Fender Atomic humbuckers-- a love letter for fender stock pickups

naneek

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A love letter for Fender stock pickups.
TLDR- I love fender atomic humbuckers, why do you love the stock pickups in your fender?

I love the atomic humbuckers in my 98 Toronado. The toronado has gained a lot popularity recently, but I rarely see people mention the atomic pickups specifically.

Is anybody else enjoying these? What guitars do you have them in?

For such hot pickups, they really have great clarity, sparkle, and that classic fender sound.
They have plenty of fendery brightness without losing the humbucker character.
The have a very percussive punchy attack without sounding compressed.

They drive an old tube amp nice and hard and get great distortion, and you can really control the distortion with the volume knob on the guitar. They clean up very nicely.

With the toronado, you can really play feedback musically to sustain a note forever, but it is not microphonic so it never squeals. This works with amp feedback or low volume feedback from a pedal like a big muff.

I like that the neck and bridge pickup don't sound too similar, they have distinct voices that pair well together. I'd describe the bridge pickup as somewhere between a bright les paul and a telecaster. The neck pickup has rich and woody lows, somewhere between an sd59 or gibson neck humbucker and a telecaster neck pickup, with plenty high end clarity.

Usually really hot humbuckers sound kind of smoothed out and lacking in texture, but these are different. I used to have an 81 Gibson SG with factory installed "zebra coil" dimarzio super distortion pickups. I actually like the atomic humbuckers a lot better.

I think these pickups are a very good compromise between clarity and high output. And in the Toronado, the perfect compromise between gibson and fender.

Who else loves the stock pickups in their fender?

Let me know what guitars your atomic humbuckers came in, and how they sound. I'm curious what they are like in a traditional 25.5 scale fender.

TLDR- I love fender atomic humbuckers, why do you love the stock pickups in your fender?
 
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naneek

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Here's an old photo of my 98 toronado in red metallic lurking in the background behind my old gretsch amplifier, along with a 94 anniversary strat in metallic seafoam.
dsc09338-jpg.64951

I also loved the stock pickups in the 94 strat, but I don't have it anymore.
 

Deaf Eddie

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More than a bit off topic, I have a bridge pickup pulled from a Roadhouse Strat, probably mid to late 90s. Fender info at the time indicates it is a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus, and my understanding is that the "Plus" has an A5 magnet, instead of the A2 magnet as on the "retail" version of the PG. I wonder how far from the Atomic Humbuckers this pickup really is.

With its white exposed coils, it was tough to find a place to use it - but it found a good home in a Gibson Faded V, and it's become one of my favorite bridge pickups. Matched with a DiMarzio DP-103 in the neck, it's a great combo - and coil-shunts sound really good as well.

1649789276657.png


This guitar has become one of my go-to beaters.

AND NOW, back to the original thread...
 

SixStringSlinger

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I’ve changed more than my fair share of pickups but I’ve also kept a bunch of stock ones, including ones tht don’t seem too get much appreciation.

I love the SCN pickups in my American Deluxe Strat. Can’t see why I’d change them other than plain curiosity about something else. I had to play with their heights for a long time, but that was also a time before I knew what to look for when adjusting pickup heights.

I have an Ibanez Jet King II with Super ‘58 humbuckers (but apparently not the same old Super ‘58’s people get excited for). I like them just fine, especially since changing the coil splits to series/parallel switching for each pickup for when I want a little less oomph EQ-wise.

I also like the Burstbucker Pro’s in my LP Studio. People seem 50/50 about them (compared to the near-universal disdain for the SCN’s, for instance), but I think they’re great. They can get bright if you let them, but that’s a plus to me in a world where lots of readily available humbuckers can sound like mud. And they respond beautifully to a rolled-back tone control for when you don’t need that brightness.
 

JL_LI

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Fender makes perfectly fine stock pickups. Whether the stock pickups in any particular guitar are perfect for you is a different question altogether. I’ve been thrilled with the stock pickups in my CS ‘69 Stratocaster. The guitar is well shielded and the low wind pickups don’t have audible hum with my back to the amp. I replaced the pickups in my American Standard Strat and my MIM Telecaster. They sounded good but the hum was too much for me. Fender N4 Noiseless pickups for the Telecaster and Ultra Noiseless pickups for the Stratocaster are perfect for me. I have nothing against boutique winders but have had no trouble finding Fender pickups that meet my needs.
 
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naneek

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More than a bit off topic, I have a bridge pickup pulled from a Roadhouse Strat, probably mid to late 90s. Fender info at the time indicates it is a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus, and my understanding is that the "Plus" has an A5 magnet, instead of the A2 magnet as on the "retail" version of the PG. I wonder how far from the Atomic Humbuckers this pickup really is.

it found a good home in a Gibson Faded V, and it's become one of my favorite bridge pickups. Matched with a DiMarzio DP-103 in the neck, it's a great combo - and coil-shunts sound really good as well.

