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Pearly Gates + ? ? for HSS Strat

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Luke1026, Mar 29, 2021.

  1. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    So I’m converting a Strat Pro HH Shawbucker into an HSS with an SD Pearly Gates HB in the bridge position along with two single coils that have not yet been determined.

    This will be my first HSS as I have no previous experience with this pickup combination. Consequently, I’ve started this thread to ask for opinions from those who do have experience with pickup matching using a Humbucker with 2 single coils.

    I could use one of the Shawbuckers or even an Onamac Top Shelf (7.4k), but I think the Pearly Gates HB (7.2k) in the Bridge is the best of the three. I wasn’t planning on coil splitting the HB.

    The single coil pickups available to me for this project include:

    Fender Original 57/62 Set - 5.6k ea.
    Fender Custom Shop ’69 Set - 5.25k ea.
    Fender Ltd. Ed. Pure Vintage ’54 x 2 Sets - 5.85k or 5.95k
    Fralin Blues Special Twin Blade Set - 4.83k + 5.67k
    Dave Vidal Custom Hot Re-wound EJ Set - 8.2k + 8.7k

    I have a variety of pots: 200k, 300k, 400k, 500, 1Meg, including Audio Taper, Linear, some with DPDT switches, and several no-loads. My thought at this point was to connect the Neck and Middle p'ups to one 250k no-load tone pot and the PG to a 500k tone pot. I’m not sure about what volume pot value to use.

    The pedals currently on my board include:

    Durham Sex Drive
    EP Booster
    KOT v4 with extra gain
    Wampler Tumnus (NPD – today)
    Neunaber Wet Reverb
    Boss CE-2 Chorus
    On-board Amp Delay
    On-board Amp Compression

    Amp is a Fender Mustang III V2 with about 12 different custom clean models along with 90 other various models which I don’t use. I’m thinking of getting another tube amp in the near future, perhaps something like a Princeton, DRRI, or even a Carr Skylark – I haven’t made that decision yet.

    I play clean a lot with a bit of boost and occasionally with some dirt.

    Any help from all of you with ideas about pairing single coils to an SD PG is appreciated and would help save a lot of time experimenting.
     
    johmica likes this.
  2. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Afflicted

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    Fender used the Pearly Gates + in it's late 90's USA Big Apple and Lone Star Strats. I'm not a big fan. I much prefer the Seymour Duncan ,'59 humbucker.

    FWIW...
     
  3. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    Yes, I've read quite a few reviews on the Pearly Gates and noticed that some players prefer other HB's (like '59's, Antiquities, or Imperials) while other players really like the PG's - some saying they are among the best HB's in their opinion.

    I've been quite favorably impressed by the ones I have and I'm hopeful they will sound really good in this HSS project.

    I appreciate your opinion.
     
  4. Refugee

    Refugee Tele-Meister

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    No experience with the Pearly Gates. Not sure how hot of an output they are. Generally, you can match any type of '59 PAF copy with really low output single coils. You just have to drop it about as low as it'll go, and jack up the singles high. They usually balance out in there somewhere. My favorites are the Suhr SSV bridge, nad the Mike Landau single coils. with the Suhr noiseless back plate system you can slam those single coils with very low noise. Not sure if this Fender has a decent trem or not. I really like the Gotoh 510, with locking tuners.
     
  5. bendercaster

    bendercaster Tele-Afflicted

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    I have one in an American Texas Special Fat Strat. I'm not generally a big fan of full sized humbuckers, but I really like the pearly gates plus. I've always struggled to get it to balance with the single coils in the middle and neck position though. To get the texas specials to sound best, they have to be set pretty low, but then the pearly gates is much louder. When I lower it to match the volume of the others, it just sounds kind of meh.
     
  6. Telecasters84

    Telecasters84 Tele-Meister

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    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
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  7. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, it's very helpful especially the wiring diagram!
     
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  8. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Tele-Afflicted

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  9. johnDH

    johnDH Tele-Meister

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    I think a great way go use HSS is for a slightly dirty neck rhythm tone then flick to a well crunched bridge lead. So not to try for a volume match but use the combo for what it's good for.

    I have a Am Special HSS strat. The hb is 8.4k and the singles are tx specials, but not ultra hot at 6.2k, it's a great combo. I have no-load for tone and 250k volume which is great for all settings.

    I have kick-ass wiring that I can share if you want to see options.
     
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  10. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    Thanks, I would love to see the wiring options.
     
  11. johnDH

    johnDH Tele-Meister

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    Sure, this is the one that I have.

    https://guitarnuts2.proboards.com/thread/6873/strat-ssm2-hss-sounds-dpdt

    The key trick is a knob that fades in a bridge coil in series with neck to thicken it, and a switch that offers all the best options. Theres another schdme linked there with no added switch.

    I'm a tinkerer, but since I built this one I've liked it so much I can't find any way to make it better! But others may prefer simpler.
     
  12. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    That's hilarious! I copied that wiring diagram from that site about two weeks ago!

    I'm glad you mentioned it here because I'd forgotten that I have it and it's the one I wanted to use - Thanks!

    Guess I'll try wiring it with split coils.
     
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  13. DougM

    DougM Poster Extraordinaire

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    Try some Yosemites. They're my favorite Strat SC ever, very gutsy but still very clear.
    Yosemite.jpg
    I like the V-Mods too. They're kind of similar to the Yosemites, and I like them both more than CS 69s, Fat 50s, or Texas Specials. It's been too many decades since I had some 57/62s so I can't comment on them
    V-Mod.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2021
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  14. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    So if the Pearly Gates HB has an output of 7.2k, should I use single coils that are closer to that? Or would lower output single coils make for a better balance?
     
  15. johnDH

    johnDH Tele-Meister

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    IMO, id find some nice Alnico singles at about 6k. Then you can play with pickup heights to get it how you like it.

    If you try my scheme, it has a series blend pot that brings in either a bridge coil or the middle coil gradually in series with the neck. With these, you can create a powerful neck humbucker-like tone that will match the bridge, or fade it down to a pure single to get a difference neck to bridge.
     
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  16. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    Based on that perhaps I should try a set of the Fender Ltd. Ed. Pure Vintage ’54s that measure at 5.95k. I will also have to get a compass to determine N/S on my p'ups, unless there's another way?

    Also, what's the correct way to read the pole direction via the two colors in your diagram?
     
  17. 41144

    41144 Tele-Afflicted

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    I know they're not massively popular but I really liked a late 90s Lonestar - which was a Pearly Gates with Texas Specials ... so I'd go with your Pure Vintage '54s in lieu of the Texas Specials.
     
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  18. bsman

    bsman Friend of Leo's

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    I had a 2002 version of that (hot rodded American Fat Strat Texas Special) and could never really work with the Texas specials/Pearly Gates Plus combination. If I had the neck and middle matched - volume-wise - with the bridge pickup they just sounded harsh. If I had the pickups optimized individually there was too much volume variation with the combinations.
     
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  19. Esquire Jones

    Esquire Jones Tele-Meister

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    I’ve got a strat style guitar with 2 Pearly Gates with a Joe Barden in the middle. Those pu’s work together. The PG’s are hot and really push the amp. They tend to sound bright in a strat style.
     
  20. Luke1026

    Luke1026 Tele-Meister

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    The two Pearly Gates I have are from a modded Strat Pro HH Shawbucker. It had a Duckbucker in the middle - which I didn't care for but the PG's sounded really good, that's why I'm going ahead with putting one in the Pro along with 2 SC's. Below is a pic with the covers off.

    Fender AM Pro Strat HH with Pearly Gs & SD Duckbucker.jpg
     
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