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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Custom Shop 54's

Previous 20 Messages  
Contributing Member


Feb 11th, 2007 08:26 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Semper, I use the standard height. Seems to work just fine for mine.



May 27th, 2007 12:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I was looking at putting together my dream strat; I love the vintage cherry burst Am. deluxe but found the vintage noiseless and Samarium pickups not to my taste!

I loved the custom shop 54's I played in a Ash bodied 60th Anniversary standard, and thought they would be wonderful in the Am. Deluxe. However, I have since been told that the mid pickup in the set is not reverse wound. Will this create issues or am I better off substituting (as I have been advised) the pickup in the mid position with a CS fat 50's to get the reverse wound in this position?

Any advice that can be offered would be greatly appreciated!

(This message was last edited by Arian_Stasir at 12:28 AM, May 27th, 2007)

Contributing Member

Atlanta, GA USA

"Life is good when you love your tone."
Jun 2nd, 2007 01:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

"I have since been told that the mid pickup in the set is not reverse wound. Will this create issues"

RWRP is overrated. Unless you happen to live in the 2 & 4 positions, I wouldn't concern myself with that.



Jun 19th, 2007 02:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I put some CS54's in my modified MIM Strat a couple of weeks ago. Initially, I had reservations. The sound was harsh and the G (.010 - .046's) was overbearingly loud and out of tune.

But, I lowered the pups, got a set of D'Addario with a wound G and now I'm knocked out.

Once in while I'll just stop playing, listen to a note die away and remark, "That's gorgeous."


Western Mass

Sep 5th, 2007 10:30 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I had a bit of an issue trying to identify which of my three pickups was the bridge pickup. It was not marked with the "red dot" that I've heard stories of.

The response from Fender (through my Sweetwater rep) was that the pole spacing was slightly wider overall on the bridge pickup. I measured and did find that one was ever so slightly different, but it was almost not measureable.

Is there a sure fire way to figure out if they're properly installed?

For what it's worth, they sound fantastic. A bit shrill through my TM60, but nice through my Pro Jr.



Jan 14th, 2008 08:55 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hey Fendermike,

So you switched the 1960 RElic pickups out to the CS54's?? (Is that what you mant by "A bit shrill through my TM60?). I'd be curious to hear which ones you liked more, or more about the tonal differences through the Custom Shop 1960.

I personally love the pickups in my 1960 CS relic, and wouldn't ever take them out. They are spot on duplicates of the early 60's late 50's strat pickups in my opinion. Of course each set can be slightly different, and the guitars themselves affect the tone of the pickups. But I'd still like to hear what you thought about the differences.

I too love the 54's, though they can be a bit shrill IMO. But they do have that early strat sound.


Lancaster, PA

Oct 20th, 2008 06:49 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I just put a set of 54's in my Jimmie Vaughan strat. When I bought it used, it had Fat 50's in it. I liked them but at the time wanted something a little hotter, so put some Mighty Mite Tex-Mex pickups in (I've never used the Fender ones, so I can't say how they compare). They really overdrove the amp well, but seemed a bit lacking in the tone department.

After doing a lot of research, including reading all the posts in this thread, I decided to take bluesmama's advice. I got a set of the 54's. They're a great balance between the 50's and the Tex-Mex. Great glassy tone, every position is useable (including the bridge) but tonally different, and they overdrive very nicely without losing that Fender sweetness.

I play blues, and these sound great. Can't wait to try them out at the jam this week! I'll play through my Pro Jr and take along my TS9DX in case I need more grit.

Thanks to all who posted here, and I'm happy to join the club!


USA Massachusetts

I wish my wife sounded like a strat.
Jan 24th, 2009 07:54 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My 54's should be here in a few days. Are the cs54's the same pickup as the real 54's fender use to sell?


The PA kid

Think it's swell playing in Japan...
Feb 2nd, 2009 10:11 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Muzzy - what do you mean by "real 54's"?


USA Massachusetts

I wish my wife sounded like a strat.
Feb 6th, 2009 04:53 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Stratman, About 10 years ago I bought a set of fender custom shop pickups that were advertized as real 54's. The packaging was similar to todays but said real 54's on it. I believe I got them from MF. They had a clear low output sound to them and I was wondering if they are the same pickups as the cs54's.



