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FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Fitting Gen4/N4 pups in original issue SRV signature Strat

DrChris

Australia

DrChris
Feb 12th, 2019 04:44 AM   Edit   Profile  

After getting advice twice from Fender (by email and by phone from Australia) that these pups would fit my 89/90 Strat *without* any mods (eg re-routing of pup cavities etc - which I DON'T want to do as I may want to be able to return the guitar to original spec in future) except *maybe* needing to slightly enlarge the pickguard cut-outs, I ordered a full set.

Very pleased to find that the pickguard was no issue.

Totally gutted to learn that they’re way too high to fit in the existing cavities - after ‘double checking’, Fender told me the pickup rout depth on my SRV is 0.630 (same as '57 Strat), whereas the Gen4 pickup thickness is 0.976. Quite a difference! They also said they still believe the cavities don’t have to be routed out and that a tech could do a ‘direct mount’ (whatever that is) to a ‘custom mount’ (ditto). But with a 1/3 of an inch to be found somewhere between the bottom of the cavity and a reasonable gap from the strings, I can’t imaging how that’s even remotely possible!

I’ve scoured the internet for ideas ‘cos surely I’m not the only person on the planet to run into this issue - but maybe I am as I’ve found nothing to help.

It would have been useful if Fender published the dimensions of these pups. As it stands, if I can’t find a satisfactory solution I’ll have to return them and be $50 out of pocket for shipping.

Any solid advice would be greatly appreciated - even if it’s just to say that the only option is re-rout or drop the idea of this mod.

Thanks all!

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 12th, 2019 05:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Welcome to the FDP, DrChris.

"Direct mount" means dispensing with the pickup mounting screws through the pickguard. Instead, little wood screws are used to secure the pickup to the wood beneath, just like a vintage Telecaster's neck pickup.

For you, it all comes down to two things: how you feel about modifying the SRV body, and how badly you want the sound of the Gen4/N4 pickups.

I mention this because many players are all about the tone. The particular guitar doesn't really matter; the sound is what matters. Pete Townshend is like this. If he has a particular tone in his head, he changes guitars and amps until he gets what he wants.

Alternatively, many players are all about the guitar itself, because the feel and the ergos fit the player so well. There's no reason to play any other instrument. BB King and Angus Young are the archetypes for this approach.

If you love the feel (neck, weight, ergos, etc.) of the SRV sig Strat, take everything off the body including the output jack plate, and apply painter's tape over the entire face of the body. Take it to a local cabinet shop and ask them to use a pattern bit to rout the pickup routs 3/8" deeper.

It's less than five minutes of work and there's no setup required. A pattern bit has a roller bearing on the shank, which follows the edge of the existing rout and does a perfect job.

Most woodworking shops will do this really cheaply. Take a dozen donuts and a box of coffee, and they will consider that more than enough payment.

A guitar tech will usually charge quite a bit more. If you were local, I'd do the work for free.

Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 12th, 2019 06:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

Most Strats and Teles are routed to a depth of 5/8" for the neck and pickup recesses. The Gen4 pickups are quite a bit taller than a standard Fender pickup. You can see the difference in pickup dimensions (height) in the vid below at the 12-minute mark.

However, you can lower a typical Fender pickup so low that it's below the surface of the pickguard before it falls off the mounting screws.

I've never messed with Gen4 pickups so I don't know how much additional room you actually need. I suggested 3/8" based on your description of the problem.

However, after thinking about this, there's another consideration, and that is where the pickups need to be in relation to the strings.

Consider the following: with the guitar fully assembled, lay a 6" straight edge across the frets at the end of the neck (parallel to the strings), and measure the distance from the straight edge to the top of the neck pickup. That gap should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 3/32" to 1/8" or so. That means the top surface of the neck pickup's plastic cover should be somewhere around 1/8" above the surface of the pickguard.

With the neck pickup set to match this, is there still insufficient depth in the pickup rout in your SRV body?

This guy sure talks a lot.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Feb 12th, 2019 07:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

Hi DrChris, and also welcome.

Peegoo has offered good advice and considerations.

