How To Identify Fender Pickups – The Best Way To Check This Item

How to identify Fender pickups? This is an endless question, but it really does encourage you to find out. In this article, you will find an outstanding checklist of guidelines on how to identify Fender pickups.

Fender pickups are often “relabelled,” like Humbuckers, with the same pattern, various names. But they release special “one-off” pickups, for example, to boost the winds in a single bow pickup with HSS guitars.

For single bobbles, it can be a real challenge only because their “pose” is frequently the same as size, so too, the bottoms are often unmarked, and the “bobbin” number is mistaken (Fender used lots of bobbins that have the same number).

We have concluded all the helpful information in this article. You will notice these aspects throughout this article about how to identify Fender pickups:

  • Ways to identify Fender pickups
  • A checklist to see which Fender pickup type is
  • All you need to know about Fender Noiseless Pickups
  • Ways to know the date of Fender pickups
  • FAQ

Ways To Identify Fender Pickups

Fender’s identification varies from easy to occasionally hard work. Fender does not generally “set” its pickups and usually has no system or other single identifiers. However, fortunately, there have been several years in which pickups are reliable.

There are multiple points to be identified:

Magnet Type

how to identify fender pickups

We use permanent magnets in guitar pickups. Some magnets generate a permanent magnetic field – a field that continuously pulls and moves. It could be an alloy, like AlNiCo (Hey! A combination of metals! You’ve read that!), or Rare-Earth magnets like Samarium-Cobalt and Neodymium.

Alnico is an alloy type. It is a type of Aluminum, Nickel, and Cobalt – combined with Iron. I’m sure you know people who use alloys because they make metals more substantial and more powerful. Alnico is relatively tricky to de-magnetize for our purposes and also has various powers. Both of these have a significant effect on your sound.

On Fender pickups, they usually use the Alnico 3 and Alnico 5.

Alnico 3

Alnico 3 has the lowest string pull in the bar magnet and is the Alnico magnets’ weakest. The lows are smooth and jumpy, mids typically are warm and absolute, and the high ones are glassy, and they are a guitar pickup magnet.

In Fender Real 54’s, they use Alnico 3 magnets to feel light and glassy. Curiously, Alnico 3 has a bar magnet shape weaker than Alnico 2 but a rod magnet shape better than Alnico 2.

Alnico 5

It is Fender’s most popular pickup magnet, by far. The typical tone of the Fender is Alnico 5’s rod shape. In all our Strat, Tele, and Bass pickups, they are using Alnico 5. It has the highest combination of prolonged lows, middle and heavy in Fender-style pickups.

Alnico 5 makes us so used to the airy, open-top finish sparkle. It’s brighter than Humbuckers, so they use these pickups in the High-Power Humbuckers.

Insulation Type

how to identify fender pickups

Fender has two types of insulation: Formvar and Plain Enamel.


Heavy Formvar is an isolation kind of cable. The isolation defends the wire from short circuits. The heavy formvar wire was better known in the ‘50s and early ‘60s for its use in Fender pickups.

The Formvar magnetic wire is a continuous uniform film composed of vinyl acetal resins. Formvar possesses outstanding mechanical properties such as resistance to abrasion and stability. In vintage single-coil vintage pickups dated from the 1950s and ’60s, the accurate wire is frequently used in many modern and personalized pickups.

The Formvar isolation is thicker, makes a fatter coil. 7500 PE turns would be less than the same number of Formvar turns. The focus of the magnetic field could shift.

Plain Enamel

Plain Enamel is a wire isolation type. The isolation defends the wire from short circuits.

This wire is a staple of old pickups and new replicas, such as in antique pickups from Gibson and Fender.

In comparison to the more consistent modern poly-coated wire, the simple enamel coating differs more by thickness. This provides a single, more raw sound for individual pickups.

Multimeter Reads

Basically, the multimeter reads vary in different models of Fender pickups.


Usually, they are from 5.8K/2.6H. Some models can have 5.9K, maybe a 6.2K. This all depends on the Fender model.


