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Noiseless strat pickups for an EJ sound?

s2y

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19,674
I'm hoping to start with a Strat type build of some sort in the next couple of months with GMW as the builder. I have some Fender Noiseless in a Nashville Tele-style guitar and enjoy it. I enjoy the pickups although I can't seem to find flattering Youtube clips featuring the Fender Noiseless Strat pickups.

I'll be going with a maple neck+fretboard and very likely a maple top. Of note, I'm planning on using a mid boost of some sort (Clapton, Villex, or EMG), so I don't need inherently hot pickups.
 

Laurent Brondel

Silver Supporting Member
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3,324
What does GMW say? Ask the builder first…
A maple top Strat will not get you close to an EJ sound IMO.

For vintage output noiseless pickups I would seriously look at Mojotone Quiet coils, the '58 set with hot bridge sounds pretty close to my EJ PUP equipped Strats. The trick is to find a 500k volume pot that reads as close to 600k as possible. Those are the best vintage sounding noiseless pickups I've heard.
 

s2y

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19,674
What does GMW say? Ask the builder first…
A maple top Strat will not get you close to an EJ sound IMO.

For vintage output noiseless pickups I would seriously look at Mojotone Quiet coils, the '58 set with hot bridge sounds pretty close to my EJ PUP equipped Strats. The trick is to find a 500k volume pot that reads as close to 600k as possible. Those are the best vintage sounding noiseless pickups I've heard.
Lee isn't much of an EJ fan. He also typically caters towards the hair metal crowd, which is what I have ordered from him a "few" times.

I hear ya on the maple top. I'm a boutique guy and would like to get a somewhat authentic Stat sound, but I also like my guitar to look a little wild.

Thanks for the pickup and pot recommendations!
 

theon

Silver Supporting Member
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976
Lee isn't much of an EJ fan. He also typically caters towards the hair metal crowd, which is what I have ordered from him a "few" times.

I hear ya on the maple top. I'm a boutique guy and would like to get a somewhat authentic Stat sound, but I also like my guitar to look a little wild.

Thanks for the pickup and pot recommendations!
Why not try a maple veneer on top?
Won't change the sound but you'll still get the look.
 
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s2y

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I don't think I know what an EJ Strat sound even is.
I would loosely define it as his East Wes sound. I'd imagine a maple neck is a lot of that along with a very "polite" technique. I'd say I'm trying to avoid too much of an SRV type sound.
 

walterw

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39,356
I'll be going with a maple neck+fretboard and very likely a maple top. Of note, I'm planning on using a mid boost of some sort (Clapton, Villex, or EMG), so I don't need inherently hot pickups.
yeah, you're gonna be miles away from EJ with that kind of setup. noiseless pickups + booster onboard puts you more towards '80s david gilmour or recent eric clapton, you're playing an active guitar at that point. might as well put EMGs in it.
Why not EJ pups with an illitch noise cancelling pickguard?

http://www.ilitchelectronics.com/pgncs-s/
here's your answer, along with leaving the guitar passive.
 

strattele335

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389
I agree with the previous posts but would add a couple things. If the pickups have to be noiseless, how about some Dimarzio Areas? 58 neck and middle, and something like the 54 Pro for the bridge. I have the 54 Pro in one of my stats and it can get me really close to EJ's lead tone. I think of it as vintage with just a bit "more".
Also don't forget, the rig he is running into is just as responsible, if not more so, for his tones than his pickups. Good luck. His tones ARE fun to chase!
 

AdmiralB

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yeah, you're gonna be miles away from EJ with that kind of setup.
The reason I made the statement above is really because I don't think 'pickups' at all with EJ. His tone is so processed, I don't hear that kind of detail at all.

That's not a criticism - his sounds are very carefully crafted. But they don't hit me as 'guitar' sounds, so much as 'rig' sounds. I think EMGs would do his tones just fine, for example.

