Seth Lover & PIO caps swapped into a '99 Fender Lone Star Strat -- WOW!!!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by stilesg57, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. stilesg57

    stilesg57 Member

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    All I can say is "WOW." I couldn't be happier about this upgrade.

    Quick background:

    I have had this guitar since '06 and I've LOVED it. One of the best put-together instruments I've ever owned. Exactly what I wanted: ash body, sienna burst finish, maple neck, just everything I was craving for in a Strat at the time. Didn't hurt that it sounded great and played even better.

    There was one issue however: I never cared for the factory installed Duncan Pearly Gates Plus humbucker in the bridge.

    It wasn't dynamic enough, didn't respond well to changes in my attack, overpowered the two Texas Specials single coils, responded to the tone control poorly, and worst of all was brutally ice-picky :( Trying to roll off the highs with the tone knob changed the sound in a way I just didn't care for. So I rarely used the Gates straight up.

    So I decided to replace it with my favorite bucker that I could get easily and cheaply with white bobbins: a Duncan Seth Lover TB-55B in white. It's a production floor custom, but you can get them on eBay from seller banjomikez (affordable and shipped fast):

    [​IMG]

    At the same time, I decided to replace whatever caps were in the guitar with some PIOs I had laying around from electronics kits for some of my other guitars that I haven't installed yet (still waiting on pickups, hardware, etc). I threw a .022 on the bridge tone pot and a .047 on the middle/neck pot (all pots are 250k from the factory BTW -- interesting, I thought the bridge tone pot might be 500k but it wasn't).

    Here are some pics of the process. Here's the original Pearly Gates Plus in the pickguard with the new Seth Lover next to it:

    [​IMG]

    And here's the factory wiring setup. Well done soldering all around. A .022 orange drop on the bridge tone pot but you gotta hate the crappy brown .022 ceramic disk on the middle/neck pot.

    [​IMG]

    And now with the new PIO caps soldered in. Got both of these from Jonesy at jonesyblues.com. Cannibalized the caps out of some kits I've bought for other guitars, but I figured I could replace them later (waiting on pickups for those jobs) and I wanted to get the Strat done right and tonight.

    [​IMG]

    And here she is with the Seth Lover! About an hour all said and done, taking my time:

    [​IMG]

    And here's the comparison shot with the original Pearly Gates Plus. Only differences are ~14 years of aging on the white plastic bobbins and the silver "Seymour Duncan" tramp stamp ;) I won't miss it -- even though I swore I'd keep this guitar original, I'm tempted to sell it. It's sure as hell never going back in, and I'm not going to sell the guitar.

    [​IMG]


    Like I said, this upgrade has been "WOW!!!" worthy. I've always loved the Seths, but they really match the Texas Special singles in this guitar well. Woody, smokey and full. Also, there is little to no volume discrepancy between the pups now. I take this as a sign both of how comparatively underwound the Seth is and how comparatively overwound the Texas Specials are.

    The PIOs are an awesome upgrade BTW. For anyone considering them, I'd highly recommend you take the plunge. The tone knobs are more usable and more musical, working through the whole range and keeping the tone pure while rolling down the highs. The difference was so great that I already ordered more PIO caps to replace the ones I cannibalized from my other electronics kits but also ones for each of my guitars that don't already have them or have electronics upgrade kits waiting for them.

    All in all I couldn't be happier and wanted to thank the people on this board who responded to my initial inquiries about this last week.
     
  2. arothamel6360

    arothamel6360 Member

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    I was lurking on your thread last week and I'm glad to hear it worked out so well for you! I dropped Seths in a Les Paul I wasn't fond of and now it's one of my favorites. :beer
     
  3. stilesg57

    stilesg57 Member

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    LURKER!!!

    ;)

    I agree with you: I'd also heard these in Pauls and other beefy double bucker guitars and really liked them. Possibly my favorite mass produced bucker. I was nervous about how one would sound in the bridge of a Strat but I am VERY happy with the results. What a great pickup!
     
  4. arothamel6360

    arothamel6360 Member

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    Hahaha.I didn't have much to contribute so I figured I'd keep my mouth shut and wait for the results.

    IMO Seth Lovers really are great pickups, mass produced or not. The only instance I didn't like one was in a G&L Bluesboy with 250k pots that made it far too muddy for my taste. Dropped some Fralin Split blades in it and though I probably still sounded mediocre, my bandmates were fooled into keeping me around. :aok
     
  5. Hoodster

    Hoodster Member

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    Oregon
    Reviving this thread as I'm thinking of doing the same thing, only it with a HH configuration (both Seths). Curious if anyone has ever tried such a set up on a Strat.

    I had a Heritage 339 style about 10 years ago with the Seth Lover pickups, and I have never forgotten the tone, particularly from the neck -- one of the sweetest tones of any type I have ever heard on any guitar.
     

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