The Clean Machines have proven to be popular enough since the guitar’s release that Seymour Duncan has now made the pickups available as a standalone set. You can hear Wong show off their sonic capabilities below.
Based on Seymour Duncan’s Antiquity Surf units (opens in new tab), the Clean Machines are designed to provide the squeaky-clean funk rhythm guitar tones that made Wong famous, coupled with “singing” lead tones.
Wong liked the Antiquity Surf single-coils, but felt he needed a bit more oomf from the set’s bridge pickup. At the same time though, Wong loved the classic look of the single-coil trio on his Stratocaster, and didn’t want to transform the guitar into an HSS model.
So, with Seymour Duncan, Wong created a high-output, hum-cancelling stack bridge pickup with an Alnico V magnet. The middle and neck single-coils, meanwhile, feature Alnico IVs.
“I just like the look of an SSS Strat, rather than an HSS, but I like the thickness and sound of that humbucker in the bridge,” Wong explains (opens in new tab) in the video above. “The single-coil in the bridge doesn’t quite have enough body to it – it sometimes feels like it empties out – so we decided to try an Alnico IV magnet in the neck and middle, and a hum-cancelling, stacked Alnico V in the bridge.
“We wound them a little hotter,” Wong went on. “It gives a really nice, spanky tone. It handles overdrives and distortions a lot better than the softer-wound one. It captures that spanky, clean thing, but as soon as you hit the overdrive, it still has the nice, warm thing and it pushes the drive in a really pleasing way.”
Seymour Duncan’s Cory Wong signature Clean Machine pickups are available now. The neck and middle pickups ring up at $99, while the higher-output bridge pickup will set you back $119. The full set, meanwhile, costs $317.
For more info on the pickups, visit Seymour Duncan (opens in new tab).