Klein Epic Series 1959

DC resistance:
  • Bridge: 5.8k (advertised), 5.76k (measured)
  • Middle: 6.0k (advertised), 5.86k (measured)
  • Neck: 5.9k (advertised), 5.76k (measured)

To hear each pickup position alongside the other reviewed models, see “Five Pickups, Side by Side.”

According to his website, pickup maker Christopher Klein went to phenomenal lengths to create the Epic Series 1959: “We started by buying an original 1959,” he writes, “then we destroyed that pickup and sent the magnets to an independent laboratory to have the chemical composition analyzed to find out what proportion of elements comprise that magnet.” He claims similar obsessiveness with other construction detail as well.

I have no idea whether to credit research or a great ear, but the Epic Series 1959 set is simply magnificent. You know how most vintage Fenders sound great, but some sound magical? This set can probably nudge most guitars in that magical direction.

The Epic 1559s don’t sound odd in any regard—their tones are très Fender. Yet they just feel a bit more musical than most Strat pickups I’ve encountered. The neck pickup has plenty of treble snap, but there are no nasty spikes and just the right amount of compression—you can dig in hard on clean bridge tones without puncturing eardrums. The neck pickup sounds warm, but never woolly. The combined settings deliver the expected “hollowness,” but with uncommon fullness of tone. There’s great sustain—everything just sings. Note fundamentals are always solid—even bright settings have heft. And when you slather on the gain, chords and single-notes maintain great balance and definition.

Interesting detail: Most modern Strat sets—boutique and otherwise—employ a slightly hotter pickup in the neck position. With ’50s and ’60s Strats, it was luck of the draw—they just dropped in pickups without scaling their relative output. In this case, the middle pickup is the hottest. Is there a lesson here?

Ratings

Pros:
Superb tones in every setting. Neck pickup is bright, but never brutal.

Cons:
None.

Street:
$245

Klein Epic Series 1959 Set
kleinpickups.com

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