Fender Pickups

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by LesPaulMoreRay, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. LesPaulMoreRay

    LesPaulMoreRay TDPRI Member

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    Got a favor to ask. I hear a million adjectives (woody, glassy, sprinkly, dirty, airy, hot, cold) used to describe pickups and they really could mean anything and dont really help. Can I get an iconic song that you immediately think of when you hear a certain fender pickup? here’s my list:

    1. Texas Specials:
    2. 57/62
    3. 69
    4. fat 50’s
    5. 54
    6. 59
    7. 65

    Thanks loads ( please no fender sucks, use these pickups comments)

    NO ADJECTIVES PLEASE, JUST SONGS THANK YOU
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
  2. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Those pickups you listed seem to indicate you’re going to drop them in a Strat. You’re not going to get many Fender sucks comments here. I have experience with Texas Specials, 54s, and fat 50s. I really like the fat 50s because they have the open, glassy sound in the neck and the middle with a little kick in the bridge which sounds just beefier than brittle. The Texas Specials Run hotter, and they’re nice too, but you lose some of the airiness of the lower winds.

    Good luck, and welcome!
     
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  3. LesPaulMoreRay

    LesPaulMoreRay TDPRI Member

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    and the songs?
     
  4. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I play mostly hard blues, rock, and some jazz fusion mixed in. Think Hendrix, SRV, Gilmour, and Jeff Beck. Don’t think for a minute that I do any of them justice. What I really like about the Fat 50s is that I can get a really wide range of tones just by using volume and tone pots and amp settings. AAMOF, that goes for most pickups as long as they’re well made.
     
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  5. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Was thinking about this yesterday when Riviera Paradise came on the radio. Was thinking how sometimes people comment that hot pickups are "too bright". Everytime I see that my mind says "no way, just the opposite". That big, bold, not tinny, sound in the song is from hot pickups (and fingers!)

    I can't name all the songs for you, but have tried almost all those pickups. Without getting into the argument over "it's not the resistance it's the inductance" I'll just say you can rely on the resistance readings, the hotter the pickup the less piercing, airy, woody, sparkly they are. Your fingers, your attack, your pick and your amp matter though.
     
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  6. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    maybe fender would have some such index of pickups/songs. ...good luck with that man.
     
  7. bumnote

    bumnote Tele-Meister

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    I have two Strats with CS54's in them...really like them.
    When I plug them into my 5F1 Champ close, they really nail that Derek and the Dominos tone. I'm not a good player by any stretch of the imagination, but I can easily get the same tone from "Tell The Truth" that Clapton gets.
     
  8. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    What you are asking for is not really a functional question, if you want actual useful information.
    Our word association may be interesting yet not the least bit informative.

    What I mean is that take something like Red House off Hendrix in the West.
    That recording could have been made with virtually every pickup set on your list.
    Or take Knopfler Sultans of Swing.
    He could do that with any of those pickups, just adjust amp and technique.

    Then take what @schmee said about the SRV tune, where he associates the hotter Texas Specials with the recorded guitar sound.
    To my ear I hear a particularly clear neck pickup sound, and I associate clearer neck pickup sounds with the total opposite pickups, so I would say the 69 set. The 69 neck is under 5.8k and the TS neck is 6.2k, both 42awg and A5.
    I find getting that clear bass with a Strat neck pickup generally requires the lower wind, and that a 6.2k neck pickup is really hard to get that kind of bass clarity out of. But maybe Stevie was using the middle pickup? OPr maybe he was using the neck pickup with the vol rolled off and a treble bleed to keep it bright while cutting bass? Or maybe he was using a bigger cleaner amp than a Super Reverb and set the bass low on the amp, the treble high, cut the volume at the guitar, and then the engineer tweaked the final EQ for the sound we hear?
    OTOH maybe @schmee knows what guitar SRV used on that recording and knows what pickups are in that guitar.
    That still doesn't mean though, that a set of Texas Specials in your Strat will make that sound, or that you could not make that sound with a very different Strat set, using a different amp and technique than the recording was made with.

    Much of the rest of the SRV catalog sounds more like the Texas Special type pickup, in terms of slightly thicker tone with slightly less bass clarity. Those characteristics go with his chosen amps too though.
    The sound of the electric guitar is more the amp than the pickups.

    A fatter thicker toned amp will make a 69 set sound more like the Texas Special set played through a thinner less gainy amp.

    We don't choose pickups for the final sound we want as much as for the amp sound we like, then we get the pickups that work best with our preferred amps and our technique.

    We might be able to provide more useful info if you included some more extreme sounding pickups on the list, like the Duncan SSL-5.
    That pickup in the bridge position is what Gilmour uses to get his thick singing lead tones, because it is fatter and less bright sounding than any of those Fender pickups on the list.
    But his sound is as much Muffs into Hiwatts as it is the Duncan SSL-5, and when he uses the neck pickup it's just a fairly ordinary Fender pickup like most on your list.
     
