Catswhisker Wide Range Humbuckers review.


TDPRI Member
Sep 18, 2014
Venlo , the Netherlands
For context: I have not compared them to other wide range humbuckers apart from the ones they replaced.

I recently bought a gorgeous Telecaster deluxe. It's a MIJ limited edition with a Stratocaster Tremolo, chunky "U" shaped neck and in gorgeous Lake Placid Blue.

Telecaster deluxe

I was pleasantly surprised by the stock pickups it came with. I know they are "normal" humbuckers in a Wide Range cover but they had a good clarity and some sparkle. But I'd already budgeted for the pickup upgrade. I ended up with Catswhiskers because they where very competitively priced and the Lord Fuzzman WR shootout on YouTube showed they where up there with the big guns.
I had a short email exchange with Alan from Catswhiskers about what my wishes where and decided quick enough that the stock ones would do just fine. About three weeks later they where on my workbench.
The pickups looked great with the nickel cover and construction and finishing where on point. The pickups came with a 4 conducter wire to allow for coil splitting or series/parallel switching. Wiring schematics where included.

I installed them asap with a series/parallel switch for the neck pickup. I also changed the control layout to a master volume/tone because of my personal preferences.

At home I immediately heard the difference with the stock pickups. Much louder with slightly fuller mids and slightly more clarity. Like I was running the original pickups through a very good clean boost.

I love these pickups!
I've had two rehearsals since installing them and these kill!! I usually bring my strat an LP special with P90's to rehearsal. Between these two I can cover all the ground needed for the 90's alt rock cover band I currently play in. If I could only bring one it would definitely be the Tele deluxe now.

The neck pickup sounds beefy with a slight mid high scoop. Treble is well defined and the lows are big but tighter than the neck P90 in my LP special. The bridge pickup is a thing of glory. It sounds big and full with loads of mids without sounding nasally or honky. I think that is because everything else is there as well. Good amounts of tight bass and a clear and extended treble range without even a hint of icepick.
What I like most about these pickups is they have that typical fenderish twang/clang on the attack part of the sound that then blends in this complex mids-rich sustain that is very reminiscent to a P90.
The neck pickup switched to parallel coils drops the output and scoops out the mids. The bold bass remains but the top end becomes very glassy and present. I reminded me a lot of the lipstick pickup I once had installed in my Stratocaster. I did noticed that this character was more present on the bass strings than on the unwound string which sounded a bit less scooped. I think that this might be a result of the offset of the pole pieces in these pickups.

All in all I have absolutely no regrets getting these pickups. They work amazingly well in the fuzz/distortion heavy context I use them in but sound great clean as well! The strat used to be my main guitar but it now sits in the corner, anxiously watching me picking the Tele deluxe up for almost anything.
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