Tell me about your CS 51 Nocaster pickups

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
Hi folks!

Wonder what your experience with the Fender CS 51 Nocaster pickup set is?

Im asking as I find the set a bit strange. Seems like the neck is brighter and I go down in tone on it and the brudge pup has more lows so I up the tone volume :D

Also can’t really lower them much as they lose their dynamics and work best when 2mm or closer to the strings.

Wonder how you go about them and what wiring you use etc.

I will be getting a fat neck soon so hoping that might also add to the “balance”.

Share if you dare :D
 

Telecaster88

Strat-O-Master
Apr 18, 2019
523
Wisconsin
I have them in my Whiteguard Strat (Tele neck and hardware on a Strat body). My main guitar since the 80's has been my Am Std Tele, and the Nocasters are very very different from the stock pickups in my AS. The Nocaster bridge pup has zero ice pick even with the tone knob maxed, and the neck is clear as a bell, much brighter and cleaner than the AS neck pup. Actually sounds on its own very much like the AS middle position.

I've lived on the middle position of my Am Std for a long time, as it's the chimiest, warm yet bright position on that guitar. Once I got used to the Nocasters, I completely fell in love with them. There are a lot of sounds in them. All three positions are highly usable, and the tone knob makes them even more versatile.
 

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
Thank you for sharing!

I find the middle position not so inspiring. I much prefer the middle position on my Vintera 50's Mod (Baja Tele) with the Twisted neck and Broadcaster bridge pups.

But this could be due to the Nocasters being on a guitar with roasted maple and giving the neck pup extra bright snap, dunno. Wonder what the neck profile and fretboard is on your Whiteguard Strat?
 

Telecaster88

Strat-O-Master
Apr 18, 2019
523
Wisconsin
Wonder what the neck profile and fretboard is on your Whiteguard Strat?
It's a maple modern C with 9.5" radius. I do find myself using the other positions beside middle much more with the Nocasters. I still like their middle position, but it's not as distinctive as on my AS... I think just because the middle on my AS tames the bridge and brightens up the neck, and with the Nocasters that's not as necessary, they're both pretty perfect on their own.
 

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
It's a maple modern C with 9.5" radius. I do find myself using the other positions beside middle much more with the Nocasters. I still like their middle position, but it's not as distinctive as on my AS... I think just because the middle on my AS tames the bridge and brightens up the neck, and with the Nocasters that's not as necessary, they're both pretty perfect on their own.

This is interesting as I too find the neck and the bridge work well on their own and the middle option is not really my cup of tea. I mean that’s ok too as long they sound great.
 

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
Let me update on my CS Nocaster pickups.
I just installed a new Fender modern C neck with Pau Ferro fb. Before I had a Harley Benton roasted maple neck.

With this new neck I actually prefer the middle position. Now I prefer the neck pickup least. :D

I guess different neck can give different tonal results for these pickups.

However im still not getting dynamics from these pickups. Seems to me they still have that imbalance between the low and high strings. Maybe it’s just my set that’s having this issue. Could be a flaw.

I will play more with the pup height and general guitar setup before making my final decision to keep or sell these pups.
 

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
Btw, how close are both of your CS Nocaster pups to the strings?

Mine are dangerously close on both on the high e string. I might go higher on the low E too just to get more clarity on the low strings.

Using Fender 250 nickel plated 10’s.
 

Chipss36

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 1, 2018
1,433
Texas
odd they did not balance for you, I found them to balance rather well in my guitars, pickup to pickup and also string balance , and have nothing but praise for the 51 nocasters, that said, don mare wound me up some of his hot bakelights, and the nocasters were just outclassed, especially the neck pickup, the bridges were very close In Tone. But dons neck went almost full les Pual , and I love that….
and that was after running about 10 different sets, so to me the nocasters were #2 out of ten sets, pretty decent off the self pickups, that sound to me better than many, much more expensive hand wound pickups. They are definitely a blackguard style, not something I would use for a 60s style tele tone, just my experience with the 51 nocaster set. I dig em!
I use pure nickel strings,fender 10s, they have a warmth I like, and it’s one of the cheapest sets for pure nickel. And burn through strings fast….anyway , I wonder if that makes a difference in balance or something? It is possible you have a bum set? can you measure resistance and inductance? If you can we could compare my set vrs yours.
 
