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  • SSH vs HSS

    I need some opinions. I built a partscaster a couple of years ago and installed the SD STK-S4’s. I love them.

    However since building it I have changed bands. I am now playing in a southern rock leaning band. The usual southern rock icons, plus the Eagles, ZZT, and a variety of things in between. These all lend themselves to humbuckers. My Les Paul fits the bill for most things, but you get the occasional song like That Smell by Skynyrd that has a distinctive Strat position 4 tone from Steve Gaines. So I need my Strat, plus you always want a back up guitar at a gig.

    All the Strat pup configurations I have seen are either HSS, SSS or HH. I have yet to see a Strat with a humbucker in the bridge position and then 2 single coils or an SSH set up.

    I am considering changing out my partscaster configuration to keep the 2 STK-S4’s in the middle and bridge positions and adding a Pearly Gate in the neck position. My thinking is that since I play most of my stuff in the neck position anyway, solos included, I can get my LP tones through the PG and then my Strat single coil, and out of phase tones through the 2 STK-S4’s. I am playing through a Friedman DS40. I have noticed that the Partscaster as it is now has about 15% less volume with the same amp settings.

    Any opinions on how this might or might not work?


  • #2
    Seems like a lot of hassle. Just switch to the Strat for these sounds, use the LP all the rest of the time.

    Another option, is maybe get a hum bucker wired as HB series, and Single out of phase/single for the odd position 4 sound.

    As for the volume loss - boost pedal of your choice.
    Originally posted by Bad City
    He's got the crowd on his side and the blue jean lights in his eyes...


    • #3
      You do have a good point Aceman! I think for one I was thinking that I spent a lot of money making the Partscaster and just want to use it more. But you make very good points!


      • #4
        I might just put a little humbucker in the neck, like a Red Devil or Little 59. It would be a very unique configuration, too.
        Administrator of the SDUGF


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mincer View Post
          I might just put a little humbucker in the neck, like a Red Devil or Little 59. It would be a very unique configuration, too.
          I agree or a lil pearly gates.

          Xotic EP Booster is my secret weapon for switching between Strat and Les Paul. It’s just a little louder and fatter to make the amp react the way you expect but it still sounds like a Strat.

          If you really wanted to go all out you could do HSH and do a bridge 59/Custom Hybrid that splits to the hotter coil along with a split STK-S4 for the notch tone. Do the same with a Pearly Gates neck (splitting for the notch) and it’s a super versatile partscaster!
          Oh no.....

          Oh Yeah!


          • #6
            Yeah, a Pickup Booster pedal is also a great thing to have. It will make a single coil sound close to a humbucker while boosting the output to match.
            Administrator of the SDUGF


            • #7
              I had my blue partscaster set up so I could get away with using it for a song or two until there was a good time to switch back to my humbucker guitar of the night. It's nice if you can build your set list around guitar swaps, but it wasn't always possible if we were trying to keep things moving or the singer wanted space between songs. My humbucker guitar usually had coil splits for the same reason. I'm with Mincer, going with a little 59 in the neck would certainly be the easiest way to do it and you could still wire it up to split with the middle.

              As for the volume thing, I usually just used a clean boost like an LPB1, EQ or MXR/CAE line driver. I still want the character of the single coils, I just want them a little louder.


              • #8
                DiMarzio Injector neck sounds more like like a Les Paul on its own, but quacks like a normal strat in the #4 notch position (middle+neck), though IME that’s on a 24-fret guitar.


                • #9
                  I have an old Dod BiFET preamp, a boost with a "tilt" tone control.
                  Turned to the left the tilt trims highs and boosts bass, to the right it trims lows and boosts treble.

                  It was great for switching between three guitars live: at one time I was using a Les Paul with vintagey hums, a PRS with stronger modern hums, and various Strats with vintage output singles. With a twist of the toe I could get the amp to respond pretty consistently with any of them.
                  And each guitar still sounded like itself.

                  Coupla years ago I scored the VFE Pinball, a more sophisticated take on the tilt idea.
                  It allows tuning the shelf frequencies for both lows and highs.

                  Still, if you're just going between one Les Paul and one Strat, all you need is more level and a maybe hair more fatness.
                  You might not even need a boost pedal for that - many ODs can do it nicely with their gain on zero. Do you have a klone?
                  "You should know better by now than to introduce science into a discussion of voodoo."


                  • #10
                    When I posted this originally I did not know that Seymour Duncan made a mini Pearly Gates for a Strat. In doing research it gets better grades than the 59. I was all re ady to pull the trigger, but it's $179 or so with tax, delivery etc. So I need to talk myself into it. I already spent $299 on the STK-S4s. Aside from that I do have a Friedman Golden Pearl OD pedal and a volume pedal, so I should be able to overcome the volume drop. I just fear that if I drop the cash for the PG my ears won't really notice the difference. The guitar is set up for 7 way switching so maybe I would get the humbucker sound if I ran all 3 pups at once! I'll have to check that out.