. So I found an RE live in Germany recording from 1996 to listen to ... and my suggestion is look for lower wound pickups 5k range, maybe a middle pickup close to 4k. Weaker and different strength pickups in parallel will help. Did you deck the pickups? A lot of classic players did that while the modern way is to nearly touch the strings. Put the middle as low as it will go without falling off the elevator screws and put your neck pickup 'half way up' then strum and raise the middle pickup until the quack is maximized. Set the bridge so it's volume equal to the neck pickup. You know what I've come across recently and quite consistent for that kind of guitar tone (amp obviously influences it) is the Indonesian built Squier Bullet hard-tail Strats. Yes they are ceramic. You might locate a loaded pickguard and swap for a bit in your chassis, if you only put pickguard screws in the holes that line up you'll be ok. .