This guitar has become one of my go-to beaters.

AND NOW, back to the original thread...
Definitely on topic, I'm interested to hear what stock fender pickups people are liking and how they are using them. that's a sweet V!

Burstbucker Pro’s in my LP Studio.
Nice I installed a set of those in a friend's flat top epi LP, and put in a surface mount trem behind the tuneomatic. Came out pretty well if I do say so myself!
 

nathan5782

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I used to have a Highway 1 strat hss that I think had the atomic humbucker in it. I got it new in 2008, I remember the description at the time said it had modern voiced pickups.
 

naneek

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Are there both MIA Atomics and import ?
This is something I am curious about as well. Does anybody have any information on this?

Because the original toronado was part of the deluxe series, the pickups were made in California.

The 04-06 deluxe series mexican toronado came with the same pickups in open coil version, like the ones that came in stratocasters. I think those were still made in the US because it was still part of the deluxe series.

The USA strats with atomic humbuckers must have been made in california. I know the atomic humbuckers in fender original packaging sold as spares say made in USA.

I know the USA toronados had p90s, and the Korean toronados came with "by Seymour Duncan" pickups.

And now there are squier reissue atomic humbuckers in the squier paranormal toronado, which sound a lot different to my ears, and are almost certainly not made in the US.

Does anybody have more concrete info on this?
 

Blues Twanger

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Have you measured yours? Mine in a HSS Strat Special comes in about 8.6k ohms DC similar to the older DiamondBack it seems to have replaced, whereas newer models and even the Fender literature for my 2016 guitar are much hotter, 16ish k ohms.

In this guitar it's a keeper, especially when I moved the second time control back to the middle pickup, it opened up to a very nice, versatile tone.

Here's a good page with Fender humbucker info for anyone interested (no affiliation)
 

Bruxist

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More than a bit off topic, I have a bridge pickup pulled from a Roadhouse Strat, probably mid to late 90s. Fender info at the time indicates it is a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates Plus, and my understanding is that the "Plus" has an A5 magnet, instead of the A2 magnet as on the "retail" version of the PG. I wonder how far from the Atomic Humbuckers this pickup really is.

With its white exposed coils, it was tough to find a place to use it - but it found a good home in a Gibson Faded V, and it's become one of my favorite bridge pickups. Matched with a DiMarzio DP-103 in the neck, it's a great combo - and coil-shunts sound really good as well.

View attachment 972972

This guitar has become one of my go-to beaters.

AND NOW, back to the original thread...

I put a PG+ in the bridge of an SG and it was awesome.
 

naneek

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Have you measured yours? Mine in a HSS Strat Special comes in about 8.6k ohms DC similar to the older DiamondBack it seems to have replaced, whereas newer models and even the Fender literature for my 2016 guitar are much hotter, 16ish k ohms.

In this guitar it's a keeper, especially when I moved the second time control back to the middle pickup, it opened up to a very nice, versatile tone.

Here's a good page with Fender humbucker info for anyone interested (no affiliation)
thanks for the link bluestwanger, great reference material.

This is very helpful because I just found a set from a 04-06 mexican toronado deluxe.

One has the part number listed on the site as the "HH neck" pickup, and the other is a combination of the two part numbers they have listed for the toronado bridge position. I'll post some pictures and hopefully measurements as well when I have them in hand.

I haven't measured the pickups in my original 98 toronado.
can that be measured through the output jack without removing the pickups? Or would that be like measuring the resistance of the entire wiring harness?
 
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Willie Johnson

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I have a zebra Atomic neck pickup in my Super Sonic (bridge is an Artec that was in the guitar when I bought it--same spec as the Atomic 2, maybe same OEM), but I ordered a new pg and am putting in single coils; neck pickup (10.6k or so) is going in the bridge of an old Strat as a single pickup guitar.
 

stormin1155

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I have a Showmaster with an Atomic in the bridge. I like it! Very gutsy but retains its clarity. Liked it better than the Showmaster I had with Duncans.
 

naneek

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I have a Showmaster with an Atomic in the bridge. I like it! Very gutsy but retains its clarity. Liked it better than the Showmaster I had with Duncans.
Cool, you don't see too many of those Showmasters. That's exactly why I like the atomic pickups as well.

I have a zebra Atomic neck pickup in my Super Sonic (bridge is an Artec that was in the guitar when I bought it--same spec as the Atomic 2, maybe same OEM)
Interesting guitar. Which version of the super sonic do you have? Is it a Fender pawn shop, or the newer squier paranormal? Was there an earlier production run of those guitars?

I haven't heard of the Atomic 2, what differentiates those from the original version? Is this what they call the new squier atomic pickups, like the ones in the squier paranormal?
 

