Fender Custom Shop Josefina Hand-Wound Tomatillo Stratocaster Pickups
Josefina's HandiworkThere's a reason why the name "Josefina" is spoken in hushed tones in the elite circles of the guitar-making world. In an unassuming room in the Fender Custom Shop filled with pink knickknacks, Josefina Campos--the woman, the myth, the legend--hand-winds some of the greatest electric guitar pickups the world has ever seen. She learned her craft from Abigail Ybarra (another wire-winding legend who started making pickups for Fender in 1958), and she has since put her own stamp on the Fender sound.
Normally, the only way to get one of Josefina's incredible pickups is to buy a Fender Custom Shop guitar. But, every once in awhile, she winds a limited run of pickups for players who want a little extra Custom Shop magic in their guitars. But, she's pretty busy, so she limits each run to sixty pieces worldwide. Thankfully, Wildwood was lucky enough to secure a handful of her delightful pickups from her latest run.
Why Play Handwound Pickups?Before we get into the specific tones Josefina's pickups produce, it's important to talk about why hand-wound pickups are special. Obviously, machine-wound pickups are the product of precise engineering. Every wire is in the exact place it should be, and that's great! It allows Fender to make excellent pickups that sound consistent from guitar to guitar.
By contrast, hand-wound pickups have a bit more individual personality. It's impossible for a human being to wrap the wire perfectly each time, and these tiny imperfections give the pickup a unique, organic, charming voice that calls to mind the quirks of classic vintage guitars. After all, many of the Fenders on classic recordings had pickups hand-wound by Josefina's teacher, Abigail Ybarra.
Sweet and TangyJosefina switches up the type of pickup she winds for each run because variety is the spice of life. For this go-around, she whipped up some Tomatillo Strat pickups. Tomatillo pickups use Alnico 2 magnets to simulate what an alnico 5 pickup from the fifties might sound like today. According to Mike Lewis, the VP of product development at the Custom Shop, they chose the name "Tomatillo" because they sound sweet yet tangy. This is quite an apt description of their sound. They are spectacularly clear, and they have lots of lovely sugary chime in the high-end to go with clear, robust lows and vocal midrange. Truly, they are some of the most inspiring Strat pickups we've ever heard.
We're proud to showcase Josefina's handiwork for our exceptional customers. Once you try one of her pickups, we're sure you'll agree that there is magic hiding in the wires she winds.
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