Strat stacked pickup suggestions for blues to full-on metal?

Release

Senior Member
Messages
1,627
I’m currently running Tex Mex pups in the neck and middle with a Duncan Hot Rails in the bridge. I like it, but I don’t really like the noise with the Tex Mex anymore and just want to try something new. I’ve had the Hot Rails in there for so long that i’ve become so used to ‘em but they don’t play well with the middle so I really only have 4 positions available.

I play a lot of ambient and blues on the neck, neck/middle. Rarely use the middle on its own, and use the bridge pup for classic metal and thrash.

I’ve been looking at the DiMarzio Cruiser bridges in the neck and middle, mainly because of the demos by Andy Timmons. But that guy can make ANYTHING sound amazing.

So really what I want is stacked humbuckers that can give me warm, full, Strat tones in the neck and middle and tight, high output in the bridge but something that will play well with the others. Not really looking for super high-end, probably just Dimarzio or Duncans so I can get them easily and see if they work.
 

blong

Member
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2,688
A buddy of nine has Dimarzio Fast Tracks in all 3 positions. I forget which one in bridge, but you can read about 'em. I think they sound fantastic. They are fatter, especially the bridge which is the hotter of the pups, but they do have a strat-type quack and tone to the other positions. In my opinion, it makes a great set for being very versatile. If I gigged Iron Maiden to U2 to SRV, they could cover it.

Another favorite of mine, although they are not perfectly quiet, are the Lace Sensor Red, Silver, Blue set. The red is fat and screams like a hot humbucker, but the silver is the most single coil sounding, and the blue is fat and bluesy. I really like the Lace Sensor golds, but if you want heavier in the bridge and fatter in the neck, then the red and blue are it.

Bob
 

Mincer

Senior Member
Messages
4,596
You might be interested in a switch (I think a specific Schaller Megaswitch) which, in position 3 has the neck & bridge together instead of just the middle. It is a much more useful tone.
 

Release

Senior Member
Messages
1,627
Yea, whatever I end up with will have push-pull pots to split the coils and 7-position switching. There are a loaded pickguard options on Reverb.com that have all that stuff built to order. Just trying to narrow down some choices on the pickups. I've never really explored pickups that much.

Fast Tracks are on the list and I've never even considered Lace Sensors until now so this thread has definitely helped. Thanks!
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
Fast Tracks aren't stacked. Do you mean 'stacked' specifically, or do you simply mean 'hum-cancelling'?

There aren't a lot of hot stacked pickups. The DiMarzio Solo Pro is the hottest I know of, and it doesn't come close to the output of something like a Hot Rails or Fast Track 2; it still sounds like a Strat pickup, just warmer and significantly louder.

If you want ultimate output in that format, I don't think you'll get better than a Hot Rails.

Another option would be an onboard boost like an EMG SPC or Clapton midboost.
 

AllenL

Member
Messages
505
Look into the DiMarzio offerings. I have a set of DiMarzio Area Ts in my '52 Tele reissue. These are stacked single coils and sound like single coils. I'm sure they have something similar for strats.

They sound great clean or overdriven. They're not hot pups, but the right amp and or pedal will get you to metal territory. For blues and anything else they're great
 

tiktok

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
25,076
I'd look at whatever Yngwie was using in the "good" days. I thought they were some Dimarzio stacks, and then he had a booster box to kick it over the edge. Regardless of what you think of everything else, his Strat tone was awesome in the early days.
 

Go Cat Go!!

Member
Messages
7,008
Back in the 80s I had a similar problem. Rudy at Rudy's Music stop suggested the Hot Rails in the bridge and a Dimarzio HS-3 in the middle and an HS-2 in the neck. It was a killer combination for me at the time and no noise!
 

Release

Senior Member
Messages
1,627
I love the sound of single coils UNLESS I'm playing anything heavy. Then I can't stand the tone so I definitely need a single space humbucker in the bridge. With clean or slightly overdriven, singles are perfect. I'm not necessarily looking for the hottest output in the bridge (because I want them to match the others in volume, or at least come close) but I want them to be able to handle tight, high-gain metal and not fall apart.

Basically Accept, Old Scorpions, Old Metallica, Sepultura, Machine Head etc. and then flip to the neck for some SRV.

I obviously have a very short attention span. LOL!!
 
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AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
I'd look at whatever Yngwie was using in the "good" days. I thought they were some Dimarzio stacks, and then he had a booster box to kick it over the edge. Regardless of what you think of everything else, his Strat tone was awesome in the early days.

He used HS-3s then, which are an extremely weak pickup. 1st-generation stacked conventional pickups are tough to make with much output; the coils tend to cancel each other out (not only the noise, the actual signal too) so they have to be really wound hot to get any output at all. If a standard Strat pickup is 'X' output, the HS-3 is about 0.8X. And the best you can really do in the format is probably something like 1.25X.

The modern 'noiseless' pickups, where the lower coil just 'hears' the noise, can be made much louder.
 

Zexcoil

Vendor
Messages
6,105
My Hybrid Convertible Set.

Single coil sized package. Not stacked, six coils in a row, one for each string.

Hum cancelling in two pairs of three.

We can make that design sound like anything. This set has a "splittable" bridge pickup optimized for the split single tone. The higher power series mode is basically a single x 4. It does HB stuff well. There's really nothing directly comparable to the Convertible in series mode, but maybe a very clear, powerful HB or P90.
 

jammwill

Member
Messages
1,452
The Seymour Duncan Everything Axe set is worth a look. I have this set in 2 of my Strats. It's a Little '59 in the neck, a Duckbucker in the middle, and a JB Jr. in the bridge. It sounds beefy and can do heavy sounds, but still sounds Strat-like to me.
 

Texsunburst59

Member
Messages
5,274
+1 on the Lace Sensor Blue/Silver/ Red set.

This set covers a lot of tonal territory and can easily cover the blues and heavy rock you're looking to cover.

I have this set in 2 of my Fender Strat Plus guitars, and they do sound impressive.
 

AllenL

Member
Messages
505
+1 on the Lace Sensor Blue/Silver/ Red set.

This set covers a lot of tonal territory and can easily cover the blues and heavy rock you're looking to cover.

I have this set in 2 of my Fender Strat Plus guitars, and they do sound impressive.
I have a mid 90s strat ultra and I think the Lace sensors sound great for a fatter and slight variation to the traditional strat sound. I can understand why some players prefer traditional single coils, as the vibe is different, but not better. It comes down to what do you like to hear. Personally, I can appreciate both.
 




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