Lets talk Strat pickups

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Killcrop, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    I have a Suhr S model with ML pickups. They are too bold in this guitar. I prefer a more scooped, more traditional tone. I am thinking about a set of Duncan SSLs. They are relatively cheap and the sound clips are pretty nice. I have owned and liked the Duncan Antiquity series as well.

    Alder body, Rosewood board. Kinda looking for a 60s vibe.
     
  2. dazco

    dazco Member

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    I can't tell you about 60's tone, but as a decades long strat fnatic the best i have found and what i have used since about 90 is van zandt. All these years and i can honestly say they are just so perfect i can't find anything i'd want to change. They do whatever i ask of them and don't do anything i don't want. Plenty of sweet chimey highs but literally never the least bit of thin sound or harshness. Rick complex tone and perfect balance of everything.

    On occasion thru the years i read some hyped up feeding frenzy over some new "holy grail" of a strat p/u and try one only to happily rip it out and put the VZ back in. They are IMO impossible to beat unless they just don't happen to be your idea of a strat p/u, but if thats the case you may be looking for something unique and very different than most strat pups. Also, i haven't bought them in years because i'm using the same couple sets i have had for years so i'm not sure if anything has changed. I doubt it tho being a family run business. I know Mr VZ died long ago and the family was still making em right because a few of the ones i have are after he died and they are the same. Can't vogue for today tho.
     
  3. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Member

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    I have to agree on the van zandts. They are a pinnacle pickup to me. I like the vintage plus the best, and still have the first set I bought in 1995. Perfect, enormous, strat tone. I also like the blues pickup for the bridge, and their tele and jazz bass pickups. Consistently outstanding.

    But, I also like the Suhr ML/FL just as much! I think they're kind of cut from the same cloth, with a really good midrange. Both pickups sound fantastic clean or with a lot of gain. They're both beautiful sounding while not overly polite or bland.

    I think the OP might want something under wound, which the van Zandt true vintage or fullertons could achieve. I haven't tried those.
     
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  4. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    I went through the mid 60's Fender tone chase a few years ago myself when I was forced to sell my original '64 Strat. After trying many others, Don Mare took my challenge and said he knew the sound I was seeking. He nailed it...and the set still remains in his lineup as his "Josie/Vaughn" set.

    Good luck!
     
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  5. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    The pickups in my '63 varied a little but were about 6.3K.

    The Duncan Surfers are about 6.3k, are based on those from a '62 Strat and are close enough to satisfy me.

    You can order Fralin Vintage Hots (they're not hot, BTW...) wound to whatever you want. 6.3k or whatever.

    They're a little smoother and less glassy than Surfers.

    The SSL-1's are excellent too. More like the Surfers and a great value.

    I have sets of Duncan Surfers and Fralins in my own guitars.
     
  6. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    Good analysis. I ended up getting a set of SSL used for $100. Seems like a good value. I am fairly certain Seymour knows how to build a pickup.
    I often wonder if guitar can be changed all that much with pickups.
     
  7. Killcrop

    Killcrop Supporting Member

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    I remember reading about that a while ago. I would love to try those some time. I know a guy that has a '64 strat. He's in his 70s and he's owned it since about '65. It plays like **** because it's never been set up or adjusted. I have offered to buy that guitar so often I don't even bring it up anymore. It just hangs on his wall.
     
  8. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    Sure. You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear but if you have a nice, resonant import Strat with mediocre pickups you can often turn it into a professional instrument with a pickup upgrade. Some of my favorite Strats have been MIJ Fender Squier's that I put Duncans in.
     
  9. K-Line

    K-Line Gold Supporting Member

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    Klein S-5s or Lollar Blondes
     
  10. Muzzy

    Muzzy Supporting Member

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    I really like the Duncan Surfers too. I've got the hotter bridge pickup and it's a great pickup that fits the set perfectly.
     
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  11. Rockin J

    Rockin J Member

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    I've tried Klein, Fralin and D Allen.
    All are good pickups.
    But I went back to Fender pickups and they are just hard to beat.
    My favorite are the fat 60's but they only come in a CS guitar.
    Nothing wrong with a set of fat 50's. I have a set in a EJ strat and they do it all. Pure fender goodness.
     
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  12. macmax77

    macmax77 Supporting Member

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    my two preferred pups are:

    Ron Ellis and Lollar Blondes. I would die for either.

    Lollar Blondes are just soooooo sweet!
     
  13. Stratobuc

    Stratobuc Member

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    Lollar Blondes with a Duncan SSL-5 in the bridge.
     
  14. LReese

    LReese Member

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    Try some V60s or V60LP's. Even could try to go to ML Classics.

    V60LP is my favorite except for an Ash body. There I like the V54.
     
  15. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Supporting Member

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    I love the VZ's as well. Great pickups & i have been through many sets. :cool:
     
  16. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    I have to echo some of the recommendations here- the Surfers are my favorite in a rosewood-board Strat for awesome 60s tone that isn't too pricey. Not as cutting as the SSL-series; warm where you need it, and not where you don't.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2016
  17. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    The Fender '65 reissue Strat pickups are pretty good too.
     
  18. Mpcoluv

    Mpcoluv Supporting Member

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    Stu Cats likes this.
  19. Killed_by_Death

    Killed_by_Death Member

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    You're right, they're too awesome for some people.
     

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