Would you believe Clapton uses Ultra Noiseless pickups?

Guithartic

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 10, 2021
1,486
Jacksonville, FL
The Eric Clapton signature Strat is listed as having “Vintage Noiseless Single-coil” pickups. Sweetwater says they are “the latest version of noiseless pickups.”

The American Ultra is listed as having “Ultra Noiseless Vintage Strat Single-coil” pickups.

Do you think they are the same thing. It’s not that important, I’m just curious because apparently Eric uses his own signature model, and many people say they don’t like the Ultra pickups. If they’re the same as Eric’s, he must like them.
 

CattleDog73

Strat-Talker
Jul 18, 2020
298
MA
I just think Sweetwater hasn’t updated their ad. I’m not sure the Clapton noiseless are even that recent - there may be a set between those and the ultras as well (what was in the Elites maybe?).

Personally, I find the Ultra noiseless to be the best Fender noiseless pups I’ve played.
 

Guithartic

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 10, 2021
1,486
Jacksonville, FL
I just think Sweetwater hasn’t updated their ad. I’m not sure the Clapton noiseless are even that recent - there may be a set between those and the ultras as well (what was in the Elites maybe?).

Personally, I find the Ultra noiseless to be the best Fender noiseless pups I’ve played.
Ya me too. I don’t get the naysayers. If what you said is right, then it’s even more surprising that Clapton would use 3rd or 4th generation noiseless because people who like the Ultra Noiseless say the older generations were not as good as the Ultra 5th generation.
 

PCollen

Senior Stratmaster
Silver Member
Feb 13, 2014
3,985
Florida
The Eric Clapton signature Strat is listed as having “Vintage Noiseless Single-coil” pickups. Sweetwater says they are “the latest version of noiseless pickups.”

The American Ultra is listed as having “Ultra Noiseless Vintage Strat Single-coil” pickups.

Do you think they are the same thing. It’s not that important, I’m just curious because apparently Eric uses his own signature model, and many people say they don’t like the Ultra pickups. If they’re the same as Eric’s, he must like them.


I have seen close-up video of Clapton playing guitars live having clearly labeled Noiseless pickups, but don't know how recent the videos were.
 

ThreeChordWonder

Senior Stratmaster
Dec 2, 2020
3,770
Cypress TX
I'm sure when a celeb is asked to put his or her name on a guitar they start out with the best intentions of specifying a guitar of exactly the same specification as their own. However, the manufacturing and marketing teams then get to work, and to achieve a certain price point, some compromises have to be made.

I mean, if "Big Rockstar" fits his axe with solid gold tuner knobs and diamonds for fretboard dots, fine. But you aren't going to get a $2000 retail version, are you?
 

Guy Incognito

Senior Stratmaster
May 14, 2019
4,633
Here and now
The Eric Clapton signature Strat is listed as having “Vintage Noiseless Single-coil” pickups. Sweetwater says they are “the latest version of noiseless pickups.”

The American Ultra is listed as having “Ultra Noiseless Vintage Strat Single-coil” pickups.

Do you think they are the same thing. It’s not that important, I’m just curious because apparently Eric uses his own signature model, and many people say they don’t like the Ultra pickups. If they’re the same as Eric’s, he must like them.
I'm not a Clapton hater but his live playing in recent years is almost as lifeless sounding as Noiseless pickups.

Now.....I haven't seen E.C. live since I think 2004. For some reason he was headlining the "Neil Young show" I went for.

I tried to want to stick around for Eric but couldn't. Maybe five or six songs into his set I called it a night. I love those songs but.....

Maybe he was just having a bad night. Guitar sounded like yogurt. It's good, but it's not ice cream.
 
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vid1900

Most Honored Senior Member
Nov 25, 2016
9,505
Yemen
He could play anything and it would sound like claption

For the Cream reunion, he just played his usual Strat and Fender amp

He did not bother to buy a Gibson and Marshall stack again, because his handlers do not care enough to bother.

Sounded fine.
 

John C

Most Honored Senior Member
Silver Member
Jul 17, 2012
7,994
Kansas City
I'm not sure what Eric has in his personal guitars but the production ones definitely have the Vintage Noiseless pickups and have not changed since they switched to those (from the gold-logo Lace Sensors) circa 2001. I suspect that @CattleDog73 is correct and Sweetwater hasn't changed their writeup and wasn't intending for it to mean they have the current Ultra Noiseless pickups.

Fender generations of in-house noiseless pickups to the best of my recollection:
  1. Vintage Noiseless - appear on the first generation American Deluxes in 1998 and on the Clapton Strats in 2001 (the Beck Strats have the "Hot Noiseless" variation of this design); after the American Deluxes move on to other pickups Fender begins using the Vintage Noiseless pickups on MIM models.
  2. SCN - appear on the second generation American Deluxes in 2004; are used on them through 2009. SCNs are designed for Fender by Bill Lawrence but are built by Fender, and are not used again after the American Deluxes move on to other pickups in 2010
  3. N3 - appear on the 3rd generation American Deluxes in 2010 and are used through 2015. N3s are also used on the short-lived "American Deluxe Strat Plus" models with the personality cards.
  4. N4 - appeared on the American Elites of 2016-2019
  5. Ultra Noiseless - current pickups on the American Ultras
Not counting the Lace Sensors since those were supplied to Fender by Lace, and the pickups in the original 1983-84 Elites were single coils with a dummy coil to reduce the hum.
 


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