Most versatile pickup configuration for a strat? Super strat?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Rattle&Hum, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. Rattle&Hum

    Rattle&Hum Supporting Member

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    I'm seeking your collective wisdom, experience, and advice in searching for a versatile pickup set for my strat. Its currently a standard '07 American Series, but I'm wanting something a little more versatile yet retaining some strat character. What are your thoughts on the best splitting humbuckers out there?

    Any recommendations on a complete strat pickup setup? Tom Anderson, Seymour, DiMarzio, etc...? Thanks!
     
  2. BigDoug1053

    BigDoug1053 Supporting Member

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    The HSS and HSH arrangements are very versatile. If you do not want to get a new pickguard for full sized humbuckers, Duncan and others make Strat-sized humbuckers that sound pretty good (Hot Rails and JB Jr). For the buckers, I recommend the 3-way switching: series (std humbucking) - parallel - single coil. The parallel provides a really good clean tone with good high end sheen with no single coil noise. You will have noise problems with any split humbucker single coil - even if you ground and shield.

    I rewired my Charvel 3A with Duncans - Hot Rails bridge, Vintage Rail (very quiet split single coil PU) middle, and JB Jr neck.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Rattle&Hum

    Rattle&Hum Supporting Member

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    I'll be getting a new pickguard anyway, so the actual pickup sizes do not matter (the body is already routed for HSH.

    I was initially interested in Duncan or DiMarzio rails or SC hums, but they are kind of one-trick-ponies, aren't they? They're not quite single coils and they're not quite humbuckers - and tapping or splitting them would make it too thin, right?

    How "stratty" is your JB Jr in the neck position?

    My latest thoughts are either Tom Anderson H2+ or H3 in the bridge, SA or SD in the middle and a H1- in the neck - or - Duncan JB (Trembucker) in the bridge, Vintage Stack in the middle and a JB, 59, Jazz or Stag-Mag in the neck.

    I've had the Anderson humbuckers before and was quite impressed with their ability to split. They were clear and really let the character of the guitar come through.

    I think I'd like to go with the single coil size for keeping a SSS appearance, but I'm afraid I'd be sacrificing too much strat-y goodness.
     
  4. domis

    domis Member

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    I had a versatile setup on my strat that contained JBjr - bridge, duckbucker - middle, L'il59 - neck from seymour duncan a while ago. Its very popular and versatile and its noiseless.
    ..but
    I felt it didnt sound like a strat in a way. More like a thin LP in bridge, only a hint of that wellknown quack in middle position, and the neck pickup was way.. odd sounding. so after some months with trying out and research i ended up with a SSS set from Shure, FL Shure. The bridge FL mic is hot, but it still keep that vintage strat vibe. The mixture of these 3 pups are truly amazing, and gives me tonns of options. I found the holy grail of singlecoils imo after alot of changes during the years.
    You get that vintage sound only its hot.
    Its not as silent as the jbjr duck and 59, but i had to sacrifice some silence for a better tone. ;)

    http://www.godlyd.com/default.asp?page=516 Shure FL.
     
  5. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    +1 on suhr buckers excelling at balancing and sounding right split with singles in strats.
     
  6. hookakat1

    hookakat1 Member

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    I love the pickguard on that.
     
  7. mrrs

    mrrs Member

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    I have two suggestions for very diverse sounds from all positions.

    Seymour Duncan P-Rails in all 3 postions will give you 3 distinct sounds,
    single Coil, P-90, and humbucker when both coils are on.
    It doesn't get more diverse than that, but you will get hum in the single coil modes.

    Second is what Dimarzio calls their Multi-bucker. It's a custom order.
    It's essentially any two rail single coil pickups they make, in one humbucker housing.
    So you can mix and match what two, no hum, sounds you want in all positions.
    The possibilities are endless since they make so many rail pickups.

    You'd need to add three-way switches to get to the different sounds with either setup but IMO it'd be worth it.

    Lots of choices out there.
     
  8. noyank11

    noyank11 Supporting Member

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    I am verrrry happy with my S1 SSH harness,Volume knob center is a button that gives you 5 additional(usable) Strat tones-spank,glass,lots of low end @ volume [​IMG]
     
  9. shane88

    shane88 Member

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    i'd go and play a 57 hot rod strat
    i use a dimarzio pro track in the bridge just wired as a series hb and it has it's own sound - doesn't sound like a strat pu or a full sized hb - but i really like it
    and for the neck + mid it's hard to go past regular sc strat pus imo
     
  10. BigDoug1053

    BigDoug1053 Supporting Member

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    Any PU mod will mess with the Strat sound - unfortunately, you don't find out until after the mod and it's strung up. I think part of the Strat sound is the middle single coil combined with neck or bridge - so I do not suggest putting a humbucker in the middle.

    I have not A-Bd compact buckers with full sized to see how different they sound, but the compact humbucking output is not thin and does not sound like a single coil at all. My Steinberger GL is similarly modded but it has Duncan Alan Holdsworth humbuckers, and my Charvel sounds fairly similar in character and tone.

    [​IMG]

    However, if you are going with a new pickguard with full size buckers, you will have more choices.

    Something you should ask yourself is what tones are you looking for. I think a high output bridge humbucker is essential for good distortion tone, and I think parallel buckers have a nice high-Hz sheen without any of the single coil noise. I rarely use the bridge+middle switch combo or the bridge PU in single coil or parallel - because I want a more full clean sound which the neck+middle or the neck in parallel gives in spades. The bridge bucker with middle and neck single coils will give you a good distortion and 2 interesting clean sounds.

    If you want to have a more Gibson-like neck+bridge humbucker sound, the 5-way Strat switch selector will need to be changed or rewired. I seldom use the middle PU alone setting, so I suppose you could wire that position to get neck+bridge if that is a sound you like. I used a 10-position rotary switch (the chicken head switch above) to get the neck+bridge PU combo on my Steinberger.
     

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