Strat pickups for Bright Lights era Richard Thompson tone

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by tone knob, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. tone knob

    tone knob Member

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    Hi folks.

    This is my first posting here but I've been checking these forums out for quite some time.

    Just recently heard "I Want to See The Bright Lights Tonight" by Richard and Linda Thompson. The guitar tone on that record gives me chills. So I decided to put together a parts strat with the hope of getting close as possible to that tone.

    RT in talking about about recording the record says he was using a stock 59 strat.

    Any opinions on what aftermarket pups are going to get closest to what would have been in a stock 59 strat?

    Thanks everyone!
     
  2. Curly

    Curly Member

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    IMO, it's just a stock strat tone, which means vintage type pickups wound to ~ 6K. There are a number of these type pickups out there. A great set that's also fairly priced is the Duncan California 50s, which is a calibrated set of 'vintage staggered' pickups. You can find these for about $150 a set.

    a stock strat set will usually sound a little weak in the bridge position, but that's also what makes for the 'quack' in the bridge/ mid notch tone that helps define a strat's tone.

    I recommend wiring the bridge pickup to the mid tone, which is done with a simple jumper wire on the switch, a very common mod these days that allows you to roll off some highs on the bridge position.

    for some more info, here's an article about Fender pickups which also includes a table of output over the years:
    fender pickups
     
  3. tone knob

    tone knob Member

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    Thanks for the reply. I'll look into those Duncan Californias.

    As an aside: Richard Thompson, on his website, remembers the amp on those sessions as a "60 Deluxe Reverb" (maybe he meant just a Deluxe) and also attributes his sound to processing through a Fairchild compressor. Probably won't worry about tracking down a Fairchild!
     
  4. Curly

    Curly Member

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    very astute ... I actually noticed that comment too. It was probably just a typo or something. He probably meant "60s Deluxe Reverb".

    he is pretty open on his site about his gear & tunings ... almost as if he doesn't attribute any magic to it :)

    honestly, I think a stock sounding strat with a good blackface type amp should get you close to his tone ... although he said he's using his blue Ferrington more nowadays.
     

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