Fender Pickups

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

  1. Skydog1010

    Skydog1010 Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Age:
    66
    Posts:
    1,051
    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2019
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Serious homework. Go to vendor sites and listen for yourself. Or do what 80% of us have done, buy & try, or mix it up with friends that have different flavors.
     
    Greggorios and MilwMark like this.
  2. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    17,345
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    A couple of suggestions:

    1) If you want to know what Strat pickups to put in your Strat in order to get the sounds you like, tell us what iconic song has the sound you want, AND tell us what amp and FX you use.

    2) If you must get us to list iconic songs we associate with certain pickups, you need to list pickups that are not so close to the same.
    If you listed CS 69 Strat neck pickup, CS Nocaster bridge pickup, PAF, and filtertron, we could give examples of iconic songs we associate with those pickups, because those pickups are different enough to possibly tell apart on recordings.

    All those Strat sets are as far as songs on albums go, almost exactly the same sound in terms of the sound of the pickups themselves.

    But you can tailor the sound you get with your amp and FX by choosing pickups best suited to that signal chain and target tone.
    Go from a Twin Reverb to a JTM45 and you need different pickups if you want similar tone.
     
    Mad Kiwi, EsquireBoy and MilwMark like this.
  3. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    10,247
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Location:
    near Arnold's
    Oh man this is weird.
     
  4. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Age:
    60
    Posts:
    17,345
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    We really are trying to help based on our collective experience!
    I've been swapping pickups in pursuit of target tones for 40 years and the facts I found are the same as many here posted they have found.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
    awasson and schmee like this.
  5. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,570
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2014
    Location:
    west coast
    Literally, most of these pickups sound like one another with a guitar cable of slightly different length. Therefore, the heard experience is always rig dependent, and the adjectives would be your own. Therefore its near impossible to match one to a song unless you consider just the extremes. Ex. CS 69 = Nile Rodgers, or littlewing. Live, Jimmy Hendrix used high capacitance coiled cables, so his live tone was more Texas Specialish. All the in betweens sound like everything in between.
     
    uriah1, Mad Kiwi and awasson like this.
  6. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,070
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Location:
    Honolulu, HI
    SRV did not use Texas Specials, even though those pickups are in his signature model. His #1 guitar was a late 50s/early 60s model, so the pickups in that guitar were closest to the PV59 or 57/62s. Think Tin Pan Alley or Riviera Paradise. The heavier sounds that are heard on many of his songs is from the amps and Tube screamer pedals. Clapton's Blackie and Brownie were late 50's models, so songs like Slunky, and Let it Rain from the first solo album, all of Derek and the Dominoes, and later 461 Ocean Blvd. and Slowhand songs like Lat Down Sally and the Core would also be closest to 57/62s or PV59s also. As would all of Dire Straits Strat songs. Jimi used later 60s Strats, so the CS69s or PV65s would be the closest ones on your list to his pickups. To my ears, the CS69s are cleaner and warmer, and the 65's are brighter and hotter. But, Fender pickups varied a lot in the number of turns and thus the output in the early (pre '65) hand wound days. Some might be higher resistance and higher output, because the counters used weren't very accurate. But, from about '65 on Fender used machine winding and more accurate counters, so those later pickups were more consistent in the number of winds and output.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
    awasson likes this.
  7. Telekarster

    Telekarster Tele-Meister

    Posts:
    231
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2019
    Location:
    Earth
    There's a lot more to getting the tone out of a guitar then just the pickups. Having said that, I use Fender Custom Shop vintage 50's pickups (51-52, 54, etc.) and I love them. For me and what I build/play they cover all the bases I need in terms of tone. Worth every penny IMO. From classic country to classic rock, I love me some CS pups! ;)
     
    Daytona.57 likes this.
  8. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,518
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2015
    Location:
    TooFarFromCanada
    Whoa...! I was sitting back on this thread, but "pompous eye rolling"?

    You're getting very thoughtful, patient, well-informed replies from very bright and helpful people. I've been on this forum long enough to recognize most of them. And when they try to help out, they try to help out sincerely and skillfully.

    So you might try "thanks," instead. Or, at this point, "sorry."

    When someone points out that you should rephrase a question so it's more focused on what you're trying to ask about, calling them "pompous" is very--well, you figure it out. They could've just ignored you, right?
     
    awasson likes this.
  9. Dismalhead

    Dismalhead Poster Extraordinaire

    Age:
    56
    Posts:
    6,285
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2014
    Location:
    Sacramento, California
    I've got Texas Specials in the middle and neck of my Lone Star Strat. Position 4 clean to me sounds like Knoppfler's guitar on Sultans of Swing or Big Log by Robert Plant. Tons of gooey quack.
     
  10. LesPaulMoreRay

    LesPaulMoreRay TDPRI Member

    Age:
    62
    Posts:
    11
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2019
    Location:
    manila
    Is this not a rephrase???

    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.....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
     
  11. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    10,247
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2013
    Location:
    near Arnold's
    It's just an in-between position, fingers, touch and amp compression. Nothing complicated or special. He's used tons of Strats and amps. He always sounds like himself. He even gets his sound with an LP, which he favored for years.
     
    awasson likes this.
  12. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,518
    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2015
    Location:
    TooFarFromCanada
    All granted, and respected, and understood. But you're not getting dissed here, as far as I can tell. When I ask vague or even unanswerably subjective questions, people tell me the same thing, in the same ways. They're trying to help you identify something more answerable in what you're asking.

