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$115.00 USD

Impersonator '54 ..... a versatile Icon, from Marvin to Malmsteen


 A real '54 Strat - a soft twang Icon


A Kinman Gen-2 Strat* pickup


Brett shows of the 54's versatility

Andrew Farnham enjoys the fabulous top end bite in this boppy cruise around the fretboard.  And yup, these are noiseless ... so why is the sound so unexpectedly better than non-noiseless?  How is that possible?

Impersonator 54 (v5) with Kinman's Gen-2 technology

Frequently seen Forum comment “Noiseless Strat pickups sound different to genuine single coils”  Until recently that did have an element of truth in it, but not anymore.

The YouTube at top was recorded with a VOX AC-30 which is a quite bright amp and the signal chain set up to mimic that of Hanks Marvin playing Shadows tunes.  Under identical conditions the '54 is not quite as bright and sharp as the Impersonator A56 or the Texas Jalapeno.

Outstanding sonic characteristicsYou can expect the practically identical sound of a real Fender 54 Strat* pickup but with more bite from the high plain strings.  Produces a very nice twang (slightly less aggressive than the other Impersonators), noticeably scooped midrange and very nice high note bite and bloom more so than other Strat pickups (play the YouTube above).  Better dynamics than a real 54 Strat and more bounce from the E-6th low wound.  Highly authentic Position 2 & 4 Knopfler-esque ‘cluck’ sounds.  

Extremely versatile, from Hank Marvin's 60's Shadows instrumental tunes to Yngwie Malmsteen.  It's also good for other musical genres (including Jazz) where a slightly smoother Strat* sound with nice bite and presence work magic.

Signal chain requirementsAny old cable won't do.  It is best to use a low capacitance cable to get the incredible performance of this pickup.

Ejoyability factor on a scale of 1~10:  Eleven, with the best Fender non-noiseless Strat pickup being 10.

Additional benefitsThere is 40% less magnetic string pull than regular Strat pickups so consequently there is no Strat-itis frequency warbling and string crash, just sustaining pure musical energy alive like you've never heard before.  Balanced G-3rd string loudness.

Loudness Slightly louder than the Impersonator E56.  The Kinman Texas Jalapeno is a louder pickup which has even more bite and volume for the bridge position.   The Big-Nine-O is a good companion bridge pickup that is louder and ballsier but position 2 sound will be compromised.  The Kick-in-the-Arse is the loudest Strat pickup we make, and it's very very loud.

The Impersonator '54 is very sensitive to height adjustment and dialling in the height is crucial for replicating the sound of a CS-54.  Be sure to follow the guide lines in the technical section below.

Tech stuffThe Gen-2 models have taller magnets and taller coil with  Kinman's patented magnetic focusing tone enhancing device incorporated.  In concert with a squashed 600 Ohm hum-sensing coil all these new features produces non-aged sound.  As of 10-Sep-2018 the pickups that have narrow and intermediate magnet spreads incorporate our new Gen-2+ compensation technology which restores the slight but noticeable loss of attack & presence when the magnets are placed closer together.

You will also like the balanced 3rd string loudness and our Alnico-K** rod magnets for low string pull and no Strat-itis pitch warble.

Works well in any Kinman Goodbye-Soldering Harness for Stratocaster.

Some people will call these noiseless Stratocaster pickups but Kinman prefers to describe them correctly as Zero-Hum Stratocaster pickups.  That's because there are 2 types of noise, Hum which is cancelled in the pickup and Buzz which can only be minimized by shielding the wiring cavities (refer to >Technical >Perfect Guitar >Shielding for newer guitars

Released 1-Dec-14

Technical & Application info:


Under the hood of the Impersonator '54
but not all is visible



Impersonator '54's 3rd incarnation nomenclature

US Patents  5,668,520   6,103,986   8,791,351 B2

To cancel hum we add a sonically transparent 600 Ohm Hum Sensor coil to the bottom of the pickup which is designed with a low profile coil so it doesn’t make the pickup too tall.  This Hum Sensor is extremely efficient and uses big wire and low turns count to minimize capacitance so it has no impact on the string signal as it passes through.  The Hum Sensor is so transparent it can be disconnected without causing any difference to the sound of the pickup (except it will have hum of course).  Additionally, the low profile Hum Sensing bobbin allows us to make a taller string sensor which in turn and in combination with a Patented magnetic invention allows the pickup to produce non-aged sound.  That is ….. bright and sparkly with varying degrees of mid scoop just like the best recently manufactured Strat pickups.

