Lace Sensor

The Lace Sensor is a guitar pickup designed by Don Lace and manufactured by AGI (Actodyne General International) since 1985.

This world-famous line of electric guitar pickups was used exclusively by Fender from 1987 to 1996.

Lace Sensors are true single-coil pickups; however, internally they are different from classic single coils. The chief difference is that the coil is surrounded by metal barriers which blocks electro-magnetic interference such as power line hum. These barriers also help concentrate the magnetic field, allowing weaker magnets to be used, which results in less string pull. Less string pull, in turn, means truer pitch and intonation, and superior sustain.


Four types of Lace Sensor pickups for Stratocaster were originally manufactured (denoted with an * following the model name), followed by five newer models, each with a different output rating and tone. Lace Sensors are also available for Telecaster, Precision Bass, Jazz Bass and Jazz Bass V.

* Gold* - (5.8k) - Classic '50s bell-like Stratocaster tone. Favored by guitar legends Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Buddy Guy, Gold Lace Sensors offer a classic '50s style single-coil sound with glassy bell-like sparkle and chime. Also available as a Hot Gold (6.0k and 13.2k for the bridge position) for slightly higher output, higher power and cut.
* Silver* - (7.1k) - Fat '70s single-coil Strat sound. Silver Lace Sensors deliver the tone of an overwound Strat pickup with raised output, increased midrange harmonics and bass, expecting more power and less noise with added sustain. Also available as a Hot Silver (12.5k) for a warmer, crunchy sustained sound.
* Light Blue (8k) - Warm P-90 soap-bar sound with slightly higher output. In the neck position, Light Blue Lace Sensors produce jazz and blues tones. The bridge-position pickup is warm and punchy with raised sustain and scooped mids.
* Burgundy (8.9k) - Slightly fatter '60s Strat single-coil tone. Burgundy Lace Sensors are normally used in the bridge position.
* Blue* - (12.8k) - Slightly increased output with the warmer 1950s humbucking sound in a single-coil configuration. Suitable to use in the neck position, Blue Lace Sensors provide warmth and loudness.
* Red* - (14.5k) - Extreme output with a hot humbucker sound. The hottest output of the Sensor Series, Red is the scorcher with high output, lots of midrange harmonics and crunch like a hot humbucking pickup. Red Lace Sensors are perfect for the bridge position when fat, punchy humbucking output is required.
* Emerald - (5.7k) - Emerald Lace Sensors emulate the gritty Roadhouse blues/rock tone of a Fender Texas Special pickup without the noise.
* Purple - (10.5k) - Used in the bridge position, Purple Lace Sensors had a hot overwound single-coil tone between a Burgundy and Blue Sensor. The neck pickup is specially designed to provide P-90-like tones.

Also available but now discontinued were the "Don Lace" AGI S-100 and S-150 Stratocaster Lace Sensors that were similar to the Lace Sensor Gold set. They had a "Don Lace" logo positioned on the bottom right hand corner of the pickup cover and an AGI logo positioned on the left side of the pickup cover.

The "Don Lace" AGI T-100, TN-100 (5.9K) and T-150 (12.8K) Lace Sensors are the Telecaster versions. These pickups deliver the vintage Tele twang and transform any single-cutaway solid-body guitar into a Fender Telecaster Plus.

According to the original description, "the D-100 (11.7k) and D-150 (14.0k) (also known as Don Lace Signature "Humbuckers") each offer two coils which provide a thick and chewy humbucker sound in dual mode and a creamy smooth sound in split mode. The D-100 fits in almost any humbucker size slot. It's the perfect neck compliment to the D-150. Without becoming overpowering, the D-150 helps overdrive tube preamps to a smooth saturation level while delivering incredible overtones." This "limited edition" pickup was only produced for a short time. A review by Guitar Shop Magazine stated the following; "The D-150 is very even and balanced...had the best sparkle and shimmer of any of the pickups I'd heard before...very warm and smooth." The D100 and D150 were not identical to "Dually Gold" pickups.

At the same time the D series was introduced, the Hemi models (7.0k neck/10.0k Bridge) were also unveiled."The Hemi humbucker series feature serious vintage humbucker and single coil tones combined into one sleek looking design. The Lace Hemi™ is perfectly blended and easily transitions into, fat soulful vintage blues, classic rock, heavy metal, jazz or country. This new Hemi Humbucker set is one of a kind, due to its single-coil and humbucker-style components. The Hemi Humbucker, named so because of their design and coil winding method, offers bite and an aggressive attack for "Chicken Pickin" Tele type tones, while also being able to transition into smooth blues due to its Strat-like components. The Hemi can give you transparency, sparkle and a good dose of upper end glass. The Hemi also has humbucker-type qualities as in the Bass, Mids & Highs. It puts out a little more in those areas then a PAF making it more smooth and Jazzier but without the gritty tone sometimes found in PAF'S. The Hemi's high end is very prominent. Vintage gauge coil wire, with Lace barium ferrite "HOT" Magnets."

