When you think of a 59 Clone Strat set of pickups, what comes to mind? Well, yeah, a 1959 Fender Stratocaster. And sure, the 1959 Strat might not be quite as coveted as the 59 Les Paul. But why not?
One of the best examples of what 1959 Strat pickups can do is on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance album? Alright. How many of you just did a double take? HaHa! Yep, Bowie’s seminal 80’s dance-rock masterpiece. Which is dripping with the swagger of Texas bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Oh! But Stevie’s Strat was a…. Hold up there. Whatever 60s neck and body he used, they were 1959 pickups. Nothing big or beefy or over-powered, as “Texas Special” or “Texas Hot” would have people think was going on. In fact, pretty darned low-powered by a lot of current standards.
Wait?! How did Stevie get that big, hot, thick tone from that famously glassy and spanky set of 1959 Strat pickups? Heavy strings, strong hands, and a signal going out to a lot of amps. So what’s all this about? It’s about tone, my young padawan. And that’s why we’re looking at Mojotone’s 59 Clone Strat set. You have to start with great tone before you put it in to the fancy pedals and amps.
For this test run, I put the 59 Clone Strat set in my trusty 1990 Fender American Standard. I’m using the Mojotone Solderless Strat Blender Guitar Wiring Harness, making the install a snap! So we’re talking about CTS pots, a Switchcraft jack, a handmade Vitamin T oil-filled .047uF cap, a treble bleed, and a CRL 5-way switch.
To start off, you can bet I’m hitting the clean amp tones. The 59 Clone Strat set is nailing the famously glassy expectation. Every one of the 5 positions is exceptionally expressive. The set is extraordinarily well-voiced, in that it never falls in to the common tonal traps of contemporary single coil pickups. Wound strings are clear and the higher strings have presence. Chords have definition and single notes are bold.
Dirtier amp tones are always fun, wouldn’t you agree? LOL! And the dirtier I take the amp, the more the 59 Clone Strat set responds to the opportunity. Some pickups might fall apart when hitting the higher levels of gain and saturation. Come on, we’ve all been there. HaHa! This 59 Clone set will stand up and slap yo’ mamma! The tonally-balanced voicing in the clean amp settings were doing their job here as well.
Some players might be wondering how these single coils deal with hum. Amazingly well. I like me a ton of gain. And the 59 Clone Strat set very much surprises me in how little hum is going on. And to really butter your biscuits, the middle pickup is RWRP, so 2 and 4 positions are a joy.
The real cherry-on-top of the 59 Clone Strat set is the touch of aged flavor. It’s more like you are playing pickups out of a 1959 Stratocaster, more so than you are playing a brand new set of pickups. Imagine the difference between some tequila shots and some single-malt scotch accompanied by a nice cigar. This set has the refined sensibilities of the latter.
Have a look/listen of this set in action:
And now for some specs:
Bridge – 5.934 K, 2.219 H
Middle – 6.218 K, 2.47 H
Neck – 5.642 K, 2.048 H
Magnet – Alnico 5
Bass – 3.5
Middle – 3.5
Treble – 7
The attention to detail in the construction of these pickups is exceptional. From the flatwork to the vintage-spec heavy Formvar wire to the beveled and staggered magnets. You can get the 59 Clone Strat pickups (<- LINK!)in a set or individually. Cover options include white, black, mint green, parchment, cream, and aged white.
For reference, this Mojotone 59 Clone Strat Pickup set evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. Real cabs used were Marshall 1960B cabs loaded with Celestion Vintage 30s and G12M Greenbacks.