and the hardware is working for me so far. Stays in tune. I have a HipShot bridge that fits it, but it is not a priority so I am just going to play it.
 

Digger73

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Well, I've reasoned that keeping my vintage 72 thinline all original is a noble, but illusory goal. After string replacement, I spent considerable time playing last night while closely listening to the individual notes in specific strings. It appears that there is variation in the magnet pole strength in both pickups. Most pronounced in the 3rd string in the neck pickup and the 5th in the bridge. Compared to the new CuNiFe, it is generalized. There are some unusual harmonics as well that drift after the notes are struck. I was thinking I could just replace them with genuine Fender parts, new CuNiFe pickups, right? Given the patina that exists on the hardware and the smudges on the neck, it would be very evident although. I am within a few months now of the 50th Anniversary of purchasing the guitar. I suppose another option is to find someone reputable, along with the specs, to gauss them again? Who cares about the aesthetics, but at the end of the day, I have an AVRI 72 Thinline that took over its work. I have to think on this, but opinions or suggestions?
 

SbS

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Well, I've reasoned that keeping my vintage 72 thinline all original is a noble, but illusory goal. After string replacement, I spent considerable time playing last night while closely listening to the individual notes in specific strings. It appears that there is variation in the magnet pole strength in both pickups. Most pronounced in the 3rd string in the neck pickup and the 5th in the bridge. Compared to the new CuNiFe, it is generalized. There are some unusual harmonics as well that drift after the notes are struck. I was thinking I could just replace them with genuine Fender parts, new CuNiFe pickups, right? Given the patina that exists on the hardware and the smudges on the neck, it would be very evident although. I am within a few months now of the 50th Anniversary of purchasing the guitar. I suppose another option is to find someone reputable, along with the specs, to gauss them again? Who cares about the aesthetics, but at the end of the day, I have an AVRI 72 Thinline that took over its work. I have to think on this, but opinions or suggestions?

Not sure is it problem here, but I've read sometimes vintage CuNiFe pole pieces have been rearranged wrong way over time. Like someone have taken the "screws" out and then put randomly back again. But polarities are not matching anymore, so that could cause issues.
 

Digger73

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With my wife laid up, we just spent a couple weeks on the road, well sort of at a condo in northern Michigan. The new CuNiFe played was played a lot I mostly used a Boss Reverb RV6 and a MXR Carbon Copy through a 57 Custom Deluxe with a Fat Jimmy A1260 alnico and a miked 57 Custom Champ with a Fat Jimmy A825, and I am more than impressed. This is one nice pickup if anyone is on the fence. A lot of time was spent in studio practice where I could really experiment.
 
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Digger73

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Now, that the honeymoon is over I am evolving to feel that this Cunife pickup has one bad trait. At least on the Vibrolux and the Vox 15HW there is a disconcerting extended warble as the note or chord fades. I have tried different pickup and pole heights and it is still present. I strung it with 9.5 DiAddarios. I suppose it could be bridge or nut issue?. I did determine that Fender does indeed use 250K pots on the Vintera, so I do intend to change out to 500K after I get back from Austin TX. Anyone here have this and any ideas how to solve it?
 

horseman308

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Now, that the honeymoon is over I am evolving to feel that this Cunife pickup has one bad trait. At least on the Vibrolux and the Vox 15HW there is a disconcerting extended warble as the note or chord fades. I have tried different pickup and pole heights and it is still present. I strung it with 9.5 DiAddarios. I suppose it could be bridge or nut issue?. I did determine that Fender does indeed use 250K pots on the Vintera, so I do intend to change out to 500K after I get back from Austin TX. Anyone here have this and any ideas how to solve it?

Been following this thread for a while trying to see if I really need to put a CuNiFe in my Custom/Thinline build (mostly certain I will). But to your question, I had that issue on mine. Are you sure it's not there unplugged; that is, are you certain it's not mechanical?

I found that I had a similar warble that emerged in my high-E and G, and it turned out to be that I was using metal springs instead of rubber rubbing on the bridge pickup. After a few years, something changed in the tensions between strings, nut, saddles, etc., and only changing over to rubber surgical tuning fixed it. That's not be your issue if it's only showing up when plugged in, but might be worth a test.
 

Digger73

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Thanks horseman, that is interesting....certainly something I would not have considered if you had not brought it to my attention. I will do some more testing. It was annoying enough that I have left the guitar in the stand for a couple weeks now. I have been chasing a vibration like static on the low E string G note (Also to a lesser degree on F# and G#) in the upper octave in my studio. I thought it was totally the Vox amp, but the Marshall did it too. This is a laugh, but it ended up being a heat vent grill in the wall behind the amps. Finally put my foot on the vent and it went away, so replaced now...whood a thunk. Back to CuNiFe. When I pull the Vintera apart to replace the neck pots, I will check the mounting of the bridge pickup.
 

UPtele

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Any other input on these pickups? I recently got a tele deluxe and thinking about options for pickups
 

moosie

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Any other input on these pickups? I recently got a tele deluxe and thinking about options for pickups
Without re-reading the thread, and the other threads on the topic, I'll just say this.

I have a pair. They're great for clean players. Not so much for gainy tones.

The pickup heights are very sensitive. Follow @Telenator 's adjustment tutorial to get the best tone.
 

horseman308

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I got one for Christmas and put it in my 72 Thinline/Custom build (it's exactly what it sounds like - semi-hollow Thinline type build but with a 72 Custom wiring and pickups). I used 1 Meg pots. It pairs up really well with the Zhangbucker Paul Bunyan in the bridge. It is pretty sensitive to height adjustment.

It replaced a Zhangbucker hybrid type neck humbucker he does that has PAF slugs and bar magnet on the bridge-side coil and 6 A5 rods (like a Fender SC) on the neck-side coil. I absolutely love that hybrid pickup. It basically sounds like a big, bold Strat neck pickup. But I've always had a deep fascination with the CuNiFe WRHBs, so I had to try it.

First impressions after dialing it in over several days - the WRHB is really nice and chimey and articulate. It certainly doesn't disappoint. Playing through my Fender Prosonic, which I have the OD set up like a Plexi-type sounds, it sounds pretty good with medium high gain. It isn't quite as tight as the Zhangbucker with lots of OD, but it's not at all flubby or ragged. I think a lot of the flubby sounds people associate with driven WRHB's are from more traditional Fenders, like a Super or Deluxe Reverb. I've never really cared for those amps OD sounds anyway. But with the gain at modest levels or below, it's just dandy.

Anyway, I'm about 90% certain it's a keeper. With modest gain or less, it's wonderful, which is what this particular guitar is for anyway. I haven't quite decided if I like it as much as I do the hybrid Zhangbucker (that has been my favorite neck pickup for years), and I need to try out the WRHB with the full band. They sound relatively similar until you dime the gain. If I end up putting the Zhangbucker back in the 72 Thinline Custom, I'll just put the WRHB in my ash solid body 72 Custom.
 
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