Organic sounding Humbuckers & other pickups that fit into Strats

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by echo unit, Dec 10, 2005.


  1. echo unit

    echo unit Member

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    I am looking for replacement pickups for a fender strat that has the awful lace sensor pickups in it. I was thinking of going with a H/S/H configuration as I have another strat with single coil Kinmanns that has the pure vintage strat thing already.

    I do not play with overdrive or distortion. I am into guitarists who have very organic tone. Bill Frisell, Daniel Lanois.

    I was considering getting this combination:

    Bridge: Duncan Little '59
    Middle: Duncan Alnico II ingle coil
    Neck: Duncan little '59

    But of course I am not sure that this will be the best possible solution? A lot of people seem to like the JB humucker but I had a full sizes one and found that it kind of sizzles more and is more scooped out sounding whicis goo for playing with overdrive but I want a more round, warm organic sound like Frisell and Lanois.

    I would love if some people would make some suggestions. The middle pickup is really a wild card. I guess I am looking for a middle pickup that will allow for some sort of single coil sounds in combination with the humbuchers that I may coil tap for operation as a single coil. I was also thinking of getting a lipstick pickup for some twang or a single coil that was hum cancelling but sounds organic and vintage. How is the Duncan Alnico II? What would be the best choice for noise free vintage sounding single coil? Kinmann? If so, which model?

    I was also wondering if it is possible to get a P-90 pickup that will drop into a single coil strat slot? That may be really cool int he bridge.

    Anyway, help on this would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks
     
  2. echo unit

    echo unit Member

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    32 readers no responses. Are my questions not very good or perhaps confusing people?

    I am just really looking to turn an extra strat into a very versatile guitar that has the capability of doing some more organic sounding humbucking and thicker sounds than Strats normally do with single coils that are usually scooped out in the mids.

    Anybody with experience with replacing American Standard Strat pickups with the little mini humbuckers that fit into single coil slots would probalby have a very good idea of what possibilities are the best ones.
     
  3. ChrisB

    ChrisB Member

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  4. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    I've tried the JB Jr. and it's nice overdriven but basically useless for clean tones. My standard sc-sized-hb recommendation is the DiMarzio Pro Track. It's an extremely versatile pu: pretty darn close to a real hb in series mode, sc tone without the hum wired in parallel and it splits great too.

    The Dimarzio Virtual Vintage Solo and Solo Pro are supposed to have a P90ish tone and are also hum cancelling. Although the Pro Track is a hotter-than-vintage hb, it could balance well in the neck position with a bridge Solo if you include a Series/Parallel switch. As for the middle, something like a DiMarzio HS3 could work well there. You could also wire it so that the Pro Track and HS3 are split in the neck+middle position to cancel hum.
     
  5. rwe333

    rwe333 Supporting Member

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    If looking somewhat higher output w/ a rounder/beefier tone, something like DiMarzio VirtuAL 2 in neck/middle w/ the VV Solo in the bridge works well.
     
  6. cnardone

    cnardone Supporting Member

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    Are you set onthe H/S/H? Harmonicdesign.net does some pretty agressive sinlge coils. Would you consider p-90's or Z-90s instead of the full humbucker?

    cmn
     
  7. Benny

    Benny Gold Supporting Member

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    Personally, I've never been really satisfied with putting a humbucker in a strat, it always wound sounding like exactly that - a humbucker in a strat. I don't want to intentionally throw a wrench in your plan, but my personal favorite alternative strat pickup is a lipstick-style pickup, especially if you don't use a pick. YMMV.
     
  8. echo unit

    echo unit Member

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    Thanks for all the great replies.

    Just for the record I play clean into a Vox AC30 and use no overdriven tones in my style of playing. I have heard from people that DiMarzio Pickups are good at overdriven tones but not so good for cleans and sounds shrill with clean tones. Is this true?

    If anyone knows how the little '59 works as a bridge pickup please let me know. Does anyone like the Little 59 in the bridge position on a strat? I like the way the sound clips sound on the Duncan website compared to the JB and the little screamin deamon which have mids scooped out oo much.

    Also is the Dimarzio the best thing to get a P-90 sound out of a strat or is there other alternatives?

    Lipstick pickups is a good ideal also but which kind would you suggest Benny? Any particular brand and would you put them in all three positions? Are they noisy like Strat single coils? I want great organic tone but with the minimal noise.
     
  9. theelectic

    theelectic Guest

    It's BS. The PAF Pros in my Music Man Silhouette smoke with clean tones. Like yourself, I mostly play with amp OD (and not much at that) using a Twin Reverb.