Also don't forget, the rig he is running into is just as responsible, if not more so, for his tones than his pickups.
That's my thinking.
 
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s2y

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Fair enough on the processing.

For the record, I wasn't looking to get the mid boost to sound like EJ, just an added bonus. Actually thinking about the Villex in the jack. If'n I don't like it, it's gone.

 

Laurent Brondel

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The reason I made the statement above is really because I don't think 'pickups' at all with EJ. His tone is so processed, I don't hear that kind of detail at all.
Actually, I disagree.
Eric's clean tone is a Strat into a Belle Epoch (it used to be an EP-3) into 2 x Twin Reverbs with JBL's (or 2 x DR's for a while when he was trying to keep the volume down). He adds a bit of chorus with a TC SCF sometimes -but mot always-, and there' s a second delay (Memory Man) when he wants more ambience, rarely. So, mostly a guitar, a delay and 2 JBL equipped Twins.
Pretty simple and analog, not what I would consider "processed" (like going through rack FX's or modelling), but hey, maybe a little more than just a cord between guit and amp… No compressor, limiter or any other such processor.
His dirt and lead tones are equally simple, with 2 effects at most between guitar and amp.

His tone comes from his technique, particularly his picking technique, he sounds like Eric on pretty much anything as long as it's playable.

But if you have his technique down, you'll get closer on a vintage flavoured strat for sure, can't go wrong with an alder body with a big maple neck. For cleans the JBL's are key, as well as very low capacitance cables. Pickups are pretty low output, A5 for bridge and middle and A3 for neck on his signature set, there's just a bit of a lift on the bridge at around 7k. Relatively big nickel strings that are not bright, 10-50 Nickel Rockers, it makes a big difference.
IMHO and all that…
 
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s2y

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Thanks for all the insight. That makes a lot of sense with EJ.

I'd maybe consider his signature model if it had better truss rod access, which is a must given the huge humidity shifts in the Midwest. I also saw him playing a local venue a few years ago that made his pickups buzz to the point that I could tell he was getting a little annoyed. I would have thought he might have something noiseless in his arsenal for a gig like that.
 

Laurent Brondel

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3,324
It's easy to make a vintage heel truss rod access tweakable without removing the neck. Pickguard and wall between neck PUP & neck cavities must be routed, and the nut replaced with a 1/8" or 4mm hex, like this:



But it does not look 100% vintage anymore, although it is reversible and invisible with a new pickguard.
RF noise pollution in some venues with single coils and relatively high gain are a curse, nothing much to do about it. Noiseless pickups cure some of it, but I played some venues where even those would hum like crazy on the Marshalls.
 

s2y

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More good points. I have only seen EJ and Andy McKee at this particular venue. I would hope that noiseless could fix this, but I don't know if anyone has use them.
 

weshunter

Silver Supporting Member
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6,376
What does GMW say? Ask the builder first…
A maple top Strat will not get you close to an EJ sound IMO.

For vintage output noiseless pickups I would seriously look at Mojotone Quiet coils, the '58 set with hot bridge sounds pretty close to my EJ PUP equipped Strats. The trick is to find a 500k volume pot that reads as close to 600k as possible. Those are the best vintage sounding noiseless pickups I've heard.
+1 - the mojo quietcoil 58's are the best sounding noiseless pups I've used.
 

Laurent Brondel

Silver Supporting Member
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3,324
I would hope that noiseless could fix this, but I don't know if anyone has use them.
The guitar pictured in my post above is now equipped with a set of Mojotone '58 Quiet Coils, it's the Brondel & Thornton Nowcaster prototype I built in November 2015.
The Quiet Coils definitely help with RF, up to a point, but as I stated before some venues are so bad that even humbuckers will be noisy with relatively high gain.
 

Tonebender

Silver Supporting Member
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-The Quietcoils are a great choice! I think you should consider the 67's with a Hot Bridge as well.

Eric's vintage strat and his signature model utilize pickups that fall into the lower output arena.
 






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