Strat - SSS or HSS Configuration

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by npsiwak, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. npsiwak

    npsiwak Member

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    I am looking to buy a new american strat, and am torn on the pickup configs to go with. I play mostly straightforward rock music, but love the strat feel, and the bell like tones. Recently i started playing a guitar with a bridge HB (Parker P-38), and love the HB sound. I also love the strat for what it does.

    How many of you use your bridge single coil? or do you find it often too brittle. Would it be easy to drop back to a standard strat config if i bite for the HSS model? So conflicted whether i should go for "classic strat" or "most versatile"...

    What other options do i have? Help me TGP veterans! This will be my first "real" guitar purchase and dont anticipate buying any more soon, so id like this to do as many sounds as possible....
     
  2. MartinC

    MartinC Member

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    American Deluxe with S1 is really versatile. If you went with SSS then the S1 switch will give you 5 thicker, more humbucker like tones (10 different tones available before you've even touched the tone knob!). HSS would give you 9 tones, with a true humbucker in the bridge. I suppose the compromise on either side is:

    SSS - no true bridge humbucker tone.

    HSS - position 4 on the 5 way switch is a split humbucker + middle single coil, not a single coil bridge + single coil middle. You still get a good approximation of the traditional position 4 tone though.

    The other thing I'd think about, depending on your budget, is a Suhr Pro Series. For the built quality, playability and tone you get they're high in the value for money stakes, despite being more expensive than a non-custom shop Fender.
     
  3. testing1two

    testing1two Gold Supporting Member

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    The HSS strat is a great workingman's guitar although I'm not a big fan of the Fender pickups & S-1 switching (lots of useless variations and the pickups just don't sound very good IMHO). I don't know what your budget is, but if you can muster the extra coin, the Suhr Pro series just blows the doors off production Fender models. The Suhrs are also wired so that the humbucker sees 500k from the volume pot and 250k for the single coils, something Fender won't spend the extra time/money to do.

    Just my 2 cents...good luck!
     
  4. 1973Marshall

    1973Marshall Member

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    I'd say this - if you want traditional tone go SSS

    If you are a workingman and need every sound a man could be asked to do, you might need the HSS. I have found for rock sounds, or silence from hum, the HSS is the winner all around.

    Option 3 - buy an SSS if you find one you love, and get an SD LIL 59, Hot Rail, or LIL JB if you change your mind.
     
  5. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    Have both, prefer the HSS, of course mine has split coil for the Humbucker so I have HSS and SSS in that guitar.

    however the humbucker does add a lot of versitility to the strat.
     
  6. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    How about a HSH.
     
  7. KSKONDOR

    KSKONDOR Member

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    I've always like the look of the single coils in all three positions but got to thinking that I rarely use the bridge pickup on my strats anyways because it's always sounded a little thin to me...not in a bad way, just not my favorite tone. So, I just ordered a strat style guitar with the bucker in the bridge...I have no doubt I'll use the bridge more.
     
  8. npsiwak

    npsiwak Member

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    Thanks everyone for the input. Ill check out the Suhr guitars, see what i can afford.

    This is sort of what i was thinking i would do if i had one. I also figure i can always drop in a different pickguard, or i can get a coiltap for the humbucker.
     
  9. buddastrat

    buddastrat Member

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    well Fender uses the S1 on different models. It's just a switch. Mine only splits the bridge bucker. And some prefer a 250K on some humbucker. A 500K is not necesarily correct. I personally don't like 500K for almost anything except maybe a muddy, high output pickup that needs more brightness.
     
  10. johnh

    johnh Silver Supporting Member

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    I used to play HSS guitars but I came to feel that the compromise in the sound of positions 1 and 2 were too much. Listen to Doyle Bramhall, Bonamassa, Eric Johnson - their bridge position single coils don't sound thin (to my ears).

    The first thing I always do is put a tone control on the bridge pickup. I use my bridge single coils all the time for leads, but I'll confess that you have to work on your sound. With humbuckers you just switch it on and blast it out. However, as I've said already, I feel that the rhythm sound with the humbucker is less acceptable than then lead sound of the single coil.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  11. woude

    woude Member

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    I have both setups. Although there are really good bridge single coils ot there, (I have a set of Sheptones coming and that bridge pu sounds great) a good HB in the bridge is really nice to have and gives so much other options. I do not prefer one over the other, but the grass is always greener on the other side, if you know what I mean. If I play the SSS strat, I miss the push and boldness of the HB. If I play the HSS strat, I miss the twang and sparkle of the SSS. I'm happy to own both!

    I have an SD alincoIIpro humbucker and it's not brittle at all. I cuts through the mix with a smooth fluid sounds that have fat lowend, pronouned midrange clang that I've grown to love and a nice sparkle on top. In no way it's sharp, brittle or brash or muffled, it perfectly balanced. Playing leads and just plain old rock & roll on this HB is so much fun!
     
  12. auburn-grad

    auburn-grad Member

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    You ought to check out the LoneStar Strat....it has the HSS configuration and it comes with a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates in the bridge and 2 Texas Specials in the neck and middle.....very useable tones in all positions and its priced 'right'.....
     
  13. GCDEF

    GCDEF Supporting Member

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    SSS with S1 gives you the best of both. Classic Strat sounds plus the S1 really does give good humbucker growl.
     
  14. npsiwak

    npsiwak Member

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    alot of good suggestions and help posted here, thanks guys!
     
  15. jharpersj

    jharpersj Silver Supporting Member

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    Me I always prefer HSS go with the one with the locking tuners
     
  16. stratzrus

    stratzrus Philadelphia Jazz, Funk, and R&B Supporting Member

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    If you're playing rock the humbucker is a nice option to have available. I don't find my bridge single coils too brittle, but sometimes too thin or lacking sustain.
    that's what I did and I'm quite happy with my Am. Dlx. QMT HSS

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Austinrocks

    Austinrocks Member

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    ^ ^ ^ beautiful guitar, I tried to leave the tape on my humbucker, but it kept falling off.
     
  18. GibbyFan

    GibbyFan Member

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    Here's an option that I use. Go with an SSS configuration. I have a JB Jr in the bridge position. It gives me the humbucker tone for strong leads while having the single coils in the middle and neck give me the classic strat tones I like. It's the best of both worlds... at least close to it. Here's a pic:

    [​IMG]
     
  19. dk123123dk

    dk123123dk Member

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    I must have OCD, but for some reason the different colored pickups always bug me.

    to OP: I would go for a good HSS. You can always change your mind later and put a SSS pickguard back on.

    dk
     
  20. GibbyFan

    GibbyFan Member

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    I feel ya there. The previous owner did the install. If I were doing the install I would have kept them consistent. I may change them at some point... IF I keep her for the long haul.
     

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