The Single Width for Strat is the next Fluence offering we are looking at from Fishman.
To put a cherry on top, this is actually the Fluence Loaded Pickguard! So we get to talk about how easy it is to swap out, while putting all that installation-related anxiety to rest! LOL!
You know the deal with Fishman’s Fluence line. But for newcomers, here’s the short version. In place of traditional wire, there is a very thin circuit board. How thin? Thinner than your patience when cut off in rush hour traffic! HaHa! The big upside is that they are all consistent. That means you can put some of these Single Width pickups in each of your Strats. The only difference will be the actual physical variations of the actual guitars.
This Single Width set is going in to my trusty 1990 American Standard Stratocaster with the maple fretboard. I always like to keep my frets shiny, so this is a good time to hit them with the Lizard Spit Ulimate Fret Polishing System. Otherwise, this is a loaded, pre-wired pickguard, so it’s a snap. Just for giggles, I’m choosing the challenge of going with a traditional 9v battery. And let me tell you, it does nestle up there just fine with no hassles. As an additional purchase, you can definitely go with one of a selection of rechargeable battery options from Fishman that can make your life easier.
A nifty feature about the pre-loaded pickguards are the push-pull pots. It comes from the factory with integrations for the HF Tilt and the Voice selection. It does come with the orthodox style of knobs for the pots, which is handy for the traditionalist. If you like more grip when pulling up, definitely proceed as you see fit.
If you choose to go at it on your own, here’s an install video:
Voice 1 is the traditional single-coil character. Snappy, chimey, and glassy with deliberate focus. There is a consistency across each position that genuinely makes this a calibrated set in the traditional sense. The in-between 2 and 4 spots are dead on target for all you Clapton fans, for example. Clean amp tones are a given on this voice. A big surprise is that they take dirty amp tones very well. That’s not always the case with single-coil pickups and can be a deal-breaker for some.
Which brings me to Voice 2. The intent here is for a beefier Texas Hot vibe. Speaking of beef, I do have one with some of the “Texas” style single-coils out there. In that so many of them chase a tone that’s coming from the right selection of amps. I think Fishman is on to something with what they have going on, which is more akin to a boosted shift in resonant peak. It’s pleasantly subtle, in as much as it’s not overbearing. My usage is finding it handy as a bit of a extra push for lead work. I like that it’s not overbearing.
The HF Tilt is a really convenient tool with the Single Width set. Fluence tech is not as susceptible to signal degradation across long runs of cable. The HF Tilt is meant to add that back in for players that factor it in as part of their sound. Depending on how you dial in your tone, you can use the HF Tilt for a thick-switch or for a little brighter snap.
Take a look at this rundown of the Single Width features:
And this demo from Greg Koch:
The Fluence tech is not measurable by DC resistance, as in the same way as traditions pickups. So here are the specs Fishman provides for the Single Width
Peak Frequency: Voice 1: 4 kHz / Voice 2: 3 kHz
Magnetic Material: Alnico 4
Magnetic Circuit: Rod Magnets
Pole Spacing: 52.2 mm
Output Impedance: 2 k
Current draw: 2 mA
Battery: 9-volt or options rechargeable battery pack
Battery Like: Up to 250 hours
The Single Width are going to be good for country, blues, funk, indie, reggae, pop, classic rock, jazz, finger-style, surf, punk, hard rock, and garage. The pickups and the loaded pickguard are available in black and white.
I do need to clarify that this evaluation is for a set of the Single Width for the purpose of a SSS set. One pickup has the brains, for lack of a detail-intensive explanation. As such, Fishman offers other Single Width options to be part of a HSS or a HSH set with the technology to get the intended results when mixed with Fluence humbuckers. Going to stop right here and suggest that you contact Fishman directly if you need to know more about all that sort of business. LOL!
For reference, this Fishman Fluence Single Width for Strat set evaluation was conducted with a Fractal Axe-Fx II XL+ featuring Celestion Impluse Responses and Fractal MFC-101 MIDI Foot Controller. Real cabs in use are Marshall 1960B, Mojotone British, and Peavey 6505 cabs loaded with Celestion Classic Series Vintage 30s and Classic Series G12M Greenbacks.
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