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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / More Fender Noiseless

Purple Valley
Contributing Member


Feb 20th, 2017 04:32 PM   Edit   Profile  

So, what's the actual deal with Fender's Noiseless Strat pups, anyway?

They made the Vintage Noiseless, which a lot of people seem to like, but just as many seem to find "sterile and lifeless."

So they keep coming out with "new and improved" versions. The SCN's, supposedly, were thicker sounding, but lacked bite and top end. Don't think they're even making those anymore. The N3's were supposed to finally be the ticket. I think they're still available, but they're not putting them on any guitars. The new "real deal' is supposedly the 4th Generation. Meanwhile, they're back to putting the old VN's on a bunch of models, even the MIM Roadhouse, as if the SCN and N3 never existed.

I've only tried the VN (like them, but too tame) and SCN (don't like). I'm leaving out the Hot Noiseless, which I do like, but they always seemed ignored by Fender for some reason, anyway.

Can anyone make some sense of this twisted story?

Contributing Member

So. Cal. USA

Feb 21st, 2017 02:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have put pickups in my guitars that I thought sounded good in other players guitars and have disliked them. Although I like the hot noiseless pretty much, I'd rather have a set of Lace Sensor Gold or Hot Gold.

My go to is VanZandt Blues for a Strat. Noise be damned.

Purple Valley
Contributing Member


Feb 21st, 2017 03:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hammond, same here. I have HN's in my #1,and like them, but they still miss a little bit. I love the sound of Golds/Hot Golds, but they are their own thing to me, not really a Strat--more like EMG's.

I've heard good things about DiMarzio Areas, but haven't tried them. I think I'm back in the 'noiseless is toneless' camp for now.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Feb 21st, 2017 04:11 PM   Edit   Profile  

"I think I'm back in the 'noiseless is toneless' camp for now."


Purple, what exactly do you feel is missing from the VN's?

5/8 of my guitars have either VN or Lace Sensors and I like them both a lot.
On the flip side, I tried a set of Area's (58/61) a couple years ago and found *them* kind of meh.

Admittedly, I wasn't very patient with them and only had them in the strat for a day or two before selling them.

I'd like to try Kinmans, but they're a little too pricey for me...

Purple Valley
Contributing Member


Feb 21st, 2017 05:08 PM   Edit   Profile  

Mick, I actually do like the VN's. I shouldn't say "toneless." I find the sound of VN's appealing, particularly for recording. I get why people like them. They're just a little clinical and compressed--like digital versus analog. Kind of like listening to a CD. Not unpleasant, just too polite, I guess. I'd put them with Lace Golds as being a sound of their own--though the Lace are even more compressed. The HN's sound much more like a regular Strat to me, but still a little bit subdued. I think I'm back to putting up with the hum for now. The VN's do seem to work really well with pedals, though, and with preamps, like the Clapton Sig.

The VN's do seem to be getting more love these days, for some reason.

Contributing Member

Oceanside, CA

Feb 23rd, 2017 03:51 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have VNs in a Squier 50s CV and in a Modern player Tele. I have at set of HNs in my '93 American Standard Strat. I had to go noiseless because of the loud hum at the church I play at. I think both versions sound really good with the HNs sounding the best, to me. With the price being the same if I do need another set I'll get the HNs.

Modal Magic
Contributing Member

MBJ, Highway Hound.

You Can't Bend It Aussie!
Feb 24th, 2017 08:30 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think it's a combination of searching for and marketing the ultimate noiseless pups and selling those that still have a degree of popularity. It's a business so Fender does what it can to make money.

I had a set of VNs in an MIM Players Deluxe Strat and really liked them. They did seem a wee clinical and slightly more tilted to a thicker humbucker sound (certainly not in a bad way though, and obviously up to individual interpretation). I think the clinical aspect is because they were so quiet. Anyway, I offloaded the guitar not because of the pups but because it was always a stiff player (no matter how much I adjusted to improve it) which made it a little easer when I had a bout of GAS for an Ibanez guitar so I traded it.

I also have a 2010 Deluxe Strat with N3s. I believe I'm in a minority but I reckon there're awesome. I have a bunch of vintage pups (CS '69s, '57/'62s, Fat 50s, AmStd pups prior to Fat 50s and MIM Classic pups) and the N3s fit somewhere in amongst them regarding tone. They can be bell like (determined mainly by amp settings) and IMO have a very nice, slightly modern-vintage tone. The N3s sort off stopped my search for noiseless pups but I'm still intrigued by HNs and the 4th generation Fender pups. The N3s also made it a bit easier to decide on off-loading the VN fitted Strat because to me they are better sounding.

To put it all into context, I have never played non-Fender noiseless pups and have only listened to YouTube examples so my experience is probably a bit skewed.



Feb 25th, 2017 09:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

I've installed my VN set yesterday. I really liked the sound! But I'm still learning to use the tone and volume. I'll have to install the treble bleed, because yes, they seems to lose a lot of tone with the volume rolled back. Let's see what happens. But anyway...that's a really vintage strat sound. I know that you guys told me to use the 250k pots, but I was sooo excited about changing everything that I put the 1Mega that came with the set, and the sound is pretty nice. I'll change someday just to see how it sounds with the 250k

Tony F

Long Island, NY

When you come to fork in road take it
Nov 14th, 2017 08:00 AM   Edit   Profile  

hey BluesBrazil
I think you'll loose the chime with 250k pots. I also like the 1 meg with these pups. I have the same problem as you when rolling off the volume even just a bit I loose all the tone. The treble bleed sounds like a good idea thanks.

(This message was last edited by Tony F at 10:17 AM, Nov 14th, 2017)

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / More Fender Noiseless

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