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Not Liking the SD SSL-5 in my Strat

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by keithb7, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. keithb7

    keithb7 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I put 2 Duncan SSL-5 pick ups in my Strat. Middle and neck position. Blah. Dull and dead sounding to me. I pulled the middle one back out to resurrect my tone, by re-installing the stock USA Fender PU. I left the neck one in to give it more time. It's been in there 7 weeks now. No amount of time is warming me up to the PU. I have played with the PU height settings, no better. I am about to pull it out too. Weird. I was expecting good things. There is little top end it seems. Blindfolded I might swear there was ceramic magnets in it. What the heck? Anyone else have a similar experience?
     
  2. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sounds like you dont like an overwound pickup. Keep one for the bridge position, and try a SSL-1
     
  3. YoGeorge

    YoGeorge Tele-Afflicted

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    Agree with WA. This is one of Duncan's prehistoric overwound designs that instead of a 5, 10 or 20% overwind, more than doubled the amount of wire. They wanted to make sure players noticed a huge difference when changing pickups.

    Vintage strat pickups come in around 6-7k of resistance. The SSL5 is 12.9k. Duncan seems to be about 20 years behind the curve in their understanding of "subtle" changes in pickups... If you have an ear for vintage pickups, look at the specs. I once bought a 3 pickup tele/strat with 3 of these pickups in it and they came out really quick and got swapped for something else.

    I feel the same way about the full size JB humbucker (also 16k of wire compared to 7-8k for a regular PAF). The JB has alnico magnets but the way it's overwound that doesn't seem to matter. It works for players who play weedly weedly leads really loud, but the sensitivity when played clean is just not there.

    If anyone from Duncan is reading this, it's really past the time to move into the current century with your "hot" pickup formulas, please...

    George
     
  4. dog fart

    dog fart Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah, same boat. But to make things worse I decided that since I really liked that Gilmour Animals era thing I slapped a DiMarzio FS-1 in the bridge, 14+ K! I can't decide if that fender '69 icepick is more to my liking or not. I don't play my strat enough anymore to worry about changing it out ATM. I don't want to play the find the perfect bridge pickup game either.
     
  5. YoGeorge

    YoGeorge Tele-Afflicted

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    My 2 strats are a Hamer Daytona with the stock Duncan Alnico II Pro pickups (which I love--I am not anti-Duncan) and a Fender Eric Johnson. The stock pickups in the EJ are wonderful. I also make sure I have a tone control on the bridge pickup and like a shared tone on the neck and middle.

    When Duncan designed these hot pickups, overdrive pedals and boutique amps with lots of gain stages did not yet exist in any number. Now, you can get pedal/amp crunch or OD to your heart's delight with low output vintage pickups.

    George
     
  6. keithb7

    keithb7 Poster Extraordinaire

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    So much to learn. I had been focusing on amps for the past many years and did not do much research on pick ups. I started swapping pickups recently to try some new sounds. I did not realize, or notice in my ignorance that the SSL-5 was 12.9k, I will measure what the resistance is of what I tend to like and go from there. Glad I posted here. Now I can get on track toward what I suppose I like.
     
  7. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    Tried few of the ssl .. Some staggered and not .. Ended up with ssl3 bridge .. mid monster ... Use fenders for mid and neck. IMHO
     
  8. xhqm4457

    xhqm4457 TDPRI Member

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    Totally agree with this! I have an SSl-5, but it's for the bridge position and sounds amazing, but I couldn't imagine using it for the middle or neck position. Mud city! That's what SSL-1's are for (or any other vintage type strat pickup). I've owned SSL-1's and I highly recommend them.
     
  9. keithb7

    keithb7 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think this info is starting to sink into my thick skull. So, a higher ohm load pick up will generally be darker? In general terms. A higher impedance PU would generally sound better in the bridge position because closer to the bridge is brighter, right? Again, in general terms here, starting at the neck position for example if I had 6.2K, then 7.5k in the middle, then 12K in the neck, I'd probably be on the right path? Thanks for your patience.

    I pulled the SSL-5 from my neck position last night and measured it at over 12K. I put in my Stock USA built Strat pick up again. It measured about 6.2K. To my ears it sounded way better. I will try the SSL-5 in the bridge some day. Right now I am running a SD Jb Jr in the bridge for Humbucker sounds. Its definitely hotter, but certainly different sounding with ceramic magnets, versus the Alnico SC pick ups I am running in the center and middle.
     
  10. Tele-phone man

    Tele-phone man Tele-Afflicted

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    In my experience, I have found that it works best for me when the middle pickup is either exactly the same as the neck pickup, or is in fact a little brighter (which often translates to slightly lower DC resistance). However, at this point I only have two guitars with a middle pickup. Both guitars have Wilde L280 pickups across the board. I think the neck and middle are identical in inductance. The bridge model is slightly higher in inductance.

    All else being equal (magnets, wire, construction, etc) a higher DC resistance coil correlates with higher inductance, which correlates with higher output, more mids, and less high end.

    As others have noted, SD tends to go overboard on his overwound pickups. He seems to have a vacancy in his product line where a 20% to 30% overwound single coil pup would belong. Instead, he jumps right from vintage wind to DOUBLE vintage wind.
     
  11. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    +1 to the middle pickup being same as neck pup, or brighter, helps with the quack tones
     
  12. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    I had one too and was truly puzzled at it's popularity. I DID want overwound by the way, but the thing was the most boring dull sound I have ever gotten from any pickup. Seriously bad. Still scratching my head on that one because it's pretty popular.
     
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