#169107  by wpmartin1979
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:20 am
lbpesq wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:40 pm
wpmartin1979 wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:33 pm
lbpesq wrote:
Sun Dec 27, 2020 11:38 pm
I’ve not heard that Alembic went through Alligator before. They are friends. I’ll ask.

Bill, tgo
Ok I’m told that it was Rick Turner formerly of Alembic that rewired the guitar and that it was a ‘55 Strat with Alnico III pups and that they switched to Alnico V in “56. Is any of this verifiable?
FWIW, the research I’ve done since this thread started suggests that Fender used Alnico 3 magnets on early ‘54 Strats, but had switched to Alnico 5 by 1955. That would seem to indicate Alligator had Alnico 5 pickups, assuming they were original. But, having worked with Alnico 2,3,4,and 5 pole magnets, I can’t fathom how you can tell the difference looking at a completed pickup unless you have some serious scientific testing equipment, if such equipment even exists.

Bill, tgo
Interesting info! Wouldn’t most 55’ Strats be made/assembled in 54’? I am assuming there is some sort of delay between when the guitars are made and when they are released. For example, Fender assembles 1500 guitars, begins the promotion marketing process, makes their deals with distributors etc., then the guitars are released. Maybe a 6-10 month process?This could also be a factor.
This may explain why there are no “‘55” Fender pickups. There are “54” pickups (Alnico 3) and then it jumps to ‘56-57 pickups (Alnico 5). If 1955 was the transition year then it would make sense that 54-55 guitars had the Alnico 3 and 56-57 they changed to Alnico 5. Unless anyone can point out someone who makes a ‘55 pickup.
Last edited by wpmartin1979 on Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #169108  by wpmartin1979
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:26 am
wpmartin1979 wrote:
Tue Dec 29, 2020 8:20 am
lbpesq wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 7:40 pm
wpmartin1979 wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 1:33 pm

Ok I’m told that it was Rick Turner formerly of Alembic that rewired the guitar and that it was a ‘55 Strat with Alnico III pups and that they switched to Alnico V in “56. Is any of this verifiable?
FWIW, the research I’ve done since this thread started suggests that Fender used Alnico 3 magnets on early ‘54 Strats, but had switched to Alnico 5 by 1955. That would seem to indicate Alligator had Alnico 5 pickups, assuming they were original. But, having worked with Alnico 2,3,4,and 5 pole magnets, I can’t fathom how you can tell the difference looking at a completed pickup unless you have some serious scientific testing equipment, if such equipment even exists.

Bill, tgo
Interesting info! Wouldn’t most 55’ Strats be made/assembled in 54’? I am assuming there is some sort of delay between when the guitars are made and when they are released. For example, Fender assembles 1500 guitars, begins the promotion marketing process, makes their deals with distributors etc., then the guitars are released. Maybe a 6-10 month process?This could also be a factor.
If Rick Turner rewired the guitar perhaps he did a sound test to find out what pickups they were? He could have played the ones in Alligator and compared them to Alnico 5s (also played) to distinguish certain characteristics that would define the pickup.
 #169109  by franklins_timmy
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 9:17 am
Gr8fulCadi wrote:
Mon Dec 28, 2020 2:12 pm
I’m giving the Alnico III’s a shot with my 2010 American Strat FSR in Natural. I purchased the 54’ Vintage Sparkle set from BootStrap. I haven’t installed them yet so more to come.

Anyone looking for Fender CS69’s pickups with only a few hours of use, hit me up!
Is this your first time buying from Bootstrap? Definitely would be interested in what you think about them... tone, quality, etc. Took a look into them, quite a bit of good talk floating around about them. May have to grab the same set to see if I like the alnico 3's better than 5's in my Jerry Strat.

Edit: Found a video with the 54 Sparkle, sound pretty good.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao96yQEMdk8
 #169110  by lbpesq
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:03 am
Jblue76 wrote:
Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:05 am
Interesting to hear this history unpacked a bit. For me, regardless of what alligator actually had, the suggestion that it was A3s got me listening to some comparisons online; I actually like the sound of the 3s a bit better with the more chimney high end and a sort of thinner character. It makes sense to my ear that the 3s could have been what Jerry was using, not that one couldn’t accomplish the tone with 5s.
Most descriptions have the 5s as having more high end and the 3s as warmer sounding. IMHO, this stuff is VERY subjective. But I still maintain that, in general, one cannot look at a completed pickup and determine the type of magnet. One possibility though has to do with the size of the pole pieces. I have read that Fender used oversize magnets in ‘54 - .200 diameter, then soon changed to the current .187 diameter pole pieces. If that is true, it would be easy to distinguish the different size pole pieces.

