Calibrated Strat Pickup Set--Order of Strength?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Royal Tele, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. Royal Tele

    Royal Tele Tele-Holic

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    I just received a set of the Fender '57/'62 Strat Pickups that I ordered. I've used them in a different Strat in the past and liked them a lot, so I have good expectations.

    They're advertised as having the same output/DC resistance across all three pickups. I usually like calibrated sets where the bridge has a touch more output so it balances well, but I had resolved to do my best to balance them with various height settings.

    When the pickups arrived, I pulled them out and measured the DC resistance of each one. And wouldn't you know, there's some decent variance.

    The three I received measure at:

    5.69k
    5.74k
    5.90k

    So, my first thought was to put the weakest one in the neck, the strongest one in the bridge, and the middle one in the middle. (I realize that the difference between 5.69k and 5.74k is extremely minimal.) But then the thought crossed my mind--should I put the weakest one in the middle instead?

    Ignoring the actual measurements of the pickups I have in hand, what are your thoughts on location (N, M, B) of Strat pickups based on output? I know lots of guys put the hottest one in the bridge so it has some meat to balance with the fat round tones of the neck. I love a middle pickup tone with some clarity. And I've heard/read before that back in the day, Fender often put the strongest pickup of the three single coils in the neck position, rather than the bridge position.

    Curious what you guys think? I'm definitely planning to put the strongest in the bridge. Should I put the weakest in the neck or in the middle? Thoughts? Why/why not? Your preferences?

    Edit: there is NOT a RW/RP pickup in this set that "should" go in the middle--so that's not a factor to consider (thanks, Bristlehound)
     
  2. Bristlehound

    Bristlehound Friend of Leo's

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    Try it and see... it doesn't take long to change them round.

    Err... is the middle RW/RP to the neck and bridge?
     
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  3. Royal Tele

    Royal Tele Tele-Holic

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    Good question--NO, the middle is NOT RW/RP. I can put them wherever I want. =)
     
  4. Vibrolux59

    Vibrolux59 Tele-Meister

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    Those are all in pretty close range. My set was all even closer than that. I would put the strongest in the neck and 2nd in the bridge so that the neck pickup would be further from the strings when pickups are balanced. But that's just me.
     
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  5. Royal Tele

    Royal Tele Tele-Holic

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    Interesting idea!
     
  6. Lowerleftcoast

    Lowerleftcoast Tele-Meister

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    Those resistances are all very close. The resistance changes with heat. If you hold a pickup in your hand the resistance will change. The 5.69k can easily change to 6.00k. Try it out.

    All pickups are snowflakes. No two are the same. You would be better served by knowing the inductance of those coils for choosing their positions. Some do sound better in certain positions (or guitars for that matter). You will not find the Neck/M/B by "those" resistance numbers though.
    Blind test time. :cool:
     
  7. 53Strat

    53Strat TDPRI Member

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    I'd put highest to the bridge as you thought to do. Then lowest to the neck.

    I, and others, have found that the height of the middle determines the level of "quack" in the 4 and 2 positions. I find that the middle is better set for lower output than the neck and bridge to achieve this.
     
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  8. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've installed assorted pickups, cheap ones from China with no position designation, using the rule of the higher the resistance, the further toward the bridge they go. Never had a problem doing this. But "quack" (#2 and #4 positions) is something I hate, so I never thought about that.
     
  9. Bootstrap

    Bootstrap Tele-Meister Vendor Member

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    Good discussion!

    Wire of the same thickness gauge rating can vary in actual thickness both within and more so between spools of wire - my experience is up to 7% variance in resistance can be explained by this.

    The pickups are likely wound to a particular wind count for product consistency, which means they are almost certainly the same output regardless of variations in their measured resistance. If this is indeed the cause of the variation in the resistance readings, there’s no stronger or weaker pickup, they will be the same output.
     
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  10. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Highest in the bridge, lowest in the neck is traditional.
    I'm surprised they are that big a variance though...
    But all 3 of the pickups I use are higher than any of yours, so it's just a matter of what you want...
     
  11. TimTam

    TimTam Tele-Holic

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    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
  12. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    You guys!! I mean, do y'all think Bill Lawrence didn't know of what he was speaking when he said, DCR is as important as what color socks the guitarist is wearing??

    Take the pickups and sit them in a warm room, in the sunlight for a while, then measure them, now take them and sit 'em in a well Air Conditioned Room and measure them... See whut I mean there Vern?

    what you just witnessed is why a guitar played one afternoon outside, may sound spectacular ti ya, and that evening playing "It's only Begun" at a wedding reception in a cold Hall, you're wondering WTF happened to the guitar??

    rk
     
  13. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    Did the pickups not come with any labels or documentation? I would kind of expect that from Fender.
     
  14. Praxis

    Praxis Tele-Meister

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    My ex threw out my magic green socks. Haven't been able to play worth a darn ever since.
     
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  15. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    As long as none are RWRP, I doubt those tolerances would make any difference at all.
    Pickup height adjustment will probably make way more difference.
     
  16. EsquireOK

    EsquireOK Friend of Leo's

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    Throw them all in a bin, and grab whichever one comes out. It’s not going to matter. You are splitting hairs unnecessarily. They are all basically the same design and construction. They are all basically going to sound the same.

    Any order you put those in, you’ll be able to balance them. The caveat is that you have to be good at adjusting guitars to suit. Most people are not, IME. That just means you have to learn.
     
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