Strat Bridge Pickup Recommendations

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by 909one, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. 909one

    909one Member

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    I just built a Partscaster. Put some GFS Premium vintage pickups in there. Not bad really, I like them well enough. I pretty much live in the bridge position, so I'm fine with the GFS for the neck and middle positions. I'm looking for a new bridge pickup now though. I'm noticing when I'm playing in a band situation that that I'm getting lost, especially on the B and E string. They are staggered magnets. So maybe this is the cause? I want something that is going to cut through more, but still maintains that 50's Strat piano like-quality. Probably something with a hair more upper midrange. I'm aware of most of the boutique makers out there, but I've not owned a Strat in a long time, so I'm hoping some of you that may have gone down this path can shed some light. Recommendations?

    If this helps at all, my main basis for the tone I'm going for is Richard Thompson's sound on Calvary Cross, especially the intro, which sounds like bridge pickup for sure.
     
  2. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    The Fralin SP43 is my all time favorite Strat bridge pickup.

    Blends beautifully with the middle pickup (or neck pickup), sounds like a single coil (which it is) and it's just hot enough to give my solos a lift when I switch to it.
     
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  3. moosewayne

    moosewayne Supporting Member

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    Yep, your search should start here or the slightly softer SP42.
    It may not be the pickup you end up with, but the SP42 and SP43 are the bench of what you are looking for.
    Also consider the Mojotone Knockout and Two-Face, and Porter S90
     
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  4. 909one

    909one Member

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    @Lewguitar and @moosewayne
    These types of pickups seem to be more of a P-90 construction, no? It doesn't deter too much from the typical Strat sound? My curiosity is piqued for sure with these.
    Thanks!
     
  5. Lewguitar

    Lewguitar Member

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    No. It sounds much more like a Strat pickup than a P90. The comparison of it to a P90 has more to do with it having adjustable pole pieces like a P90.
     
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  6. moosewayne

    moosewayne Supporting Member

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    Yes and no.
    They still keep A LOT of what makes a Strat pickup great, but add more to it.

    I know all the ad lit like to say 'P90 in a Strat package', but the nature of construction---lots of removed wood replaced with metal and springs; alder body---helps the guitar stay true to its roots.
    One definite thing is you WILL get to know your Strat's volume control better than you thought you would.
     
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  7. Stratobuc

    Stratobuc Member

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    I've gone through quite a few, and have now settled on a Duncan SSL-5. It gives me the pop I want for rock solos, but still quacks nicely with the Lollar Blonde in the middle.
     
  8. 71strat

    71strat Member

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  9. Totally Bored

    Totally Bored Member

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    Dimarzio Virtual Solo works for me although lately I've been rocking a Hot Rails to get a more aggressive sound :aok



    Best to have a few Strats loaded with differant bridge pickups :dude
     
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  10. HayekFan

    HayekFan Member

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    I like the way Richard Thompson just lets his strat be a strat. He does huge things with tones that are sometimes pretty tweezy, especially on leads.

     
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  11. Mincer

    Mincer Member

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    The Custom Flat is a great pickup with enough power to cut through, yet still gets a Stratty sound. Any more power, and you tend to lose that. As you add more windings, the pickup tends to round the highs off and become less open, so that is generally the problem with very high output singles.
     
  12. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    That was a 59 strat through a 1960 Pro Reverb according to Richard Thompson. So I wouldn't think you'd need to do anything special pickup wise; just dial the sound in better? I think HayekFan is right on in his assessment.
    -
    Austin
     
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  13. 909one

    909one Member

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    Yeah, I'm fairly happy with the sound of the GFS Bridge, its pretty classic sounding. Its just when I get into a band situation that I noticed the B and E get lost. I like all the suggestions you guys have given me but I don't know if going with a p-90 type construction is going to push the sound too far away from the classic sound. I'm wondering if a slightly higher output, and flat pole pieces will do the trick.
     
  14. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    A pickup with a modified or flat stagger might get you there. Suhr uses modified staggers on all their pickups. I believe Dimarzio does as well (although they mostly make noiseless single coils which I would not recommend). And Duncan makes flat-pole version of some of their pickups, most notably the SSL2 (the flat pole version of the SSL1) and the APS2 (the flat pole version of the APS1). All of those are vintage-output range although some are hotter than others. There's plenty to look at there without going boutique or non-traditional design-wise. I've been happy with a variety of Suhr bridge pickups (ML standard, V60LP and V70), but I don't know which one I'd recommend for that sound. If you were interested I'm sure they would be helpful if you sent them a message. And I've used the SSL1 and APS1, but never the flat pole version. Again, both fine pickups, but I never was really going for the sound you're after. I mostly use my strat bridge pickups for high gain Eric Johnson type stuff (tone-wise not playing-wise :D ), which is worlds away from what it seems like you're going for.
    -
    Austin
     
  15. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Supporting Member

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    Fender didn't make Pro Reverbs in 1960. About 5 yrs. too early. :cool:
     
  16. 909one

    909one Member

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    Thanks! Yeah I basically just want a very basic rudimentary classic Strat bridge sound, raw and cutting. I've got a Tele and a Jazzmaster, so I don't need to go into those areas tonally. Basically just the purest form of the instrument, but done in a very slightly more beefed up way. It would be like if you found the prime example of '57 Strat, the one that somehow just was wound a little better.

    I should mention, the Strat is an ash body, maple neck. The amp I use is an AC-30 clone. The majority of my sound is coming from the amp cranked about half way and a Fulltone Tape Echo on with a slap. So I do a lot riding on the edge of clean and overdrive with the amp.
     
  17. 909one

    909one Member

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    Yeah I didn't want to say anything, but yes this is true. I'm pretty sure he used a 57-58 Strat, because he had a maple neck, and I always thought it was a Blackface Deluxe. But, I could be wrong.
     
  18. atquinn

    atquinn Supporting Member

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    Don't tell it to me, tell it to Richard Thompson! :D Apparently he's spent more time over the years working on his musicianship than remembering all the details of what gear he's used. There might be a lesson in there somewhere ;)
    -
    Austin
     
  19. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Supporting Member

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    What lesson??? Disseminating false info about your gear on the internet. :cool:
     
  20. 909one

    909one Member

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    Yeah not everyone is a gear nerd. Its funny and probably bad, how sometimes I watch those Rig Rundowns and these guys are talking about their gear and they say wrong stuff. Its with good intentions though. You can't know everything, and some people just don't care about it as much.
     

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