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Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
I don’t have the meter to measure. I don’t think it’s the output. They are loud enough.

I do need more sweep from the volume pot. It’s s Mojotone pot. I already took out the Mojotone tone pot as it just had a very poor sweep. The fender tone pot works better. Will do that change before judging the pups.
 

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
Update;
Was fiddling with pickup height some more. I always get surprised with Tele pups being so much more sensitive to pickup height than Strat pups! :D

Even a slightest change makes huge difference.

Anyway, long story short, it sounds very good now. Not as woody as my Vintera 50’s Modified Tele but more “awake” maybe “modern” and “solid” could be a good description. Will upload a short video when I find the time.
All 3 positions now sound very good.
 

Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
6,251
Edmonton, Alberta
I have a 2001 broadcaster with Alan Hamel wound pickups. They are really close to the strings. I set all my guitars the same way. Set my amp at 3 and keep adjusting from low to high until they sound bad. Then bring then down until they sound good and then balance. Pretty much all my guitars have the same output with my amp at 3. No measurement required.

3480B472-30A3-4B19-9608-123DDDE17F53.jpeg D39C0166-7D75-4D48-A926-B9D50A7A5FCA.jpeg
 

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
Nice! Yeah my pups are a bit further away from the strings on the low E. but high e is up there almost touching the pups.

For this guitar with Nocasters I need to up the mids on my amp a bit and lower the bass a bit to sound perfect. Will tweak some more and see how and what. Also need to lower the nut a bit which also changes the overall feel. Etc …

Btw, always a joy to see old brass saddles! :) There is something so beautiful about them for me.
 

Chipss36

Senior Stratmaster
Oct 1, 2018
1,433
Texas
Odd, I don’t think I have ever heard a set of cs 51,s as modern, more classic blackguard tones, but I have only played about 3 other guitars loaded with them, county to Led Zeppelin , they do well.
I also never set pickups by loudness and high I can get them, tone and volume are different, I set the neck for best tone, and string balance, then adjust the bridge to match. I run way lower than that, pulling the magnetic field away from the strings can yield much better tones, even if volume is lowers, my amps can compensate for lower output. It’s something to consider.
 

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Intune

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 14, 2021
6,251
Edmonton, Alberta
Sure everyone has their way of setting up pickups. All pickups are different. I set them to my ears going from low to high. If they start to sound farty and distorted I lower them until they sound good. Yes starting with the neck and then bridge. Get the final tweak by balancing. These ones ended up sounding the best to me where they’re at.
 

Papa Che

Strat-O-Master
Mar 25, 2017
617
Denmark
Funny really how certain overdrives just work with some and not with other pickups.

This Nocaster set just doesn’t bond well with my beloved Wampler Euphoria but works fine with Wampler Pantheon. Also when I stack these two I get a lovely lead tone. Turn down the tone on guitar to 3-4 and you get a fine jazzy lead tone.

That Chris Buck guitarist came to mind when I thought of Nocasters being A3 magnets (weaker than A5 and likely less compression) He prefers A3 magnets but he also prefers to play into Blues Breaker style pedals. Curious really as my Nocasters sound good into Pantheon OD (also a Blues Breaker).

Just a fun observation and could be misguided for sure.
 

cpk313

Strat-Talk Member
Nov 18, 2018
54
18049
Thank you for sharing!

I find the middle position not so inspiring. I much prefer the middle position on my Vintera 50's Mod (Baja Tele) with the Twisted neck and Broadcaster bridge pups.

But this could be due to the Nocasters being on a guitar with roasted maple and giving the neck pup extra bright snap, dunno. Wonder what the neck profile and fretboard is on your Whiteguard Strat?
I just switched from a CS Twisted Tele neck and Broadcaster bridge to the Nocasters and I am digging the No's much more so. My partscaster has a korina body and a rosewood neck so it is not typical and I have the neck at 2mm e, 3mm E and the bridge 3mm e, 4mm E. The bridge is loud but all 3 positions sound great
 


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