    For years I played with a neck/middle/bridge combo of a Duncan Cool Rails, Quarter Pound, and Hot Rails. The Cool Rails and Quarter Pound have a bit of that P90 thing going, but still not the growly low end (that's in mahogany only, IMHO) - the Quarter Pound leans a bit more that way but it's still not perfect. I like the Cool Rails for cleans. Not as harmonically rich as a PAF but it has a nice smooth sound that cuts. Some would call it boring (like Clapton during his accountant look phase) but I like it. The Hot Rails was all about midrange and output, useless for clean, so stay away from that :)
     
  10. mccreadyisgod

    mccreadyisgod Member

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    Harmonic Design makes a direct replacement for Strat bridge called the Super-90 or S-90. I have one in a Tele, and it's great... beefy for a bridge pup, but still a lot of bite. Another recommendation I'd make is the Seymour Duncan Quarter-Pounder singles. They have a really warm, round tone and fairly high output.

    One last suggestion: look at a Fralin Steel Pole for that middle position. It has healthy output but a different character from the typical Strat pickup.
     
  11. Clorenzo

    Clorenzo Member

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    I know people say that but that's like saying that Fender/Gibson/Your pick guitars are good for shred but not so good for jazz. Well, depends which model, right?

    Anyway, as usual it's best to listen for yourself. My friend Harry Jacobson is a DiMarzio endorser and has lots of great clips (both clean and overdriven) in his gear page:

    http://www.harryj.net/gear_page.html

    The 4th one down has Virtual Vintage pu's. The bridge one is actually a prototype of the Solo Pro (a Solo with Alnico II magnets), though according to DiMarzio the final version is a touch warmer than the prototype.
     
  12. Luke V

    Luke V Member

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    Lindy Fralin. Lot's of choices. You will find something that you like. If you try one and don't like it, send it back and choose another. The sp 43 is a nice hot bridge pickup. http://www.fralinpickups.com
     
  13. echo unit

    echo unit Member

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    Anybody have this combination in a Strat?

    Bridge: Duncan Little '59
    Middle: Duncan Alnico II single coil
    Neck: Duncan little '59

    If so, how do you find it?

    Which lipstick pickups are the best ones to drop into a Strat without doing any routing of the body? I know that Seymour Duncan makes one but are there better ones? I was thinking about making my middle pickups a Lipstick or does this kind of pickup work better in a different location?

    Also anybody use a Seymour Duncan Duckbucker in tehe middle position? What's that like?
     
  14. JingleJungle

    JingleJungle Member

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    ..this...
    Since you want an "organic" sounding combo I will shamelessly plug the following Häussel pickups (www.ugroove.biz/haeussel.html):
    bridge position: HOT, has a nice push but still retains plenty of dynamics
    mid position: BigMag, a single coil w/ bit phat P90 poles
    neck: P90 in HB frame. Sweet'n'deep Alnico II w/ plenty of juice to match up with the bridge pupper.

    My guess is that you'd end up with a very warm, fullbodied sounding guittie. Put a blend control instead of one of the tone pots and you have one heckuva versatile axe. Häussel pups usually retain plenty of tone and dynamics even at extremely low volume knob settings (depending on overall wiring, even as low as "2"), which in turn yields more interesting tones even from single channel amps.

    YMMV. My statements are (necessarily) biased - but in a good way.

    Peace & good luck,

    JJ
     
  15. The Golden Boy

    The Golden Boy Member

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    I've got a Super 90 set in my Tele- not the greatest cleans- but not bad by any stretch of the imagination.

    I've also got a Fralin Steel Pole- I think 42- that I used in my 65 Epi Olympic instead of the Melody Maker pickup in it. Again, not the best cleans- but not bad.

    Keep in mind- I generally am shooting for a good overdriven sound. My pickups are generally closer to the strings than you would probably have them set. Both the Super 90 and the Fralin Steel Pole are great pickups in the P-90 vein. They stack up pretty favorably with my other P-90 guitars that have Duncan Custom P-90s. (Duncan Custom- the model, not custom made Duncans)
     
  16. echo unit

    echo unit Member

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    Well it seems that Frisell is using the Harmonic Design Z-90 and the Vintage plus tele pickups.

    The seymour Duncan Website claims that Bill Frisell is also a Little 59' pickup but I think this is either true or quite a stretch being that Bill maybe put that pickup in a guitar once and then took it out and put a harmonic design in there but I could be wring and he could be using the Duncan Little 59' in the bridge position or something.

    I wonder if anyone has attempted the Frisell tone with either of these and which one helped the most?
     
  17. markp

    markp Member

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    Little 59' is my favorite bridge,JBjr is second fav.
     
  18. Srini

    Srini Guest

    I have a similar issue with my Strat, although not as extreme as yours, and I've been contemplating replacing my bridge humbucker.

    I went through the HighOrder site yesterday, and among the obligatory hard rock, heavily overdriven stuff, I found one clip (the last one, I believe) that demonstrates the total sweetness of the 8.3K A2 pickup. I don't know what position this was in, but it sounds very much like a bridge pickup.

    Why don't you go listen to it and see if you like it?

    Srini
     

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