    So, to address your rephrased question, "glassy" generally means thinner-sounding than, say, "bell-like" or "ringing." So, on a Strat, that would be the tones from your bridge + middle setting, as opposed to the richer sounds of your middle + neck and neck settings. Set your amp's EQ to noon, leave it there, and go through these different pickup settings, and what you may or may not be hearing in these different settings is "glassy" vs. "ringing," etc.

    Also, the "quack" sound is most prominent at bridge + middle and, less so, at middle + neck.

    Some pickups, and some pickups + amp pairings, will produce all this more than others.

    But if you want Knopfler's signature sounds, then you've gotten good advice here already.

    And the differences in these many pickup options can be pretty negligible, especially since messing with one's amp and perhaps a pedal or two can put almost anyone with almost any Strat quite near Knopfler's tones. Remember that a lot of pickups are made to lure in the player's cash more than offer really substantial differences. The trick, of course, is trying to play as nimbly as he does to get all he does out of those baseline tones.

    This will help a lot, too.
    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=mark+knopfler+tones

    Good luck in your search. And if I read your other posts right, and you're stationed remotely as part of being in the service, my thanks for that.
     
  13. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,979
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2008
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Basically, pick any set from your list at random. Then use the controls on your guitar and amp, and all kinds of other variables like cord length, pedals, different strings, different picks, to get close-enough to whatever sounds you're looking for. There is no set of pickups that, by themselves, will "make you sound like Mark Knopfler" or whatever. You can sound like that with any vintage type strat pickups, if you can play like that and have the rest of the gear together. Overall, if you get the right amp and you are a good enough player, the guitar you choose (and any individual parts on it) doesn't matter as much. I think that's pretty much what everybody - very politely - is trying to tell you. I don't know if you can get a Mark Knopfler tone from a set of Duncan JB humbuckers, but whatever.
     
  14. Strato50

    Strato50 Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    52
    Posts:
    1,459
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Location:
    Port Arthur TX
    I see SRV references a lot in this thread. Remember he tuned a half step down to. That was part of his sound and he used low wound pups. 5.6 to 5.8 range.
     
    awasson likes this.
  15. Ricky D.

    Ricky D. Doctor of Teleocity

    Age:
    68
    Posts:
    10,102
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2006
    Location:
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    You can go broke chasing tones with pickup swaps. Get a parametric equalizer to tweak it instead. It's all just frequency response.
     
    fenderchamp and mkdaws32 like this.
  16. Mad Kiwi

    Mad Kiwi Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,429
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Location:
    Land of the Long White Cloud
    OP - Everyone here is trying to tell you something...one person here is not hearing or understanding (you for clarity).......no pompous eye rolling just kind/gentle words to what is effectively a young childs question. You dont know enough to understand the answers OR that the question is impossible to answer.

    So perhaps roll back on the name calling, hmm?

    The pickups you list all sound BASICALLY the same or so similar as to make the question impossible to answer.

    People often confuse a Humbucker for a single coil (Led Zep 1 for example) so how the heck do you expect us to simply and clearly describe or point you to a song that will differentiate the few precent difference between the pickups you ask about?

    A differnt pick will give as much of a different sound than the pickups you list.....Fingers, Cord length, Amp setting, Microphone, room it was recorded in/with......

    Next you will be asking us to give examples of a song for a strat made of Ash, Pine, Alder....!!! :)

    Don't fall for all the techincal talk, playing skills and style will give you a greater sound range than swapping out any of those pickups...

    Furthermore, I would be pretty hard to convince otherwise that ANYONE who tells you that pickup differences of the same ballpark you listed will not affect anyone but playing at home by yourself....

    Im not sure I ever heard a person saying, jeez these Texas Specials just dont sit on the mix right, I think im going to have to swap to a Mexican Ceramic set for this song.... :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2019
    awasson and black_doug like this.
  17. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    20,522
    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Location:
    Around
    Ya, by song might be nice to have a library of. I have tried most of those. and settled on other mfg.
    to each his own. Boost and od them if you must and it will not matter.

     
  18. Nick Fanis

    Nick Fanis Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    5,098
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    Athens-GREECE
    If you know how to play and know how to use your amp and effects properly you will get an "iconic" strat sound with ANY of those sets.
     
    teleman1, awasson and MilwMark like this.
  19. Ringo

    Ringo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,941
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Location:
    Memphis TN

    My American Special Strat has Texas Specials, for me they don't seem particularly hot, they have plenty of sparkle and treble, #2 and #4 positions have the "quack", they sound good with OD too.
     
  20. teleman1

    teleman1 Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,009
    Joined:
    May 16, 2003
    Location:
    Arizona
    I don't have a lot of distinctions for strat PU. But there are different strat sounds and the difference is radical. But interestingly, they are all very stratable sounds. But the Fender 54 as well as Duncan ssl-1's;great glassy strat sound. If you have three strats, one of them should have this tone palette.
     
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.