4 Seasons Pickups SSS Loaded Pickguard with BQ Music V12 Tonepot
Reviewed by Warren Robert
I recently aquired a beautiful SSS Loaded Strat Pickguard by 4 Seasons Pickups. The guard itself is a most appealing vintage mint and the pickups are hand wound 4 Seasons single coils. The real unique aspect of this loaded guard is the BQ Music V12 Tonepot.
What stood out to me when I first opened the box is the quality of construction. The pickups are clean and have a tiny, detailed and subtle 4 Seasons logo on each one.
The harness job is pristine, and uses quality push back wiring, clean paths and is neatly tied down. The resistance value of each pickup is marked right on the back of the guard itself. (8.10K Bridge, 7.30K Middle and 6.45K Neck)
I decided to drop the guard into a 1998 MIM Metallic Red Stratocaster. The install was really as basic as removing the old guard and putting in the new one. I simply loosend the strings to get enough clearance to work with. Between the output jack and the bridge ground wire I added, there was a total of 3 solder joints to complete.
When I first plugged the guitar in, I was very impressed with the basic tone, balance and frequency range of the pickups. They are single coils pickups, so a natural amount of hum from them was present, but that is fully expected from any true single coil pup. The even quality from top to bottom string, and from pickup to pickup is really quite impressive and immediately noticed in terms of playing feel.
The controls on the guard are wired a little different than a typical Strat. This compliments the operation of the V12 Tonepot. You have your standard 5 position switch and master volume as usual, the difference is in the tone part of the circuit. The tone knob typically assigned to the neck pickup is now a master blender for all pickups that allows you to dial in how much of the signal you wish to send to the filters on the V12. The V12 Tonepot, really isn't a potentiometer. It is actually a 12 position rotary switch with an array of capacitors and resistors wired as passive tone filters. They are configured on the switch in order from bright to dark. When you switch between positions, you are selecting one of 12 possible basic tone voicings for the guitar. In tandem with the blender pot, and the robust set of pickups, the tonal options I can dial into this guitar run the full gamut of Stratolicious goodness.
I have to say that I am honestly impressed with this loaded pickguard. There is something about the boutique, hand wound quality that makes the whole thing feel very "high end". I would like to offer a special thank-you to 4 Seasons Pickups, BQ Music and to Mark Thompson of Guitar Addiction.
4 Season Pickups: http://www.4seasonspickups.com/
BQ Music: http://www.facebook.com/BQpassivetone/
Guitar Addiction: http://www.facebook.com/guitaraddiction1/
Warren Robert Website: http://warren2013.wordpress.com/
Buy 4season direct or Uk www.stringdirect.co.uk