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Why Staggared Pole Piece Strat Pickups Are Best

by vaughn skow June 27, 2018 2 min read

I received an email a while back asking why I don't offer any non-staggered pole Stratocaster pickup sets.  The quick simple answer is I think Leo got it right with his stagger pattern.  I know someone out there (Jason Lollar) is a proponent of non-staggered poles​
​,  I don't feel that way.  I've done plenty of comparisons, too!

Making GREAT sounding staggered-pole Strat pickups DOES require considerably more work​ than flat-poles ... it's imperative that you individually charge each magnet rod (pole piece) to specific gauss levels ... Nobody that I am aware of currently does this except me.  Most folks just load up an industrial magnatizer with a but load of pre-made bobbins and hit the charge button ... how disgusting that these folks then claim their products to be "premium"!  Of course, most of these same people don't hand-wind their single-coils, either!!!  Shoot, Jason NEVER has, from his earliest days he used home made machines that used the mechanism from old osculating fans as a bobbin auto-traverse mechanism ... I've spent thousands of hours developing a hand scatter pattern that really DOES sound superior ... and would NEVER wind single coil pickups with auto-traverse machines.

At any rate, After comparing many Strat sets made to the exact same specs ... except for the pole-pieces being flat verses staggered height ... I always find the staggered height to sound better.  There's just something about the Strat pickup design combined with the way the way they are employed in the overall Strat design that just makes for a magical combination.  Sure Mustang and  MusicMaster pickups are darn near the same pickup ... but without staggered poles, and even the Jaguar is quite close in design and sports flat pole-pieces ... but personally I ONLY feel the true magic that only a STRATOCASTER can produce with properly staggered (and charged) Alnico rod pole pieces.

Last bit of food for thought:  non-staggered (all the same) Strat pickup pole pieces came about as a cost savings measure handed down to Fender by it's CBS bean counters in the 70's.  Sound like the road to a better sounding pickup?

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