Usually, they are from 5.8K/2.6H. Some models can have 5.9K, maybe a 6.2K. This all depends on the Fender model.

Some of the pickups may have the acronym RWRP. RWRP is a Reverse Wound, Reverse Polarity abbreviation related to the pickup procedure to cancel the pickup. A brief overview of how pickups work is essential to learn how this happens.

In brief, one single spool collection is RWRP compared to the other guitar tracks, and a hum-canceling effect occurs when the RWRP collection is chosen along with those other pickups.

How To Know If The RWRP Is In The Pickup

Like every other magnet, you can equate the polarity of two pickups — keep the poles together. If they repel, the contradiction is the same. If they stain, the polarity is the opposite.


Usually, they are from 5.8K/2.6H. Some models can have 5.9K, maybe a 6.2K, even a 6.9K. This all depends on the Fender model.

A checklist to see which Fender pickup type is

Below is a list of questions you can quickly answer to figure which model is your Fender pickups.

How To Identify Fender Pickups

Pickup Poles

  • Rounded (beveled) or cut off
  • Heights (flat or staggered) and the difference

Pickup Wires

  • Wire colors
  • Color scheme
  • Types (cloth covering, plastic covering, …)

Pickup Bottom

  • Two magnets (MIM, some imports)
  • Screws
  • Physical appearance

Some pickups have very distinctive bottom looks.

Measurement Of DCR (DC Resistance)

But don’t ignore that some pickups seem to adjust this measurement but generally within 10%. What are these three measurements? Are they representative of what you believe they might be?

How Did The Stratocaster Model And Year Come About?

If you have this information, it can be beneficial. If you have this knowledge, you can look up the catalog or even browse the site.

Was the Mexican or American guitar made? (Mexico or MIM painted/assembled)

All You Need To Know About Fender Noiseless Pickups

What Are Noiseless Pickups From Fender?

Noiseless pick-ups are not classified as single-coils despite their shape but are instead bumper pick-ups.

While it looks like single coils and sounds more like single coils, it functions more like humbuckers.

This feature eliminates smoke and noise while retaining the familiar thin and luminous single-coil sound.

How Are They Sound Like?

How To Identify Fender Pickups

The noiseless pickup tone can be regarded as less articulated variations of the standard single-coil versions in tone. However, the advantage is that they emit less mood, hum, and intrusion.

And just how are they calmer? Well, on his usual single-coil model, Fender implemented an intuitive ‘stacked’ style. In a second of their construction, I will go into depth and how these collectors work.

However, Fender effectively stacks an additional pickup in a single-coil compartment, contributing to the reduction of hum, buzz, and excessive noise.

Short Background

First, in 1998, Fender unveiled the line of Noiseless Pickups. Since then, they have supplied an extended range of Fender versions for several iterations of their Noiseless Pickups.

Though they are generally mistaken as single-coils, Fender tries to eliminate doubt by using the simple name “noiseless pickups” by not labeling them to “coils” of any type. Interestingly, ‘Noiseless single-coil pickups’ are not available since a pickup composed of a packed configuration is simply a humbucker.

Noiseless pickups are bumpers, but misunderstood as single spindles because they fit into a slot on a guitar’s body.

How Do Fender’s Noiseless Pickups Function?

What makes these pickups unique when it comes to design?

Fender Noiseless Pickups comprise two single-coil pickups, which work in one single-coil bay, generally referred to as the ‘single-coil stacked pickup’.

This layered style doubles the copper buckle-like windings. Thus, the same sound is thicker than the bumper. The disadvantage of standard single-coil pick-ups is minimizing the bump and bum.

It is straightforward to understand that noise-free pickups are like snakes. Two single-coils wound side by side are made up of a conventional humbucker.

Whereas noiseless pickups are necessarily two single-coil pickups, but they share the same characteristics as humbuckers. These qualities are designed to decrease the 60-cycle hum, a vital feature of the bumper.

They get confused, as described before, as single-coils, so they are indeed a single-coil tractor, just a tweaked bumper. But note, it can look disappointing.

