View Full Version : Best Strat pickups for nailing the SRV/Hendrix sound

AJ Love
01-24-2006, 06:44 PM
I've got a G&L S-500 here from '98 that is killer. It is every bit as good or better than the Fender Custom Shop or boutique Strats (Suhr/Grosh etc) I've owned (and I got it for $500 used, but that is another thread I 'spose about value and perceived value in the used marketplace... ***also, please note, that is not a knock on Suhr, Grosh or Fender CS, more to illustrate how nice this G&L is...)

Anyways... the one thing I think I'd change is the pickups... who, do you guys think, makes the best Strat pickups for getting into that SRV/Hendrix tonal zone?

01-24-2006, 07:33 PM
Pretty sure SRV used Texas specials.

01-24-2006, 09:14 PM
SRV and Hendrix had different tones IMO. I'd recommend a hotter 'Texas' named pickup for SRV, and a low output pickup for Hendrix, like say the Fender Custom Shop '69s.

01-24-2006, 10:13 PM
I LOVE my Bare Knuckle Irish Tours! Not cheap but worth every penny. Tim can easily wind you a custom set.


01-24-2006, 10:27 PM
SRV and Hendrix had different tones IMO. I'd recommend a hotter 'Texas' named pickup for SRV, and a low output pickup for Hendrix, like say the Fender Custom Shop '69s.

ditto. very different tones.

AJ Love
01-24-2006, 11:16 PM
I agree they are different tones... however there are some similarities in their clean tones... feel free to suggest two different types of pickup sets, one for each

I'm not trying to nail their tones, just giving an example of two of my bigger influences, to help you guys suggest pickups that might work for a blues rock player like myself



01-24-2006, 11:27 PM
Pretty sure SRV used Texas specials.

I don't think Texas Specials even existed at the time SRV played. Weren't they made after him to sound like him?

01-24-2006, 11:29 PM
Original Fender mid to late'60s pickups sound closest to me but, for modern pickups, IMO something around a 6.0k wind like the Van Zandt Vintage Plus set will get you there. SRV supposedly used Van Zandts in some of his guitars. However, for a little more money, JM Rolphs will custom wind you an aged set that will be closer to original Fenders.

Fender's Texas Specials were first used in their SRV signature Strat which made its appearence in '92....and SRV supposedly had input on the Texas Special design. The Texas Special pickups are strange pickups though....they seem to sound great in some guitars but stink in others. While they seem to work pretty well in the SRV sig Strat, I have heard it said though that they aren't the same Texas Specials that Fender sells as seperate items.

01-24-2006, 11:47 PM
If you can play like him or close to it, then it's not that hard to nail his tone. But he used a lot of different tones on his recordings and what I have seen of him live he always sounded different. Sometimes good and sometimes bad as on Saturday night live (Marshall 1/2 stack thing with terrible tone)and at a ballgame doing the star spangled banner(Dumble?).

So now lets get to pickups, my opinion is to use a slightly hotter and darker pickup to get that whining mid-range strat sound. Fender Texas specials, Fralin blues or any other slightly over wound strat pickups from Voodoo, Lollar or whomever. I would be more inclined to use Alnico 2 or 3 magnets over the A5 and 42 poly nylon wire over Formvar or enamel. I feel that will mimic those old abused strat pickups or the so called aging of a new pickup.

I don't think you really need a tube screamer but that's will get you closer and add a nice hot rodded fender tube amp and that should do it. But you have to have his techniques down other wise it will not matter what pickup you use.

01-24-2006, 11:54 PM
+ 1 on the Van Zandt Vintage Plus
also the Fender ' 68 ri staggered pole has the Hendrix tone.
Kinman Woodstock

01-25-2006, 07:08 AM
I don't think Texas Specials even existed at the time SRV played. Weren't they made after him to sound like him?

Yep. They failed miserably too.

01-25-2006, 07:10 AM
Hendrix and SRV sound quite a bit different to me and most of the difference is in the amp and effects they chose to use. What kind of amp are you using?

01-25-2006, 10:17 AM
Lots of opinions on this topic, but IMHO... Fralin Vintage Hots for Hendrix & Fralin Blues Specials for SRV. Also, consider an SP43 for the bridge position if you want a beefier tone there.

01-25-2006, 10:34 AM
Fralin Vintage Hots can do both tones beautifully. Pickup wind is the least of your worries. Hugungous strings (13-58!) with SRV/Slinky's with Jimi. No finish on SRVs strat, big thick poly on Jimi's. Reverse headstock, big fat fuzz, #2 pos for Jimi/std setup, big fat volume, #5 pos for SRV.

Nice Strat with a classic Marshall or Fender type amp (SL, 18watter, Super Reverb), a tubescreamer and a fuzz on the floor can get you close enough for government work to both.

Jeff Flowerday
01-25-2006, 01:16 PM
SRV's pickup wasn't all mid like some people like to think. It was almost scooped, he just played hard and used his Screamer.

Go with the Seymour Duncan Antiquity II set. They are designed after the 60's strat pickup.


01-25-2006, 02:30 PM
+1 on the Fralin Vintage Hots

and what jpage said. I think he nailed it!

01-26-2006, 12:37 AM
I really dig the Van Zandt Blues pickups for SRV and Hendrix tones. Unlike many other manufactures that make a higher output Stratocaster pickup and you lose all that magical "Spank" factor, the Van Zandts don't lose that "Spank" and "Sparkle".

I dig the Lollars too, big time.

01-26-2006, 12:58 AM
for JH stuff I use a left handed '68 mij reissue with Rio Grande Vintage Tallboys, the pickups are great and the big headstock, longer low E/shorter high E above the nut can make a difference the guitar is strung righty. great pickups for this. And for SRV I use Rio Grande Muy Grande's, Big, fat, strong pickups that will pull your intonation off if your not careful, and pound the S**T out of the guitar, there's more tone in your hands than in your gear. :YinYang

01-26-2006, 04:17 PM
For a clean Hendrix sound (ala One Rainy Wish) try the Suhr V60 LPs. They are amazing.