Lace Sensors for my Strat or... something else?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Mejis, Nov 18, 2017.

  1. Mejis

    Mejis Member

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    I’ve got a 56 Reissue Closet Classic Strat that I love, but I’ve been fighting to get along with the pickups. The person who owned it before me replaced the originals with an Eric Johnson signature set. My main gripe:

    - Everything but the bridge is just too dark. The neck is really boomy and the quack positions sound muddy as well. The bridge and middle I like okay. I’ve adjusted the pickup height like crazy and nothing seems to make the neck sound good to me. I use a 50 watt Komet amp and minimal pedals (basically just delay, and OD for lower volume dirt when required).

    So... I’m thinking of installing Lace Sensors (Red Bridge, Silver Middle, Green Neck). I play lots of styles so I want to make the Strat super versatile. I also learned on Smashing Pumpkins tunes, and have a soft spot for the high gain Lace sound. Finally, I’ve read that the Red Lace Sensor can get a Tele bridge approximation if paired with a TBX pot... any experience there?

    To elaborate I play in a modern country act right now, so tele-ish sounds are useful. I also write and record alt sort of stuff like Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, etc., and occasionally heavier stuff. I don’t tend to play a whole lot of blues or classic rock.

    Overall any recommendations are much appreciated. I’m not totally sold on the Sensors, but I think I’ll like them and I’m not after Vintage Strat tones specifically. I’m also up for changing pots and doing other work to improve the EJ set before I buy anything new (maybe 500k on the neck/mid tone control would help?). Thanks!
     
  2. Baxter Stockman

    Baxter Stockman Member

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    I think EJ uses 300k pots. If the pickup set was added aftermarket, there's a chance the pots are 250s.

    Might not make much difference, as the values aren't too far removed, and I don't think it would make a dark sounding guitar magically bright all of a sudden, but it might be something to consider.
     
  3. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Supporting Member

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    If you really want to know what you are up against find someplace that has a stock EJ and compare it to yours.
    You may not have a pup problem...if you really have EJ pups.
     
  4. ZiggyStarrdust

    ZiggyStarrdust Member

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    I really enjoy the lace holy grails as I feel they do a pretty good job across quite a few musical areas. You'll do well with the lace stuff. Not sure how you do, but they come up used from time to time and are very affordable at that point
     
  5. Gclef

    Gclef Member

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    I am a lace sensor fan.

    I had the red silver blue set on my old strat plus deluxe, and currently have a hemibucker set with a hot gold in an HSH format in my parts strat.

    I like the sensors, especially with overdrive/distortion. I found that they work well with fuzz type ODs .

    There is a 6k hot gold set with a red and something else for the neck setup in my future.
    I'll end up with a hot gold/red dually and a ?/hot gold dually.

    Lace sensors lack a bit on cleans, but do better under gain compared to regular single coils
     
  6. Mejis

    Mejis Member

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    Thanks! How do the grails compare the to the coloured Sensors and the golds? Especially on the clean side of things? I know they’re more vintage voiced, so would I better of with a nice set of Lollars etc., or do the grails still have that Lace thing going on? Low noise isn’t all that important to me, so I’d be into them mostly for the tones.

    I’ll check this out. The neck pup is definitely unusually dark and muffled. Maybe a bad wiring job or an issue with the pups themselves. The guitar body and neck are authentic for sure, so it seems odd someone would cheap out and add counterfeit EJ pups... but I guess you never know. At the end of the day new pots are an easy experiment before spending $$$ on pickups.
     
  7. 67super

    67super Member

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    The Eric Johnson has 250K pots, at least that's what the parts list says.

    I own an EJ and like the pu's, they are not dark and muffled. You may find something else is going on with the electronics in your guitar. Good luck.
     
  8. jujube

    jujube Member

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    The EJs are quite bright actually on the EJ Strat and fantastic sounding on that guitar. Not sure what is going on with what was done with your guitar. As far as Lace, I would recommend Lace Blue for neck.
     
  9. ZiggyStarrdust

    ZiggyStarrdust Member

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    Hard to quantify but from all the lace sensors, they're the best and most "fender" sounding imo. It's hard to really say what set to get without knowing the guitar. I just know if I added Lace to another guitar, it would be the grails again
     
  10. Lt Dak

    Lt Dak Supporting Member

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    I really like lace sensors. I had a strat ultra for awhile with the red "dually" humbucker, silver mid and blue neck. It was a pretty versatile set.

    I still have two strat pluses, one with golds, and another with a blue bridge, silver neck/mid. The golds are my favorite.

    No experience with other sets, but if their descriptions are accurate, I'd have no issue trying them. I'd love to check out the grails.
     
