Anyone else into A3 strat pickups in bridge position?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by dazco, Dec 30, 2017.


  1. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Just curious, as i recently found this works so much better then A5 for me at least in the bridge pos of a strat. Used them in teles many times but it's not the same thing. In a strat there seems to be a bigger difference and they sound much different to me than A5. Anyways, i was wondering not only how many others have found this, but also what brand/models you have used and like best. Also, do you feel the same as me in that A3 seems not to matter near as much as A5 when it comes to height adjustment? A3 has a lot less string pull so you can go very close to the sting, but i don't find a lot of difference between very low and very high except in output. The tone stays much more the same than A5. I'm using a classic vibe 50s bridge model that is exactly the same pickup as the tonerider surfari bridge except for the plastic jacketed leads vs the tonerider's cloth. 6.4k/A3. I also have a benson 7.8k/A3 that isn't as good sounding as the tonerider but has a lot of output which gives it the power of a HB but winding aside, it sounds like it's not as good a design as the TR. Having used certain pickup models that are wound both hot and low and having tried both, i know the difference between the same pickup with more and less winds, and theres a lot more going on between the benson and TR than just number of winds. I think the gauge is the same tho. I feel the TR with extra windings like the benson would kill for a hotter bridge. It actually sounds fuller and bigger then the benson even tho it's wound much lower.
     
  2. RayBarbeeMusic

    RayBarbeeMusic Member

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    I like A2. A3 has a similar low string pull, but it's as bright or brighter than A5 in a rod magnet, and it's weaker than A2, neither of which is good in a bridge pickup IMO.

    One could make the case for A3 rods neck/middle due to having the bite of A5 but with lower string pull.
     
  3. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I wish you could play mine. From your reply, you'd be surprised. But thats not what i asked. I'm asking those who LIKE and USE them the questions i posted. By the way, with very typically vintage sounding middle and neck pickups (van zandt 6k) and the tonrider in the bridge, in both my strats the bridge was less bright than the neck and middle. so there goes the notion they are as bright when even in the brightest position they are only as or less bright. I'd say about equal but the A3's brightness is in a lower treble range than the A5 van zandts and that gives it a fatter sound than a A5 bridge pickup. And i have had several A5's in both strats including a 7.5k tex mex and a 7.5k van zandt and both sounded WAY thinner then the tonrider A3.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  4. BADHAK

    BADHAK Member

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    I believe the Tonerider Pure Vintage bridge pickup I have in my 73 Strat has A3 on the GBE pole pieces and A5 on the DAE poles. Not sure how much the guitar itself has to do with it but it's the best Strat bridge pickup tone I've played for my ideal Blackmore/Ian Moss Strat tones.
     
  5. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Wow,i had no idea they had that. But i just looked and yes, that bridge is indeed A3/5. Now i'm interested in that set ! The A3 tonerider i have in my maple neck strat is great and i wouldn't change it. But might have to try that in my other strat. It makes sense and goes along with what i've been saying all along, that A5 sounds thin in the bridge because the plain strings sound too thin. But they sound fine on the wound strings so that could be the perfect solution. Thanks for that, i need to see if i can find that pickup somewhere or maybe just buy the while set.
     
  6. jcs

    jcs Member

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    Bottom line, it still boils down to the overall wind as well as other factors but having swapped many magnets types in humbuckers and P-90's, A3 is decent overall, not as soft and compressed as A2.

    Keep in mind how 'charge' on any magnet is crucial......A5 can sound outstanding when degaussed (weaker charger) if they come across to strong....ive degaussed many A5 magnets, Strat types as well as humbuckers, just using a knife.

    I like A4 as well, especially in necks that are too bassy and muddy.

    Still, an individual guitar will vary some....often you just have to try several to hear for yourself and always play around with pickup height, some have a very narrow range (especially strong A5 magnets).
     
  7. GloryJones

    GloryJones Supporting Member

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    Amalfitano makes a great A3 set. The bridge is exceptional.
     
  8. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I just bought one ! I looked for days but never found a dealer in the U.S. that carries tonerider single pickups, only sets. Then I happened upon a place that not only sells singles but as cheap as in the set. So i bought the bridge model from the pure vintage set. Can't wait to try it. I love the all A3 model in my other strat but with most all strats (in fact most fender style guitars) i find theres a bit of a tone and volume difference the cleaner you go in the wound vs plain strings where the wounds are too dark when the plains are just right and the plains also seem louder. A5 is louder and has more of the very high treble range so i'm thinking the A3/5 combo will balance that out.
     
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  9. BADHAK

    BADHAK Member

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    Yeah the bass is not overdone at all on this bridge pickup so you can dial down the treble at the amp and the bass strings stay tight and articulate.
     
  10. dazco

    dazco Member

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    That's great. It's what i have always found to be a issue if only slightly, but always to some degree. When you wanna remove the bright thin sound in the plains it often muddies up the wound strings. If it's even better then the A3 surfari (all 6 mags A3) i'm getting another pure vintage for that strat's bridge too. I wonder how the tonerider A5 neck/middles are. I have van zandts there but i just have a gut feeling tonerider strat pickups might be worth a try even as good as VZ's are.
     
  11. BluesForDan

    BluesForDan Supporting Member

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    could you pm me the place where you bought your single pickup? I want some A3 pickups as I really like the CV50s I had in a build before and I would like to try that A3/A5 bridge as well.
     
  12. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Sure, it's RHfactor guitars. They are no longer a tonerider dealer but they DO have stock they are selling off so they probably still have a few in stock. I will say i tried the A5/3 pure vintage bridge and went back to the all A3. I didn't feel it sounded as i hoped. But it wasn't bad at all, i just felt the surfaris sounded better. This is all bridge pickup stuff i'm talking about....i hate A3 in the middle/neck. When i compared them to my A5 van zandts in the neck and middle of both my strats the difference was nite and day with the VZs sounding way better.
     
  13. BluesForDan

    BluesForDan Supporting Member

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  14. eigentone

    eigentone Supporting Member

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    I have a '54 Custom Shop Strat. It's got A3 pickups. They're great for that glassy, detailed Strat tone. They are rich in high and mid harmonics and low output for greater dynamic range. They can be less compatible with some players and/or under heavier distortion. If you want exceptionally clean and detailed pickups, here they are. I think they are great in the Middle and Neck positions as well. It sounds great into VOX amps (low/mid-heavy) and the Vibro-King (like a Blonde Fender, fat and compressed).
     
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