Fender Affinity HSS brief analysis

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by rigatele, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

    Apr 20, 2014
    Special thanks to "dirocyn" on Guitarnuts for providing this sample to test. This Squire Affinity Strat HSS sample I acquired was labeled "2001" so it may not be the same as the current issue:


    I chose not to disassemble them and provide detail images because they don't differ significantly from most pickups of this type. The main idea is to examine the electrical characteristics to get an idea of tone, keeping in mind the fact that they use steel poles and ceramic magnets. The usual reason for those is cost cutting, but ceramics have a following for their tone among some players.

    Compared with Alnico pole pickups such as original Strat pickups, steel poles and ceramic magnets generally have greater output and subdued loaded resonant peaks (due to eddy current losses that reduce the Q factor). The lower resonance is usually perceived as a diminished treble.

    The set is composed of a humbucker having exclusively steel pole pieces and not screws, together with two single coil Strat type pickups with steel poles and ceramic magnets glued to the bottom. The pair of single coils are configured as RWRP (reverse wired reverse polarity) which makes them hum cancelling when they are selected together in position number 4 as presented on the Fender site above. The magnetic field strength is about 400 Gauss measured at the poles.

    The single coils have a loaded peak of about 2.9dB at 3.31kHz which is similar to a 2016 Fender stock Mexico Ceramic, at 2.1dB and 2.93 kHz, as it was measured on this site:


    It is worth noting that these Fender ceramic Strat pickups have a much brighter response due to a much higher loaded resonant frequency, 3310 Hz as mentioned before, compared with the Fender Mexican Telecaster ceramics that hit an amazingly low 1920 Hz. Because this 3.3k response is also quite high compared with a typical humbucker or P90, that contributes greatly to the sound characteristic sometimes called "Strat Territory".

    The humbucker has a loaded peak of 1.5dB at 2.31kHz which comes very close to the response of a Gibson 57 classic or Dimarzio Air Norton into a standard load. Because they all have different inductances and intrinsic capacitance, however, all three will behave slightly differently in the situation of different guitars, cords, and amplifiers. Furthermore, the Fender's ceramic magnet produces a whopping 600 Gauss at the poles, which will definitely affect the tone indirectly due to string pull, compared with Alnico pickups.



    (green = 200k/470pF load, orange = 11M/10pF load)
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    CFFF and Teleterr like this.
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