Specs on 90's Nocaster?

Discussion in 'Fender Custom Shop Tele Forum' started by 974gt, Oct 28, 2016.

  1. 974gt

    974gt Tele-Meister

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    Trying to figure out what pickups and what type of wiring would have been in the Fender Custom Shop Relic Nocasters from the 1990's?

    I had a couple back in the day that sounded phenomenal but played horrible and I didn't dig the relic finish so I sold them both but really would like to try to recreate that sound on a more playable guitar.

    About all that I remember about them is that I owned them both before 2000. One of them had a highly figured birdseye neck, the other did not have a figured neck, both had massive necks and tiny fretwire and both were relics. Searching old threads hasn't been helpful because Nocaster specs seem to have changed a lot.

    Any idea as to what pickups and what wiring would have been factory and what currently available pickups would get me closet? Any other factors I need to consider in trying to recreate the tone of these guitars?

    Thank you.
     
  2. Twang Tone

    Twang Tone Friend of Leo's

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    As far as I know...

    From June 1995 to May 1999, Custom Shop Relic '50s Nocasters where aged (Relic-ed) off-site, by Vince Cunetto and his Team, before being shipped back to Fender for final assembly. These had highly figured necks, hot (10K ohms) A5 magnet Broadcaster bridge pickups (with a copper-plated steel baseplate) and were modern wired with a 3-way CRL switch. Most had 9.5" radius fretboards with either 21 small vintage frets, or medium jumbos.

    By late 1999, Mike Eldred was in charge and the Custom Shop were doing the Relic-ing in-house, and so began the "Time Machine" Series '51 Nocaster Relics (mine's a 2000 John Cruz). Initially, these had the specs of the original 1951 Nocasters, i.e. a weaker, 7.3K ohm, A3 magnet, zinc-plated baseplate bridge pickup, 7.25" radius neck, small frets, blend circuit, router's hump in cutaway, neck pocket lip, dowel plugs in the back, nail holes, 5" paint can 'halo' on the pickguard reverse, etc. These came in NOS (New Old Stock), Closet Classic & Relic finishes.

    Some of the early Time Machine Nocasters (late '99/early '00) had figured necks, but soon they switched to plain maple.

    Nowadays, a Custom Shop Relic Nocaster can have any combination of fretwire, neck radius, neck shape and switch combinations that you can think of.

    I think today the Fender Custom Shop make a 'Blackguard' pickup set that'll get you near to what a '90s Nocaster had, or there's the Texas Special pickup set that's also 10K ohms and A5 magnets, but the bridge pickup has staggered poles and white string wrap.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2016
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  3. 974gt

    974gt Tele-Meister

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    Twang Tone, Thank you!

    The bridge pickups were definitely hot in both guitars. Now that I have thought more about it, I am pretty sure I bought the most recent one no later than '99, so the hot 10K A5 magnet pickup sounds like what I need to look for.

    Interesting history, the Mike Eldred Nocaster specs seem pretty spot on!!!
     
  4. Twang Tone

    Twang Tone Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, I think when the Custom Shop shop started doing the Relic-ing in-house, they wanted to nail some of the inaccuracies of the '95-'99 version.
     
  5. 974gt

    974gt Tele-Meister

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    For whatever reason, it seems the Custom Shop has gone back to making less historically accurate Nocasters. Anyway, I took your advice and ordered the Blackguard pickups. I found that the specs on the "Blackguard" pickups have changed a bit as well. Fortunately, I think Ive located a set with the specs you mentioned.
     
  6. Twang Tone

    Twang Tone Friend of Leo's

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    Let us know how it turns out, 974gt.
     
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