Van Zandt Pickup owners - Please Read

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Tonewolf, Jan 20, 2006.


  1. Tonewolf

    Tonewolf Member

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    I have become very interested in these. I'd like to hear the Vintage, Vintage+, Blues, and Rock Strat pickups.

    What do you think of yours?

    Would you care to post some tone samples?

    Macungie, PA
     
  2. Jet Rink

    Jet Rink Member

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    Can't do clips for you right now, but I can say that these are, in my opinion, the best tele pups out there.

    I've got two sets - one was handwould by the ol' man himself, which I've had loaded for about 15 years. The second I purchased two years ago (no noticeable difference).

    Aside from Bardens in a tele, I believe they are the most underrated pickup on the market. I know several guys that swear by their Strat pups too.

    Good luck!

    Jet
     
  3. BillyBardahl

    BillyBardahl Member

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    Tonewolf....I have had Van Zandt Vintage + in an older strat for several years. I have been very happy with them. I have Fralins in another strat, and an EJ to compare to.

    I bought the VanZandts directly from Torres Engineering with a wiring kit.
    They were probably a 25% improvement over the Texas Specials that they replaced in that particular guitar. All the classic strat sounds are in there.....all of them....I have a baseplate on this guitar's bridge pickup so it is slightly brighter, plus it has a maple neck, whereas the Fralin guitar has a rosewood neck and is just a warmer sounding guitar. I would rate the VanZandt V+ and the Fralin Vintage as equal in tone and value. I think the Fralins cost a little more at the time. I can tell the difference with my eyes closed, one is not better than the other, just a little different. If I had to go out on a limb, I would say the VanZandts are a little more raw and organic sounding, and the Fralins are a little smoother and middy, but again that could be the wood and neck differences in the two guitars as much as anything.

    That being said, I would seriously consider the EJ Fender pickups if I was replacing another set in another strat. If you use pick and fingers, or just fingers, they are great. I have had a EJ Strat for maybe 6 months now, and it has become my favorite guitar....I think the custom wound pickups are a big part of it. I think they are being sold seperately from the guitar now if you are interested.

    Check out the Van Zandt Blues pickups also!
     
  4. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Member

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    The Vintage+ are my favorite strat pickup. I started using them in 1995 or so and have been extremely happy with them ever since. They are the perfect strat pickup to my ear. I have a blues model with a fralin base plate in the bridge of one of my strats and it makes a good sound, too. Whichever way you go, I don't think you'll go wrong, but definitely get a vintage plus neck pickup!

    I have lots of songs recorded with Van Zandts!

    1 2 3
     
  5. bagpipe

    bagpipe Member

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    I just finished listening to the first two songs. Those are good - the guitar parts have a nice tone. No real wankin' which is unusual for this group. The singer reminds me of Jim Kerr of the Simple Minds.

    I am awaiting the arrival of a new Tele which has Van Zandt pickups on it. I'm looking forward to trying them for myself.
     
  6. Garrett Bagby

    Garrett Bagby Member

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    I have the Vintage+ in my Am Std Strat. They're great pickups. Sound exactly like a Strat pup should sound to me. I especially love them clean or with lighter overdrive. They're incredibly expressive. I don't care for them at higher gain, though.

    I have two Blues and a Rock in an Allparts Strat, but don't like them as much. They're a bit too dark for my taste. They sound great with higher gain, though. More of a "Power Strat" tone.

    A friend also had a set of Blues in his Strat and I thought they were too dark sounding on his guitar too. But he could nail a nice SRV/Texas blues tone with that guitar.
     
  7. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    I have the blues and rock pups in my ash bodied strat. They're fantastic. They're wired to a 1 meg volume pot so that might keep them from sounding too dark as Garrett describes them.

    They're the closest thing I've found to a late 60s strat I knew well, which didn't really sound very straty by modern standards. Very Jimi-ish anyway.
     
  8. KBR

    KBR Member

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    I am a Van Zandt Dealer and have recorded around 40 Cd using all kinds, I sell Sets for $185. shipped, and Tele sets for $155.

    Kenny Blue Ray
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  9. Garrett Bagby

    Garrett Bagby Member

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    Good idea. I should give that a shot. That guitar has been a bit of a guinea pig anyway. The bridge pup I actually do like dark, so the Rock works well. Plus I wired in a cap/resistor to darken it up even more. Sounds almost like a humbucker with the bridge/middle selected.

    Guess it shows the versatility of the pups, I use my Strat w/ the Vintage+ for Jimi tone.
     
  10. Tonewolf

    Tonewolf Member

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    Looking for a good all around Strat tone but a bit more on the blues side. They must allow every change in picking attitude to shine through. Music styles are from Southern Rock "Allman Bros" to Classic Rock "Pink Floyd" To Blues "SRV" "Clapton" ect.

    I have a VERY VERY resonant swamp ash 1991 Strat Plus Deluxe with a Rosewood board. Without pickups it is as loud and clear as an acoustic guitar. I have a Carr Rambler Amp which gives me wonderful clean. I have to use pedals to get the dirt though.