Bill, tgo
 #169111  by Jblue76
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 10:50 am
Interesting— to my ears I heard just the opposite! Then again, shitty phone speakers and you tube video recordings could easily account for that. Also, wouldn’t be the first time my experience was exactly backwards!
 #169113  by strumminsix
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:30 am
Good luck on the journey. I recall all the Weir rigs I've had: 70s Ibanez guitars, Blackknifes, IVP preamp, UE700, UE400, UE405, Fenders, Mesas, etc etc. And at the end of the day having only half the ingredients made it more difficult than having none of the ingredients. Realize Jerry got his tone from the guitar, pickups, cables, woods, preamps, poweramps, and playing at stadium level volume. JBLs pushed to that level sound very different than what most of play at in our homes and bars. And so much of that JG sound comes from his technique.

I'll always encourage folks to invest more cycles on listening to the gear vs looking at the gear.
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 #169114  by lbpesq
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 1:51 pm
Regardless of the equipment: instrument, pickups, pots, capacitors, preamp, power amp, effects, speakers, etc., the bottom line is that at least 90% of the equation is in the fingers.

Bill, tgo
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 #169115  by Gr8fulCadi
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:09 pm
franklins_timmy wrote:
Tue Dec 29, 2020 9:17 am

Is this your first time buying from Bootstrap? Definitely would be interested in what you think about them... tone, quality, etc. Took a look into them, quite a bit of good talk floating around about them. May have to grab the same set to see if I like the alnico 3's better than 5's in my Jerry Strat.

Edit: Found a video with the 54 Sparkle, sound pretty good.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao96yQEMdk8
This is my 1st purchase of Bootstrap pickups. I’ve read only but good things about them, and the price is unreal!! I’m not necessarily chasing alligator’s tone, but I’ve never tried Alnico 3’s so.....

Bootstrap’s description of the Alnico 3’s is, because of the less output vs the alnico 5’s, it’ll provide more sparkle which makes sense.
 #169116  by lbpesq
 Tue Dec 29, 2020 3:52 pm
I just checked out the Bootstrap,site. $50 for a set of Strat pickups! Amazing price! One thing I noticed is that they are using enamel coated wire. Fender vintage pickups all used Heavy Formvar wire. But this whole thread has me curious. I think I’ll order some Alnico 3 magnets and wind a set to 50s spec and see how they sound.

In all this research I ran across another interesting variable. I found a source that contended that the ‘54 stagger had a pole piece on the G string that was lower than the D string. This was done because most players at the time used a wound G. This was quickly (‘55 or ‘56?) changed to a G pole piece the same height as the D - and the common 50s stagger.

Bill, tgo
Last edited by lbpesq on Thu Dec 31, 2020 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 #169123  by wpmartin1979
 Thu Dec 31, 2020 8:23 am
strumminsix wrote:
Tue Dec 29, 2020 11:30 am
Good luck on the journey. I recall all the Weir rigs I've had: 70s Ibanez guitars, Blackknifes, IVP preamp, UE700, UE400, UE405, Fenders, Mesas, etc etc. And at the end of the day having only half the ingredients made it more difficult than having none of the ingredients. Realize Jerry got his tone from the guitar, pickups, cables, woods, preamps, poweramps, and playing at stadium level volume. JBLs pushed to that level sound very different than what most of play at in our homes and bars. And so much of that JG sound comes from his technique.

I'll always encourage folks to invest more cycles on listening to the gear vs looking at the gear.
I hear you in this, but it is still fun to try and replicate the tone. It is also an important part of history to figure out what equipment was being used and how it affected the sound. Alligators tone can be closely replicated with a strat and a tube screamer.

Also, I think that there are some heads out there who are getting really close to Bobby and Jerry while playing at lower volumes.
Here’s an example-Dan Jamison, not only has he learned the proper technique/fingering, but he’s pretty dang close on the tones too :

https://youtu.be/2X4yYfih_yo

For the alligator tone he’s using voodoo 69s in a strat and a thick air, for the Bobby tone an old neck thru Ibanez - plus the guy can play! Enjoy!