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Big Apple Strat--pickup concerns

Messages
191
I've come across a local deal for an American Fender Big Apple Strat... Nice white finish with tortoise pickguard, rosewood board, almost looks too good to be true, and the owner is willing to negotiate somewhat on the price with me, but wants around 700 for it.

He tells me it's got a Duncan '59 in the neck and a Pearly Gates Plus in the bridge, with coil split in positions 2 and 4. Swamp Ash body.

Was wondering if anybody had any comments on these pickups tone-wise, and if the '59 can get anywhere near the typical Strat neck pickup tone when split.
 

c_mac

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,094
My uncle plays two of these pretty much exclusively so I've been able to jam on them a lot. I say no on the coil splits. They sound ok but being a die hard Strat/Tele player, they really do not capture the usual neck pickup tone of a standard single coil Strat.
 

Josh O

Member
Messages
4,300
I was at a Gary Hoey clinic years and years ago and he was showcasing the Big Apple Strat as part of the clinic. I don't remember it having great single coil Strat type tones when the pickups were split but damn that thing was a hot rock machine.
 

slogger

Member
Messages
1,659
I remember these when they came out. I really wanted to get one but found that there was a huge volume drop from the HBs to the single coil split. Ultimately got a G&L.
 
Messages
191
But look how pretty.....



Well, at least you guys are helping to relieve my GAS... I suppose I can wait, maybe buy myself a new laptop for school/work first, and look around for a similar looking Strat with single coil neck pickup for the holidays/my birthday in a few months.

Any comment on the bridge pickup, Pearly Gates Plus versus regular Pearly Gates
 

Wildwind

Member
Messages
1,718
I've played a bunch of these, even made one from parts that I foolishly sold. Not really a Strat, but a great sounding guitar. With those pickups, you won't need to swap them - they sound fantastic in that guitar. I can't comment on the price, but it seems in the ballpark.

And I also saw Gary Hoey years ago when he was playing these - amazing clinic and tones from his Fenders. Like someone said above, very powerful guitars. But with the clarity of the longer scale and Strat architecture.
 

ixnay

Member
Messages
4,150
Is the $700 a good price for one of those? Seems a little high to me, but I haven't priced them in a while. I had a couple I purchased new for $650 or less, but that has been a few years ago...
 

Bob Pollock

Sapientem senem
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,460
700 is a good price, especially if it's a true Big Apple and not a later Double Fat.
 

bluesking55

Member
Messages
1,581
Big Apple was 97-2001.. The rest were double fat strats
The Big Apples had Pearly Gates in the bridge, not the plus
I also saw Gary back in 97 i think, thats when i bought my 1st one, had it for quite a while
In that same period, Fender called them the Hot Rod series
Roadhouse.. Had Tx Specials
Lone Star had 2 Tx Spec and a PG in the bridge
Big Apple... 59 and a PG
 

Bob Pollock

Sapientem senem
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,460
Big Apple was 97-2001.. The rest were double fat strats
The Big Apples had Pearly Gates in the bridge, not the plus
I also saw Gary back in 97 i think, thats when i bought my 1st one, had it for quite a while
In that same period, Fender called them the Hot Rod series
Roadhouse.. Had Tx Specials
Lone Star had 2 Tx Spec and a PG in the bridge
Big Apple... 59 and a PG
My understanding is that the PG+ was only available in a Big Apple Strat and Lonestar Strat. Not available aftermarket.

The Pearly Gates is rather different than the "Pearly Gates Plus" that is on various Fender instruments including the Lone Star StratT®, Fat Strat, Big Apple Strat and some Showmaster® guitars. The Pearly Gates Plus is only available on select Fender guitars or from Fender dealers. The main difference in these pickups is that a Pearly Gates has Alnico II magnets, while the Pearly Gates Plus has Alnico V magnets. Alnico V magnets tend to give a brighter, glassier tone, while Alnico II magnets tend to have a warmer, rounder, more mid-rangier tone. The closest pickup available in our regular line to a Pearly Gates Plus is a '59 Model with 4-conductor cable. The '59 is an Alnico V pickup with a wind very close to that of the Pearly Gates Plus. The '59 usually comes in single conductor cable, but it can be ordered with the 4-Conductor wiring option.
http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/faq/frequently-asked/everything-else/whats_the_diffe_2/
 

John C

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,338
700 is a good price, especially if it's a true Big Apple and not a later Double Fat.
Acutally the July 2000 - August 2003 Double Fats had the same Duncan pickups as the 1996-July 2000 Big Apples.

Big Apple was 97-2001.. The rest were double fat strats
The Big Apples had Pearly Gates in the bridge, not the plus
I also saw Gary back in 97 i think, thats when i bought my 1st one, had it for quite a while
In that same period, Fender called them the Hot Rod series
Roadhouse.. Had Tx Specials
Lone Star had 2 Tx Spec and a PG in the bridge
Big Apple... 59 and a PG
Big Apple (and the Roadhouse and Lonestar) were 1996 to roughly July 2000.