    Macungie, PA
     
  11. burner

    burner Member

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    I have an Alder/Maple neck Strat that has always been a tad on the bright side.
    I've tried the following pickup sets in it:
    -CS '69
    -CS '54
    -CS Fat '50s
    -Texas Specials
    -AV 57/62
    -Rio Grande Tallboys
    -Van Zandt Vintage+
    -Van Zandt Blues
    Although several of the sets sounded good (particularly the VZs), I wanted to fatten it up just a little more due to the fact that the guitar comes off as a little too bright for my taste....so I took a gamble and installed a set of VanZandt Rocks.
    I have to say that I've been a very happy camper since doing so!

    Van Zandt's Website describes them as:
    *Built for rock, heavy metal, and alternative rock.
    *Has a lot of top end and growl to allow for overdrive of amp or distortion box.
    *Good for Rock, Heavy Metal, Alternative Rock

    ...but I don't play any of those types of music on the guitar and I think they are an outstanding choice for blues.
    Honestly, I was just grasping at straws after trying all the above mentioned pickups to no avail, and I really didn't expect the VZ Rocks to be as great as they are.
    I figured they'd end up being some high output/muddy midrange affair but I was pleasantly surprised!

    They spec out at 7.1K, so they are just a smidge hotter than Texas Specials but they don't seem to muddy up like you'd expect from a pickup which has the extra punch.

    They helped fatten it up without adding an overly thick character, and they remain very articulate....the 2&4 positions in particular sound better to me than ever before.

    They have just enough added grind to push a little Tweed amp a little bit harder than most Strat pickups, but they seem to clean up well when you roll the volume knob back a few steps....sound great thru' my 5E3....and they cured the 'glassiness' problems that I was experiencing with this particular Strat.
    The only other pickups that were useful in this regard were also too muddy which was not an acceptable trade-off for me, so naturally I ended up loving the VZ Rocks.
    (tho' I gotta' say it was an expensive trial-and-error process that finally led me to them)

    To me, they are what Texas Specials want to be....

    Sorry I'm not set up to post clips right now, but I hope this helps give you at least some idea.
    YMMV

    SPAM ALERT:
    I have an extra (hardly used) set of the Van Zandt Rocks (matched set) that I'm going to be listing for sale soon.
    I don't have a Strat to put the extras in so let me know if you wanna take a chance on them. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2009
  12. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    Van Zandt's are great pickups and I used their Vintage+ set for years...until I had Don Mare wind me a set of his "Josie's". The Mare's came tonally closer to the tone of my old original '64 Strat...which is what I'd been seeking in Strat pickups all along. Both the VZ's and the Mare's are great in their own way....both sets are wound to around 6k but they sound different.
     
  13. KBR

    KBR Member

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    Hear some at myspace link, below.
     
  14. burner

    burner Member

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    The clips from 'Gator ride' sound like my VZ Rocks w/ the tone cap (.013uF) rolled back slightly....
    I'm not sure what you are playing on each track but the tones sound reminiscent of what the Rock models in my black Strat are capable of.
    Which ones did you say you are using...the Blues models?
     
  15. KBR

    KBR Member

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    Gator ride (my tribute to Albert Collins) is a tele flat pole bridge pup, I like true vintage & vintage plus & blues or rocks in the bridge pup, i mix em up.
     
  16. Stk1520

    Stk1520 Silver Supporting Member

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    I have a mixed set of VZs in my Hot Rod Strat ---- True Vintage in the neck, Vintage Plus in the middle and a Blues in the bridge. The TV comes in right at 6.0K, the V+ measures 6.2K and the Blues comes in at 6.8K. Great pickups, and KBR has a great price on them.

    Excuse the sloppy playing, but here's a couple of quick vids of the VZ pickups . . . one through my Super Reverb and one throught my Blueverb. Just some blues-rock wanking with edge-of-breakup type Fender tones.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoU2psIiw2Y

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihTh9oWsh5o
     
  17. burner

    burner Member

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    That figures....
    LOL,
    As soon as I posted I figured that you would say it was a Tele or maybe even something else.
    :)
    Still.....the tone is definitely compareable to my VZ Rocks.

    You got some worthy tone goin' on there, friend!
     
  18. KBR

    KBR Member

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    SRV had overwound Van Zandts given to him by the Late WL Van Zandt, as did Jimmie Vaughan & Anson Funderburgh. I feel SRV may have used these in his #1 Strat.
    Anson took off some winding since he has a 57 and likes that tone, Jimmie's used these as a model for the JLV Signature Strat, and Steveie???know one knows or is telling But
    playing all of the VZ sets since 1988, and selling a lot of em, He may have used the Blues or Rock set. Just imho.
     
  19. snarkle

    snarkle Member

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    I lucked into an old set of Van Zandts...don't know which model, but they sounded so good that I put them in a REAL ’65 Strat. (Admittedly one that had been kind of hacked up over the years...the original pickups were long gone by the time it came to me.)

    They look, and sound, right. Authentic mid-60s Strat tone, with just a little extra oomph from the bridge pickup when compared to an unmodified ’64.

    No complaints here...I'd like to find more.

    Hey, Kenny, if you're reading this: how do current-production Van Zandts compare to the original WL Van Zandt–made ones?
     
  20. Stk1520

    Stk1520 Silver Supporting Member

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