In the 1990s Lace released the "Chrome Dome" Lace Sensors, described as "Gold Lace Sensors on steroids" and the Transensor Series P/J pickup set for electric basses.

The Lace Sensor Bass pickups were an original equipment material on the Fender Plus Series bass guitars.

In the 2000s, Lace released the "Burgundy" and "Light Blue" Lace Sensors, with more jazzy tonal qualities, followed by new pickup designs such as the Alumitone, Power Sensor, Holy Grail, Arena and Drop & Gain series pickups. The Alumitones are also available as a hot bridge pickup and humbucking "Dually". A newest addition in the Alumitone range for 2007 was the Aluma 90, essentially a direct replacement Alumitone humbucker in a P-90 format for guitars equipped with P-90 soapbars.

New for 2008 are the "Emerald" and "Purple" Lace Sensors. The Emerald Sensor is primarily designed to reproduce gritty Texas-style blues tones without the 60-cycle buzz; the Purple is a hot overwound Strat pickup blending a Burgundy with a Blue. The new pickups are also available as a Super Pack set with a reverse-wound Silver Sensor in the middle position for added ultra low-noise operation.


A Lace Sensor "Dually" is effectively a double-coil unit combining two Lace Sensor single-coil pickups in a humbucker configuration. Both coils of the pickup are wired individually and left that way, so that the user may choose whether to wire them up as a humbucker, or one of several other ways.

Whilst any combination can be ordered from the Lace Custom Shop, the standard models are

* Gold-Gold
* Blue-Gold
* Red-Silver
* Red-Blue
* Red-Red

Humbucking Duallies with the new Burgundy and Light Blue Sensors also exist. They are categorized as follows

* Light Blue-Light Blue
* Light Blue-Blue
* Burgundy-Burgundy
* Red-Burgundy

Hot Gold and Chrome Dome humbucking Duallies are also sold. When wired as a humbucker, the "Red-Red" Dually has a DC rating of over 30 kΩ, making it one of the hottest humbucking pickups available.

The humbucking Lace Sensors were used as a standard equipment material on the original Jeff Beck Stratocaster, the Telecaster Plus/Deluxe Plus and the Stratocaster Ultra, manufactured by Fender in the early '90s, as well on some Custom Shop models such as the Set Neck and Contemporary Stratocaster guitars.

Usually a humbucker needs to comprise at least two coils with equal output, in order to produce the noise-cancelling effect. Lace Sensors get away with using mismatched coils because as single-coil pickups they are so low in noise anyway.

Duallies can still be wired using all the options normally available to regular humbuckers, such as "out of phase" and "coil tap", and also in a special arrangement so that the user can select either coil individually, or both as a humbucker. This latter arrangement would be superfluous with a standard humbucking pickup, since both coils would be identical.

So for example, using a 3-way mini-toggle switch, a Silver-Red Dually could be wired to select just the silver coil (for a fat '70s Stratocaster single-coil sound), just the red coil (for a hot humbucker sound), or both coils as a humbucker (for a mixed sound with extreme output).

Famous users

* Eric Clapton - The Eric Clapton Stratocaster with Gold Lace Sensors
* Pete Townshend - The Eric Clapton Stratocaster with Gold Lace Sensors and customized with a Fishman Powerbridge (used from 1989-present with The Who)
* Jonny Greenwood - A Fender Telecaster Plus with Red-Red dually in the bridge and single Blue in the neck.
* James Burton - A 3-pickup Telecaster with Red in the bridge, Silver middle and Blue neck.
* Buddy Guy
* Jeff Beck
* The Edge used a few Lace Sensor-equipped Stratocasters on the Lovetown and Zoo TV Tour.
* Ritchie Blackmore - The Ritchie Blackmore Stratocaster features two Gold Lace Sensors, one in the bridge and one in the neck position. This guitar was also available as a 'Roland Ready' model with an optional Roland GK-2A MIDI pickup.
* Francis Rossi - 3 Lace sensors are fitted in his trademark green Fender Telecaster, which has been his main guitar since he bought it for £70 in 1968.
* Billy Corgan
* Kim Deal - plays a '91 Strat Ultra live and in the studio with The Breeders (Blue Lace sensor in the neck, Silver in the middle and "Lace Dually" Red in the bridge). She offered a similar model to her sister Kelley for Christmas.
* Bob Mould

External links

* [ Lace pickup reviews on Harmony Central]
* [ Official Lace website]
* [ Official information about internal workings]

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