Which Rolph Strat pickup?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by johan, Feb 21, 2006.


  1. johan

    johan Member

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    Hi there,
    I have two Strats that needs some new fresh pickups. First one is a Fiesta Red 62 JV Squier. Alder body-maple/rw neck. Next one is an early Fender relic, a 95 Mary Kaye. Swamp ash body and fat maple neck.
    It's supposed to be the other way around but I feel the 62 is brighter than the 50's MK which is darker and woodier.

    I emailed JM Rolph for some help and his reply was. I make '54-55-56-57-58-59-60-61-62-63-64-65-66-67-68-69-70-71-72-73-74 Strat pickups.

    Can you guide me through the different years? Any major differences between them? I didn't like the stock 50's pups in the MK. I found them to be to thin/weak/dirty sounding. No bell-like tones to be found. Not glassy, more like broken glass to my ears.

    I liked the Voodoo ST60BL I tried. I want a warm, glassy, piano-like tone. No shrill Buddy Holly-like tone, please.

    Help! :confused:
     
  2. zach5150

    zach5150 Guest

    I cant help you w/ different pup years....but my advice is with customer service and smart ass emails like that, i'd find a different pup maker...there's lots of excellent guys out there.....bill lawrence, jason lollar, lindy frahlin, harmonic design....the list goes on......and i know all those guys WILL help you figure out what's best for your guitars and your ears....
    I've had some billlawrence.com L280's in my strat and they were very warm and piano like fat tone....(I just traded that strat...and I miss those pups!)
     
  3. Relicula

    Relicula Supporting Member

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    Jim, is not a smart ass by any means, he makes pickups that address different guitars by year, your question is so vague that he gave you all the possibilities. Do some research, starting with your guitar, is it too bright? too dark? etc. Find what you want to have a new set of pickups do, and he will make them for you.

    I bought a 67 strat of forum member CliffC, he sent the guitar to Jim, and he tailored a set around the overall tone of the guitar, this may not be the norm for every customer, but it certainly did the trick.

    Call Fender up, and ask them the same question if you want a smart ass answer, you will probably be lucky to get a warm body on the phone that knows what a pickup is.

    Jim makes probably the best pickups I have heard, but that doesnt mean they are the best for everyone, there are a number of fine pickup makers out there Lollar is one of my favorites as well.

    Having a set of humbuckers, and a set of single coils from Jim, I can tell you they are the finest I have heard so far.
     
  4. Mark Kane

    Mark Kane Silver Supporting Member

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    amen!
     
  5. ToneKing

    ToneKing Member

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    Jim, is by no means a smart a$$. On the contrary he is very thorough, and will talk to you at length on the phone to help you find what you need. He makes pickups by years for specific tones, because there was so much variation in the early years from year to year. My personal preference leans toward his '56 set. But, I know he is pretty backed up right now on strat pu's. I'd suggest that you call him up and talk to him.
     
  6. johan

    johan Member

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    I didn't say he's a smart a$$. Instead of bugging him with hundreds of emails, I asked for some help from you guys.
    I'm in Sweden and a 30min call will cost me as much as the pickups.

    :(
     
  7. hogy

    hogy Member

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    My two favorite Strats ever are a '56 and a '64. I've had/played numerous examples of every year Strat, those two were IT.

    I tried both Jim Rolph's '56 and '64 sets, and low and behold, they capture some of the characteristics of the real guitars.

    Old Strat pickups were indeed different from batch to batch. Jim seems to think some of it was intentional, I believe it was due to variations in raw materials that were never exactly the same when Fender restocked.

    At any rate, Jim knows the differences. I would personally recommend getting the '64 set for your Squire and the '56 set for your Mary Kay.

    And put them in the position Jim tells you to, don't go by DC resistance.

    Hogy
     
  8. r9player

    r9player Silver Supporting Member

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    Shame you are in Sweden, I was going to recommend shipping the guitar to him .. but that wont do ...
    Beyond that I am a Tele person but I agree with what some people said before. If you tell him what sonic characteristics you want, he should be able to hook you up.
     
  9. johan

    johan Member

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    Thanks alot Hogy! Finally a staight answer. :)
    I'll think about it. Sounds like something that would fit me and the guitars.
    I got kind of confused at Jim's reply. I don't know much about pickups but to me the variations from batch to batch could be greater than from year to year. Especially in the early days, they were all over the place.

    BWT Hogy, you recommended me to try the Cannabis Rex for my old 65 DR. Thanks! GREAT speaker. Perfect match!
     
  10. Babaji

    Babaji Member

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    +1 on Hogy's reply! I have both sets as well. Jim's knowledge of the differences in all the years of guitars/pickups is encyclopedic. Since your guitars are essentially new(1995 or newer) I think the 56's and 64's are a great choice. Also, the guitars don't have to be old to benefit from the sonic upgrade that they will have when the JMR pickups are installed. Jim likes to make pickups that match the(your) guitar's(vintage guitars) year of manufacture. Go for it!
    Bill
     

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