Review updated 4 January 2009
I have always preferred that classic single coil tone. From Hank Marvin to Jimi Hendrix to David Gilmourâ€¦ the unique tone defines a genre and style and today the search for the vintage flavours are stronger than ever. Iâ€™ve been using Fender Custom Shop 69s for awhile and Iâ€™ve found my tone.
Deciding which pickups to get is like buying stomboxes for your pedal board. Itâ€™s a matter of sorting out the gear you already have and what kind of tone you want. Vintage style single coils are â€“ in my opinion â€“ the most versatile pickups but theyâ€™re not for everyone. Especially if youâ€™re more into hard core metal than classic 70â€™s rock. Iâ€™ve seen some mixed reviews and some of the cons are that the 69s can be a bit too bright or doesnâ€™t have enough output but thatâ€™s the nature of vintage style single coils. Make the needed adjustments on your amp and pedals and make sure that the height on the pickups are correct and you should experience a much better tone.
What I wanted was something close to Davidâ€™s Animals and On an Island/Remember that Night tones and the CS69s captures the power and edge of both eras. Originally, Davidâ€™s Black Strat had stock Fender late 60â€™s pickups. These were replaced in 1972 by a set of Fender 1971 pickups â€“ both on which the CS69s are based on and later in 1979 David replaced the bridge pickup with a custom Seymour Duncan SSL-1, which is basically a hotter version of the CS-54 but again very similar to the CS69s.
– This clip is recorded at home using just the internal mic on my iMac. Not ideal but you’ll get the idea. Setup: CS69 pickups > Boss CS-2 > Boss BD-2 (modified) > Maxon OD808 > Boss DD-2 > Marshall 5210 amp.
Check out my Youtube Channel.
The CS 69s has a typical scooped mids tone with crystal clear top and a well balanced lower end. The transparent tone and the fairly low output makes them ideal for keeping your clean tone clean and they blend nicely with most pedals. Compared to the CS54, the 69s has a bit more bass but theyâ€™re very similar. I think I would go for CS69 on bright sounding guitars with alder or basswood bodies and CS54 on ash bodies for a bit brighter tone. The 69s nails most of Davidâ€™s tones and you can easily create some convincing PULSE tones with these too.