Plexi/4-hole users: which SSS strat pickups do you like?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs' started by Fretsalot, Apr 10, 2015.

  1. Fretsalot

    Fretsalot Member

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    I've spent the day reading strat pickup threads to learn about choices. It occurred to me to come at this another way - considering my amp as part of the equation. That's why I'm asking a pickup recommendation thread in the amp forum. Looking for the fellow early Marshall circuit guys who play SSS strats into them.

    Background info: I have a Rockitt Retro 50w 'lead' clone going into a 4x12 of greenbacks. My first love is PAF-ish humbuckered guitars. Lately, I've been playing my '95 SRV strat (alder body, Pao Ferro fretboard) more and enjoying some strat sounds - but the original Texas Specials aren't doing it for me (a little thin, a little harsh). I've set-up the guitar and done lot's experimentation with pickup height. The bridge only is too thin (no tone on current wiring) and the entire pickup set grits up too fast with heavier picking dynamics. I'd like smoother, overall... and a little rounder on the wound strings.

    For a beginning reference: I recently played a 60th Anniversary (2014) Fender American Vintage '54 Strat w/ it's signature pickups. I liked many things about them except they weren't quacky enough in the Middle&Bridge (2nd from bottom on the 5-way). I like the quack.

    Some recorded strat sounds I dig: Steve Miller, Joe Walsh, Mick Ralphs (Bad Company), Ed King & Steve Gaines (Lynyrd Skynyrd).

    Thanks in advance for your thoughtful recommendations,

    Fretsalot/Scott
     
  2. stratpaulguy86

    stratpaulguy86 Member

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    Fender CS '69s are great. I like the Dimarzio Area series as well.
     
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  3. notthedocter27

    notthedocter27 Member

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    I have like everything I have tried from D Allen...the VooDoo Blues are my favorites..have I stray and tried Paul Gilberts Injector guard with an Area in the middle...very nice as well...can get quack/nice vinatage-y tones if you want them..but has the bite if/when you need it...good luck
     
  4. Roe

    Roe Member

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    callaham h/srv specials and fender EJ pickups. would like to try don mare 64 rosie and suhr v70s and MLs
     
  5. Richard Guy

    Richard Guy Member

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    EJs

    Vintage noiseless
     
  6. Fireball XL5

    Fireball XL5 Supporting Member

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    Been very pleased with the Fralin Vintage Hots in my Custom Shop '63 strat. I think they sound great into my vintage Marshall amps.
     
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  7. DICKIE C

    DICKIE C Member

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    I have a set of Rio Grande vintage tallboys in my strat. Sound pretty good thru my Germino C45. Sound good thru my '76 Marshall 4-holer also. Bridge pup sounds a little thin generally, but then they all do. Position 2 on the switch has plenty o' quack for me.
     
  8. axelfoley

    axelfoley Supporting Member

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    EJ's and whatever is in my Thorn. Pasedena's?
     
  9. Phil M

    Phil M Member

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    Rio Grande Tallboys and a Halfbreed for the bridge.
     
  10. Zuper

    Zuper Supporting Member

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    Suhr V60LP does just that. Very smooth and round, and still has that 60s quack.
     
  11. stratman89

    stratman89 Supporting Member

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    I really love the Lollar Blackface pickups I put in my '89 Strat.

    I'm just waiting for my RR 50 to be finished by Kevin to see how good they sound through it. I sold my '60 CS Strat and a Suhr with V60LP's and kept the '89. I actually prefer the sound of the Lollars.
     
  12. Chadjohneto

    Chadjohneto Supporting Member

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    Lollar Specials for me - Had the V60lp's in my Anderson and they were kinda boring through a 4 holer.
     
  13. Fretsalot

    Fretsalot Member

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    Thank you to all who have offered their suggestions. I've been following up on each through web searches and youtube listening, where available. As with anything, recording quality and equipment used plays a big part in trying to decipher anything useful from close listening.

    Fretsalot/Scott
     
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  14. Dave_C

    Dave_C Supporting Member

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    After going through many dozens over 40 years, the Suhr ML Standards float my boat like nothing else!~
     
  15. Zen Guitar

    Zen Guitar Member

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    Kind of a round about answer...

    Texas specials are not my favorite Strat pickups by a wide margin. I also think that they are pretty far from the SRV sound...

