Results 1 to 16 of 16

Thread: Talk to me about Strat pickups

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    34

    Default Talk to me about Strat pickups

    So I have an HH strat I love and was considering making it SSS again, but I have some concerns.

    I like distortion. Not metal, but maybe just a little heavier than like, Jeff Beck levels

    In the neck of my HH strat I have a 59 in the neck, a SH-5 in the bridge. Obviously the 59 is a little low output, but through my rig (basically amp and pedal sims, RAT into HiWatt), it's plenty beefy and distorts fine.

    I have a tele with the 5-2 set in it. Same deal. Lower output pickups so they're not screaming like my SH-5 BUT I feel like if they were a little more overwound, they would get there

    Years ago, I had an SSS strat with CS69's in it. Again, low output, but just monster sound with a RAT

    My buddy has a player strat, one of the newer ones. Stock pickups...I have the RAT set way hot and I'm still not getting that beefy scream I like. Like, I alsmot feel as if I'd need 2 rats or an extra pedal to push it to where I like it

    Can anyone explain why this is, and/or point me to some strat pickups that will scream for me...I'm eyeing the Hot Noiseless fenders, but things like the Injectors and custom stack also have my attention

    I just wanna make sure there's enough output
    Last edited by greg.delta; 06-28-2020 at 09:42 AM.

  2. #2
    Mojo's Minions Lewguitar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Colorado
    Age
    70
    Posts
    3,813

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    You need the right technique, both in your picking hand and in your fingering hand to accomplish what you're after and for most of us, that takes years to develop and hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours of dedicated practice.

    You need to learn how to shape the sounds you're going for with your hands, and you need to discover the way to do that for yourself.

    Then, out of love for your art, put in the hours.

    Beck plays with his thumb! Most of us play with a pick. But alot of it has to do with the way you pluck or set the string into motion and then use your fingering hand to coax it to sustain.

    So it's not only about gear. It's about technique and coordinating your two hands so they're working together in perfect sync. That way you can shape the tone with your hands.

    In terms of pickups, humbuckers will push your amp into distortion more easily than single coils and have a much fuller sound.

    In terms of pedals, you need to find the one or two pedals that work for you.

    Me? I use a Klon (like Jeff Beck does) and a Dover Drive (like Eric Johnson does on his small pedalboard).

    Both Jeff Beck and Eric Johnson play loud! And they use Marshalls for their lead tones.

    Although when Eric Johnson does workshops he just plays through two Deluxe Reverb amps set for a clean tone and then gets his overdrive from his Dover Drive. This isn't his concert set-up...but it works beautifully for his workshops.

    He also uses a beefier Strat bridge pickup than comes in a stock Strat.

    But again, both Beck and EJ have incredible technique and imagination.

    You can't buy a pedal or pickup that's going to make you sound like you have incredible technique. You have to work to develop it.

    And imagination is something I think we're all born with but if that gift isn't nurtured, we lose it.
    Last edited by Lewguitar; 06-28-2020 at 09:24 AM.
    “Practice cures most tone issues” - John Suhr

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewguitar View Post
    You need the right technique, both in your picking hand and in your fingering hand to accomplish what you're after and for most of us, that takes years to develop and hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours of dedicated practice.

    You need to learn how to shape the sounds you're going for with your hands, and you need to discover the way to do that for yourself.

    Then, out of love for your art, put in the hours.

    Beck plays with his thumb! Most of us play with a pick. But alot of it has to do with the way you pluck or set the string into motion and then use your fingering hand to coax it to sustain.

    So it's not only about gear. It's about technique and coordinating your two hands so they're working together in perfect sync. That way you can shape the tone with your hands.

    In terms of pickups, humbuckers will push your amp into distortion more easily than single coils and have a much fuller sound.

    In terms of pedals, you need to find the one or two pedals that work for you.

    Me? I use a Klon (like Jeff Beck does) and a Dover Drive (like Eric Johnson does on his small pedalboard).

    Both Jeff Beck and Eric Johnson play loud! And they use Marshalls for their lead tones.

    Although when Eric Johnson does workshops he just plays through two Deluxe Reverb amps set for a clean tone and then gets his overdrive from his Dover Drive. This isn't his concert set-up...but it works beautifully for his workshops.

    He also uses a beefier Strat bridge pickup than comes in a stock Strat.

    But again, both Beck and EJ have incredible technique and imagination.

    You can't buy a pedal or pickup that's going to make you sound like you have incredible technique. You have to work to develop it.

    And imagination is something I think we're all born with but if that gift isn't nurtured, we lose it.

    eh, nothing what I posted was related to technique. I'm talking about pickup performance in relation to a given rig. My technique is fine

  4. #4
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    Posts
    26,033

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    A Quarter Pound set, or a Hot Stack Plus Set will do just fine. Even a set of SSL-6s, will be very beefy for a Strat, too. None of these sound vintage, but I don't think that is what you are going for, either. Yngwie does great with his set, too.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

    My Guitar, Gear, and Music Webpage

    Gear pics and more on my Instagram.

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    A Quarter Pound set, or a Hot Stack Plus Set will do just fine. Even a set of SSL-6s, will be very beefy for a Strat, too. None of these sound vintage, but I don't think that is what you are going for, either. Yngwie does great with his set, too.
    one of my troubles I couldn't wrap my head around is why vintage voice HBs or singles sounded great, but in my buddies strat, they were weak. are player strat stock pickups just really really weak?

