Pickup Specification

For all Sovereign pickups, there is a specification common to all variants of the Sovereign™, followed by a choice of the style of the cases. The choice is of either a “Modern” style or a “60s” style.

All other construction and electronic specification remains unchanged between the two variants.

Standard Specification
“Modern” vs “60’s” – What’s the difference?
Which Style Should I Choose?
What is available if I want something other than a “Standard” set?

Standard Specification

The standard specification for Sovereign™ pickups is;

  • 44AWG copper wire wound coils to close specification of the pickups on the original Red Special
  • Hand wrapped in woven cotton tape
  • Alphawire connection wires
  • Two custom-made C1 ceramic isotropic bar magnets per pickup
  • Middle pickup Reverse Wound & Reverse Polarity
  • Steel bases on Bridge and Middle pickups
  • Nickel base on Neck pickup to reduce inductance
  • Textured rubber insert
  • Wax potted to reduce microphonics

There are then different options available to choose from, depending on the type of guitar the pickups are going into, and any customisation you wish to make.

“Modern” vs “60’s” – What’s the difference?

The main difference between the two options is the design of the base that the pickup sits on.

The “Modern” style base is similar to that found on Tri-Sonic pickups made since the early 2000’s, with taller legs and a single hole where the coil wires come out.

The “60’s” style base is close to that found on the pickups in Brian May’s original Red Special guitar, and has a separate hole for each of the two coil wires, and six “rivet holes” along the length of the base.

Whilst these “rivet holes” serve no actual purpose today, they were originally there for when Burns used six cylindrical ‘pot’ magnets which were riveted in place from below, rather than the two bar magnets used in later pickups.

Which Style Should I Choose?

Whichever style you choose, the pickups will still sound the same.

There are two things that could determine your choice.

Firstly, is just personal preference – Do you want the pickups to be as close to the 1960s originals as possible, or is that not your priority.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, it depends on how you are intending to mount the pickups.

If you are going to mount them to the pickguard using screws and springs (Like the standard pickups are fitted on the Burns / BMG Special guitars), then you would likely be better choosing the Modern style base with the longer legs, or else you may struggle to set the pickups to a good height in relation to the strings.

If you are going to mount the pickups by screwing them directly to the body, then the 60’s style will do just fine. The modern style would also still work, but you may need to route out the pickup recesses a little deeper.

What is available if I want something other than a “Standard” set?

There are a number of options available to either make your set of pickups closer to those in the original Red Special, if you just want something a little different, or even something totally unique!

Take a look here at some of the options available