Virgil Arlo made what many pro guitarist believe were the Best Strat Pickups ever made. Read below to learn about the best years for vintage Strat Pickups, the Virgil Arlo approach to magnets & to discover more about Virgil Arlo.
What is the Best Year for Vintage Strat Pickups?
It depends who you ask but many vintage purists believe that the best years for vintage Strat Pickups was during the pre-CBS era, more specifically the time period from 1954 to 1963. In 1955, Fender started using Alnico 5 magnets, prior to that they were using Alnico 3 magnets in Strat Pickups. During this era Fender used heavy formvar magnet wire to build Strat pickups. This is the exact same wire the Virgil Arlo used in his Stratocaster Pickups. Mr. Arlo’s pickups were more reliable than the vintage pickups Fender made. Most pro players prefer the tone of the Virgil Arlo Strat Pickups when compared to vintage Strat Pickups made by Fender. This is not a knock against early strat pickups, but they did have reliability issues. Virgil credits the work of Leo Fender & Seth Lover as being most influential in his career, along with George Van Tassel’s Integratron building, saying its the most important structure for anyone in the business of sound.
What Magnets are in Virgil Arlo Strat Pickups?
Virgil Arlo used a special Alnico magnets in his 1954 Stratocaster Pickups. A small amount of the metals used in these magnets were rumored to be extracted from rock formations near bolide crater sites. Most people say, Virgil’s strat magnets have the sweetness a vintage Alnico 3, coupled with the clarity and dynamic range of an Alnico 5. This is why so many people say they cannot live without the amazing Virgil Arlo Strat Pickups. When you consider that vintage Fender pickups from the 1950’s can sell for as much $10,000, the Virgil Arlo 1954 Strat Pickups are an incredible value.
Is Virgil Arlo Still Making Pickups?
Virgil Arlo stopped amp modifications and restorations in early 2019. Later in 2019 he retired from winding guitar pickups. Dealers quickly sold out their remaining inventory pretty quickly both of Rudy Pensa’s New York City area stores completely sold out within a couple of days. It didn’t take long for the Virgil Arlo Stratocaster pickups to appear on the used market for $2,000/set.
Virgil Arlo 1954 Strat Pickups Review
Virgil Arlo makes what many people consider to be the best strat replacement pickups. You have to hear them to believe them, listen to blues recording artist Hadden Sayers compare them to his 1963 Strat.