FWIW, I recently installed a set of Gen 4 Noiseless Tele pickups in one of my 2017 builds.
I did some custom routing on that one when I did the original build and went to a depth of 7/8" (for other design considerations not the pickups specifically) and the G4's had heaps of clearance. They probably would have been fine at 3/4".

I'd be happy to help you out if you if I can, depending on your 20.


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 12th, 2019 08:26 AM   Edit   Profile  

Way to go Mick.

She'll be right, mate!

RAGPICKER
Contributing Member
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ARIZONA U.S.A.

I'm playing it in a different key
Feb 12th, 2019 09:03 AM   Edit   Profile  

Gen4 pickups did Not fit my MIM Jazz bass in the bridge position. I had to route the ends of the cavity about 1/4" to allow it to fit. They sound great though. Just finished some recordings and they they really shine.

ejm

usa

Feb 12th, 2019 09:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

Dr. Chris: I may have missed this somewhere, but did you actually try putting them in to see if they'd work or not? (I believe that Peegoo eluded to the fact that there *may* be enough room.)

You don't need to do any soldering or anything yet.
Just mount them in a pickguard, put it on and see how much room there is to mess with.


Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 12th, 2019 11:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

Yes, that was the point of my second post.

If the neck pickup fits, the middle and bridge pickups will too.

Te 52

Laws of Physics

strictly enforced
Feb 12th, 2019 12:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

I can't help you with your pickup problem, I just want to know if you are the same DrChris as the Australian veterinarian featured in the "Bondi Vet" and "Dr. Chris Pet Vet" TV programs?

Dr. Chris ???

Peegoo
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 12th, 2019 01:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

If he is, he wouldn't be the first 'famous' person here :o)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Feb 12th, 2019 03:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hah! That's funny!!!

I wondered the same thing. I had no idea that show made it across to your shores.

ejm

usa

Feb 12th, 2019 04:04 PM   Edit   Profile  

More random data, FYI, FWIW.......

I have a Clapton Strat.
It came with the old Lace Sensors.
I don't have it taken apart so I don't know how deep the cavities are.

I have Dimarzio Areas in it, and did not need to rout anything to install them.
I have them lowered all of the way down, flush with the pickguard.
I measured another Area 67 that I have that is presently uninstalled.
It measures approximately 18 mm = 0.71 inches.

From a site on the internet offering an assembled pickguard, Overdrive Custom Guitar Works:
"These pickups require a bodies pickup routing depth of 3/4" (0.75 inches), vintage 5/8" depth routings may present issues with the pickups bottoming out in the routings and not allowing the pickups to be lowered to a level you may desire for your pickup to string height setup."

The OP has a Gen4 that is 0.97 inches = 25 mm approximately.
If the SRV cavities are indeed 0.63 inches, that is 5/8".


Peegoo
Contributing Member
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Just beyond Mars

there's a world of fools
Feb 12th, 2019 05:48 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's good sleuthing, ejm.

Going on the 0.97" dimension, a 3/4" deep rout will barely be enough.

Going 3/16" deeper than the stock depth of 5/8" would yield a total depth of 13/16", which would allow just enough wiggle room to make it work.

ejm

usa

Feb 13th, 2019 09:51 AM   Edit   Profile  

For reference in the future......and because we can never have too much data.......

I have an MIM HSS body of unknown year sitting around.
Depth of cavities = 23 mm = 0.90 inches
Bottom of cavity to top of pickguard = 25 mm = 0.98 inches

Based upon the OP measurement of the Gen 4 pups, they would fit in this MIM body. You'd be able to lower them to flush or almost flush to the pickguard.

Of course, keep in mind that the OP is dealing with an SRV body, which may be completely different.

I was not able to find any installation/depth/whatever info or complaints on the internet on these pups.

If the Gen 4 pups are indeed close to 1 inch tall, that means that they potentially might not fit not only a lot of Fenders, but also guitars of other makes. That doesn't seem like it would be a good engineering idea.


Mick Reid
Contributing Member
*****

Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Feb 13th, 2019 03:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

Good info in both those posts ejm. Thanks

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 05:04 PM, Feb 13th, 2019)

FDP Forum / The 'Pup' Tent / Fitting Gen4/N4 pups in original issue SRV signature Strat




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