You will likely recognize Ryan Bruce, better known as Fluff, from his excellent YouTube channel, Riffs, Beards & Gear (opens in new tab), or as the guitarist with Seattle punks Dragged Under. Now Bruce can add one more item to his resumè, as he teams up with Fishman for a Custom Series Fluence pickup.
The guitarist has used a variety of Fishman electric guitar pickups across his career and is known for his super-stripped-back single pickup setup (delivered via a custom MusicMan Custom Stingray RS, above).
As you’d expect then, Fluff’s Custom Series is only available as a single bridge unit. However, the Fluence’s three voices offer some handy flexibility, incorporating ‘modern active high output ceramic’, ‘modern passive attack’ and ‘slightly overwound single coil’ voices into the one unit.
[Fun fact: the second voice was created with Willie Adler and featured as the first setting in the Lamb Of God man’s own Custom Series pickup, but Fluff loves it so much he asked if he could include it here.]
Talking through the new Custom Series pickup over on Fishman’s YouTube channel, Fluff explains his thinking behind the three voices.
“I have toured with just about every set [of Fluence pickups] in my guitars... and I got to basically cherrypick some of my favorite features and combine them into my own custom series bridge humbucker,” says Fluff.
“[It’s] a three voiced humbucker and voice one is a very focused, very tight articulate high gain-friendly voice that has some nice low-end. And a kind of a rolled-off top-end, so it's not too harsh when using when using it with modelers, like a Fractal Axe-Fx, or something like that.
“Voice two is straight-up the [Lamb Of God guitarist] Willie Adler voice one from his [Fluence] pickup, which is very passive-sounding. It’s a little dirtier, it's a little rounder and I love that contrast to my voice one. And voice three is the single-coil sound so if you want Strat-y tones you're gonna get it with the Fluff custom series.”
You can hear Fluff put his Custom Series through its paces in the clip below.
Back in 2020, Fluff told Guitar World why he’d come to admire the Fluence pickups in the first place.
“Duncan, DiMarzio, Lollar all make great pickups. But no two pickups are ever the same because of how they are copper wound on a bobbin and whenever two pieces of wire touch you have a phase relationship,” said Bruce.
“But there’s a big difference with the Fluence pickups: they use a pancake effect - one copper, one not, built almost like a 3D printed pickup. It means they can tune the magnet exactly how they want to and it even a million times down there will be no variance.
"There’s no phase relationship so you get an incredible detailed attack and clarity across all strings. It’s like an HDMI cable. Or 4K guitar… which is useful when you are using a lot of gain. I couldn’t unhear the muddiness of regular pickups after trying the Fluence.”
For more information on the Fluence Ryan ‘Fluff’ Bruce Custom Series pickup, head to Fishman’s site (opens in new tab).