Fat 50s pickups

Grandfunkfan

Strat-Talk Member
Sep 16, 2021
11
Idaho
I just bought a 2012 American Standard strat that has fat 50s in it. Is it me or are those pickups spikey and harsh. I have a 99 American Standard and a Vintera 50s strat and they both sound like a strat. And they don't sound too different from each other. The American is a little fuller and richer than the Vintera but one with the fat 50s lacks the thwack in the middle/bridge position and the neck pick up doesn't have that magic tone you get when you're playing up around the 12th fret. Am I missing something? Was fender trying to appeal to players that wanted a more aggressive tone and I'm just the old dude that isn't keeping up with the times?
 

John C

Most Honored Senior Member
Silver Member
Jul 17, 2012
7,552
Kansas City
I just bought a 2012 American Standard strat that has fat 50s in it. Is it me or are those pickups spikey and harsh. I have a 99 American Standard and a Vintera 50s strat and they both sound like a strat. And they don't sound too different from each other. The American is a little fuller and richer than the Vintera but one with the fat 50s lacks the thwack in the middle/bridge position and the neck pick up doesn't have that magic tone you get when you're playing up around the 12th fret. Am I missing something?

I posted this in your post on TDPRI so copied here:

Fender didn't switch to the Fat 50s pickups until early 2012. The ones they switched to in mid-2000 were pretty similar to the pickups used from roughly 1997-mid-2000 - but they did change from flat polepieces to staggered-height polepieces. That being said they really sounded very similar to me; there was also an update in 2008 but the pickups were not really different then either.

While they are no longer on the Fender website they did sell the 2008-2011 version of the American Standard pickups as an aftermarket set; you might be able to find some of them. I would have thought that the Vintera 50s Strat would be similar to the Fat 50s - but they are slightly lower output than the Fat 50s. You can buy the Vintera 50s pickups aftermarket

Pickups are always subjective - personally I like the Fat 50s a lot better than the American Standard pickups. If you look here or on Strat-Talk you'll find that players are split - some like me prefer the Fat 50s; some prefer the American Standard pickups.

EDIT: I think the difference is that the Fat 50s pickups are kind of "scooped" compared to the American Standard pickups - less midrange - so that might be what you are hearing with them.
 
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LOSTVENTURE

Senior Stratmaster
Jun 15, 2007
1,420
CHARLOTTE, NC
Play around with the pickup elevations. That is always an issues with Strats, and the Fat50's are no different. After a little tinkering, I found the Fat's to be very versatile, leaning to the bright side, but certainly controllable.
 

guitarface

Most Honored Senior Member
Nov 11, 2012
8,324
New Jersey
I just bought a 2012 American Standard strat that has fat 50s in it. Is it me or are those pickups spikey and harsh. I have a 99 American Standard and a Vintera 50s strat and they both sound like a strat. And they don't sound too different from each other. The American is a little fuller and richer than the Vintera but one with the fat 50s lacks the thwack in the middle/bridge position and the neck pick up doesn't have that magic tone you get when you're playing up around the 12th fret. Am I missing something? Was fender trying to appeal to players that wanted a more aggressive tone and I'm just the old dude that isn't keeping up with the times?

It’s you.
 

Chipss36

Strat-O-Master
Oct 1, 2018
839
Texas
The thing is fat 50s can sound totally different based on what the guitar itself sounds like.

the same guitar, the same year, and consecutive serial numbers, all sound vastly different,

When looking at tele’s I got to play about 10 of the same exact guitar.
Same year, same line, same color.

none sounded the same. One went home with me that day.

I look at this post, and think to myself ……that dude purchased a very bright guitar, and is blaming the pickups….


just sayin
 

sonny wolf

Most Honored Senior Member
Aug 7, 2009
5,177
austin texas
What is the acoustic tone like of your Strat?That's where the tone originates.Every guitar and piece of wood will resonate at a particular frequency....some Strats are acoustically bright and jangly whereas others are punchy and midrangy and others are smooth and boomy.The pickups are only going to amplify the acoustic EQ louder into the amp.I've owned several guitars of the same series with identical pickups and each one had it's own unique tonal EQ and when strumming each one acoustically you can hear the same different EQ characteristics.How does your guitar sound compared to your other guitars acoustically?I own a FSR Thinskin 61 Strat with Fat 50s and they sound really thick and smooth in that guitar...certainly not thin and harsh like you claim in yours.
 

aviamsi

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Aug 31, 2015
1,414
Israel
I had a 2015 Am STD with the fat 50's, bought new and sold it very fast.
The only reason was the terrible pickups on it.

Only the neck pup was useable to me.
The bridge pup was just awful.
 

Lost Sailor

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 20, 2012
1,067
Wolf 359
Well, the 2012 Standard in my avatar has fat 50's.......I did not like either the pickups or the neck.......I sold it a month ago.....don't miss it. I like the 57/62's in my old 72 (originals died) and pv65's in a MIM.
They sound like a Strat should to me.
 

john lavelle

Senior Stratmaster
Gold Supporting Member
Aug 25, 2012
1,367
North Carolina
I put a loaded fat 50s PG on my 96 Clapton strat. One, I loathed the lace sensors, and two, I had an AM Std with fat 50s and regret selling it. Now I have the best of both worlds.
 

Irzal

Strat-Talk Member
May 12, 2017
73
Croatia
I put Fat50s in my 2016 MIM, that was originally loaded with ceramic pups, and the result was great. I get rich chimey tones, especially with the neck and neck+middle pups, in contrast to very bright and punchy ceramics tone. I lowered them all the way down and that's where I get the best tones...just try lowering them...
 

Mr Jagsquire

Strat-Talker
Sep 26, 2020
496
Berkshire
The thing is fat 50s can sound totally different based on what the guitar itself sounds like.

the same guitar, the same year, and consecutive serial numbers, all sound vastly different,

When looking at tele’s I got to play about 10 of the same exact guitar.
Same year, same line, same color.

none sounded the same. One went home with me that day.

I look at this post, and think to myself ……that dude purchased a very bright guitar, and is blaming the pickups….


just sayin

I did something similar when I chose my Gibson SG. However it did occur to me that things like string age/wear, pickup heights and tolerances, plus tolerances of the pots and caps could all come into effect too.

Last night I restrung my P90 Les Paul and played through our band set list. I realised that I was sounding the same as I had the night before when playing my home built Strat (PV65 pickups and an Eric Clapton mid boost). I use a few effects, but not so much that the tone is swamped by them...ergo no matter what the pickups and guitar I use I end up sounding the same anyway. :oops:

Maybe I only need one guitar and a back up. :D
 

guitarman1984

Senior Stratmaster
Jul 24, 2013
2,752
Italy
It's you. Try messing with the height. Fat 50s are awesome (personal opinion).
Here is my march 2012 with fat 50 (march was about the month they turned to fat 50).
 
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