Feb 17th, 2009 07:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

As a newbie, I just have to put my 2 cents in. Bought a new sunburst American Series in '07, and really loved the feel, action, and beauty of it. But what it had in looks and feel, it lacked in tone. With the advice of an "old school" guitar guru, bought the cs54's. Lowered the pickups, restrung with 11's, and never looked back. Kudos to Fender.


Los Angeles, CA, USA

Oct 15th, 2009 04:02 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I read a few posts here in this thread. The topic of Custom '54s really caught my eyes because I swear by them. About 10 years ago I bought some Custom '54s at Angela on the internet. Angela is a website that sells a lot of guitar parts. They were $109 for the set. I installed them in a 1987 Fender Japan Strat. The stock pickups were not very good. I bought the guitar used about 1999. I replaced the pots and the wiring to with period appropriate clothe wire even though no one will look under the hood. I changed the capacitor but I forgot to what now. All I know is I did research and found out what capacitor was used back in 1954 and bought one of that value. My Strat has a maple fretboard if you are wondering. It looks basically like a '50s Strat with a custom color. The color is like a machine gun blue, not sure if they had that in those days. Reminds me of Johnny Marr's Strat he had with him in a photograph in a guitar mag from circa 1988 after he left The Smiths.

The guitar body is basswood so I'm not sure how diff it would sound with alder or ash but I will say that it sounds great. The sound knocks me out. I absolutely love it. One day I'll buy an ash wood Strat or make one and put Custom '54s in and hear how it is. I once tried a 1954 Strat at a Guitar Center once and if my ears were correct my Strat and the vintage one sounded similar. I can't say they were exactly sounding the same because I did not have mine to A/B and also the amp I tried it thru is diff than the ones I have at home and the vintage had an ash body. So I wonder if I bought an ash body Strat and had these installed would it sound like the vintage '54 Strat I tried? I saw one poster in this thread from years ago said that he did such a thing and people who hear his guitar and see it think it's a vintage '50s Strat. Now that is a testament to these pickups. I have tried Fat '50s and although they are nice I like Custom '54s much better. I get a Buddy Holly like tone from them and I also can approximate the Hank Marvin tone with the right echo settings. I did buy these on the recommendation of these pickups by Dick Dale. Not sure in this threat if anyone mentioned Dick Dale uses these. I did not speak to him personally but I read in some old Fender Frontline back then that Dick Dale uses these or something like that and that was good enough for me. You know what, Dick Dale is not only a great guitar player and nice guy but he was right Custom '54s are awesome pickups. Glad he is getting thru his cancer successfully. He was with Leo Fender in the early days of Fender and helped develop many of Fender's products so a guy like Dick Dale would know which pickups to use and he chose Custom '54s. That says a lot. One last thing I did try the '57/'62 many times and I don't really care for them. They lack the dimension and the character and tone that the Custom '54s have. As for Texas Specials, I really dislike. That's not how Fender single coils should sound in my opinion.

(This message was last edited by TheShadows at 04:09 PM, Oct 15th, 2009)

Think Floyd
Contributing Member

Eastern PA

Mar 20th, 2010 12:08 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I just sent payment on a used set of CS54 pups. I've decided to switch from my Area noiseless pups back to "regular" single coils. The only reason I bought the Areas was that I only have one guitar, and wanted to be able to play everything from clean to high gain on it without that annoying single coil hum.

I now realize that one Strat won't be able to cover everything that I like to play, and since I'm not in a gigging band the noise won't be too much of an issue. I want my Strat to sound like a "real" Strat again, and sometime in the future I plan on getting a double-humbucker LP-type guitar for distorted tones.

With one exception, I loved every YT clip I've seen of the CS54s. The 54s seem to be just what I want. I can't wait until I have them installed in my guitar!

Contributing Member

SoCal, USA

quietly hoarding guitars
Mar 31st, 2010 07:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The CS 54's will sound like a "real" Strat.

I still visit this thread from time to time; hard to believe that I posted the original thread on these pups ten years ago!

Proof that they're still the real deal.
If I want a Strat sound, I still reach for my CS54's. Thanks Fender.

Think Floyd
Contributing Member

Eastern PA

Apr 1st, 2010 08:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have my 54s, but I'm waiting on a new set of Parchment covers and knobs. I only foresee one problem... my lousy playing probably won't do these pups justice!

Think Floyd
Contributing Member

Eastern PA

Apr 11th, 2010 01:03 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Woo-Hoo! These 54s sound great! My Strat now has beautiful, sparkly clean tones and sweet quack, unlike the blah cleans of the Area pups. Before the Areas I had 57/62 pups and they were nice, but to my ears these 54s are much nicer. I'll just have to get used to the noise factor.