Deaf Eddie

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And now for more off-topic...

I put a PG+ in the bridge of an SG and it was awesome.

Yeah! I was so thrilled with the Fender-pulled PG+ in the V that I bought a pair of (retail) PGs and put them in a Les Paul Classic. What a disappointment! Nowhere near the warmth and punch of the Plus that I pulled from the HSS Strat.

I emailed SD and asked if the A2 vs the A5 magnet made that much difference, and they said it could. So, I bought a set of A5s and re-magneted (is that a word?) the retail PG set and dropped them back in to the LP, and they still didn't come close to Fender PG+ in the V.

Makes me wonder - did Fender have some kind of a "mojo dip" for these, or is there something else they weren't telling us? Or, is it a just case of the "wood differences" between the LP and the V...?

So, I play the V quite a lot, and that LP not so much. I should probably just blow out the "retail" PGs and reload that LP with SD 59ers... anybody wanna trade?
 

Willie Johnson

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Cool, you don't see too many of those Showmasters. That's exactly why I like the atomic pickups as well.


Interesting guitar. Which version of the super sonic do you have? Is it a Fender pawn shop, or the newer squier paranormal? Was there an earlier production run of those guitars?

I haven't heard of the Atomic 2, what differentiates those from the original version? Is this what they call the new squier atomic pickups, like the ones in the squier paranormal?
It's a Squier Paranormal series--it was a factory blem with a weird Artec bridge pickup and I got it for a considerable markdown. I don't love the cosmetics of a black/black bridge pickup with a zebra neck pickup. It's not a bad pickup, but a little lo-fi, and crazy hot, like 16k. I *think* the Atomic 2 is the bridge pickup companion for the Atomic neck pickup. The middle position sounds very Fender-y, but I think I'll like single coils on this guitar better.
 

Bruxist

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And now for more off-topic...

I put a PG+ in the bridge of an SG and it was awesome.

Yeah! I was so thrilled with the Fender-pulled PG+ in the V that I bought a pair of (retail) PGs and put them in a Les Paul Classic. What a disappointment! Nowhere near the warmth and punch of the Plus that I pulled from the HSS Strat.

I emailed SD and asked if the A2 vs the A5 magnet made that much difference, and they said it could. So, I bought a set of A5s and re-magneted (is that a word?) the retail PG set and dropped them back in to the LP, and they still didn't come close to Fender PG+ in the V.

Makes me wonder - did Fender have some kind of a "mojo dip" for these, or is there something else they weren't telling us? Or, is it a just case of the "wood differences" between the LP and the V...?

So, I play the V quite a lot, and that LP not so much. I should probably just blow out the "retail" PGs and reload that LP with SD 59ers... anybody wanna trade?

Somewhere, I think on a Seymour Duncan forums, a SD employee recommended a 59 Bridge to someone who needed to replace a PG+.

Will see if I can find it.

It also explains how they were putting the PG in there and Fender wanted increased output so the increased the winds but that necessitated switching to A5 mags to compensate for the darker tone.
 

naneek

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It's not a bad pickup, but a little lo-fi, and crazy hot, like 16k.
Thanks for the additional info.

That's pretty much what I thought about the SQR atomic pickup in a squier modern telecaster that I played for a moment in a local shop. Sounded overwound to the point that it lost detail and clarity.

That guitar also had an odd harsh resonance that kind of blared out whenever you played a chord, not sure if it was the pickup or the guitar itself. Like a weird high pitched overtone that sounded when you played any chord.
 

naneek

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I just received a set of original atomic humbuckers, open coil version from an 03-04 toronado. Everything looks good.

I like my 98 toronado so much that when these pickups popped up for a good price, I had to jump on it.
Have you measured yours? Mine in a HSS Strat Special comes in about 8.6k ohms DC similar to the older DiamondBack it seems to have replaced, whereas newer models and even the Fender literature for my 2016 guitar are much hotter, 16ish k ohms.

In this guitar it's a keeper, especially when I moved the second time control back to the middle pickup, it opened up to a very nice, versatile tone.

Here's a good page with Fender humbucker info for anyone interested (no affiliation)
Thanks again for the reference material bluestwanger, this was very helpful.
The part numbers are written in red marker.
Once pickup has the part number 59190 which the reference identifies as:
  • 59190 – From an HH Neck
the other pickup has the part number 59318, and a blue bundled wire protecting the conductors.

That is roughly the same numbers as the 1998 toronado bridge part numbers in the reference, with a few digits out of sequence.
  • 53691, 53689 – From a 1998 Tornado
It also says that toronado matched sets had one pickup with a blue wire, so that also checks out.

I'd be happy to post some photos if anyone is interested.

I don't have a working multimeter any more, but may take these into a local shop to get measurements.
 
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