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SRV Strat pickup quesiton

DSnellen79

Member
Messages
396
I have what I believe to be a 1999 Fender SRV signature strat. I bought it new in 2000 and I have loved this guitar ever since i bought it. However I'm falling out of love with the pups. They sound good but I think the guitar could sound better. Periodically i will read up on what SRV's original guitar had in it and it is said that the #1 guitar was a 1963 if I remember right. I know the Texas Special pickups are loosly based off of the 63 pups in his strat. They were designed to get the big sound without haveing to use such large strings. Well I'm thinking about changing the pups in my SRV to something a little more 1963ish. Alot of famous strats are from this time period. I've looked at Klein pickups and like what I hear but are there any particular pickups that stand out when thinking about 1963 strat pups? Discuss...thanks
 

axemanjoe

Member
Messages
733
I've had two SRV strats, bein a Gibson guy I couldn't get on with them too well, but I am a huge strat fanatic. I've had about 15 different Strats throughout the years, always seem to give up on them. I got a Custom Shop Strat a couple of years ago, it has '69 pickups which I like a lot better than the Texas Specials in the SRV. My problem is that after playin a LP the volume on the strat is so low in comaprison, I always have to jack up the amp volume. I'm gettin some Duncan STK-S9's or STK-S2's to go in it and I'll see if I like it any better.

If you're lookin for a traditional Fender Strat tone like SRV's on his records a lot of it was his rig and amps. For a SRV tone some guys like Van Zandts, some like Fralins, some folks like my Strat with the '69's, it's all subjective and personal taste. The Fender pickups I really like are their '57/63's that come in the 57 and 63 reissue strats. But they are not high output, that's why I keep leanin to playin Gibsons.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,933
For the SRV sound, the best modern pickups I've played are Fred Stuart's "Brother Stevie" set. Here's a video demo:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rbIRB8JeLA

The only pickups I've heard that eclipsed the Stuart's, for that sound, are original 60's Fender's.

However, the Stuart's are expensive....but Fender made some changes in their Texas Special pickups and, to my ears, the latest one's sound much better than the original one's I heard back in the early 90's when I bought my first SRV sig Strat. To my ears though, the Stuart's sound closer to SRV than Fender's Texas Specials...but the recent Texas Specials sound respectable for less than half the price of the Stuart's.
 

DSnellen79

Member
Messages
396
but Fender made some changes in their Texas Special pickups and, to my ears, the latest one's sound much better than the original one's I heard back in the early 90's when I bought my first SRV sig Strat.

What year did they make the change?
 

gulliver

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
10,724
Don't over look the Fralin Blues Specials, they dig in with a grunt like SRV regardless of year/wind/whatever. Mine did come to life in a heavier strat where they were somewhat unresponsive in a light weight strat FWIW.
 

McQuade

Member
Messages
564
I have had great luck with Duncan Antiquity Texas Hots and Classic Bridge pickup set in a SRV Strat since 1997.
 

Kelly

Member
Messages
3,485
Number One had low output pickups. No clue why Fender went with higher output pickups in the SRV. I have an early SRV and switched the Texas Specials out for Fralins. The Texas Specials were OK through old Fender amps, but pretty nasty through anything else.
 

VaughnC

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
17,933
What year did they make the change?
Don't know. I bought a set of Texas Specials on sale about a year ago for a project Strat expecting to replace them later with Mare's and was quite surprised how good they sounded that I left them in that particular Strat for a tone reference. I then noticed that the newer Texas Specials were wound lighter than the original one's.

However, Don Mare makes the most tonally accurate vintage Fender sounding pickups I've tried. He nailed the tone of my old '64...and he decided to keep them in his line as his "Josie/Vaughn" set. But, for the SRV sound, I think the Stuart's are a little closer to what I hear on SRV's recordings.

Prior to the Mare's, after trying many Strat pickups, I really liked the Van Zandt Vintage+ set...so that's another one to keep in mind.

