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Strat pickup recommendation, please

SaraK

Member
Messages
16
So I've almost got everything I need to finish my dream partscaster but I'm needing to decide on a bridge pickup. I've never been a huge fan of bridge Strat single coils so I'm looking for a single coil-sized humbucker. I've used the mini JB's in other Strats and, while I liked it, I was playing heavier music then and I have a feeling it'd be too much these days. I'm wanting something that will pair well with Fender Pure Vintage 59s in the neck and middle (not necessarily together-together, just in terms of close-ish output and something that won't be shockingly different when switching to it). And I do *not* want to route it for a full-size pickup - just not my jam. I also don't play in the 4 position (or is it 2? Middle+Bridge is what I'm referring to) almost ever so that isn't an issue.

I've been looking at/reading about the Duncan Red Devils but am also considering the Duncan Custom Shop mini Pearly Gates. I've used the full sized PG in numerous guitars over the years and is generally my go-to pickup for any humbucker guitar (and yes, I'm fully aware that mini-PG *will not* sound just like a full size PG). Does anybody have any experience with these two pickups (the Red Devil and the mini-PG)? Is there much difference between the A2 and the A5 in this case?

Music style is heavy blues (early Gov't Mule & first few Sabbath records would be a sonic starting point). Not looking to mimic these sounds, just want to get in the ballpark.

Are there any other pickups I should be considering? Price isn't really an issue.
 

pirateflynn

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,969
Curtis Novak came out with a double rail on a Tele plate that really piqued my interest.
The idea was to have both a Gibson and a Fender sound. I think Pete Anderson did a demo but I can’t find it. I remember he said specifically this is not an old metal head type of pickup. It’s closer to vintage Gibson style.
I’d write Curtis and ask if he’d wind one for a Strat and also ask his opinion about what you’d like to achieve. His stuff is so good.

The posting I remember:


Contact info:

 

Rossi163

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,338
I post this in every thread about what PU to put in the bridge slot of a strat when you want a little more guts than a stock strat PU:

Duncan Twang Banger

Rips like a good tele, but doesn't sound hard nor nasal like many "hot" PU's. And it still balances well with the neck & middle. The kicker is that looks right.
 

GenoVox

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,201
Can wholeheartedly recommend the Dimarzio Solo Pro for the bridge - still Stratty, but with a touch of P90 goodness in the mix

Excellent both clean and overdriven… especially wired to a tone control turned down a bit
 

rburkard

Double Platinum Member
Messages
3,433
So I've almost got everything I need to finish my dream partscaster but I'm needing to decide on a bridge pickup. I've never been a huge fan of bridge Strat single coils so I'm looking for a single coil-sized humbucker. I've used the mini JB's in other Strats and, while I liked it, I was playing heavier music then and I have a feeling it'd be too much these days. I'm wanting something that will pair well with Fender Pure Vintage 59s in the neck and middle (not necessarily together-together, just in terms of close-ish output and something that won't be shockingly different when switching to it). And I do *not* want to route it for a full-size pickup - just not my jam. I also don't play in the 4 position (or is it 2? Middle+Bridge is what I'm referring to) almost ever so that isn't an issue.

I've been looking at/reading about the Duncan Red Devils but am also considering the Duncan Custom Shop mini Pearly Gates. I've used the full sized PG in numerous guitars over the years and is generally my go-to pickup for any humbucker guitar (and yes, I'm fully aware that mini-PG *will not* sound just like a full size PG). Does anybody have any experience with these two pickups (the Red Devil and the mini-PG)? Is there much difference between the A2 and the A5 in this case?

Music style is heavy blues (early Gov't Mule & first few Sabbath records would be a sonic starting point). Not looking to mimic these sounds, just want to get in the ballpark.

Are there any other pickups I should be considering? Price isn't really an issue.
I had the CS lil Pearly Gates and the Red Devil as well as the SD 78 mini. All three are too warm and middy for me in a Strat's bridge position, especially in combination with the SC neck and middle pickups. I truly believe that a small sized HB for a Strat or Tele in the bridge position requires stronger magnets like ceramics. So, the mini 59 and the mini JB might be better choices for you. They cut and mix much better with the middle and neck SCs while still being sonically in the humbucker camp. They are really noiseless and cost less. The mini 78 was actually my favorite. The lil 59 is practically the same pickup with a ceramic magnet instead of Alnico2.
 

.047uF

Member
Messages
13
Tex-Mex bridge pickup.
Find a used set and take the bridge pickup, push the g pole down flush with the top of the pickup (you won’t ruin it) and once installed adjust the height to compliment the volume of your neck pickup.
You’ll thank me later.
 

Shiny_Beast

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,895
I'd consider a noiseless SC instead of going completely HB. If you want a strat but aren't on board with the stock bridge, one of them might be just the right compromise.
 

.047uF

Member
Messages
13
I'd consider a noiseless SC instead of going completely HB. If you want a strat but aren't on board with the stock bridge, one of them might be just the right compromise.
A Dimarzio Virtual Vintage Heavy Blues 2 might do the trick.
 

Capstan Philips

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,259
I use an SSL-5 and am loving it - for driven tones it has some of the girth of a humbucker but the bite and definition of a SC. Looks so much better than a hummer or rails too IMO.
 

Tele-Vision

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,978
Still Strat, but all the girth you need for harder rock.

 

caspersvapors

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,474
I post this in every thread about what PU to put in the bridge slot of a strat when you want a little more guts than a stock strat PU:

Duncan Twang Banger

Rips like a good tele, but doesn't sound hard nor nasal like many "hot" PU's. And it still balances well with the neck & middle. The kicker is that looks right.
Yup, this
 

woof*

Member
Messages
8,781
Lower your neck and middle pickups, raise the bridge just a little. Practice playing the bridge pickup, in fact force yourself to just play it a month. It really doesn’t take that long to learn how cool the bridge sounds. There are some killer sounds with a Fuzzface that you cannot get on the other pickups. Lots of Jimi and Stevie solos on the bridge.
Most newer strat players enjoy the neck so much they are not willing to really put the time in. Some of the coolest solos and sounds have been done on the bridge.
Im guilty of it too…I played my strats with mostly neck for a decade until I dug in deeper.
 

ericb

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
10,133
Thanks y'all - more research ahead :)
I might've missed it but what pickups are you using in the other 2 positions? That's kinda relevant, as I like my guitars to be pretty smooth transitions from pickup to pickup. . With that said, I mostly play strats with HBr's in the bridge at gigs, just to help with my playing of all kinds of music .. But I know you just want a single-coil sized pu. I didn't have great luck finding that over the years, but in my 1979 Strat I installed a FRALIN STeel Poled pickup, and it sounds P90's-ish and really matches my other 2 pickups in there.. i.e. there isn't a HUGE burst in volume , or totally different tone. It's my favorite thus far.
Good luck

Eric
 






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