  6. #6
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    Posts
    26,033

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by greg.delta View Post
    one of my troubles I couldn't wrap my head around is why vintage voice HBs or singles sounded great, but in my buddies strat, they were weak. are player strat stock pickups just really really weak?
    If you are used to the way higher output pickups sound, I can totally believe that you'd think stock Strat pickups sound weak. I am used to using humbuckers all the time, and when I pick up my Strat, it seems weak to me.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

    My Guitar, Gear, and Music Webpage

    Gear pics and more on my Instagram.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2020
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    If you are used to the way higher output pickups sound, I can totally believe that you'd think stock Strat pickups sound weak. I am used to using humbuckers all the time, and when I pick up my Strat, it seems weak to me.
    But isn't the goal of p-ups like the custom stack, the fender hot noiseless, or injectors to push more aggressive and louder output?

    Or are all strat pickups just weak by nature?

  8. #8
    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Somewhere around... Chicago!
    Age
    40
    Posts
    17,782

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Injectors aren’t that hot. They’re a little hotter than standard singles but they still sound like Strat pickups. If you want hot singles Quarter Pounders might be the way. Or you could add a preamp like an EMG or Fender Clapton.

    Your CS69 comment baffles me, they are pretty low output. I love them, but they aren’t doing any screaming on their own. They do sound great with Fuzz and amp gain though.
    Oh no.....


    Oh Yeah!

  9. #9
    Mojo's Minions Powdered Toast Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    YWG
    Age
    41
    Posts
    4,654

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Texas Specials are supposed to be wound pretty hot.
    -
    My Rolling Stones tribute band: The Main Street Exiles

    At the battle of the bands, the loser is always the audience. -Demitri Martin

  10. #10
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    Posts
    26,033

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by greg.delta View Post
    But isn't the goal of p-ups like the custom stack, the fender hot noiseless, or injectors to push more aggressive and louder output?

    Or are all strat pickups just weak by nature?
    Strat pickups are weak compared to humbuckers, but if your style depends on dynamics (touch-sensitivity), it is an important part of the sound and the feel. So weak doesn't equal 'bad'. The hotter Strat pickups I mentioned do not sound traditional at all. They are darker and thicker. But if you want a traditional Strat sound with a lot more output, you will have to boost the signal after the pickups, using something like a Pickup Booster pedal.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

    My Guitar, Gear, and Music Webpage

    Gear pics and more on my Instagram.

  11. #11
    Ultimate Tone Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    535

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    I'm was used to humbuckers in the bridge when I pickup my Fender Strat and my LTD ST-213 (Strat copy).
    3 things you can do that can work for what you are looking for.
    1- Put a Tube Screamer (or something similar), no/little gain, before your Rat pedal.
    2- I understand that you are using a modeler. If so, try a Soldano model. Strange but it's working very well for me from blues to rock.
    3- Put a STK-S7 in the bridge. It's a noiseless single-coil so will work better with gain, sounds like an overwound SSL-1. Hotter than that and you will get slowly out of a Strat sound.

  12. #12
    Slutbucker Pimpologist ArtieToo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Jax, FL
    Age
    66
    Posts
    20,107

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by greg.delta View Post
    So I have an HH strat I love and was considering making it SSS again . . .
    At the risk of steering your ship off topic . . . classic Strats can be had for not a lot of moola. Squiers, imports, et al. Why not get a conventional SSS Strat and configure it how you want? Then, you can compare it to the one you already love. Just a thought.

  13. #13
    Tone Member David Garner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    175

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    In my experience, using single coils to get single coil tones and humbuckers to get humbucker tones works best. You can approximate, but you will always be missing something.

    What you describe is what an SSS Strat is. Plug it in after a dual humbucker guitar and it is going to be cleaner with less sustain through the same rig. I personally love the change of pace. Some don’t. You may be one of them, in which case my vote is leave it HH.

  14. #14
    OH THE DOUBLE THICK GLAZE! Clint 55's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Santa Fe
    Posts
    8,705

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by greg.delta View Post
    Talk to me about Strat pickups
    Jingle jangle clank.
    Turning around to the
    Next set of lies
    Wondering what will come next

  15. #15
    Super Toneologist Jack_TriPpEr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    The Regal Beagle in Hippie Hell
    Posts
    1,361

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    No need to change pickups. Instead run any singlecoil pickup guitars through a Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster Pedal.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarDoc View Post
    Good diagram Shadowfire90, but it isn't what the OP wants.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sanford View Post
    The hardest part about tone chasing is losing the expectations associated with the hardware.
    Quote Originally Posted by blueman335 View Post
    I've been slammed here a few times myself for not going with the crowd. I'd rather go in a different direction, and know why, then follow everyone else and not know why.

  16. #16
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay area, Florida, USA
    Posts
    26,033

    Default Re: Talk to me about Strat pickups

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_TriPpEr View Post
    No need to change pickups. Instead run any singlecoil pickup guitars through a Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster Pedal.

    The Pickup Booster pedal is how I boost the signal of weaker Strat pickups. This doesn't change the 'feel', either....it keeps touch-sensitivity of those weaker Strat pickups in tact.
    Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

    My Guitar, Gear, and Music Webpage

    Gear pics and more on my Instagram.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •