Middle Pickups suck

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Bluego1, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    B89F74C2-031D-4A64-B251-8181FF8D469E.jpeg Actions speak louder than words, as they say.
    I have some blank Strat guards to rout without the empty pickup holes and the neck pickup won’t be there either.
    The black Strat is a hardtail with a maple block.
     
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  2. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    Maybe your pickups are setup to high?
    It is even possible that you getting a better sound, also in pos. 2&4, when you lower the middle pickup more that the other two.
     
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  3. Tonetele

    Tonetele Poster Extraordinaire

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    Whatever floats your boat. I like positions 2&4 but middle most of all. Seems perfectly balance on a Strat. Neck is a bit dim to me, bridge a bit like an ice-pick. JMHO
     
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  4. edvard

    edvard Tele-Afflicted

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    For whatever reason, I never bonded with the middle position either, and I'd hit it with my pick all the time, no matter how low i decked it, even with the poles flat to the bobbin. At that point, it was so low that it sounded weak and I just had enough; I took it out and cut a new pickguard with no middle spot. Success.
    I have a suspicion though... I do a lot of palm muting, and that puts the pick *right there* to hit the middle pickup every. dang. time. As for "quack", I never found a fascination with it, though I understand that others have and that's just dandy. I don't think middle pickups suck, but they don't do me no favors neither.
     
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  5. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

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    The middle pickup tends to be the strongest in the strat pickups I've tried. I find it works the best when I need to push an overdrive hard.

    Positions 2 and 4 define a strat, much as the bridge pickup on a tele defines it. Once I started playing around with the quack voices, I realized that a lot of the good music I listened to in the 70s and 80s utilized it.

    re: hitting the middle PU with the pick, you adjust. There are enough others things about the strat (neck and body shaping) that make it the most comfortable guitar to play. It definitely sits against your body differently than a tele, and it's easy to lay your arm across it and adjust where you pick.
     
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  6. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    This exactly. I have two strats wired this way - 3 position switch. Premise is that you can dial in “quack to taste” by dialing up the middle pickup, but I almost never use it either. The only reason the middle pickup and blend pot are wired up on my Strats at all is because I want the classic look, but with Tele style controls and I detest controls and pickups that do nothing ;)
     
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  7. skerwo

    skerwo Tele-Holic

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    Never play the middle pu alone, I don´t like it very much. But I like positions 2 and 4. All of my sss/hss guitars have a 5 way selector with the position 3 combining neck and bridge instead of the middle pu.
     
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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Lower the middle pickup, and the neck pickup, so their covers are nearly flush with the pickguard, raise the bridge pickup until volume parity with the neck pickup. Turn up the amp a little.

    No more hitting the pickups and a lot better tone. I didn't believe it with my first Strat either until a few years ago.


    Here's the Robbie Robertson solution, moving the middle pickup back. Stock 5-way switch operation but adds a push/pull for series.


    [​IMG]


    Bonus trick: Swapping either the neck or bridge pickup with the middle pickup physically in the pickguard (for no soldering or at the switch lugs by soldering) will drop one of the Quacks but replace it with the Tele Neck+Bridge option. The 5-way works then like a 3-way at one end with the two middle selects at the other.
    Bonus trick#2: If you watch old Hendrix videos, he hiked the guitar up high with the strap so his arm didn't hit the controls, but he has no interference from the volume knob so he can play from the bridge to the neck and over the neck, just like a Tele. So consider moving the volume knob to the first tone knob location and have a master tone knob.

    .
     
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  9. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes multiple single coils in parallel or series rock!! Just pick around them?
     
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  10. Rayf_Brogan

    Rayf_Brogan Tele-Meister

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    I dont think I've ever found a use for position 4 on a strat, but I use position 2 quite often. It also depends on the pickups.
     
