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Strat pockups that sparkle

SFW

Member
Messages
1,393
Just finished putting together another Strat. At the moment, it has a maple board on it, but I have a rosewood board neck inbound for this particular guitar. Alder body. I have a set of American Strat pickups loaded in it at the moment- because that's what I had laying around the house. They sound ok. But I would really like a set if pickups that sparkle when played clean. Something a bit more lively. They also need to be able to handle some grit as well. Would the Fender CS 69s or Texas Specials be up to the challenge? I'd prefer not to spend an arm and a leg on these pickups, so I'd really like to stay away from the boutique guys for now. I'm primarily a Les Paul guy, so the Strat is really just for scratching that itch. I just want the itch to sound good. Haha. Thanks for the help!
 

DT7

Member
Messages
2,797
If you want "sparkle" and "life", stay away from the Fender Am Std and Texas Special pups. For that matter, stay away from any single-coils made by DiMarzio as well. All these pups I mention have a thin, plastic sleeve that the pole-pieces fit through. This makes shorting out the pups virtually impossible, but it also robs the tone...especially the high-end and mid-range detail.

See if you can score a set of Fender 57/62 pups off Fleabay. They're not made anymore, but they come up pretty frequently...and prices, last I checked, aren't stupid yet. They're made by Fender, but don't have the sleeve around the pole-pieces. You can try Seymour Duncans or some boutique types...many of which are very good. But you'll pay for it.
 

Jonny Hotnuts

Member
Messages
2,010
The CS69s are great, I also really like the CSTS but they get a bad rap because the TS pups that come OEM in some guitars are NOT the CS Texas. The OEM style Texas Specials dont sound nearly as good as the CS TS.

For other good sounding pups

Dimarzio Area 61
Suhr (I see them used every now and then)
Seymour Duncan Antquity (now you are in boutique money)

~JH
 

cratz2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,231
I'd also consider Duncan SSL1s (or SSL2s if you have a flatter fretboard radius).
 

terrapin

Member
Messages
4,067
Fat 50's have quite a bit of sparkle, but I would really recommend some David Allen Tru Vintage 54's. They have outrageous sparkle and chime.
 

Crimson Queen

Member
Messages
3,924
I tried a few custom shop strats the other for the pickups. I also want to upgrade my old American Standard pickups. I tried a Buddy Holly Strat with CS54s and a couple of other Strat with CS69s. The bridge CS54 has a nice spank to it, but I prefered the CS69 overall some much more. The 2 and 4 positions were awesome.

EDIT: the Buddy Holly Strat has a three-way switch, but I put the switch in the 2 and 4 zones.
 

Lewguitar

Member
Messages
5,666
Sparkle is just a word. No Strat pickups sparkle.

I try not to confuse words with reality - and I try not to confuse imaginary sounds I hear in my head with sounds that are actually possible to produce.

If you want a Strat pickup with the classic clean SRV, Jimi Hendrix tone (like what you'll hear on The Wind Cries Mary, Little Wing, Lenny or Riviera Paradise) there's many that will do that.

I'd stick with vintage style alnico 5 Strat pickups, wound with vintage accurate wire and with a DCR of 6K to 6.4K. There's a million of them out there that fit that description.

I guarantee you that SRV could pick up almost any Strat new or old and get a tone that would knock your socks off.

Whether you or I could do that same thing is another matter. So what you're really hearing when you hear a great artist like SRV or Jimi or Mark Knopfler or David Gilmour or Buddy Holly is that artist's artistry.

Strat pickups I use and like a lot are Duncan SSL-1's and Duncan Surfers, Fralin Vintage Hots and Klein 1962's.

You don't have to spend a bundle.

Duncan SSL-1's are superb and the equal of most high end boutique pickups and you should be able to find a set of three for under $150.
 
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lestera34

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,422
You should check out Klein. He makes fantastic single coils.

The suhr landau standards are pretty bad ass too.

EDIT: fender vs 69s are badass too. Don't know if I would describe a pick up as "sparkly", but if I did, I might consider labeling these as such.
 

CubanB

Member
Messages
2,149
Have always been happy with CS69 and never felt the need to change or try others. Only thing I've changed is the bridge for a hotter/more options, with push pull etc.
 

RLD

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,770
If you want a Strat pickup with the classic clean SRV, Jimi Hendrix tone (like what you'll hear on Lenny or Little Wing or Riviera Paradise) there's many that will do that.

I'd stick with vintage style alnico 5 Strat pickups, wound with vintage accurate wire and with a DCR of 6K to 6.4K. There's a million of them out there that fit that description.
I wonder what the difference is between guys on eBay who wind themselves and charge $90 a set and Suhr (and many others) who charge $100 per pickup?
It's not rocket science...can they be that much better?
 

telelion

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
2,693
Since you are on a budget I would not rule out Tonerider Safaris though the pure vintage ones are nice too but Safaris sound much closer to your description. They can hang with most boutiques IMO and would set you back a hundred.

Toneriders are essentially the same pickups in the Classic Vibe series and personally that is their only real attribute to me(IMO) and if that model came with the typcial mediocre pickups I don't think you would hear much them but they stand out in them. For the record I have owned dozens of pickups and the best of the best will win but well over 50% of the time the TR's are as good. Same as stock Fender RI's which can be very under-rated as well.
 

FuzzFox

Member
Messages
517
Fat 50's have quite a bit of sparkle, but I would really recommend some David Allen Tru Vintage 54's. They have outrageous sparkle and chime.
I actually have a set of these for sale, I swapped em out with a set of various Lace Sensors (which are $59.99/ea with free shipping direct from Lace Music).
 

DT7

Member
Messages
2,797
Since you are on a budget I would not rule out Tonerider Safaris though the pure vintage ones are nice too but Safaris sound much closer to your description. They can hang with most boutiques IMO and would set you back a hundred.

Toneriders are essentially the same pickups in the Classic Vibe series and personally that is their only real attribute to me(IMO) and if that model came with the typcial mediocre pickups I don't think you would hear much them but they stand out in them. For the record I have owned dozens of pickups and the best of the best will win but well over 50% of the time the TR's are as good. Same as stock Fender RI's which can be very under-rated as well.
Toneriders are a good pup, and not too expensive...but they have a RWRP middle pup, which loses some of the chime/sparkle even when it's not switched on.

The lower the DC resistance, generally the brighter the pup will be (all other things being equal). For what you're looking for, I'd try and keep it ~6.2k or lower. Also, try and stick with heavy formvar wrap...the CS 69s have enamel, which is a tad less bright.
 

SFW

Member
Messages
1,393
Well, I ordered a set of the 57/62 pickups off of eBay. We'll see how they work.
 




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