The American Series replaced the American Standards in July 2000 and Fender renamed all the guitars but kept the same pickup sets:

Big Apple --> American Series Double Fat
Roadhouse --> American Series Texas Special
Lone Star --> American Series Fat Texas Special

Now about August of 2003 Fender changed them up completely by dropping the Texas Special single coils and the Duncan humbuckers in favor of Tex-Mex single coils and Fender designed humbuckers. The final names were:

American Strat HH
American Strat HSS

There was no post August 2003 version of the Roadhouse/American Series Texas Special.
 

slogger

Member
Messages
1,659
Is the $700 a good price for one of those? Seems a little high to me, but I haven't priced them in a while. I had a couple I purchased new for $650 or less, but that has been a few years ago...
Agreed. I think $700.00 is a little high. I think $600-650.00 is fair.
FWIW I there is a steal available on the emporium that keeps getting looked over. It's a lonestar from 99 I believe with Pearly gates in the bridge. These are really nice guitars. Heres the thread. I have no association with the seller of this guitar it's just a great guitar:
https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?posts/13958722#post13958722
 
Messages
191
Owner tells me it's a 2001, all stock. There is some conflicting info in this thread as to the dates of the Big Apple/American Series transition, but is it safe to say that a 2001 model is the same as the earlier ones, not a later HH with fender designed pickups/

I think I can get him to do the deal at 600 bucks.. this is extremely tempting, but here's the deal-- I currently have a Carvin Bolt with two humbuckers that I really enjoy the feel and tone of. I'd really have to side-by-side compare the two guitars to see if it's worth the money.. if not, I could really use a new laptop for work/school, and could look into an American Fender with a single coil neck pickup around the holidays, or my birthday.
 

John C

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,338
Owner tells me it's a 2001, all stock. There is some conflicting info in this thread as to the dates of the Big Apple/American Series transition, but is it safe to say that a 2001 model is the same as the earlier ones, not a later HH with fender designed pickups/

I think I can get him to do the deal at 600 bucks.. this is extremely tempting, but here's the deal-- I currently have a Carvin Bolt with two humbuckers that I really enjoy the feel and tone of. I'd really have to side-by-side compare the two guitars to see if it's worth the money.. if not, I could really use a new laptop for work/school, and could look into an American Fender with a single coil neck pickup around the holidays, or my birthday.
Regarding the pickups it is a non-issue - a 2001 guitar should have the Duncans on it. If it has 1 string tree, staggered-height tuners and fairly rounded body contours then it is an American Series Double Fat. Fender did not change to their own pickups until circa August 2003. Also the ones with Fender pickups will always have the S-1 switch.
 

treeofpain

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,171
These are good guitars, and $700 is a fair price. I've never heard a set of Duncan humbuckers that nailed the strat tone split, so if you live there don't bother. But they are a lot of fun for what they are.
 
Messages
191
Thanks for all of your feedback and info everyone. It seems like it would be an awesome guitar for the price, but I'll just need to give it a test drive, honestly. If it is an improvement or at least different enough than my Carvin Bolt 2-humbucker guitar, then I will totally snag it... however, I need to look into the new laptop issue seriously as well-- what gets you farther, a new fun 'toy' in the guitar or a new work 'toy' in the computer..
 

dangeroso

Member
Messages
4,496
I have a Big Apple Strat and disagree with the general consensus. I think it does a very convincing single coil tone when split.
 

blackba

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
11,458
You can always try rewiring the humbuckers so you have the option of running the coils in parallel versus splitting them. In general I have found that lower output humbuckers don't split as well as higher output humbuckers.
 

tamader74

Member
Messages
3,677
The 'Hot Rod' series Strat.'s were in conjuction with Fender, GC, and endorsed by long time Gibby LP artist LeeRoy Parnell,...(circa. '97-'00), They are considered by some as good if not superior to Deluxes by collectors,...I noticed the case the guitar was in (and in a later post the date of that particular guitar)...and as most have posted correctly, That guitar would be a 'Double-Fat' Strat., The Roadhouse, Lonestar, Big apple Strat.'s ALL came stock with a rectangular/Deluxe HSC (Fender tag btw. the handle ends), either red OR orange interior color,...When Lee roy went back to Gibson, the series was dropped, and as some have posted, renamed and slowly went away...But, was re-Introduced a few years later as MIM models. The (USA) Double Fat was one of the first Strat.'s that sported the S-1 switching system. Shame that the guitar that you are looking at is NOT a Big apple...in that condition, $700. is a great buy. Tom
 

2HBStrat

Senior Member
Messages
41,246
I have two Big Apple Strats (hence my name 2HBStrat!) and IMO they are great guitars. If you're used to a Les Paul, then the BAS humbucker sounds probably won't thrill you, but you will like the single coil sounds, which are very usable. If you're used to SSS Strats, but want more meat, then you will probably like the humbucker sounds but find the single coil sounds lacking. I used one in the split neck position almost exclusively for years and was very happy. Ultimately I decided that I didn't really like the PG+ in the bridge position because it was too hot for me, but rather than change the pickups and the originality, I went to partsocasters. I always wanted to try a '59 in the bridge as well.

I will have to consult my Fender Forums but I 'think' they changed the name to Double Fat BEFORE they changed the specs, but I could be wrong about that.
 




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