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  9. schmee

    schmee Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yeah, there are so many variables. Speakers and pickups are just real hard as every person is different. But if you take the same guitar amp settings etc and play the 57/62's then the TS's, say just a lightly picked chord pattern, the former will be "airy and woody" compared to the TS's .
     
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  10. LesPaulMoreRay

    LesPaulMoreRay TDPRI Member

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    i dont know what clear, thick, thin, fat means...you hear those things maybe but u cant explain it to others....hence my question.
     
  11. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire

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    What @telemnemonics said: there is no way to answer the OP request, you may eliminate the verbage but you will get so many subjective answers, all for something with too many variables that are impossible to eliminate. We might as well dig up a horse corpse and beat it, again.

    @Antigua Tele's free data is one of the most comprehensive objective Tele pickup reference around, or his master data table I don't have the link for at the moment. When that seems like a bunch of senseless numbers, then I just use my ears...and eyes :)

    https://www.tdpri.com/threads/measured-electrical-values-of-various-telecaster-pickups.665808/

    [EDIT]

    Stratocaster??? OMG whyyyyyyy??? I'm dipping out of this sub-forum before I'm seen...:oops:
     
  12. LesPaulMoreRay

    LesPaulMoreRay TDPRI Member

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    huh?
     
  13. BorderRadio

    BorderRadio Poster Extraordinaire

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    You wanted to match a specific pickup to an 'iconic' song, in place of adjectives to describe pickup sounds, correct?

    I think that's next to impossible, but could be kinda fun--like some kind of word-song-free-association game. I was trying to say in a helpful way that objective information and personal experience are the best ways to go about finding pickups for the tone-chaser within us. The song matching thing, well I can't see how that would be any better than saying one pickup is less glassy than the other.

    Anyways, here's the link for information on numerous pickups, and I cited the TDPRI member Antigua Tele as the source. Lots of Strat pickups in there, with a sorting function, so you can narrow down to only Fender Stratocaster pickups.

    http://echoesofmars.com/pickup_data/viewer
     
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  14. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Holic

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    Mark Knopfler says:

    "As for the actual solo, it was just more or less what I played every night. It’s just a Fender Twin and the Strat, with its three-way selector switch jammed into a middle position. That gives the song its sound, and I think there were quite a few five-way switches installed as a result of that song.”

    A '61 Strat (borrowed from his girlfriend) and a Twin.

    https://www.guitarworld.com/artists/hear-mark-knopflers-isolated-guitar-sultans-swing

    I don't know which of the pickups on the list would nail a '61 Strat, though. But for me, "Sultans.." is a perfect example of that 'in-between' Strat sound.
     
  15. LesPaulMoreRay

    LesPaulMoreRay TDPRI Member

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    because i can hear the song and make a decision based on the sound of the guitar. i cant hear someone typing glassy. i am buying online so no personal experiences happening where i’m deployed....no guitar stores, no bar bands
     
  16. LesPaulMoreRay

    LesPaulMoreRay TDPRI Member

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    perhaps i should throw out the song and u guys can tell me what i’m potentially hearing.......knopfler on tunnel of love or brothers in arms. whats the closest i can get to that sound using only the above pickups? all things being equal
     
  17. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    The pickups are a very small part of the equation of what you hear coming through the speakers on a Dire Straits recording. What you are asking for is sort of like assuming that the type of plating, chrome, nickle or bronze or whatever on the handle of the toilet, is responsible for workings of the sewage system where you live when you flush it.

    If you want to get an idea about what different sorts of pickups sound like in a general way, e.g. magnet types and resistance values, go to lollar's, duncan's, dimarzio's etc, etc.. websites and listen to sound samples. I've never found it to be much more helpful than 'glassy', ice-pick, bright, dark, fat, compressed etc etc etc... either personally but maybe you will.

    I do know that If I'm trying to cop somebody's tone, If I take my guitar in my hands and work out the licks, and then start turning knobs, I usually get closer.

    If you want to know how Mark Knopfler and the Engineer who recorded it etc etc.. makes a strat sound like he makes a strat sound in a given mix, on a given recording, there is a lot more to it, than the pickups in the guitar.

    That being said, I'd agree that sultan's of swing, is a nice example of sounds you can make with a Fender Stratocaster.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
  18. LesPaulMoreRay

    LesPaulMoreRay TDPRI Member

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    ok i get it ....pickups are not the be all and end all of a song, but can we just agree that they are a part of the sound and thats the part i want to know. please stop with all the pompous eye rolling.
     
  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Of course we may not all use the terms the exact same way but here's my take on those descriptive terms:

    Clear means not distorted. The low strings are harder to keep clear than the high strings FWIW.
    Thick means generally more mids including low mids.
    Thin means less bass and low mids but may or may not have lots of "mids" which is actually closer to treble.
    Fat is very close to the same as thick, but we may generally use thick for more distorted sounds and fat for cleaner sounds.
     
  20. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Right, we can make a useful comparison between one pickup and another if we compare them in the same guitar through the same FX amp and speakers.

    I'll admit that I really don't know what airy and woody mean, yet I understand what you're saying in the context of the comparison.
     
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