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  11. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think it depends on what kind of music you are playing...
    ( btw, I've never had an issue with a Strat middle PU being in the way)

    ...but besides using it for #2 and #4 tones, I've always found great utility in that middle PU alone, * note, usually with a cleaner amp ( or OD pedal OFF setting):

    - playing Chuck Berry/ Keith barre chord rhythm ( just balanced/defined tone)
    - playing cleaner blues lead and R&B or Country double stops
    - playing ' Dickey Betts style' parts, on a Strat
    - with slapback, great rockabilly lead tone
    - playing songs where you might usually be playing an acoustic guitar

    I guess this is more about the versatility you can get out of a stock Strat- I still find it remarkable!
     
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  12. -Hawk-

    -Hawk- Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Imo, the definitive Strat sound is the neck pickup rather than 2 or 4.

    I used to find middle pretty useless, but have come to appreciate pos 2 quite a bit. It’s a great way to knock off a little zing for rhythm playing and can be used with OD to get a nice lead sound. It really depends on the guitar though - can sound really wimpy, really muffled, or occasionally just right.
     
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  13. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Holic

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    Almost exactly my experience as well. Middle pickup isn't nearly as distinctive as the other 4 settings but that's part of why it can be so versatile. Definitely my go to for playing acoustic parts on an electric, backing off the volume helped with this.

    Random side note, Doug Martsch of Built to Spill plays an old Fender Strat Plus that only works on the middle pickup setting.
     
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  14. joealso

    joealso Tele-Holic

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    Nice to see some love for the MP. I'd read somewhere that the MP was only useful for 2 and 4 and that, by itself, lacked "character". But to my ears, I really like it. Mine is just a bit lower than the neck pickup.
     
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  15. Flakey

    Flakey Friend of Leo's

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    Love triple pickup Les Pauls ! Never had a problem with the pick hitting any pickup. When I built my l.P. I have a pull pot that takes the middle out of the circuit. While playing thru a low headroom amp, kicking in the that middle really thickens the so for a solo. On a Strat you can't get the Knopfler sound without a middle pickup. In fact, that's the only reason to have a Strat.
     
  16. Lonn

    Lonn Friend of Leo's

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    The middles pickup is what makes a strat playable. Not a fan of the neck or bridge by themselves.
     
  17. Marc Morfei

    Marc Morfei Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a Strat and ride my middle pickup 80% of the time. It’s my base tone. It’s perfect.
     
  18. MilwMark

    MilwMark Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I did not know that. And they are currently my favorite band.

    Now if you tell me that someone in Guided by Voices uses a Strat Plus as well, I’ll be a little scared.

    Slight derail. I had no idea what either band was like. I thought GBV was a jam band (a personal yuck).

    But after a show in my newish band a fan was enthusing that we have a real GBV and BTS vibe since I joined. So I checked them out. Then I realized it was high praise indeed.

    More importantly - anyone who claims rock guitar is dead simply isn’t keeping up. Those two bands and more (listen to any electric Alejandro Escovedo project, for instance) just isn’t keeping up.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2019
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  19. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Poster Extraordinaire

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    It may be just my particular guitar/ my pickups ( I have a lightweight '97 Tex-Mex Strat with US Fat '50's PU's I had installed a few years after I bought it), or just the way I like to adjust my pickup height, but I do stay away from position #4 ( neck+middle) setting.
    It just sounds weaker in volume and tone, in comparison with the other 4 settings, but it's no big deal- I think it may be because I set PU height optimally for great Tone on positions 1, 3, 5 ( each PU solo) which may kind of ' neuter' a great #4 sound ? But I'm leaving all alone.
     
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  20. Lawdawg

    Lawdawg Tele-Holic

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    The GBV/BtB comparison was definitely a compliment! If you're somewhat new to BtB, start with their more or less perfect three album run of There's Nothing Wrong with Love (short almost pop tunes), Perfect from Now On (long wiggy psych rock), and Keep it Like a Secret (splits the difference and rocks out). The rest of their catalog is solid, but those three albums are special.
     
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