    I believe the whole "overwound" thing associated with his pickups is a mistake, which came partly from some interviews where he stated his belief that the pickups in his #1 were more powerful and therefore overwound (I'm paraphrasing here and don't have a link handy to the interview in question, so take with a grain of salt)... I, personally, hear the SRV Strat tone to be from typical, lower wind pickups circa '59 or '60. The lower winds offer a more scooped midrange and have more chime and sparkle, whereas overwound pickups tend to be darker and more midrangey, in addition to higher output.

    That aside, my personal preference is for vintage spec or slightly under wound pickups. My current Strats have EJ pickups and Fender CS60's pickups. I think the CS60's (if you can find them, as they only come in CS Strats) are my current all time favorites. The Lindy Fralin Vintage Hots (you can request these slightly under wound, if desired) are another great pickups. I have not tried the Fender CS69's, but these might be another to try if you are looking for a bit of added brightness, but it sounds like you might not be looking for that.

    Vintage Strat wiring does not have the bridge pickup wired to a tone pot (I like this, as you can get some great Albert King type biting, stinging tones), but you could certainly wire this pickup up to a tone pot to be able to tame the treble. A common mod is to leave the middle pickup unloaded to a tone control, so that the neck pickup and the bridge pickup each have a tone control.

    In terms of notch position quack... I have guitars with both RWRP middle and non-RWRP middle, and there is a difference. The RWRP middle adds a bit more of a modern hi-fi quality to the notch positions, whereas the non-RWRP seems to be a bit thicker and more vintage sounding. You'll get quack out of either, but the quality of the quack differs, if that makes sense.

    On additional thought... With a Plexi, try cranking the amp up a bit more and using the volume controls on the guitar to ride volume and gain--this is the way a lot of vintage players played and one of the secrets to getting those types of sounds. Also, try a good Germanium fuzz pedal in front of the amp (nothing between guitar and fuzz, though--this is important), but back off the guitar volume and you will get a wide range of tones that do not sound fuzzy (until guitar volume is close to maxed). What you get is some of those Jimi clean and edgy tones that a lot of folks think comes from just the right pickups and amp, but the fuzz circuit is integral. You can actually get tones that seem cleaner (and more mid scooped) than the guitar straight into amp as well as dirtier. Start by setting the Plexi at verge of breakup. A lot of people chase pickups to get these tones only to find out later that the fuzz pedal was the missing ingredient.

    Hope this helps!
     
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  16. sixty2strat

    sixty2strat Member

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    I use CS69 and stock late 70's and early 80's 57/62ri. They all sound good and different. Think to remember is amp speaker pup and guitar work together
     
  17. Fretsalot

    Fretsalot Member

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    Zen Guitar,

    Many thanks for your well written thoughts on the subject. I've been listening to pickup vids for Fender 57/62's, CS69's, CS54's; David Allen 54's, 60's, 62's, Voodoo's; Lollar Blondes & Blackfaces; Suhr 60, 60LP, and ML; and a few others that are not coming to mind right now. Seems to me, my ears like the late 50's, early 60's offerings from each of these vendors. They sound rounder, richer & smoother... less... sizzly. Of course they will sound different in person. Thank you for explaining the quack relationship to RWRP. I'd seen brief reference in some pickup choosing threads, but it seems everyone has their own take on the impact of RWRP on depth of quack.

    I have to admit I like the wiring layout of my SRV 5-way (Tones for N & M, no tone on Br), and would probably continue in that vein with any new pickups.

    Thanks for the plexi tweaking suggestions.

    I feel the need to mention to anyone reading/responding: I didn't buy the SRV strat because I am or was an SRV fanboy. I bought it because at the time, it was the only strat I ever picked up that I liked how it felt in my hands. I actually know only a few SRV licks. I mention that so as to not let the SRV part of the guitar or it's Texas Specials unduly influence anything about where I'm trying to get to, tonewise.

    Thanks again, Zen!

    Fretsalot/Scott
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2015
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  18. Fretsalot

    Fretsalot Member

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    Update: Today, I sent off requests for pickup suggestions to some of the winders mentioned here. Based on the quality of those replies and how close my weekend's research matched up with their suggestion, I'm leaning towards the David Allen 60's RockNBlues set, right now. All my Youtube listening suggested I like the late 50's, early 60's winds, and there is something about the vids for the RnB's that make them... alluring.

    Fretsalot/Scott
     
  19. BoogieManSC

    BoogieManSC Supporting Member

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    Hell to the yeah on this above....
     
  20. jammwill

    jammwill Member

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    + 1 on the Fender Custom Shop '69's. I have a set of these in one of my Strats and they are great.
     

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