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Which vintage (slightly) hot bridge pickup for my strat?

FearlessFred

Member
Messages
179
I have a vintage hot rod 62 strat with cs69 pups in it. I love the neck and middle tones but the bridge is a bit shrill.

The cs69s are scoopy and 5.8k.

I'm looking for something more like a tele bridge, more mids, slightly higher output, maybe about 6.5k, mainly for use with overdrive. I don't want to ruin my quack position though.

I'm mainly looking in the Bare Knuckle camp as they are UK based.

Any ideas?
 

Dashface

Member
Messages
5,830
I love Bare Knuckle stuff, and I'm sure that if you email Tim he'll give you something great for your strat.

That being said, as far as I can tell the best strat bridge pickup by far is the Duncan SSL-5 like in the Gilmour strat. It is incredible - sounds vintage and great clean, and is incredibly thick and wonderful with some distortion on. I can't recommend it enough.

...Plus, it will mix with the pickups you have now very well indeed.
 

piloto117

Member
Messages
350
After a lot of snooping around the web I ordered a SD SSL 5, reading great reviews and hearing a lot about the pickup, it seems the way to go. I also have some fender 69's (love em), and felt the same as a well a LOT of players regarding the bridge position. I'll let you know next week!
 

cratz2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,301
I'm not one to go for 'overwound' or 'hot' pickups of any kind, esp strat pickups.

Having said that, my #1 guitar has the Duncan Antiquity IIs with the hotter bridge pickup. It doesn't really sound 'hot' in the Texas SRV sort of way at all, it just sounds like it has more bottom end and is a bit more round sounding. I really like it though I rarely play the bridge pickup by itself. I have a blender pot wired in it and usually bring in the neck pickup about half way up. Still sounds more 'bridgy' than 'middle Tele'.

Another one is the Fralin Vintage Hots with the baseplate. The pickup is a bit hotter in general and the baseplate adds... something. I don't have them but a buddy does and I think it's either his best or second best sounding strat overall. At least for clean tones though his and mine with Antiquities both have flatwound strings so that definitely helps round things out anyway. That guitar sounds great though and he even has another set of Vintage Hots for another project. I'd say there's a 50/50 chance they will be the best set I buy though I'm somewhat interested in the Fralin Split Blades as well.

I have a guitar with Duncan SSL2s in it which are pretty bright. I have an SSL5 that I bought about a year ago and I keep wanting to install it, but I'm afraid it'll be too hot. That one was formerly a Gilmour Black Strat knockoff so it has the mini toggle rather than a blender pot and I like that neck+bridge tone so much, I'm a bit afraid it will turn out too bright. I'm sure I'll install it at some point in the next year or two.

No experience with the Bare Knuckle stuff.
 

gtraddict

Member
Messages
1,885
I would go with the Sultans on the Bare Knuckles, the scooped Alnico II at 6.2 should be tame enough and what not
 

Dashface

Member
Messages
5,830
I have an SSL5 that I bought about a year ago and I keep wanting to install it, but I'm afraid it'll be too hot. That one was formerly a Gilmour Black Strat knockoff so it has the mini toggle rather than a blender pot and I like that neck+bridge tone so much, I'm a bit afraid it will turn out too bright.
Not too bright at all. You know Gilmour's bridge pickup sound? Well, that's it. Big, bold, and thick. Sounds killer. Never played a bridge pickup I've liked even half as much.
 

cratz2

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
11,301
Oh yeah... I'm familiar with how the SSL5 sounds I specifically meant that I often use the neck and bridge pickups combined and most of my strats are wired with a blender pot, but this one has the toggle switch (ala Gilmour) and since the SSL5 is quite a bit hotter than the SSL2 in the neck, I'm a bit concerned that when on the neck+middle position, the total sound will be brighter than I'm used to in that position.

I've even thought about changing the wiring to Master Volume, Master Tone, Bridge Volume with a Treble Bleed so I could balance the bridge with the other pickups in Bridge+Neck and Bridge+Middle.

I have no doubt I'll get it on one of these days though. I've played a Gilmour Relic strat for several hours and to be honest, it sounds great in every pickup position. Again, it doesn't really seem radically 'hotter' in most instances, just bigger and fuller.

To be honest, I think it's the most logical choice for the OP.
 

buddastrat

Member
Messages
14,690
If you already got the SSL5, try it! Might work, you can back it down if it's real hot.

If you're wanting vintage the bridge pickup of the CS'54 set is great. I snagged one off ebay. Still very much a strat tone, but just a little bit beefier, less twang. I have a '60 neck/'69 mid/''54 bridge and I really like that combo. Tried a couple Fat 50's bridge pickups in the same guitar, and the '54 was still ballsier.
 

FLStratcat

Member
Messages
514
Another vote for the SSL5. I threw it in the bridge of a strat w/ a 6K neck and 6.6K middle and it balances just fine while being nice n' thick for leads and whatnot.
 

chase1410

Member
Messages
151
Lollar Dirty Blondes/Specials..Have em in two of my custom Strats...absolutely love the versatility and quack of em.
 

piloto117

Member
Messages
350
OK, last night I installed the SSL-5T (the tapped version) and it sounds great! At the "full" setting, it has a fuller, rounder sound still with some harmonics and feel of a meatier single coil (as any overwound SC), but you do lose a little bit of SC characteristics like chime, bell and twang. The 4th position (mixed with the middle pickup) still sounds stratty because the middle PU does "most" of the job. But to be honest I didn't like the CLEAN tones way too much, just as I suspected that's why I bought the tapped version. But the distorted/overdriven tones are great! They drive my dirt pedals pretty good!
Now on the tapped setting it's definitely a pure single coil sound, BUT it can get a bit quiter than the '69's so some height adjustments have to be made.
For the OP, I don't think this is the pickup YOU want. Overall I think it's closer to a P90 than a humbucker or SC. You will lose SOME quack on the 4th position. UNLESS you get a tapped version and have the best of both worlds!
Good luck!
 




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