pickups and pots for an American Fat strat?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by papersoul, Apr 5, 2015.

  1. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    Hey guys,

    I have been close to selling my American Fat Strat but I can't get myself to do it. Maybe I need a pickup and or pot change.

    Right now, it has a dimarzio air zone and two dimarIo 54 pro stacked singles, with stock 250 pots.

    The Air Zone is too dark and may a 500k pot will fix this?

    Otherwise, I love Duncan's...so I am thinking of installing a Duncan 59 Custom hybrid humbucker with 2 Duncan singles.

    Alternatively, I am thinking of the Duncan Everything set. Thoughts?

    I am open to suggestions on pickups or pots.

    I will say that I am not a single coil guy, at least not a purist.

    I play lots of rock, hard rock, punk and some modern and classic rock.

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. OotMagroot

    OotMagroot Supporting Member

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    Definitely try a 500K pot for the Air Zone. I had one in the bridge position of my Strat and it was was dang nice with 500K pots.

    The Everything set is nice too. I like all three of those pickups. The middle Duckbucker sounds way nice. The JB Jr. for the bridge is not my favorite, but if you think the Air Zone might be too dark for you, then the JB Jr. might be right up your alley.
     
  3. wetordry

    wetordry Member

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    o
    Recently got a strat a previous owner had installed the Everything Axe set.
    Middle 3 positions(duckbucker) are very nice strat tones.
    While I like the bridge(jb jr) and neck(little 59), for my ears they are a bit like hammering nails with a sledgehammer if they were chosen simply to beef up the basic strat sound. They sound fantastic, a hoot to play, and while the floating tremolo still leaves a fluidy strat sound....the tones are straight up humbucker.
    Probobly would not have bought them on my own but since the guitar played nice...it is what it is.
     
  4. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    If not the Everything Axe, then maybe some Dimarzios like the Chopper.

    Maybe a Duncan 59 Custom hybrid and medium output noiseless Duncans. :)
     
  5. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I am so lost on this guys. I leave it alone and try a 500k pot, replace the AZ..with a Dimarzio Air Classic, 36th PAF or even a Duncan Custom 59 hybrid and install Duncan stacked singles.

    However I could try Dimarzio set with Cruisers,a Chopper, etc.
     
  6. camstudio

    camstudio Member

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    I messed about setting up an HSS setup last year. Best solution I found was 500k volume with 470k resistor in parallel for when single coils are selected. Worked a treat.
     
  7. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I figure just run a 500K Vol and then roll back middle ans neck tone if needed to taste.

    Any other suggestions? Maybe go back to all stacked single coils? Maybe replace the Air Zone with an Air Classic.
     
  8. camstudio

    camstudio Member

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    Those were my thoughts at the time as well. I found it a pain in practice. The singles sounded more like singles with the resistor added. Rolling the tone back didn't have the same effect either. The singles were stacked noiseless with around 7k resistance. You may have to try some configs out and use the ears. The volume pot made the biggest difference to the sound. I found 250k no good for the humbucker.
     
  9. camstudio

    camstudio Member

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    Sorry just re-read. Rolling the tones may suit. Mine had 1 tone for all.
     
  10. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I decided to seel my one and only remaining strat. I just don't like strats and am no longer going to try and make one fit me! For Fender, I will only play Telecasters going forward. Otherwise, it will be all PRS and Gibson for me.
     
  11. Tonebender

    Tonebender Supporting Member

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    I just wired up a HSS Strat for myself and very pleased with the results.....

    Pickups are Dimarzio Injectors in N&M and a Zhangbucker Duanebucker with Unoriented Alnico V mag in the Bridge.

    Wiring is a bit on the custom side but fairly simple at heart. 500K Vol., 300K neck tone w. 015 cap & 500K bridge tone w. 022 cap. Middle pickup is wide open and Series/Parallel switch on the bridge....

    Output and EQ are very balanced between the pickups. The hotter singles sound great with a 500K. I may swap the bridge tone for a no-load with a smaller cap. Otherwise its a total winner. Versatility is off the charts as well..... Lots of cool tones with this particular setup.
     
  12. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I am on the fence about selling the strat. I am not sold on these Dimarzios - the Air Zone is dark and lacks the sparkle or shimmer of a good Duncan for example. Maybe a Duncan 59/Custom hybrid and a 500K could be a better solution.
    The M and N pickups are the Dimarzio 54 Pro noiseless singles. Soaybe I should try a 500k volume, and Duncans.
    :)
     
  13. cardinal

    cardinal Member

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    Dude a pot is a few dollars and take maybe 30 minutes to put into a Strat. Just try it and see if you like it.
     
  14. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    You know, I do like the character of the Air Zone and the 54 Pro singles as well! I have a bunch of CTS pots around so I am going to try a 500k this weekend. It should also open up the 54 Pro noiseless singles as well.
    I know 500K pots opened up my tele big time.

    I will give it one more try and see if I can live with the feel and shape of the strat.
     
  15. 59Bassman

    59Bassman Plank Cranker Silver Supporting Member

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    I have to say that the Fast Track 1 pickup I've got in the neck of my H-S Charvel is the most pure "guitar" tone I've ever had. I'd look for a pair of those to go with the Air Zone, or pair the Fast Track 1's with a 36th anniversary. 500K pots, lower tone for the bridge only, middle tone for neck/middle, and maybe, just maybe, a push/pull pot on the lower tone pot for series/parallel on the bridge 'bucker.

    Would give you a noise-free, incredibly versatile Strat.
     
  16. erikm5150

    erikm5150 Member

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    Air zone in a strat with 500k pots sounds really good, you should try that first.
    do the suhr wiring so the bridge bucker sees 500k , and the singles see 250k.
    it takes some work but it's worth it.
     
  17. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    these are noiseless singles and are as dark as the Air Zone so they also will benefit from the 500k. It should be fine, otherwise they each have a tone knob! :)

    I will say the 54 Pro noiseless singles are the best I have tried.
    They could be a touch hotter.
     
  18. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    I am liking the air zone but it should benefit with the 500k. I am about to do the change now.

    I am not a single coil fan, so all of my guitars with singles, actually have stack humbuckers or you could call the stacked single.

    If the 500k volume gives problems with the virtual 54 pro singles, I may try more rocking pickups like a few Dimarzio Choppers or Fast Track 1 or Injector! Any thoughts on these?
     
  19. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    Okay, a little update. I installed a CTS 500k short split shaft pot for the volume. I can't find a plastic knob to fit this pot which is odd. I have a lot of all type of knobs, some top hat and some speed knobs. Some black, some white, some clear. So far, none of these will fit on this new CTS pot. So it has no plastic knob for now. Any suggestions on what kind to buy? Maybe I need fender pots.

    Okay, so, the AZ sounds amazing, great clarity, feels hotter, notes really jump out of the speakers. Clear and full, complex chords and the lead tones are great, really punchy and tight.
    I am definitely a humbucker man.

    Now, the Virtual 54 Pro pickups sound weak and since I have little to no use for single coils, I want to make this rock and hard rock guitar.

    I am going to be replacing the 54 Pro noiseless singles, with pickups that bridge the humbucker and single gap. I think my Air Zone would be better with any combination or the same neck and middle of these choices - Dimarzio Chopper, Fast Track 1 or Injector.

    Thanks!!!

     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2015
  20. papersoul

    papersoul Member

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    Can someone let me know what size pot shaft is required for a Fender? The stock pots are perfect and the stock plastic knobs slip right on and down flush with the body. With the new short shaft CTS 500K I installed, the stock Fender plastic knobs will not fit and none of my other plastic knobs fit either.
     

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