How Noiseless Are Noiseless Pickups?

how to identify fender pickups

Noiseless collectors do a fine job of reducing hum and noise dramatically. This means that they contain a few quantities of buzz but much lower than ordinary single-coil collectors.

And if the name means ‘Noiseless,’ the pickups are not completely quiet. That said, the individual spires that burn up and buzz for days are much softer than usual.

Comparison Between Noiseless Pickups And Single-coil Pickups

Fender Noiseless Pickups maintain the standard ‘twang’ and ‘high’ sounds of ordinary single spindles when contrasting tones. They express not as brightly as regular individual bobbins, the most considerable distinction. Some players classify the versions quite bogged down.

Every pickup has more copper winds and behaves like a jigsaw that decreases its appearance and joints, which adds space to its usual tone. It is more of a choice and your taste if you want this special beef.

So what are the tonal advantages over standard single spindles?

How To Identify Fender Pickups

In my view, it is best to use noiseless pickups in blurred sounds, from light crack to highly warped rock areas.

They perform significantly to minimize 60-cycle humming and still deliver the typical one-coil sound. If you play with a heavy amount of distortion but leave the sparkling single-coil note, it will dramatically enhance your live sound.

Regular single coils are established as feedback and noise nightmares when played live in concert by cranked amps. Noiseless pickups are also an excellent option if 70% distortion and overdriving are the fundamental sound.

I agree that if you want to play some kind of metal style, I won’t select Noiseless Pickups over Active Pickups. That is because active pickups are almost invisible, and the guitar sound is thickened.

Noise-free pickups are not as vivid and crisp as a regular single-coil pickup if it goes to clear tones. They do not provide a complete single-coil experience with light and chimney. However, they give a different taste than standard single-coils, which some players enjoy.

Why Choose Silent Pickups?

That’s the primary issue? Noiseless Pickups exist because they give the usual one-coil sound without the distraction of the 60-cycle sound characteristic of standard single coils.

Also, they eliminate the need for an average pickup in your guitar to change the sound completely. Don’t suit one if you don’t want to hear a humbucker!

Let’s presume that you want to reduce your instrument’s noise and intrusion, yet your guitar has no slot cavity? Noiseless pickups would then be the best option since they are simply a hump that slips into an individual spool slot.

Boiling holes to your guitar’s internal interior need specific heavy changes, let alone costs a hefty amount for these changes. Unless it is adequately insulated, noiseless pick-ups are an excellent choice in these cases to reduce the ambient sound of your instrument.

Are The Noiseless Pickups Of Fender Active Or Passive?

how to identify fender pickups

This is a fascinating and vital topic for guitarists looking at new future instrument pick-ups. Your question to answer… Fender Noiseless Pickups do not have ‘passive’ pickups involved and categorical.

They do not follow a preamp phase that demands control with a 9V battery, typical for “working pickups” guitars.

However, although passive, some performers have been identified as having tonal qualities comparable to active pickups. This is because active pick-ups are not as luminous and slim as a traditional passive one-coil.

Installing Noiseless Pickups

Well, you have two options. If you have soldering experience or pay an expert guitar tech to mount these for you, you can install these pick-ups yourself. The guitar modding culture is associated with Fender since the electronics they produce are therefore available.

However, if you have no connecting and wiring expertise, I recommend that you bring your guitar to a qualified guitar technician to operate with you.

Ways To Know The Date Of Fender Pickups 

The pickups of Vintage Fender are very sought after. It’s all a puzzle to find these pickups. And if you buy it online for a high price, how do you know the worth of your vintage? Fender has had various processes to calculate the date of its pickups until 1967.

Age Of Pickup Determination

Don’t be scared by it for this mission, even though you’ve never used a multi-meter. Everything we’ll do is measure the ohm of a pickup, written on your meter or with the question mark (?). Turn the microphone and adjust it to 20k ohms. Ensure the black sonder is connected to the meter’s ordinary socket (usually COM on the meter). The red sonde is connected to the volts/ohm socket (this should be easily identifiable on any multimeter).

This editorial stop after 1967 provides instructions for dating. After 1965 pickups are still widely requested. It is less simplistic to classify pickups after 1977, and it needs further analysis.

