Staggered vs Flat Pole Piece Single Coils

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,014
I recently got a Tele that has no stagger on the pickup pole pieces. The response is even and warm when I strum or pick. My Strat has vintage stagger pole piece pickups and does not have that full response.

My question is: Will switching to Strat pups with no or minimal stagger give me a sound closer to the one I get on the Tele, or is it some other factor?

Thanks
J
 

e???

Member
Messages
2,966
Vintage stagger was designed with a wound g string in mind. Most strat players I know prefer flat, cause who the hell uses a wound g these days? Well, I do darnit, and vintage stagger and a wound g is beautiful. But I am in the minority, putting a wound g on a strat.

All that being said, I think a lot of people are just used to a plain g and vintage stagger. It's the sound they've known with their strat, so they don't think about it.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,733
Will switching to Strat pups with no or minimal stagger give me a sound closer to the one I get on the Tele
no.

the stagger pattern will change the string-to-string loudness, but i think you're just hearing the difference between "strat" and "tele".

whether you'd prefer a different pickup in the strat is another question entirely.
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,014
no.

the stagger pattern will change the string-to-string loudness, but i think you're just hearing the difference between "strat" and "tele".

whether you'd prefer a different pickup in the strat is another question entirely.
I know they are two different instruments with their own individual personalities, but the discrepancy between the fullness of tones I am getting he's fairly large for two guitars with single coil pick ups. The stagger of the pole pieces is the most obvious difference. The Strat has a definite vintage stagger. I am wondering if maybe something Lindy Fraillan has with the softer stagger it's more of what I want. The radius of the fretboard on the Strat is 7.25
 

alamere

Member
Messages
1,559
I vastly prefer flat poles on a strat, and think the difference is extremely noticeable and makes a strat work better for me....
but that being said, I grew up playing teles, and still prefer tele to strat in most occassions.

So flat poles are basically a way for me to get a strat to sound more even.. er... like a tele.
So, my vote is. YES. You can get a strat to feel/sound more even with flat pole pups.
 

cardinal

Member
Messages
5,318
I know they are two different instruments with their own individual personalities, but the discrepancy between the fullness of tones I am getting he's fairly large for two guitars with single coil pick ups. The stagger of the pole pieces is the most obvious difference. The Strat has a definite vintage stagger. I am wondering if maybe something Lindy Fraillan has with the softer stagger it's more of what I want. The radius of the fretboard on the Strat is 7.25
I dunno man. Are the pickup outputs the same? Magnet types? Different pickups can sound vastly different irrespective of stagger.

Sounds like you would prefer a new pickup in your Strat. And I probably would go with flat poles, but that's more for string balance.
 

walterw

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
38,733
i myself like staggered correctly for a plain G, meaning the D pole is tallest.

it's fralins for me, he does that right.

totally flat pole pickups leave the D string kind of weak compared to the others.
 

Krausewitz

Member
Messages
3,135
I prefer flat. All of the staggered sets I've tried have had wild volume mismatches and other weirdness.

I'm sure there are great staggered sets out there, but you know flat will work every time. For me, it's a no-brainer.
 

Mit

Member
Messages
396
it's fralins for me, he does that right.
Who else does a "modern" (non wound g) stagger? I thought dimarzio did on some pickups?

In stead of the stupid vintage stagger that is so prevalent (not stupid if you actually do use a wound g of course ;).
 

swiveltung

Senior Member
Messages
14,485
My guess is it's not huge. BTW, many Strats pups you can just push the magnet down to where you want it.
 

supergenius365

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,014
Just heard back from Fralin. They recommend their vintage stagger for 7.25" radius because of the more rounded shape of the board. I am going to compare their stagger to the one on my pickups. Fralin says that they try and compensate for string balance with their stagger.
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
9,843
I recently got a Tele that has no stagger on the pickup pole pieces. The response is even and warm when I strum or pick. My Strat has vintage stagger pole piece pickups and does not have that full response.

My question is: Will switching to Strat pups with no or minimal stagger give me a sound closer to the one I get on the Tele, or is it some other factor?

Thanks
J
I've been playing staggered strat pickups for 46 years. I have also had some flat staggered. Honestly, the difference in the stagger was pretty much a non issue one way or the other, for me.

But the difference between a tele and a strat? Pretty big.
 

skydog

Senior Member
Messages
12,475
From the Lollar site:
FLAT POLE VS. STAGGERED POLE PICKUPS

Read about the differences between Flat Pole and Staggered Pole Pickups.
If you compared a flat-pole pickup to a staggered-pole pickup wound the same way, you would get a little more presence (like a Fender Amp presence knob), a little more bass and a little more overall output from the flat-pole pickup. Another way to think about it is that a flat-pole pickup will generate a little more output without putting more wire on the pickup coil. Adding more wire changes the frequency response, usually by losing some treble and gaining some bass. If you are already used to using staggered-pole pickups, you may find that you will need to turn the bass down slightly on the amplifier because with a flat-pole pickup you will no longer have to make up for weak low strings.

In most cases the flat-pole pickup will give you a better string balance. The high E won't get buried in the mix like a staggered-pole pickup can. You will also notice that the two low strings are louder than a staggered-pole set, and the G string does not overpower the others.

On a staggered-pole pickup the low strings rarely overpower any amp, but they can also sound somewhat subdued or weak. The volume on the G string tends to dominate all others. If you have previously played using only staggered-poles and you don't notice any discrepancies with string-to-string volume balance, you have learned to compensate for them. If you decide to try a flat-pole set, it may take some time to adapt but once you get familiar with the sound, you'll find they work better in most cases than a staggered-pole design. For example, all Teles up until around 1956 had flat-poles — and no one ever comments that their 1952 Telecaster has bad string balance. Also, most Telecasters, Jazzmaster, Mustangs and Fender bass guitars have historically had flat-pole pickups. On Gibson guitars no one ever staggers the adjustable poles as much as Strat pickups.
 




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