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What is your perfect pickup combination?

Surfreak

Member
Messages
2,548
I don't mean brand or model, simply what pickup combo works best for you.

For years I *wanted* to like best a few "tone snobiety"-approved combos, such as 2 P90s, and wanted to believe that they are like a Tele on steroids (whatever that means), then I switched to a traditional Tele combo (sans steroids) as the ultimate pickup tonal bliss...
Well, in the end, I just let me ears do the judging and apply real world criteria in my selection, as in:

- tone personality
- versatility
- gig friendly
- good balance clean/dirty

And decided that for me, hands down, the best pickup combination is SSH, with the bridge humbucker splitted to single coil in position 4 (bridge+middle pickup).

Yes, it might reek of 80s super Strat, it is not "vintage approved" or as manly as, say, a Tele combo, but for my music this is what works best.

I can get 4 (I don't particularly care for the standalone middle pickup tone) very distinct and very usable tones, 3 of which (neck pickup, neck+middle, bridge HB) I can associate to 90% of the music I make, and the fourth, i.e. the middle+splitted bridge position, is actually my favorite, as it gives a different and more usable kind of "quack", deeper, May-esque vs Knopfler, compared to the traditional Strat quack.

So, barring the argument that each pickup combo works for different situations, what is your No. 1?
 

JJ321

Member
Messages
1,594
My number one is H-S-S. I love it in my Strat and in my Les Paul, I usually have the neck pickup split.
 

nmiller

Drowning in lap steels
Messages
7,458
I'd go with a Dynasonic in the neck position and a Guild HB-1 in the bridge. Clarity where it counts without any shrill highs.
 

chase

Member
Messages
79
I can get 4 (I don't particularly care for the standalone middle pickup tone) very distinct and very usable tones
If you use a superswitch, you can replace the middle (3) position with the neck+bridge combination, which will get you a bit closer to a Tele and perhaps give you *5* very distinct and very usable tones, depending on your preferences.
 

cratz2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,301
If you use a superswitch, you can replace the middle (3) position with the neck+bridge combination, which will get you a bit closer to a Tele and perhaps give you *5* very distinct and very usable tones, depending on your preferences.
If I had to slim down to two guitars, I'd do one something like this on an S/S/S Strat and I'd have one Big Apple-wired Strat.

I've had a couple Strats with Super Switches, but I've generally used a blender pot or a mini toggle to bring in the neck pickup. I like to have a bit more bridge picked than neck pickup in that position so, depending on the exact pickups, I like the blender the best and I almost never use the bridge Strat pickup by itself these days.
 

Tweedledee

Member
Messages
1,414
If I had to narrow it down to just one combo that I've actually had and thought was perfect, it would be a Tele with a Fender Nocaster bridge pickup and a Seymour Duncan SM-1N Firebird neck pickup.
 

narwhale

Member
Messages
319
My choice would be something like a Jazzmaster neck and PAF bridge or a Filtertron neck and Tele bridge. Or some other permutation of those.
 

jpervin

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,659
Traditional Tele combo (with 3-way switch) has always been my favorite. A new favorite of mine is the traditional Tele combo with a 4-way switch, for a pseudo-humbuckerish tone in the 4th position.
 

pbmw

Member
Messages
6,627
It totally depends on what I need to do.
Different things for different things
 

Tone_Terrific

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
34,385
I should play a bright p90 neck and a full range hb (non honky) in the bridge with a 3way switch, 1 vol 1 tone and just be done with it.
But I only have 1 guitar like that and the others are all over the place.
 

Promit

Member
Messages
2,481
If I had to pick one I would say HSS but I like HH a lot too. Might prefer HSH to HH if I found a non-RG in that layout.
 

ianb

Member
Messages
2,082
I love my SSS Strats, but for maximum versatility, I have an HSS setup on a Tele, hooked up to a five-way super switch, with a variable coilsplit via an internal trimpot on the low-wind PAF-type neck humbucker. I have the following pickup combinations:

#1= Tele bridge pickup
#2= Tele bridge + Strat middle
#3= Tele bridge + neck PAF
#4= Strat middle + split neck PAF
#5= neck PAF, in either full or split via minitoggle

Right now, I'm working on an HSH Strat with a similar setup, but only because I sometimes miss the vibrato bridge on my Tele.
 

KWthinline

Member
Messages
209
I have three…

1.) Standard three-way Tele with Q Filter and no neck pickups cover.
2.) The above with a four-way switch.
3.) SSS Strat with a blender pot AND a Q Filter

But if I had to narrow it down to one I would take the second choice:)
 






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