Follow this step on how to know the date of Fender pickups:

how to identify fender pickups

Step 1: Clean

Until measurement, clean the set using Naptha or some other fast-drying detergent. Make sure that anything used to purify the pickup leaves no trace. And make sure they are appropriately soldered in the pick-up (on the rear of the pick-up).

Step 2: Connect The Pickup

how to identify fender pickups

Attach the multimeter samples to the end of the pickup lines. You don’t need to care about which wire the ground probe can attach to. Write the multimeter read down. If multiple attempts are not read, the winding is breached in the pickup, and a trained mechanic may have to repair it before you can proceed.

Step 3: Check The Pickup

how to identify fender pickups

Remove the plastic cover (unless it is already coming off). If the surface provides some strength, it is probably linked to some wax and encouraged to get off a little punch. The flat job is either black or gray (the acrylic plate at the bottom of the pickup).

Gray flat works represent the building of the pick-ups between March 1964 and the second half of 1971. Black flat works demonstrate that the pickup was installed before or after March 1964. To decide the extent of your collection, scope the pickup to detect if it is distorted.

Fender started doing thinner flat work after 1965 that caused temperature and other variables to be distorted. It is a Pre CBS pickup if your pickup is smooth and has a thick piece of flat labor.

You could have stumbled at a rare and precious Pre CBS pickup if you check at a Fender Telecaster pickup that does not have flat employment.

Step 4: Inspect The Pickup

Inspect the winding of the wire around the pickup while the shield is already off. It was presumably a computer wound if the wiring is uniform and has no difference. After 1965, Fender continued to use the method of the system wound. The wire was designed before 1965 when it was somewhat random and displayed numerous patterns and crossing points.

Step 5: Compare

Read the multimeter you have previously written and equate it with the following requirements:

19555.89k1962 6.22k
19586.20k1965 5.80k
19595.95k1966 5.76k

This information can help reduce the date of birth of your pickup compared to the other variables mentioned above. Additional considerations such as the magnet’s construction and polarity and the steering wires’ isolation composition will further reduce construction time. For that to happen, the pick-up has to be demolished, and that goes beyond that. If you’re still uncertain, get the help of a trained technician.

Small Advice

  • Get samples of multimeter clips, if necessary. It helps to clip the pieces to the lead wires easily while testing for ohms instead of keeping the lead wires and samples together when attempting to read the meter correctly.
  • Be very cautious about the lead wire and pickup winding fields. The wire measurement is as thin as the hair and very easy to crack. It may be adequate to remove the cover and keep the finger clots from the business areas addressed.


How Do Pickups Function?

Each pickup is the same, but it comes in different shapes and sizes. Pickups transform a string’s vibration into an electric signal that passes via a mixer or an amplifier and makes a sound through a speaker.

A magnet field wrapped in a couple of thousand turns of copper wire is projected to collect the vibration. If a string vibrates, it disturbs the area and therefore amplifies the electric current.

How Do Pickups Construct?

Guitar pickups are made up of magnets and spindles. Some poles are pulled upright by a spool of the central material (the magnet). The magnets are wrapped in wire rolls. You will then provide a cover for collection, generally made of plastic or metal, to protect the wire coils.

When A Pickup Is “Hot,” What Does It Mean?

how to identify fender pickups

The more intense the signal sent to the amplifier, the higher the pickup output, the more easy the sound is to distort through the speaker. The “hotter,” the more quickly it distorts the pickup.

All the same, a pick-up that has a significantly higher yield of windings would have. In general, the higher voltage means more intermediate frequencies and less high frequencies.

Hot pickups became more common in the 1970s, as amps were only coming along with plenty of profit and overdrive pedals.

How Much Do Pickups Cost?

It’s all up to the brand.

Fender released a limited run of 300 Master Pickup Winder Josefina Campos hand-wounded pickups at Ancho Poblano Strat. You get an excellent $500 for those, while Fender Tex-Mex Strat purchase, which is worth $99.99, is the most inexpensive upgrading on the list.

