Fender has announced its first major product drop for 2023, and while it’s a relatively quiet affair – mostly focused on new finishes and left-handed models – the company has unveiled a raft of innovative new electric guitar pickups for the Stratocaster, Telecaster and Jazzmaster that should get tonehounds excited.
That’s because the company is creating new pickup designs based around the CuNiFe magnet, of Wide Range humbucker fame, which is prized for its hi-fi sound and touch sensitivity.
Manufacture of CuNiFe magnet pickups ceased with the Telecaster Custom in 1979, and although numerous boutique builders have offered their own takes over the years, Fender renewed its own production in 2020 for the American Original ’70s Tele Custom and subsequently the American Vintage II 1975 Telecaster Deluxe.
Now these are being offered in new formats, which are available to purchase as standalone pickups, while the company’s magnetic attraction has seen them explore fresh designs utilizing Cobalt Chrome magnets, too.
Here’s the lowdown on the new sets, all of which are available in spring 2023.
Fender CuNiFe Stratocaster Pickup Set ($349)
Employing CuNiFe magnets in Stratocaster pickups for the first time, Fender is hailing its new set as “the first truly innovative voice in single-coil Stratocaster pickups in a generation”.
Promising “more of everything” – including deeper lows, present midrange and sparkling highs – the CuNiFe Stratocaster Pickup Set aims to deliver that hi-fi quality while retaining attack and definition.
Cunningly, the chrome-ringed pickup covers reduce 60-cycle hum, while the pickups feature Formvar-coated magnet wire and threaded CuNiFe pole pieces. DC Resistance reads as follows: neck: 9.6k; middle: 10.0k; bridge: 10.5k.
Fender Cobalt Chrome Telecaster Pickup Set ($199)
Fender’s resident pickup guru Tim Shaw called upon a FeCrCo magnet for these new Tele single coils, which aim to add extra snap and attitude with distinct tones for each pickup position.
As with the Strat set, that chrome-ringed cover cuts down on 60-cycle hum while still delivering the trademark Tele twang.
These use Polysol-coated magnet wire, along with threaded Cobalt Chrome pole pieces, while DC resistance rings in a 10.4k for the neck, 12.5k for the bridge.
Fender CuNiFe Wide Range Jazzmaster Pickups ($399)
Offset fans love to kit their Jazzmasters out with Wide Range humbuckers, and now Fender has made that easy, offering a pair of ’buckers that slot straight into regular Jazzmaster routes, complete with matching covers.
Like the original Wide Range designs, these should offer those fat bass and chiming treble tones, and are available as a set or individual bridge or neck models.
DC resistance is 10.4k at the neck, 11.5k at the bridge for these.
Fender CuNiFe/Cobalt Chrome Jazzmaster Pickup Set ($299)
Ever the tonal alchemist, Tim Shaw has picked out Cobalt Chrome magnets for the bridge and CuNiFe for the neck on this curated Jazzmaster pickup combo.
That should mean mellower Wide Range tones in the neck, and snappier attack from the bridge – indeed, Fender claims the set will “unlock your Jazzmaster’s full tonal potential”.
The humbuckers come with classic vintage white covers, while their DC resistance reads at 9.4k for the neck, 11.6k at the bridge.