If by "rock machine" you mean a lot of output to overdrive an amp with, maybe.
Other that that, it sounds nothing like a humbucker. The way a humbucker 'reads' the string in two distinctly different spots is what makes it.
That's simply not even remotely true. I can't even remember any "twisted" '60s Fender necks in three decades of working on them. Swollen heel areas resulting in a bit of "ski sloping" under the last few frets occasionally. But even that is rare and unrelated to string tension.
@The Opera Panther Blix has it right.
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Hogy, Komet Amplification
There are great Strats in every era, but they fall in groups that share characteristics. Late '56, most of '58, last three months of '64 are such groups that are remarkably consistent.
Maybe it's one truckload of wood, maybe it's that batch of magnets and wire, whatever it is. Guitars in those...
There's no simple answer to your question. Get in there and be prepared to buy, sell, trade until you find the one. You'll know it when you see it.
If you have specific questions along the way, come back here.
Or, if you want the shortcut, buy a Strat made from September to December of 1964.
@Laurent Brondel Parallel resistor trick worked great! With a 500k pot the PAF has its chirp and breathiness back. Single coils sound as they should, too.
This really could not have come out any better.
It is to me. I use it for all my late-at-night playing at home. The key to me was to get into the app and start sculpting. Took me a while, because I'm an analog man, but it's very easy and intuitive.
In the end I was able to tailor setups that work way better for me than the factory presets.
Cool, I'll try the resistors today.
I have tried 500k with vintage Strat pickups before, and I'll have to disagree there. I don't like the way it sounds, it makes it too spikey and splatty. But then there is nothing my ear is as tuned to as a vintage Strat single coil, and I'm super picky...
It's way more than pitch. Listen to the entire spectrum.
Then take a tuning fork a strike it. Try again and touch it to a wooden table. Hear a difference? That's what happens when the frets go on the board. What you hear is amplified, not dampened.
I was thinking about that. Have you tried it?
Interesting tidbit of useless info, I have a good friend who is Michael Schenker's age and grew up up knowing him. Back the there was no aftermarket parts market, certainly not in Germany. My friend tells me Schenker was always looking for "Fender...
You could, but the manual of arms of a Stratocaster is so ingrained in my subconscious, it would trip me up. I play with my pinky on the volume all the time, and I constantly adjust without even thinking about it. It's total autopilot at this point.
So, more about the guitar.
The bridge pickup rout made no difference to the "resonance" or acoustic sound of the guitar. We're good here, thanks.
This particular PAF is very "fendery", as early PAFs are. Neck and middle pickups are now a couple of original '61 Strat pickups from my parts...
Not ruling out the WRH. Just taking baby steps. I wanted to hear thus particular PAF in it. Have had that pickup for a very long time. It’s been in a lot of guitars and always sounded great.
Turns out it is a perfect fit here.