The Original 57/62 pickups set is Fender's in-house answer to single-coils that aim to deliver the vintage-Strat sound, feel and vibe in a relatively inexpensive package. Reversed engineered from a 1963 Stratocaster, these pickups can be found on the company's American Vintage Strat model. With so much competition in the realm of pickups that aim to deliver vintage Strat tone from big brands and boutique manufacturers alike, how does Fender's own set fair? Surprisingly well, actually!
The Fender 57/62 pickup set features a formvar-coated magnet wire, staggered hand-beveled pole pieces that give a more balanced output, Alnico 5 magnets for tighter, more focused dynamics as well as cloth wiring and fiber for the bobbin. Fender even went the extra mile with the set by dying the normally white covers with a tinge of off-yellow, giving it a look similar to aged pickups. The extra attention to detail is a nice added touch to the entire package.
While some player's out there might have understandably preferred a build truer to the originals (such as using the exact same materials, being hand wound, etc.), the construction on the 57/62 is still top quality; Nothing flashy or fancy but on par with similar popular mass produced vintage pickups such as Duncan's SSL-1's.
Make no mistake – overall, these are bright pickups! If you’re looking for pickups that have all the markings of a vintage Strat tone, this set delivers. This means sparkling highs and incredibly warm lows. Without any added effects or too much gain, this set has a very clean, very clear sound, giving a piano-like quality to the lower strings and with a high end focus on the thinner ones.
Being low to moderate output pickups, they won’t overdrive your amp too much on their own, but combined with a good tube amp and a decent overdrive or fuzz pedal, you can easily get plenty of great sounding vintage distorted tones. The bridge pickup in particular will please players that love that signature ‘60s, slightly dirty rhythm tone. The neck pickup meanwhile has very warm, biting kind of characteristic. This might disappoint some who are looking for more of that bell-like, glassy neck tone. In other words, it’s much more akin to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Strat sound than David Gilmour’s.
It should be noted that the middle pickup isn’t reverse wound, meaning you won’t be able to escape some hum in the 2nd and 4th position. Granted, this is what you would expect from a Strat made in the 57/62 time frame so this shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. Despite this, the 2nd and 4th positions yielded some of the best tones this set has to offer.
For a relatively inexpensive set of pickups, the 57/62 set does a very impressive job at capturing the spirit and sound of the tone they aim to emulate. If you're looking for that distinct, incredibly warm yet understated vintage Strat tone, the Fender 57/62 set is an easy choice at a great price.
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