Kinman, like no other noiseless Strat pickup, has broken through the compression / transparency barrier.  Now you can compare Apples with hum to Apples without hum. Introducing the new T-100 generation hum cancelling Stratocaster pickups, the world’s first non-aged hum-cancelling Strat pickup.  T is for Triumph and 100 is 100% single coil sound. 

This new model represents a major milestone in the evolution of Fender type pickups as it has taken about 26 years of inventive and innovative thinking to achieve. The Kinman P-90 Hx and this new model re-affirms Kinman as the King of noiseless.

Height adjustment:

With the 12th fret closed the neck pickup gap between top of magnet and bottom of E-6th should be 2.2mm and for the E-1st it should be 3mm.  This is our experience and a good starting point but might need to be tempered somewhat for different amps, strings and guitar responses.

Mixing and matching with other Strat pickups: Some players will love the Impersonator '54 in all 3 positions (bridge, middle and neck) to get nicely balanced authentic vintage sounds from all 5 positions.  The new Texas Jalapeno, surprisingly, has higher output, and makes a good companion bridge pickup and pos 2 is reasonable authentic Knopfler-esque.  But if you prefer an even hotter bridge pickup the Big-Nine-O is powerful, sweet, thick and loud, a perfect companion at the bridge if growl is your thing.  However position 2 sound will not produce authentic Knopfler-esque sound but will sound good anyway with a lot of retained attack.

How does it compare to the Traditional Mk-III set?  The Trad Mk-IV produces aged sound which means more midrange content (less scooped), less brilliant highs and compresses when picked hard. The Impersonator 54 has non-aged sound and therefore the midrange is more scooped with brilliant bitey highs and like a new pickup does not compress when picked hard.


  • Standard Kinman cover without height extender bushings. 
  • Available in White, Black, Aged White.
  • With and without Kinman logo.
  • Can be tinted with food stains such as Coffee and Tea.
  • Generic covers will not fit Kinman Strat pickups.  We sell replacement covers in three colors.

Connection means available

  • Bare wires for soldering.
  • Kinman connectors for plugging into any Kinman Goodbye-Soldering Harness.


Pot & Capacitor values

  • Best with 250k Ohm (measured minimum) volume pot.  Less punch and more bright with 500k.
  • Tone pot is usually the same value as the volume but for a little more top end brightness can be 500k, 1meg or a No-Load.
  • Stock pots can actually measure as low as 175k.  Pots in our Goodbye-Soldering Harness are guaranteed to measure no less that 250k.
  • Normal tone cap value of 0.022uF, 63 ~ 100 volt Polyester.  Smaller uF value lessen the severity of Treble cut, higher values increase it.
  • The voltage rating of Caps is not important but 63 ~ 100 volt have thicker lead wires that result in a neater job.

Magnet spreads we normally ship (ensures magnets align with the strings in each position)

  • Narrow 49.5mm
  • Intermediate 51mm
  • Standard 52.5mm
  • Option to specify your magnet spreads of sets and singles in our 'After-Order Supplementary Questions' email we send you.

Magnet Staggers

  • Normal improved Stagger to suit 7" ~ 14 inch uniform radius fretboards including USA Custom Guitar Compound 7-1/4" ~ 9-1/2
  • Flat Stagger 14" ~ 20" for specific compound radius fretboards (Warmoth 10 ~ 16 inch and Post 2010 Fender Deluxe 9 ~ 14")
  • Option to choose your magnet stagger for sets and singles in our 'After-Payment Supplementary Questions' email we send you.

Hook-up cable

  • 2 conductor shielded is standard.  Cut generously longer than necessary for the 3 stock Strat positions.
  • Middle pickups when supplied with a K9 or TK4 harness have 3 conductor shielded.
  • 3 conductor by request with Order.
  • Custom lengths by request with Order.

Output Polarity: 

  • in-phase with Gibson and Copy humbuckers
  • in-phase with all other Kinman pickups
  • opposite phase to Fender Strat

Mounting hardware included

  • 2 Pan head mounting screws.
  • 2 Silicon Rubber tube springs.

We highly recommend consulting the Install Guide in the Technical section even if you think you know it all.  Kinmans' require specialized knowledge and sometimes there is updated info.  There is also a handy wiring diagram available.

We also highly recommend consulting the Adjust & Set-up page in the Technical section so you get the best out of your Kinman pickups.

*Stratocaster and Strat are a Trade Marks of Fender Musical Instrument Corp.  Kinman is not connected to Fender.

** Alnico-K is a unique proprietary rod magnet developed by Kinman in 1985.  It has 40% less string pull than Alnico-5 so sustain is longer and there is much less clatter from string crash and no Strat-itis string warble.