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Pickups for Strat: 57/62 or CS54 for Surf sound?

StellaCaster

Member
Messages
6
I've done lots of research and I can't make a decision. This Strat will be used exclusively for early 60s surf music, and I've pretty much narrowed it down to CS54s and 57/62s. I know that the Dick Dale signature has the CS54s, but I've heard that the 57/62s have a better sound for Surf. So I need a bit of help. Opinions?
 

paulscape

Member
Messages
3,535
I've tried both in a rosewood fretboard alder guitar and prefered the 57/62's. They were a little fatter to me. More punch at lower volumes - Dick Dale plays LOUD through dual showmans so his pickup criteria may be considering that. I also had suhr FL standards and classics (the landau pickups) in the same guitar and they might be worth trying. I liked the standards better again as they were a tad fatter and hotter. IMO the 54's are great for Buddy Holy type tones. Can't go wrong with either.
 

cratz2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,301
I'm a pickup junkie of the first order but honestly, you can get incredible surf tones out of almost any decent strat pickups through a big, loud Blackface-voiced amp.

Those two sets are relatively similar within the range of Fender-branded pickups.

The 54s and the Duncan Antiquities are my favorite sets of strat pickups and surf music is what originally made me want to play but to be honest, I prefer those sets for what they do outside of surf-specific tones.

If you're going in a surf direction with this guitar, I'd strongly encourage you to consider wiring the guitar, either via mini toggle or blender pot, in a way that allows you to use the bridge and neck pickup together. It sounds distinctly different than a tele in the middle position for obvious reasons, but allows for spectacular bridge tones with more body and bottom end.

Edit: to add bolded/italicized words.
 
Last edited:

stilesg57

Member
Messages
837
I'm partial to the CS '54s, but honestly they're so close and there's so many other factors involved that you'd be fine flipping a coin on that decision.
 

cratz2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,301
Might also suggest you head over to surfguitar101.com and browse and bit and maybe ask your question over there. Member IvanP sounds as good as any surf guitarist I've ever heard and last I heard he used 57/62s, Duncan Antiquities and Duncan APS1s.

My three main strats have Duncan Antiquities, CS54s and Duncan SSL2s which are pretty similar to my three main strats. Not that that means anything but... it is what it is.

Basically, I'd say keep doing your research, but unless you compare them back to back, either set will work for you about 98% as well as the other set.

For clarification the Duncan SSL and APS series pickups are decidedly brighter than the other ones I've mentioned though still great for surf... just a bit brighter.

:p
 

gillman royce

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,647
Might also suggest you head over to surfguitar101.com and browse and bit and maybe ask your question over there. Member IvanP sounds as good as any surf guitarist I've ever heard and last I heard he used 57/62s, Duncan Antiquities and Duncan APS1s.

My three main strats have Duncan Antiquities, CS54s and Duncan SSL2s which are pretty similar to my three main strats. Not that that means anything but... it is what it is.

Basically, I'd say keep doing your research, but unless you compare them back to back, either set will work for you about 98% as well as the other set.

For clarification the Duncan SSL and APS series pickups are decidedly brighter than the other ones I've mentioned though still great for surf... just a bit brighter.

:p
:agree
 

StellaCaster

Member
Messages
6
Might also suggest you head over to surfguitar101.com and browse and bit and maybe ask your question over there. Member IvanP sounds as good as any surf guitarist I've ever heard and last I heard he used 57/62s, Duncan Antiquities and Duncan APS1s.

My three main strats have Duncan Antiquities, CS54s and Duncan SSL2s which are pretty similar to my three main strats. Not that that means anything but... it is what it is.

Basically, I'd say keep doing your research, but unless you compare them back to back, either set will work for you about 98% as well as the other set.

For clarification the Duncan SSL and APS series pickups are decidedly brighter than the other ones I've mentioned though still great for surf... just a bit brighter.

:p
Thanks for the link, after doing some heavy duty reading I went tor the 57/62s. I'll report back once I get it all together.
 
Messages
2,414
Honestly, the more you turn up the reverb (from an actual reverb unit and not a pedal or amp) the less you will be able to tell the difference between the two sets of pickups.

I prefer the CS '54s over the '57/'62 set, but the '57/'62 set will definitely get you there.

May I also suggest the blender pot mod for the neck/bridge combo. See my sig for a link.
 






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