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Humbuckers for an American Strat.

bilbal

Member
Messages
8,485
Let preface this by saying that I am a humbucker guy. I love them and have always had guitars with at least one humbucker in the configuration. That being said, last year a was given a strat to use with the agreement that I can change anything that I would like to on it. The guitar doesn't technically belong to me but it was given to me with no defined time of returning it. My friend that "owns" it hated it and wants nothing to do with it. I have fallen in love with this guitar and guess what...no humbuckers to be found anywhere near it. I love the tone in all five positions but I DO MISS the option of switching to a humbucker for leads and heavier stuff that requires one. My question is...what would you all suggest I do to replace one or all of the pups to give myself the ability to have a humbucker sound? I am not very familiar with single coil pickups or replacement single coil sized 'buckers. I do have some experience (very little) with stacked humbuckers but I don't even know if that is a popular choice any longer. How about the lace sensor series? Are they made anymore?

Any help will be greatly appreciated!!!!
Bill
 

crosse79

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,938
Go for a S-S-H routing. No amount of mini hums of stacked humbucker will replace the real thing. Spoken from experience of changing & trying such stuff.
 

strat6866

Member
Messages
1,521
If it is routed for SSH then you can throw either a stacked or full size HB in the bridge. I would leave the single coils in the neck and middle which will give you much more versatility. I have a double fat strat (2 HBs) and never use the neck HB.
 

goodtone

Member
Messages
816
Just ask yourself what pickups better suit your style of playing the best humbuckers, singles, or a compromise of both or maybe what just sounds best to your ear .
 

bilbal

Member
Messages
8,485
The strat is S,S,S. I would be stoked it it were S,S,H but unfortunately, it's not. I am definitely more of a humbucker guy but the single coils in this strat having me really digging single coils lately. I just would like to have the ability to switch to a humbucker type. Obviously I am going to have to go with a stacked pickup of some sort. The idea of keeping the neck and middle pups in the guitar is a great recommendation because I love the neck pickup and the next two positions. It's the last phase position and the bridge that I don't care for all that much. So... dropping a stacked pup in that position would do the trick. Now, the next obvious question - what do you prefer or recommend for a replacement? I guess I'm looking for relatively the same output maybe a bit hotter but not "metal" hot - Satriani, Vai, Henderson. Something that screams humbucker but not humbucker with an axe ready to kill. Seymour Duncan?? Dimarzio? something boutique maybe. I'm not familiar with any boutique pickup makers. Can you suggest a couple that you guys like?

Thanks guys!!!

bb
 

strat6866

Member
Messages
1,521
I hear alot of good things about Seymour Duncan Lil 59s and JBs in the bridge. Go to SD websight and listen to some samples.
 

hawkeye17

Member
Messages
1,064
Go for a S-S-H routing. No amount of mini hums of stacked humbucker will replace the real thing. Spoken from experience of changing & trying such stuff.
+1. Check out the Dimarzio Tone Zone or a Suhr DSH(+ if u want more output like a JB).
 

jads57

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,289
S,S,H/B configuration Duncan Sreamin Demon H/B in the bridge! And I don`t listen to George Lynch or that type of guitar playing. I`m 50 years old and much more into blues and jazz guys. But G.Lynch definitely has good ears! By the way if you want hum cancelling singles try the Dimarzio Area 58`s GREAT!
 

Telecaster62

Member
Messages
3,484
Duncan Lil 59. Sounds great, fits in the single coil slot and balances nicely with the single coils. The one I had in one of my old Strat's sounded a lot like the bridge pickup on my Les Paul Custom.
 

mdog114

Member
Messages
3,958
Go for a S-S-H routing. No amount of mini hums of stacked humbucker will replace the real thing. Spoken from experience of changing & trying such stuff.
I have both styles and would have to agree.





The top one has a ToneZone in the bridge, the green has a 'Lil 59. Granted, the TZ is a pretty hot pickup to begin with, but the 'Lil 59 just doesn't get that power and density that you get with a full sized HB.

You might try the hottest SC-sized PU you can find, that may get you closer.
 