  11. fenderjapan

    fenderjapan World Heavyweight Champion Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a guitar that I couldn't find the right set of pickups for. I tried a lot of my go-to's and I couldn't quite find a good match.

    I ended up putting in the EMG DG-20 set. It has a mid boost and a bass/treble boost and the pickups are quite capable of sounding stratty, fat, and everything in between with the added electronics.
     
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  12. Dave Wakely

    Dave Wakely Member

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    The LS Blues are nice, but sound closer to a warm P90. Greens are a good choice, but so are the Light Blues (and also Burgundy, but latter are better in a Bridge).
     
  13. ferrinbonn

    ferrinbonn Member

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    I used to have the red, silver, blue set in my American Standard. Got them in the 90s when I was playing a lot of alternative rock and was trying to fake my way around not having another guitar with humbuckers. If you want to have your Strat not sound like a Strat they're fine I guess, but otherwise I'd go another route.

    The red was my favorite of the three. Good if you're playing with gain and want a hot bridge. Darker than a normal strat bridge, so good if you don't want to mess with your tone knob. Doesn't sound anything like a tele though.

    The silver was fine. Most traditional sounding of the three. Decently close to a traditional strat pickup, but not a lot of character.

    The blue is just bad in my opinion. Really kills that beautiful neck tone that strats are known for. Mud city.

    If you want a versatile strat, I'd get something like a Little 59 for the bridge and some traditional but slightly hotter singles for the mid and neck. Like 60s style strat hot.
     
  14. C-4

    C-4 Member

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    I like Lace Sensors a lot. I had 2 Claptons with the regular golds, and 9 original Jeff Beck's with them as well. I kept wearing out the frets on the JB's, so I had a deal whereby I could trade them back in to the dealer, and he would send me a new on for $250.

    I had a Master Built strat made at Fender by J. Black, and we put Lace Chrome Domes in that one. I really liked them a lot. Just a bit clearer then the golds and really wonderful with effects, as are all Lace pickups.

    If you decide to try something else, Kinmans would be my next choice. ;)
     
  15. qblue

    qblue Member

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    I love my 1990 Strat Ultra with HSS, red dually in the bridge, gold in the middle, and blue in the neck. My blue sounds like a neck P90, similar to the 2012 LP 60's Tribute with p90's I have. This is my favorite Strat and has killed my Strat GAS. Like since 1990. It also has a middle position that activates the bridge and neck for a Tele sound. A 3-way toggle splits the red Dually for SC/HB/SC operation. Because of the near noiseless pickups, effects are clearer and deeper. Quack in the #2 position out does my 1970 Stratocaster, in comparison. The only thing is my love hate relationship with the neck. It has an ebony board (love), but the modern C skinny neck gives me cramps in my left hand (HATE).

    So I would highly recommend Laces. They are excellent. The Ultra can mimic P90 Gibsons, Teles, HB Gibsons, and has a better Stratty sound than a 1970 Strat.
     
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  16. swiveltung

    swiveltung Member

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    I really wonder if there is a problem with how your strat is wired or something. Muddy is not a word I can relate to with any "normal" strat pickup. Laces are a bit different but only slightly , you may like them.
     
  17. Johnny Alien

    Johnny Alien Supporting Member

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    I have never used the blue in the neck position but it's my favorite bridge position sensor. I like the blue/silver/silver setup. Does lots of gain really well but can still clean up if need be and they have so much clarity with the gain.
     
  18. 58flame

    58flame Member

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    I've never tried anything other than the golds. Had them in a Clapton strat I sold a long time ago. Hated the V neck on that guitar, but the pickups sounded fantastic.
     
  19. doublescale1

    doublescale1 Suhr S-Classic, V60LP's, Soft V neck Silver Supporting Member

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    I put a Holy Grail set in my EC Strat and they were very good - easy to get trad. strat tone and dial in the EC Strat's mid-boost to push them towards P90 territory. Consider getting the EC Mid-boost kit installed in your strat, or get a Demeter Fat Control Pedal (the mid-boost kit in pedal form) and you'll have a more versatile guitar that way, should you end your modern country thing and want more trad strat tones.
     
  20. Mejis

    Mejis Member

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    Thanks for the input all! I’m going to take the guitar to get the wiring checked out tomorrow - see if I can rule out issues there before I change anything out.

    If I do replace the pickups I’m thinking it’ll be Holy Grails, Golds, or the Rainbow pack (still doing research there). I like the idea of the grails because I’ve got a LP too, and it would be good to keep the Strat “Stratty” for those specific sounds - not to say that the other Lace pups sound like a LP though.

    The Burgundy Sensor is sort of a P90 vibe right? Is it twangy for those who have used it? I’m also definitely interested in wiring the neck and bridge together for a Tele-ish approximation as mentioned above. If I swap to the grails I’d think about doing that for sure.
     

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