Best new low cost pickups for a strat MIJ?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Praetorian, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. Praetorian

    Praetorian Member

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    Hi everyone

    I have a 95 MIJ Fender strat that I use for mainly clean tracks (U2, Diesel, MJ) through a stereo setup of DSL 50 with 4x10 Orange cab and blues JR. Ive noticed the pickups sound crap compared to my brothers custom shop pickups in his strat. Any advice on best pickups to drop in it would be appreciated. Will USA standard for $50 be ok or is it worth a splurge of $130 for 57 re-issue or something?:huh

    many thanks

    Prae
     
  2. mhuxtable

    mhuxtable Member

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    How much are you looking to spend total? Are you going to replace all the 3 pickups, or just one or 2?

    What kind of sounds do you like?
     
  3. stratneck

    stratneck Member

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    Go to: www,reilandercustomguitars.com Check those out...Great price for Awesome Pup's
     
  4. midwayfair

    midwayfair Member

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  5. toomanyamps

    toomanyamps Member

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    American Standard pickups are way better than just OK.
     
  6. sleepingtiger

    sleepingtiger Supporting Member

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    Mighty Mites are decent AND cheap.

    Tony
     
  7. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

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    MIA Standards are the kind of pickups that get replaced though they are definitely better than any of the 5 or 6 MIJ Fenders I've owned. I'd absolutely ante up for something a little bit better. They don't need to be boutique or cost a fortune though.

    GFS Premium Alnico IIs, esp if you can find them used. Very similar to Fender Custom Shop 54s and Duncan Antiquities. I sold the guitar that I had these in but I'd say they were 90% as good as my 54s or Antiquities which are my favorite sets.

    he Fender 57/62s are probably about my fourth favorite set from Fender and they are very good sounding, esp if you don't need to get into moderate gain or higher. I had a neck and bridge pickup in a strat for a while where I did the wiring kinda like a tele.
     
  8. bsquared

    bsquared Member

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    I really like the Fender 57/62s I put in my MIJ Squier Strat. Found them used for a great price.
     
  9. shredmiyagi

    shredmiyagi Member

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    Eh, IMO..
    Just buy the real deal upgrades. For the extra $50-100, we're talking about the most significant upgrade you can make to your guitar (that won't have any side effects).

    Fralin, Lollar, Suhr, Duncan Antiquity, Klein, etc..

    If you're tight on money, go 1 by 1 starting with the pickup(s) that matter most to you (in my case, neck).

    My favorites are Suhr ML Classics and Lollar Blonde.

    Besides for owning a Fender Standard at some point (which got better every time I changed the pickups)... I decided to install a set of Fender "Custom Shop" Texas Specials in my MIJ Tele... after a while I realized the original MIJ p/u's were better. So I tried Lollars- and walla. I lost money selling the Fender TX SP's since they have weaker resale value. If I wanted to sell the Lollar pickups, I probably wouldn't lose a whole lot because a top-notch boutique pickup is gonna hold value near the price of the new pickup. But I don't want to sell them. They drastically improved my Tele's tone.

    I don't see the point in replacing your MIJ p/u's if a Fender, Duncan, something in that cheaper price range is gonna replace it.. unless you're going for a more processed tone, then check out the Laces or something.
     
  10. Praetorian

    Praetorian Member

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    Thanks for all the helpful suggestions everyone! I tend to use the 4th position (bridge middle mix) so was thinking all three. Maybe the 57 custom shops would be worth it. hmmm:huh
     
  11. snowblind56

    snowblind56 Member

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    Just buy used. It saves you a ton of money.
     
  12. JKjr

    JKjr Member

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    You can't argue with this logic. My Lollars, Fralins, Sliders, etc...are a whole 'nuther classigory,BUT...

    I know of a few that refuse to make noises that reflect their modest price point, and for every one I know of there's probably ten more.

    I prefer the GFS alnico II set to any Duncan, Dimarzio, MM, or non CS Fender set I've heard. This includes the AVRI57/62 which I quite like, and the CS 69's. The clean sound is smooth, open, and rich (how 'bout that,3 buzzwords in one sentence) and nails that early/mid fifties vibe, IMHO better than my CS Fat Fifties set (another fav).

    Tried some other GFS, didn't like the A5 set at all. The funny colored ones, can't recall the name right now, sound pretty good in a brutish kind of way, but the A2's are killer, regardless of price.
     
  13. Joe Perry

    Joe Perry Member

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    :agree
     
  14. Praetorian

    Praetorian Member

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    Thanks everyone for such helpful advice. I tend to use my MIJ through my Marshall (and soon to be stereo rig with a modded blues Jr) for tracks like U2 streets have no name and Pride. Also do Diesel Cry'n shame and hey Joe. I was thinking perhaps the 57's wouldnt be hot enough? Would tex mex or the GFS be too hot for spanky sparkle and gritty cleans? :huh
     
  15. ProToneThinline

    ProToneThinline Member

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    MIJ Strats are notorious for having mediocre pickups. Just about anything you replace them with will be an improvement.

    My main Strat is an '89 MIJ. A beautiful guitar, and great player, but always sounded "dead". A few month ago I replaced the pickups with a set from a MIM Standard Strat. The difference was amazing. Standard Strat pickups don't get a whole lot of love around here, but they made my guitar come alive.

    GFS is another option. I've used their pickups in a couple of Teles, and been very satisfied. I was acutally going to order a set for my MIJ Strat, but a friend of mine gave me the MIM set, so I used those instead.
     
  16. Endr_rpm

    Endr_rpm Member

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    I got the hand wired pick guard with the 60s a2 from gfs for a parts caster. They are excellent pickups at a reasonable price. Like some one mentioned they're pretty much on par with the mass manufacturers ( duncan, dinar zoo) but of course not as good as $200 Lollars :)
     
  17. toomanyamps

    toomanyamps Member

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    I would call the Tex Mex too hot to get anything resembling "sparkle", "gritty clean" maybe.

    The American Standards are a really good balance between hot and clean. Go in too a local guitar store and play an Am Std to see if you like the pickups.

    For $50 I think the Am Std's would be a great option.
     
  18. Praetorian

    Praetorian Member

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    GReat, thanks, that turns me off them. I think MIA stds might be a good start.

    cheers

    Prae
     
  19. candid_x

    candid_x Supporting Member

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    I have both '08 AmSt and Tex Mex in my JV. Both are hot but sound completely opposite.

    The AmSt are smooth sounding and mellow. The one thing I like about them is the bridge pickup, which I have the tone control wired to, leaving the middle without tone control (undid the modern wiring). That pickup gets some great rock tones through pedals or over driven amp/preamp by itself. Otherwise they're round and mellow.

    The Tex Mex are bright and biting, but when set low to the pickguard are a well balanced set with big lows and highs, not with the typical overwound bloated mids. When not set low down they sound too harsh for my ears. They over-drive well into gain/distortion even when set down low, and I disagree with toomanyamps, to me they sound great clean, especially through darker speakers and/or amps like a DRRI/C-Rex combo. To me they're like a poor man's CS69 but with more gain on tap.

    My Tex Mex's are staying but I am scouting around for replacements for the AmStandard. Not that they're bad, just wanting something not quite so "polite" sounding, though I may keep the hotter Delta-tone bridge pickup for its OD/distortion potential.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2012
  20. gillman royce

    gillman royce Member

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    :agree These are bevelled pups - I believe the stock pups in your MIJ would be un-bevelled: different tone, equally good - all subjective. I use both.
     

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