We asked ourselves if excessively trebly bridge pickups are associated with the popularity of distortion devices which soften the sharp sounds of the plain strings. Not only Stratocasters but also humbuckers, P-90’s, Jazzmaster and Jaguar … in fact just about any pickup you care to name. We have a hunch there is some truth to that and we found ourselves looking for solutions to this age old scourge.
Another related issue is bridge pickups that are the same as the neck one are never loud enough to balance with the neck counterpart. And we have a hunch about that too, players began to fit hot pickups and their extra loudness allow them to balance with the neck. But, hot pickups come with a price, increased upper midrange spikes that make them even more trebly than normal bridge pickups.
So we were faced with the challenge of developing technology that make the pickup louder and less trebly (thicker sounding) at the same time. Boss Chris is something of a genius with coil winding techniques and as he pondered the problem he developed an idea that was to become the solution to both challenges.
We had noticed our Jazzmasters were particularly prone to inordinate volume imbalance with pickups installed in the bridge position being particularly obstinate when it came time to adjust both pickups to achieve a loudness balance. This was a good place to begin experimenting.
Having thought about the various ways he might attack the issue he formulated a plan and that paid off because within a few days he had found the perfect solution. We began offering our three Jazzmaster models in the EXTRA variant for the bridge position the same week. The EXTRA signifies increased loudness and reduced treble on the plain strings for the purpose of balancing bridge and neck pickups of the same kind treble-wise and volume wise. Boss Chris dubbed his technology ATE.
We are currently working our way through all our pickups and adding the EXTRA variant for the bridge position and this, as a bridge pickup, balances volume-wise and treble-wise with a pickup of the same name that is in the neck position.
However we had to use a different technology with humbuckers because it doesn’t work as effectively with side-by-side coils. Humbuckers with what is essentially the same result have v2 included in the name of the model. These models also have the bouncy sound reported in the next article.
We know you'll be delighted with these remarkably advanced pickups so fear no more, the bridge position has been tamed.