Can anyone recommend me some vintage-correct strat pickups?

fenderchamp

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It's hard to get an idea what an old strat sounds like without finding something that's legit non-butchered or at least painstakingly restored. '54's and vintage strats may or may not have been messed with but when you hear the sound of a legit mid-late 50's one it's obvious.


see how uneven the strings line up on the neck. The low E is right on the edge. Around here that thing would be on it's way back to sweetwater.
 

itsGiusto

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'54's and that short period those pickups & guitars were made are probably the most even and full sounding IMO.
From what I've seen, I think I agree with you. It sounds like you have a good idea of the sound I'm after, and I really liked that first video you posted.

I don't know why, but I still feel like Angeltone might be worth a try, I just have a good feeling about their sound clips. I'd like to know your opinion, though. Could you check out some of the soundclips at the top of this page and tell me if you think they're hitting that even, clear '54 sound?
 

deytookerjaabs

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see how uneven the strings line up on the neck. The low E is right on the edge. Around here that thing would be on it's way back to sweetwater.

Those guitars have many more miles than me and I'm tired, give'em a break!
From what I've seen, I think I agree with you. It sounds like you have a good idea of the sound I'm after, and I really liked that first video you posted.

I don't know why, but I still feel like Angeltone might be worth a try, I just have a good feeling about their sound clips. I'd like to know your opinion, though. Could you check out some of the soundclips at the top of this page and tell me if you think they're hitting that even, clear '54 sound?

Hard to tell but that clip does sound a bit more regular 50's strat (some compression?) versus a '54. I think for the '54 thing there's probably a good number of pickups that will get you there but for me the whole buying of pickups online has always been a guestimate. I've even bought multiple sets of identical Fender pickups that IMO sounded a good bit different in the same guitar with the same setup. I will say in most cases per reviews the better known small winders seem to have some consistency?
 

itsGiusto

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I will say in most cases per reviews the better known small winders seem to have some consistency?
I'm afraid I just don't know who the better known small winders are. Any recommendations? You mentioned Don Mare and JM Rolph before, is that who you're thinking of?
 

deytookerjaabs

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I'm afraid I just don't know who the better known small winders are. Any recommendations? You mentioned Don Mare and JM Rolph before, is that who you're thinking of?

They are great for those vintage signature sounds according to damn near everyone.

But, unless you got the dough & time without a second thought? I would try the Custom Shop '54 or Klein '54 plus a set of VIP pots first. You can always sell a good set of pickups if they're not for you but spending double the "fancy" sets then waiting for months to have them wound is a tough sell. It's more fun to have pickups arrive in a few days time.
 

HaWE

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I had some Seymore Duncan Lil 59s in my Strat and wanted a more "vintage" sound, so I bought these Fender pu`s - 95 Euro for all 3 pu`s.Very clear and focused, and I have to turn the tone knob down a little bit because they are rather bright sounding.
But it was only for my partscaster, so I think they may sound different in a "real" Strat
 

ahiddentableau

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Agree with previous comment that it's really hard to recommend strat pickups. It's a matter of not having a starting point to provide context--namely being able to say to others, "I have a set of X strat pickups and I find them [too bright/too dark/too much output/too little output/etc.]" I think the best you can do is to do your research about the general types/winds by reading and listening to demos, then, if possible, to try to find those guitars in stores or from friends so you can play them and hear them. Eventually you have to dive in, buy a set, try it, experiment with your electronics/circuit...get familiar with it. Then you have context and can actually get good recommendations.

I kind of like 57/62 for a first try for two reasons. One, they are vintage style but not so low output that it will surprise people. They are very middle of the road in terms of style (I mean that as a compliment). Two, lots of people have played them, so you're more likely to get better recommendations if you decide you want to move towards another sound. If you say "I want a chimey vintage style strat pickup" I only have a very general idea of what you want. On the other hand, if you say, "I want something similar to the 57/62 set, but just a little brighter/sweeter" people will have much better idea of what you want and the quality of their recommendations will go up accordingly. You've given yourself a generous budget, so you should be good to go even if you have to buy 2 sets, more like 3 or 4 if you buy used.
 

somebodyelseuk

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I feel like I hear about PAF clones all the time, everyone's always talking about which is better, Seth Lovers vs Tonerider vs ThroBack, etc. But people don't seem to talk too much about vintage-correct strat pickups.

I'm in the market for something that would be pretty vintage correct for a '54 strat, does anyone have recommendations? I'm also looking to keep it below something like $400. I think, if I'm not mistaken, that probably alnico II or alnico III would be the way to go, is that right? Maybe this Angeltone pickup set is a good way to go, does anyone have experience with it?

I think I tend to like strat pickups that are lower in output, and slightly less ice picky and harsh than some of the more modern ones, but that are still nice and "chimey".
In terms of 'anally vintage accurate' materials, you won't beat Throbak. PAFs are more my area, though.
I've had a couple of sets of Strat pickups made by a guy in South Wales (Radioshop pickups) that are seriously accurate - he took a micrometer to a set of 63 Strat pickups - that sound spectacular. He doesn't do a 54 set, but I had him wind me his 57 set , and by happy accident, he ended up winding them to a 54 spec.
Both sets sound amazing. How materially accurate they are, I don't know.
At the end of the day, if the winder doesn't have his magnets and wire custom made, they aren't 'vintage accurate'.

I've also found it pays to make sure your pots measure at least what is speced - I actually use Bare Knuckles 280k and 550k pots, these days, as it was quite common for pots in the 50s and 60s to measure higher than spec.

Tonerider? That's hilarious.

Bareknuckles must be doing a decent job of it, since one of the guys in the Shadows uses a set of his pickups and pots in his stage guitar.
 

2HBStrat

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I feel like I hear about PAF clones all the time, everyone's always talking about which is better, Seth Lovers vs Tonerider vs ThroBack, etc. But people don't seem to talk too much about vintage-correct strat pickups.

I'm in the market for something that would be pretty vintage correct for a '54 strat, does anyone have recommendations? I'm also looking to keep it below something like $400. I think, if I'm not mistaken, that probably alnico II or alnico III would be the way to go, is that right? Maybe this Angeltone pickup set is a good way to go, does anyone have experience with it?

I think I tend to like strat pickups that are lower in output, and slightly less ice picky and harsh than some of the more modern ones, but that are still nice and "chimey".
I really like the Seymour Duncan SSL-1 and SSL-2 Strat pickups.
 




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