Every other Strat pickup I tried sounded too modern to my ears...so, after kicking a lot of tires, I just stayed with what worked for me.

My all around personal favorite Strat though still has the Mare "Josie/Vaughn" set #001 in it. Whatever...you just have to find what works best for you no matter what I/we say ;).
 

Neer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,635
I bought a set of pickups here from someone that were made by Owen Duffy (OCDuff) and they are modeled after SRV's #1. I didn't buy them for that reason, but I was looking for a great vintage Strat sound, and these do that for me.
 

McStrats

Member
Messages
1,982
SRV's 59 Strat had vintage spec low output pickups in it. The TS's were designed to give a guitar that is strung with lighter strings the bigger sound that Stevie got with 12's and 13's. They are actually much hotter than the actual pickups in his 59 Strat.
 

Luke V

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,407
The trick with Texas Specials is keep them low in the pick guard. They will sound fuller and smoother. Lower them as far as you can then raise them to taste. I actually love those pickups.
 

Autoesq

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,131
SRV's 59 Strat had vintage spec low output pickups in it. The TS's were designed to give a guitar that is strung with lighter strings the bigger sound that Stevie got with 12's and 13's. They are actually much hotter than the actual pickups in his 59 Strat.
This is true. I had a conversation with a master builder at fender custom shop that worked on the #1 replica. According to him the pickups in that guitar were on the low output side and most players would disappointed because they would not be able to get the "srv" tone out of them. Fender decided to make the Texas specials hot so the average player would be able to get close to tone. In a way it really is a testament to the ferociousness of Stevie's playing.
 

Rumblur

Member
Messages
750
Geez... so much wrong info and outright BS.

Stevie's guitar was absolutely, positively a 1963. It was NOT a '59, he just liked calling it that even though there's no way, as the neck was dated late '62 and the body dated early '63.

Second, until someone can produce a Fender TSB, I will not believe Fender changed the TS pickups at all.

Screw the TS's down in the pickguard - they will sound great.
 

McStrats

Member
Messages
1,982
Geez... so much wrong info and outright BS.

Stevie's guitar was absolutely, positively a 1963. It was NOT a '59, he just liked calling it that even though there's no way, as the neck was dated late '62 and the body dated early '63.

Second, until someone can produce a Fender TSB, I will not believe Fender changed the TS pickups at all.

Screw the TS's down in the pickguard - they will sound great.
Here is some info on SRV's 59 Strat that had a 61 neck.
 
Messages
462
You might also want to take a look at Jim Rolph's pickups. You can call him, tell him what you're looking for sound-wise, and he'll tell you what he can do for you. The guy knows his stuff. He's been rewinding vintage Fender pickups for a long time.

http://www.jmrolph.com/
 

Fitzer

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,404
The trick with Texas Specials is keep them low in the pick guard. They will sound fuller and smoother. Lower them as far as you can then raise them to taste. I actually love those pickups.
This. You can get great mellow sounds out of them, but if they are set too high, they will sound really, really bad. This isn't any Gear Page voodoo. Just try it and you will see. Screw those up right underneath the strings and take note.
 

telecasting

Member
Messages
180
Surely the answer to "my strat isn't high output enough" is play it like on strat songs and if necessary get a clean boost to raise the volume for when you play it.

Anyway, +1 for lowering the pickups and I would recommend staggering the pickups from treble to bass and making the middle pickup slightly lower than the neck and bridge and see whether either get closer to the sound you want in your head.
 

Average Joe

Member
Messages
11,824
SRV's 59 Strat had vintage spec low output pickups in it. The TS's were designed to give a guitar that is strung with lighter strings the bigger sound that Stevie got with 12's and 13's. They are actually much hotter than the actual pickups in his 59 Strat.
I think this is correct. This might also explain why the closest I've ever gotten to that sound was a parts build with Duncan Alnico 2s in it. Low output and not too trebly got me far closer than any high output pickup I've ever had. Of course I also used 12s at the time
 




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