My guitar tech is a great player and tried my Strat through his Mesa Lonestar (clean and distorted) and Victoria Double-Deluxe... nice! Even I sounded good with these new pickups into that Lonestar.

The ONLY negative thing I noticed (besides the single coil hum) was the same old weird "G" string warbling noise when using a lot of gain. This is the same noise I hear on every vintage-staggered single coil pickup with the high G polepiece, so it's just the result of using a vintage stagger with a flatter neck radius. It doesn't seem too bad, and if it ever bothers me I could always lower the pickups a bit.

I'm so happy that my Strat finally sounds like a Strat! I didn't care for the original stock pups; they were okay, but not as good as these 54s.



Jun 9th, 2010 07:44 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi. I have a "Claptonized" strat, but am not enjoying the tone of my Kinman Trad Mk2 pickups with the EC Midboost kit.

Am contemplating replacing the pickups either with Vintage Noiseless or CS '54's.

Can anyone tell me whether the CS '54's still work well when hooked up to a midboost?

I can live with the hum of true single coils (should be just about the same as pairing single coils with an od pedal). I just heard a Don Mare Josie set recently and loved them, and hoping for a similar tone with the CS '54's...



South Carolina

I kicked cancer's ass!
Jun 9th, 2010 08:13 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I would think twice. I'm not sure but the mid boost will probably also boost the hum.

I had the CS54 pickups in mine for years. Loved the tone but finally got tired of the hum. I now have the Hot Noiseless and love them.



RonHalen Jokingly He Says
Jun 13th, 2010 01:43 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Arian, measure your pups with an ohmeter. The one pups that has the highest ohms should be the Bridge pup.

I have mine set at 2mm Treb and 4mm Bass. I got these off the 60 CS relic.

The CS 60 Relic pups and my Rumple Abby copies are my favs, but the CS-54s are still installed in one of my strats. I feel the CS 60s have a little more suttle coloring. When you dig you find something really nice hiding.

I do not have a prob with noise not having an RWRP mid pup.



So many guitars, so little time..!
Aug 21st, 2011 01:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Hi everyone, thanks for all the valuable tips here, especially bluesmama,

I'm about to start a PUP swap test on all of my strats - all of which need a bit of tonal tweaking. At least one is going to get a part, or full set of CS54's. I stumbled across this thread whiles doing a bit of research into the CS Trower signature which I believe has a CS54 in the neck position, a CS60s Mid and a Tex Spec (or poss TexMex?) in the bridge. I'm going to duplicate this setup in an (Alder/Maple) 50s strat, but have a few Q's. Are the neck and Mid PUPS identical....(ie not just the impedance) and are there and RW mids available?. Also, ref the bridge - Trower says he very rarely uses the bridge, so I'm wondering whether the Tex options are the best way to go (particuarly as I play this guitar very aggressively when soloing)

Ive also got an 80's Japanese 62 reissue (Basswood/Rosewood)and wondered if a full set of CS54's would work in this too? Ive got a stack of PUPs here to try inc a full set of Lace Holy Grails and a full Gold set, a set of Fender Vintage Noiseless, an EMG DG-20 setup, the CS54 and CS69, a Samarium Cobalt Bridge, and (dont laugh!) a set of cheap EMG designed Johnson Alnicos - which are currently in one of the alder/maple 50s strats (very noisy in 1,3 & 5 -needs shielding but tone is surprisingly usable!) .

Any tips would be very very useful...and I'm not after one guitar that will do all strat tones as I play all of them differently depending on how they 'speak to me' - so one alder/maple 50's one suggests a Trower/Hendrix kind of approach, another (the RW neck one) a Knopfler vibe, another 50's alder/maple has a definite Walter Trout thing going on, another one is very Eric Johnson-ish, and one (50's Alder/maple)I suspect is going to be set up for slide - aiming for a mix of Bonnie's and Sonny Landreths vibe.

One other thing, I'm recording (digitally with loads of analog outboard gear to warm things up), and there's enough electronic gadgets and screens nearby to satisfy NASA, so pickup noise is a bit of an issue !!!!

Thanks everyone

Steve :-)

(This message was last edited by Steve_strings at 01:55 AM, Aug 21st, 2011)

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FDP Forum / Fender Product Reviews / Custom Shop 54's

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