I recently removed a set of stock AlNiCo single coils out of a Mexican Strat, which along with another set from a 2012 Mexican Fender Strat I got back in 2014, gives me two complete sets to compare. Lower cost import Strats most often have pickups with a plastic bobbin, steel pole pieces and a ceramic bar (or two) on the underside of the pickup. Some of the higher end Mexican Strats feature AlNiCo pole pieces in place of the steel pole pieces and the ceramic magnet, but otherwise feature the same plastic bobbin, and that is what these pickups are. There is no question that AlNiCo pickups differ from those with steel pole pieces and ceramic, because the steel features a much higher permeability and conductivity than AlNiCo, the inductance will be higher, and the eddy current damping is greater, meaning they tend to be louder and deliver less treble content than the same pickup with AlNiCo pole pieces. But there's another question to be asked, do these AlNiCo pickups in plastic bobbins differ much from vintage style AlNiCo pickups that feature fiberboard tops and bottoms, such as a Fender 57/62, or a Fat 50? I have one set of Mexican Fender AlNiCo pickups from 2012, and another from 2018. They have the same plastic bobbins, with some numbers written on them with a white paint marker, as seen in the picture. Both sets have DC resistances that round between 5.7k and 5.9k, and the inductances are all between 2.2 henries and 2.2H, which are spec points often described as "underwound". Sets such as the Fat 50's or Seymour Duncan SSL-1 have DC resistances in the mid 6k range, and inductances closer to 2.6H. As for the quality of pickups, compared to most of the vintage style AlNiCo pickups with fiber flat work I've looked at, a couple things are noteworthy. The first is that both pickups have a high intrinsic capacitance, all are somewhere between 174pF and 206pF. Some vintage style pickups have measured this high as well, but the majority of them usually measure between 80pF and 120pF. The added capacitance causes a pickup to be a little darker than the inductance would indicate. A typical guitar cable adds about 40pF per foot, so for the pickup to already have an excess of 80pF to 120pF capacitance impacts the tone similar to two or three feet worth of added guitar cable. Two possible causes for this is 1) a thin insulation build on the magnet wire, or 2) very neatly wound coils with minimal space in between the turns of wire. The second issue is that the 2018 pickups had pole pieces that were undercharged, somewhat randomly. About half of the pole pieces measured half the expected flux density for AlNiCo 5. At first I though it might have been something about the AlNiCo itself, such as a mix and match of AlNiCo 5 with AlNiCo 2 and 3, but I re-saturated the pole pieces with a neodymium magnet, and they measured full strength thereafter. In conclusion, these pickups can be enjoyable to use, but there is possible cause for someone with discriminating ears to find fault with them. If the set you happen to get has a bunch of weak magnets, the pickup will sound weak and possibly imbalanced, not just in terms of volume, but texture. If the pickup has a high capacitance, which it looks to me like it probably would, it might seem too low in output, relative to how dark it sounds. Also, they are apparently very low inductance pickups in general, and some people like that, they're similar to CS 69's, but if you've come to expect a higher turn count, such as SSL-1's or Fat 50's, these will fall short of that. Even though these are a "step up" from the steel and ceramic pickups that usually come stock in an important Strat, I still think there is a good case for replacing them. As a side note, I understand that Squier Classic Vibe Strats come stock with Tonerider OEM pickups. I've looked at several of those sets and did not find any of these sorts of problems with them. They appear to be very well made. Fender Mexico AlNiCo in Plastic pickups, 2012, from an Antigua Strat Bridge - DC Resistance: 5.940K ohms - Measured L: 2.092H - Calculated C: 198pF - Gauss: 1050G (AlNiCo 5) Middle - DC Resistance: 5.823K ohms - Measured L: 2.124H - Calculated C: 206pF - Gauss: 1050G (AlNiCo 5) Neck - DC Resistance: 5.740K ohms - Measured L: 2.113H - Calculated C: 188pF - Gauss: 1050G (AlNiCo 5) Bridge unloaded: dV: 17.0dB f: 7.81kHz (black) Bridge loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 8.0dB f: 4.12kHz (blue) Middle unloaded: dV: 17.0dB f: 7.81kHz (red) Middle loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 8.0dB f: 4.12kHz (green) Neck unloaded: dV: 17.0dB f: 7.81kHz (pink) Neck loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 8.0dB f: 4.12kHz (gray) Fender Mexico AlNiCo in Plastic pickups, 2018 from an Hendrix Monterrey Strat Bridge - DC Resistance: 5.820K ohms - Measured L: 2.201H - Calculated C: 174pF - Gauss: 700 - 1050G (AlNiCo 5, some not saturated) Middle - DC Resistance: 5.729K ohms - Measured L: 2.183H - Calculated C: 175pF - Gauss: 700 - 1050G (AlNiCo 5, some not saturated) Neck - DC Resistance: 5.689K ohms - Measured L: 2.193H - Calculated C: 184pF - Gauss: 700 - 1050G (AlNiCo 5, some not saturated) Bridge unloaded: dV: 16.9dB f: 8.17kHz (black) Bridge loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 8.0dB f: 4.12kHz (blue) Middle unloaded: dV: 16.9dB f: 7.81kHz (red) Middle loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 8.0dB f: 4.12kHz (green) Neck unloaded: dV: 16.9dB f: 7.63kHz (pink) Neck loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: 8.0dB f: 4.12kHz (gray) Here is a peak amplitude comparison between several plastic bobbin and vintage style fiber Strat pickups, all with AlNiCo 5. What I was looking to find out is whether the plastic bobbin might add enough "air" to the coil core to increase the Q factor, and the resonant amplitude, whole also having a 200k load across the pickup, and it looks like it possibly does increase the Q factor slightly, pushing the resonant amplitude by a bit less that 1dB, but there was one plastic bobbin pickup pickup that shows a Q factor being the same as the vintage style pickups. In any case, the overall difference is small enough to not be of consequence .