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SDs in which Guitar?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Mr Scallywag, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. Mr Scallywag

    Mr Scallywag Tele-Holic

    626
    Apr 15, 2016
    Australia
    I have one set of SD '59s and two guitars they could go in - a Strat Blacktop or a semi-hollow Ibanez Am73t.

    It's about the only Strat I've ever liked, plays great. I like the pickups' thickness, they don't wimp out like I think a normal Start does, but they can be hot and muddy - will the PAFish SDs bring it more into classic Strat territory or will the humbuckeryness keep that fatter tone but with clarity?

    With the Ibanez I'm just expecting it to sound similar but better.

    Is one going to get benefit more from the SDs and get the most out of them?
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018

  2. drf64

    drf64 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    54
    Jul 24, 2009
    Ada, MI
    I've never had a Blacktop strat, but SD 59s sound great in semi-hollow guitars.
     
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  3. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Telefied Ad Free Member

    Age:
    61
    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    I figure you can’t lose, either way.
    The SD’s are great sounding pickups.
    Which guitar to you play more?
    Which one needs improvement most?
     
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  4. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I am an eager proponent of humbuckers in both Strats and Teles. And, of course, the Les Paul and semi and full-hollow guitars that I have, also have humbuckers in them.

    [​IMG]

    At present, I have an SD '59 neck pickup in one of my Teles (American Special, center below) and it sounds great - tonally its sort of a cross between a Fender and a Gibson. The bridge pickup that I am using with it is a Dimarzio Area T, which sounds fantastic! No 60-hz hum going on here.
    [​IMG]

    As to which of your instruments should receive the SD '59s, I don't think I can be of help. But I really enjoy a Strat with humbuckers in it - especially if you can have two Strats: one with single coils and the other with humbuckers. That way you get the traditional Strat tones and the cross-over Fender/Gibson tones.
     
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  5. kiwi blue

    kiwi blue Tele-Afflicted

    Well it's a lot easier to replace pickups on a Strat than yer typical semi. So maybe start there just as an experiment to see how they sound in the Strat then put them in the Ibanez and leave them there. You can always buy another set for the Strat later if you liked the result.

    I've never played one, but my understanding is these are pretty much PAF type pickups so I can't see how you can go wrong putting them in the Ibanez. Worked out ok for Gibson back in the day.
     
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  6. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Have you checked "under the hood" on your Strat to see what the routing is like?

    Many are not routed for humbuckers. Some are routed for humbuckers at neck, bridge, or both.
     

  7. Mr Scallywag

    Mr Scallywag Tele-Holic

    626
    Apr 15, 2016
    Australia
    Thanks guys, I've been thinking along the same lines as most of you.

    I bought them for the Strat, but the Ibanez popped up this week and the PAF/semi thing is such a classic combo, I was having a late change of heart. Might stick with my original Strat plan - ease of access, less usable tones as it stands.

    Blacktops already have the two HBs so I think it's a big 'ol swimming pool under there. I did look once but can't remember fully, but there's enough room.

    Beautiful collection you have btw. Your HH Strat, what do you find you get out of it compared to the SSS. And do you notice much difference between covered vs uncovered HB in general?
     
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  8. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I'm sorry, I missed that your Strat is a Blacktop. Haha!

    My Blacktop is a Tele. The Candy Apple Red one with the uncovered Gibson Classic '57 humbuckers. I love that Fender gives a rib cut in the back of the Tele Blacktops, as I play sitting most of the time and that cut away is right were my rib cage contacts the back of the guitar - wonderful to have the cut there! Of course with a Strat, you've got the rib cut and the cut for the forearm - very comfortable body to play while sitting.

    On a Tele Blacktop, the blacktop isn't a "swimming pool" route. But it is obviously routed for two humbuckers. On a Strat, it may be a swimming pool, I don't know.

    The stock Chinese humbuckers in my Tele Blacktop were highly worthy of being ditched - and replaced with a set of Gibson Classic '57s.

    [​IMG]

    I like the tones of Humbuckers in Fender guitars. So far, the best sounding humbuckers I've ever heard in a Fender is Gibson's Classic '57 set, with a magnet swap to AlNiCo 5 for a little extra high-end sparkle. Very rich, full, and complex tones, with no mud and with excellent clarity and high end sparkle (especially with the A5 mags).

    An HH Strat isn't a replacement for an SSS Strat, completely different animals sound-wise. I do like having both.

    As for covered vs. uncovered humbuckers, I've read that the covers tend to reduce the highs slightly, which may well be true. I don't think the difference is at all dramatic, though. Generally, I do tend to prefer them without covers. And I do like a humbucker that is clear, articulate, and bright.

    [​IMG]

    I recently put a cover on my SD '59 in the American Special Tele burst but haven't noticed a loss in the highs, though a slight loss in highs *may* have occurred.

    [​IMG]


    The American Standard Tele Mystic Red on the right has a Dimarzio PAF Master humbucker at the neck. This is a very bright humbucker, which is just right in a Gibson, but a little too bright in a Fender, so I replaced the A5 magnet in it with an A2 magnet and it's wonderful now - sparkly bright and articulate, but not too much so.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
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  9. Mr Scallywag

    Mr Scallywag Tele-Holic

    626
    Apr 15, 2016
    Australia
    I've found a lot to like about the HH Strat and I'm glad you think there's enough difference that I'm not straying back into normal Strat territory. I noticed you have an AC10 as well - mine really knocks out a lot of the Blacktop issues I have with other amps, especially at higher gain, which I guess its hot HBs are designed for, but it's not a style I play much.

