Fishman Fluence Strat Pickups

I’ve been following the story of Fishman Fluence pickups and their radical pickup design for a few years. From the beginning, I’ve thought Fluence pickups sounded great in the hands of some other guitarist, but this is the first chance I’ve had to experiment with my own set.

Most of the tech details are in the video. But in brief: These are active pickups with magnets, but no wire coils. Instead, the “coils” are printed on thin pieces of circuit board glued together like plywood. This design removes all noise and hum — chances are these are the quietest single-coil-sounding you’ll find. (Fishman also makes humbuckers and Tele pickups.) They can run on 9-volt batteries or (this is the other interesting part) a separately sold battery pack that replaces the trem cavity back plate. (There are other battery configurations for other guitars.) Another marquee feature: Each Fluence set includes a push/pull pot to switch between vintage voicing and a hotter “modern” sound.

This technology originated at an aerospace company. Someone there realized that their printed coils might work on musical instruments, and they contacted a leading pickup manufacture, who passed on the idea. Next it went to Larry Fishman, who was all over it from the get-go. He refined the idea and came up with lots of clever engineering to make it work in guitars. [DISCLAIMER: I have been paid in the past as a freelance contributor to Fishman products, but no one paid me to post this.]

To my ear these sound perfectly authentic, though the fact that they’re active is problematic for me personally. (That’s because I use so many retro stompboxes that don’t play well with the active pickups, which are buffered. The same goes for most of the pedals I sell.)

Killer, indeed!

While installing this in my much-abused MIM Strat, I also added a heavyweight bridge, trem block, and claw from Killer Guitar Components. I’m not kidding when I say “heavyweight” — it’s a formidable piece of metal, beautifully tooled. It feels like a major improvement on the standard design, and I think it sounds great as well (though it’s hard to be definitive about that without side-by-side comparisons). My favorite feature is the way the string inserts are chamfered — strings pop in correctly every time, which. as any Strat player can tell you, it not always the case. Killer, indeed!

1 comment to Fishman Fluence Strat Pickups

  • Oinkus

    Haven’t been around here much lately bots and spammers took over your Forums BTW. I built my Fluence Strat a few years ago and it is by far one of the best playing and sounding Strats I have ever played. Moses graphite neck that they don’t sell anymore (was putting one on my other Strat when I found that bit out) Great pickups would be nice to put a set of humbuckers into something sometime. Here’s a pic of course it has all the crazy stuff on it I do to guitars [img][/img]

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