Blue4Now

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,069
I just went through this situation. I have an 06 american series that I wanted to fatten up. I researched like crazy and ultimately went with a Duncan Hot Rails. I agree its not quite as fat as a full size humbucker, but its pretty damn close. Close enough for me anyway. It also balances very well with the stock middle and neck single cloils. I also prefer the overall look of staying with the three sc size pickups.

The hot rails is really a great pickup. It clearly was desiged witha lot of thought for a strat bridge replacement. Its hard to describe but its fatter than a true sc but not necessarily much louder. I can switch from the middle or neck to the bridge and get a great classic rock humbucker soud with much more output and the volume does not spike up. Its a great design. In the end I am really impressed when things work this well.

Oh, and by the way, the stock delta tone pot in the bridge works great as you can dial out the tone all together for maximum clarity and bite or roll it back and warm it up. Vey versitile combo.
 

telemike

Member
Messages
595
Since you don't own the guitar, why not purchase a new pre-loaded pickguard with a SSH configuration, and keep the old one in tact for when you eventually return the guitar. That way you don't have to make any modifications that the real owner might be pissed about down the road.
 

89strat

Member
Messages
1,267
Since you don't own the guitar, why not purchase a new pre-loaded pickguard with a SSH configuration, and keep the old one in tact for when you eventually return the guitar. That way you don't have to make any modifications that the real owner might be pissed about down the road.
That's what I did.

My main strat has a dimarzio blues in the neck, virtual vintage 2.1 in the middle and a dimarzio paf pro in the bridge. In the 2nd position (bridge and middle together), the humbucker is split automatically so I still get that quack, and quack it does. Great sound. I've tried a dimarzio super distortion, duncan custom, and a duncan 59 in the bridge, but the paf pro sounds the best to me. The duncans were a bit too bright for my tastes and the super distortion was too over the top. The paf pro also has the high end but is a really musical sounding pickup that balances well with the other single coils.
 

bilbal

Member
Messages
8,485
Since you don't own the guitar, why not purchase a new pre-loaded pickguard with a SSH configuration, and keep the old one in tact for when you eventually return the guitar. That way you don't have to make any modifications that the real owner might be pissed about down the road.
To tell ya truth, I was thinking of doing that myself. I saw a loaded Gilmour guard in the Emporium which sparked my interest. How difficult are they to swap out?

Thanks so much for all the suggestions guys. I appreciate the help very much. I'm going to look into the loaded pickguard assemblies and give the suggested pickups a listen too. This should keep me busy and out of trouble for the rest of the evening!!!

:D

bilbal
 

John C

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,736
I kind of came to this post late, but if you are working with an American Standard Strat or an American Series Strat you won't have to worry about routing. These are "modern" Strats with 22-fret necks and the 2-post trem bridge.

At any rate, American Standards had a "swimming pool" route from their introduction (late 1986/early 1987) through sometime in 1998. They switched over to HSH routing from 1998 through 2000. Their replacement, the American Series, continues to have HSH routing.
 

Webfoot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,909
I had a SSS strat that had a bridge route for a full size humbucker. Although when I put in a seth lover humbucker, the route wasn't quite big enough so it had to whittled out a bit which was kind of funky. That full size humbucker is really a much much bigger sound than the small single coil stacked humbuckers (I tried those also.. they are good no real low mids or bass). However the big humbucker sounded out of sorts with the single coils it bugged me volume wise even though the seth lover is a lower gain humbucker. It is almost like you need an internal boost circuit for just the neck and middle single coil pickups. Also with the strat springs, the humbucker does not sound like a real hard tailed guitar.

Given that, I would try it again and purchase a SSH guitar and then could always step back and slap in a single into the brige pickup with a different pickguard if I couldn't select and adjust pickup heights for an even sound on all 3 pickups.
 

badger51

Member
Messages
113
I play a strat with a dimarzio single coil sized tone zone humbucker in the bridge and really like it. Extremely clear, full sounding across the lows, mids and highs. Sounds good on the clean or gain channel of my Rivera Clubster 45. I had hot rails in another strat and truely like the the tone zone s more.
 




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