    I almost picked up the same tele Blacktop as yours but heard the pickups were terrible and couldn't be doing with the hassle. Shame, because they look great, and as you say the belly cut is a bonus.
     

  10. Golem

    Golem Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    I like 59s in my semi hollow. I’ve had a 59 in the neck of a strat and it was very good but I still changed it out.
     

  11. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Yeah, the Chinese HBs in the Tele Blacktop are not great at all. But I bought the guitar specifically to house a pair of Gibson Classic ‘57s, so the swap was planned from the beginning. With the Gibsons and upgraded electronic components, it is easily my best sounding Fender guitar with humbuckers. Actually, I think it is my best sounding guitar with humbuckers, including my Gibsons and semi-hollow body guitars. Gibson Classic ‘57 pickups, with mag swap to AlNiCo 5, and mounted in a Tele, have a sound that is pure magic to my ears. I love it!

    Is the Strat Blacktop MIM? What pickups are in it?
     

  12. Mr Scallywag

    Mr Scallywag Tele-Holic

    626
    Apr 15, 2016
    Australia
    Maybe I should have picked up that Tele afterall. I do have an FSR Tele which I'm currently stripping which is routed for a neck HB, maybe I could put one of my 59s in there. Then I'd have to hunt down a bridge pickup to match... it never ends.

    Yeah the Blacktop's a MIM, and the pickups and those mysterious one Fender thrown in without much info. They're pretty spicy though, around 12k. They're divisive, lots of love, lots of hate too.

    Part of me still thinks, stick 'em in the Ibanez, they're made for one another, and just get some half decent lower output ones for the Strat.
     

  13. Straydogger

    Straydogger Tele-Meister

    Age:
    66
    289
    Mar 26, 2017
    Western Pa.
    My Ibanez As 73.JPG My Ibanez AS73 with Gibson '57 Classic/Classic+ change out. Really made that guitar!
     
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  14. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    67
    Oct 22, 2006
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Duncan 59s are excellent pickups, very similar to the PAFs I had in my Byrdland and my LP/SG Custom. Nice and clear, fatter than vintage Fender single coils.

    If you want classic Strat territory, 59s are not the way. Get a set of classic Strat single coils for that. With 59s, the Strat is going to sound like a Strat with PAFs. Fatter tone with clarity. IMO, that would be a great way to go. The most comfortable guitar you can get, already a great player in your opinion, and two 59s...that would be a knockout! I hate muddy overwound pickups. I'd go with the Strat for the swap FWIW. Of course it's your guitar, not mine.

    Tough dilemma, wish it was my problem. :)

    I don't know much about the Ibanez, but I've heard they are pretty good stock. I'm sure the 59s would be great in the Ibanez as well.

    If this was my problem, I'd probably put the 59s in the Strat and get to know them there, get rid of the mud. You could always reverse that later and put the 59s in the Ibanez, or keep them in the Strat and grab another set of 59s.
     
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  15. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    I feel as Ricky D. does: a Strat (which is an especially comfortable guitar to play - particularly while sitting) with a pair of PAF-humbuckers, like the '59s, is a knockout guitar (so is a Tele HH).

    I would pop those '59s in the Strat and check it out. Nothing is permanent - you can changes things up again if you feel so inclined. And if you are looking for more humbuckers, definitely check out Gibson Classic '57s - they're awesome humbuckers. Same with Dimarzio PAF Masters.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2018
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  16. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Meister

    Age:
    48
    187
    Dec 19, 2017
    Tampa Bay Area
    59s sound amazing in semi-hollows. I have one in the bridge of my Godin (I have a Jazz in the neck). 59s in a Strat won't sound anything like strat pickups- it wont sound remotely stratty. It will sound good- even great, but not stratty. However, something like the Stag Mag will sound Stratty when split, but that is about the only humbucker I can think of that will.
     
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  17. Mr Scallywag

    Mr Scallywag Tele-Holic

    626
    Apr 15, 2016
    Australia
    Seems like I can't lose either way.

    Unfortunately those pickups are out of my range, but as a benchmark the guitar's are very similar. I'm still in the honeymoon phase but I freakin' love mine. The stock pickups aren't half bad but, as you say, the 59s are going to take it to another level.

    That's what I was thinking. Typical Strat is not what I'm after, I want that extra fatness, and all the positions seem really usable with the two humbuckers. The 1,3,5 positions really roar but 2 & 4 give you a cleaner P90 in between sound.
     
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  18. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Does Fender wire the Blacktop HH Strat with a 5-way switch? Or are you talking about an SSS Strat?
     

  19. Mr Scallywag

    Mr Scallywag Tele-Holic

    626
    Apr 15, 2016
    Australia
    Yep, the Blacktop has the 5-way, which is the one I'm talking about. I like the simplicity. The later HH Mexican Strats (they stopped calling them Blacktops) are coil split too, so there's more options.

    So I kinda described a typical Strat in your highlighted section, which mine isn't completely dissimilar to, it still gets quack, but with real punch. It sounds like what I've always wanted a Strat to sound like. It has an authority normal ones lack for me. Which brings me round to my original OP worry, that PAF-ish humbuckers might lose that punch. From what everyone has said that won't happen, thankfully.

    Is your HH Strat American? How is it wired?
     

  20. DHart

    DHart Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 12, 2012
    Scottsdale, AZ USA
    Yes, I have a 1976 Strat (American, of course, at that age) and a couple of American Standards from 2013 & 2015. The Standards each came as HSS.

    I replaced the HSS loaded pickguard with an HH loaded pickguard which has a 3-way switch, so nothing fancy in terms of switching - it's like a 3-way Tele: neck pickup, both pickups, or bridge pickup.
     

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