Hot Classic? Hot Classic, you say? Why, that’s not shown in the Mojotone pickup catalog! That’s right! The pickup masterminds over at Mojotone sent over an advanced sneak peek at an upcoming release. This is a set I was looking forward to checking out, let me tell you.
As a primer for the Hot Classic humbucker, let’s consider that the regular Mojotone Classic humbucker is a spin on the Mojotone “59 Clone” humbucker. All have 42 AWG Plain Enamel wire. Where the “59 Clone” bridge is about 8.0k and the Classic bridge is about 8.6k, the Hot Classic is upward of 10.0k! When I first heard about these from Mojotone pickup wizard David Shepherd, that first thing I thought of was putting an Alnico 2 in there for a late-70s early Van Halen vibe.
That’s the cool thing about ordering from Mojotone. You can choose so many groovy options. Lead wire, color, cover, magnet type, pole spacing. And my experience is typically that I can call in and ask for most any of those options if it might not be shown in the Mojotone website’s drop-down selections of a pickup that I’d like. And that is where it became fun for this set, as I was interested in a set with Alnico 4 magnets. Since I was looking for something a little hotter, the Hot Classic made perfect sense.
I was looking to try some humbuckers that might be indicative of what you’d hear on the radio from the big 70s rock bands of that time. That was right before the replacement upgrade pickup market took off and some kid from Pasadena painted stripes on a parts guitar. Guys were still playing those old Les Pauls that they’d bought for a few hundred bucks (or less!). Plain enamel wire was used in those humbuckers until around 1963 and the Alnico 4 magnet is considered to have been pretty common. Granted, people weren’t as on top of specs as they are today, but I think we can agree that the law of averages works out that we have all listened to our share of Alnico 4 PAF humbuckers in the 70s… even if we didn’t know it until decades later.
For now, the Hot Classic is a bridge model, so a regular Classic neck model balances out the set. To go with the “classic” theme, I asked for nickel covers. Mojotone offers a range of covers that also includes nickel, gold, chrome, aged nickel and aged gold. I did go with short mounting legs, 4-con lead wire, and standard pole spacing.
They built the set super fast and shot them out like a cannon. Upon arrival, I ran a quick set of readings to find the bridge coils are about 4% offset and the neck coils are closer to 20% offset. I installed them in one of my regular test guitars, connected to series/split/parallel for each pickup, then to a main Switchcraft 3-way toggle and out to a Switchcraft jack.
The bridge Hot Classic is quite the bad boy. Lots of guts and plenty of push – as I call it. It can break up the front end, more so on a clean amp setting. There is a really nifty bloom and the overall vibe is transparent and even-sounding. It can be polite or it can get rude. The Hot Classic really lends to the notion that the 10k range is one of those sweet spots that can really deliver. Lows are punchy, mids have sizzle and bite, and highs are vivid and strong. The details in the note separation is great for complex chords and intricate riffing. Of course, you’re asking if it passed the harmonic squeal test… yes, I was very pleased with the range of harmonics across the neck.
The neck Classic is a really interesting neck humbucker. Very full and bold. There is a firm presence that covers the entire range so that the Classic neck delivers authority in the lows and a rich character in the highs. On a clean amp setting, all the wiring options from series to split to parallel are totally workable and lend themselves to bucket loads of versatility. Cranking over to a dirty amp setting and this is where the Mojotone Classic neck really surprised me. Where many neck humbuckers with a vintage or classic vibe to them can be really boomy or muddy or flabby down in the lows, the Classic holds firm. Not rigid or brittle, mind you… but large and in charge, with more than a fair share of articulation that makes even the lowest big chords a much more pleasant experience.
If you’re a gigging player that needs to cover a full range of versatile guitar tones beyond the Saturday night anthems, drop a line to the fine people at Mojotone, right here in the good old US of A. Ask them about the Hot Classic bridge. And if you can’t let go of the idea of running with the devil with an Alnico 2, they do offer them with f-spaced poles.
Series – 10.149k, 6.54H, 3.873nF
Split N – 4.981k
Split S – 5.181k
Parallel – 2.538k
42 AWG Plain Enamel
Series – 7.688k, 4.019H, 6.3nF
Split N – 3.434k
Split S – 4.345k
Parallel – 1.888k
42 AWG Plain Enamel
Darth Phineas is a long time music industry insider who provides his readers with unbiased reviews on musical instrument and guitar gear. You can read more of his reviews and check out industry news on his Facebook community Darth Phineas, Twitter or his website is darthphineas.com