Fender Custom Shop has just announced the new Josefina hand-wound Tomatillo Stratocaster pickup set. These are being touted as the best things since Abigail Ybarra’s classic signature pickups.
Fender has been marketing ’boutique’-style pickups ever since Abigail Ybarra got a name for herself winding pickups for its Custom Shop models. These new Josefina hand-wound Tomatillo models follow on from the previous Ancho Poblano and El Diablo pickups sets.
Tomatillo pickups are made using Alnico 2 magnets, simulating what an aged Alnico 5 pickup from the ‘50s would sound like now. I suppose that means they have lost a little of their edge and have a more mellowed sound.
These pickups use Formvar magnet wire, Alnico 2 bevelled magnets and cloth wire, plus they are Shellac dipped. The DC resistance of the set is as follows: Bridge 6.27, Middle 6.0, Neck 6.0.
Abigail Ybarra wound pickups by hand for Fender for over 50 years. Her protégé was Josefina Campos and whether or not you believe all marketing hype, you cannot deny that these two women have both wound some great guitar pickups.
Fender has placed Josefina on a bit of a pedestal, claiming that she winds as well as Abigail once did. I have no doubt that she does, but the price and marketing hyperbole are a bit hard to stomach. On the other hand, the video below makes them sound pretty nice. Currently, they are only available either in a Fender Custom Shop guitar or as a Custom Shop set. You won’t find these on standard US Fender models.
RRP – GBP 449