At the end of the day, though, you can’t change your sound any more than upgrading your PUPs.

But What Happens Over Time With This Pickup Structure?

The first thing your pickups will do is to lose their magnetism, so it gets weaker. Sometimes, for a long time, this usually occurs. Few people assume that if you hold the guitar connected to other magnets, for example, microphones, this mechanism is accelerated, but it doesn’t matter that much.

Secondly, bobbin degradation may occur. The bobby keeps the magnets straight to change as the bobble begins to rust and break down. This adds to lower performance when playing those strings. However, relative to contemporary guitars, this is much more a challenge for antique guitars.

Either with wax or shellac, most modern guitars avoid corrosion of the bobbin. In certain situations, the wire coils can start cracking and corroding so that the pickups split.

What Does It Sound Like With Old Pickups?

Old and worn pickups are often weaker and flatter. This is because the production (power) is lower, softer, and not so punchy.

They even sound flattered and silly. This is when the reaction is weakened. Treble frequencies are what sharply and sound everything. But you would need a lot of triples if you want simple notice distinction.

Sadly, old pickups can begin losing some of this treble. It sounds flat and less sharp and crisp than it used to be.

Are Pickups Making A Difference?

Pickups certainly make a big difference, particularly in terms of style for your tone. Recall, the collectors decide who and what your amp is receiving, and then your amp can sculpt what you hear. The pickup shift will change the guitar‘s tone dramatically!

Can You Mix The Pickups?

You can mix and match anytime you want as long as they are both active or passive.

It depends on how they fit together. This can work for your advantage if you like pickups outside their places and bumper vs. single spiral to sound different. If many collectors are used in intermediate positions, if their voices are not compatible, they will operate against you. You could even run into problems like a pickup with a lot more output, but it’s a bit of a par with a jerk on a bridge.

Does The Form Of Pickup Matter?

How To Identify Fender Pickups

Yes, whenever it gets to longevity, the form of pickup counts. The most extended living of single-coil pickups, accompanied by passive P90s and shoulder-highlights, is typically the quickest to be degraded.


Single buckle pickups appear to age the best of all pickup types. The reason for this is, the magnets lose their magnetism for longer. Usually, the magnetic poles are very complicated, but they take longer to degrade and lose triple and production.

Passive Humbuckers P90s

Humbuckers and P90s use weaker magnets, so they weaken a little more than single bobbin collectors. They are, however, typically very sturdy, especially compared to active pickups.

Active Pickups

Active pickups have an incredibly high performance, but sadly they lose a lot soon. This generally leads to a lower and less triple tone, which creates a worse note separation.

How Long Does Age Take For Pickups?

In most cases, pick-ups last for years until they begin to worsen. This would not apply in most situations. If, though, you have had your pickups for more than five years and you begin to find a little more flatter and softer, it may be worth bringing your guitar to the shop to see it.

The majority of individual bobbin pickups take six months to 1 year to feel at their best, and after god knows how many years, your tonal quality can deteriorate.

Passive buggies and P90s split up faster and usually sound better after around six months. It usually lasts over 50 years until it too starts to deteriorate.

The most rapid aging is active pickups. Output and the treble frequencies will typically drop significantly after roughly two years of solid use.

What Can I Do To Make My Pickup Last Longer?

So you can know how you can make your guitar pickups last longer until your tonal output begins to decrease.

Also, you can’t do anything to slow this aging process down. When you use common sense to keep your pickups tidy and dust-free, you do the right thing.

What Is Re-Magnetization Pickup?

My famous question guitarists ask, are you able to revitalize your pickups? In truth, the answer is yes. You should re-magnetize your pickups and provide them with a new lifetime. This means that the pickup is moved between two very efficient magnets.

But I wouldn’t necessarily suggest that you do this alone. You will hurt both yourself and the instrument if you do not even know what you are doing.

If you think that your pickups need to magnetize, send your guitar to an expert to help you.


So you’re going to go there! Thank you for reading. I hope you find this helpful article. We should know how to identify Fender pickups, and you would love the various channel management methods!

Leave a Comment