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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / 2 sets of CS69 pickups , 2 Strats very different sound



Apr 6th, 2018 07:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hi everyone ,

I've just acquired a 1982 tokai springy sound (57 Strat copy) that has cs69s in it .
and it's quite different sounding from my Fender Classic Player 60s with its cs69s.

I know the body and neck will affect tone, - I expected a bit of a different tone , but I'm also hearing a lot less clarity, attack and upper mids and treble from the Tokai strat.
The Tokai has newish electrics in it, so its not old 80s ones, and quality cloth wiring. It does have one of the goldish anodised (aluminium?) scratchplate. Also has new strings exactly same as on my CP60. I was told electrics & pups were installed by a tech , and all looks good quality.

It's similar but the tone is way flatter, less bright. Much more scooped mids and more bass ..its like the tone controls are on 6 compared to the CP60 strat. Or likeI'm using cheap old strings on it.

The upside is it's a warmer tone as the CP60 can be a bit harsh with tone at 10. But it's lost the nice spanky twang on the note attack and the clarity and these sound more like 62 for mex pickups in that sense mine g a bit more 'wooly' .
I have set the pickups to be less bassey like I usually do, which helped from initial sound.

So just wondering anyone's thoughts and experiences on this ?
Could it be tone pots. capacitors. or CS69s a few years apart are completely different. Or simply the guitar body. ?
CP60 has a rosewood neck and the Tokai a Maple , so I thought it would be a touch brighter, but not so..

Any help appreciated

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Apr 6th, 2018 10:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

I think it can be the cumulative effect of all those things. You obviously can't change the neck and body (well you could...but that's not what you seem to be talking about, here), so I would certainly start with the pots and also see what capacitors are attached in the circuit. That makes a ton of difference in my book. Also...which pickups have tone circuits on them? That could also be part of your equation. In any of these guitars, it is often a helpful mod to put the treble-bleed mod into your circuit so you don't lose that high end sparkle as your volume is turned down.

Pots are notorious for varying over a fairly significant range. As example, a 250K pot could actually be a 280K pot, or even a 230K pot. That's just how they come out. I personally use a 500K pot for my volume control (w/treble-bleed mod), for extra dynamics, power and volume. For the tone pots, I stick with the 250K rated pots--but I check them with a digital multi-meter before I install them to be sure I'm within the acceptable range of what I know my ears like to hear.



Apr 6th, 2018 01:26 PM   Edit   Profile  


Yeah imagine is a culmination of things , suspect pots & capacitors , as I do feel the pickup sound is being degraded , it’s not like it’s same but duller, attack is much less , it that could be perceived due to loss of highs. Plus a bit mushy.
I don think there are tone cuircuits in either of them , jsutnstandard strat wiring .

I’m going to try and swap over pick guards with pups from fender into Tokai and see if it’s just the guitar body.

Cheers for your help!

Contributing Member


Apr 6th, 2018 03:06 PM   Edit   Profile  

Interesting experiment. Let us know what you find.



Apr 7th, 2018 09:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

Is it possible to check values of pots and pickups with them on pickgaurd ?
I have digital multimeter .

Contributing Member

USA/Taos, NM

Apr 7th, 2018 09:38 AM   Edit   Profile  

It is my understanding that doing so will not give you accurate readings. Meaning that with the pots connected to various other parts in a circuit, that will throw the readings off.

Purple Valley
Contributing Member


Apr 7th, 2018 03:53 PM   Edit   Profile  

You could also try decking the bridge, making it into a hardtail. It's a cheap experiment, that might brighten up the tone.

Moderator Emeritus
(with many stars)

NW Pennsylvania

Apr 7th, 2018 06:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a set of custom shop 69's in my Japanese shell pink Strat that sounds like a million bucks, and I swapped them out another Strat and I changed back within hours.

That's a ton of variables you have going on there.

Contributing Member

Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Apr 15th, 2018 02:39 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Meaning that with the pots connected to various other parts in a circuit, that will throw the readings off."

Yes, but if the values are the same you'll get the same results.

Pot values will vary +/- 10%, which means on a strat with three controls you could have as much as 30% difference. That will affect the high end response. Capacitor values will also vary in a similar way, but that will be far less noticeable and in any case will not change things when tone controls are wide open.

When comparing guitars, make sure to use the same cable (ior same length and brand of cable if plugging one into each guitar) so as to have identical cable capacitance. Also have the guitars plugged into the same input impedence (i.e. havong one guitar plugged into a vintage fuzzface with a long cable with give a different tone to using a short cable into a modern pedal or direct to amp).


Fredericton, Canada

"pulled by rubber dolphins"
May 8th, 2018 05:43 AM   Edit   Profile  

The wood is a huge factor. I have a Japanese 62 RI and it's great but CS 69s don't work in that guitar.
They are too thin. MIM pups actually sound great in it!

Contributing Member

Northern VA

The Fine Line Between Clever & Stupid
May 9th, 2018 09:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

How do they compare unplugged? The nut and bridge could also be a factor. Pickup heights the same? Playing around with the pickup heights could get you what you're after. The same type of pickups aren't going to be exact clones of each other, but they should be real close, and the same pickup height on two different guitars can yield different tones.

(This message was last edited by daveg at 11:51 AM, May 9th, 2018)

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / 2 sets of CS69 pickups , 2 Strats very different sound

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