Recommend me Strat pickups and bridge!

dukewellington

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I accidentally acquired a MIC Starcaster. Love the neck after dressing the frets. Pickups and bridge have to go — what do you like??? Been in telecaster land so long that it’s been a while. Eager to hear your input!
 

oyobass

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So far, I've kept all my crappy import bridges on my crappy import strats, so I can't help much there. You could try GFS for that.

For pickups, may I suggest US made, hand wound Bootstrap Pickups? They have an off list "gilmour" set that turned my Monoprice Indio strat into a tone monster. email through the sit to get a quote on those. I think I paid about $85 for the set.

For their on-list pickups, maybe the $ 50 Sun City Select set? A little hotter than vintage. I tried their Vintage Pro set. It sounded amazing at home, but the sound lacked the midrange to cut through live with a band with my rig. That is why I'm touting the hotter winds. If you play funk or a similar bright style, vintage may be just what the doctor ordered!

The owner and a small crew make these in the owner's garage in Ohio at around the same price as Amazon's imported mystery pickups.
 

gb Custom Shop

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What kind of vibe are you going for? Budget?

Personally I gravitate towards the likes of custom 69's and fat 50's, but sometimes Texas specials also. It's tough to pick one lol
 

dukewellington

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Good question. I like strats to stay warm and clear, and adjust height for a little bit of quack. Not a huge fan of 50s bridge position sizzle… sounds too much like a tele. I set my bridge not to float. Prefer alnico for compression. Something about doing double stops on positions 2 or 4 that really lights my fire. I don’t use a grease bucket, because I do ride the volume knob all night for tone shaping as much as volume adjustment. Try to steer away from icy because I play very wet, a little dirty, and that can sting. Right now, the pickups are an ice machine, and I think they sound cheap, and not real touch sensitive. I need them balanced, so the hot Texas set is out. Rig these days is two TS9 and an Ibanez analog delay. Bought the guitar in exchange for lunch and a favor.

I love the way Kinmans sound but ouch! Pricey.
 

drmordo

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The important thing to remember is not every bridge will work on your non-MIA strat, so be sure you get a part that works. One of the more custom companies makes a bridge that holds the trem bar tight which is a huge improvement over stock, but I don't remember the name.

I'm a huge fan of the GFS Alnico Staggered PUs, which are cheap and sound fantastic. I bought some Fender-made 50s replica PUs, and they are not as good though I don't hate them enough to pull them yet. I did just order a Seymour Duncan strat bridge PU wound hot with the metal plate for a more 'Tele-ish' sound. I'm going to replace my Fender bridge PU with that new one.
 

Blackmore Fan

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You have some great options out there. I have 4 Strats at the moment, and 4 different but similar sets of pickups in them. They are:

* Fender MIA "Standards": these were pulled from a circa 2009 MIA Standard. Mine has the entire MIA pickguard so it includes the proper wiring and pots.
* Fender 57/62s: stock in my Classic Player 50s Strat in Shoreline Gold.
* Fender Tex/Mex: these were installed in a beautiful Strat knock-off made by SX. I had the tech include all of the MIA wiring and pot specs.
* Seymour Duncan SSL-1s: ordered new and installed in a beautiful Fender MIM. The wiring and pots were upgraded as well.

Four different sets of pickups, and they all bring the "vintage" sound in spades. They all also handle "heat" from overdrive and distortion pedals well.
 

Vibroluxer

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Good question. I like strats to stay warm and clear, and adjust height for a little bit of quack. Not a huge fan of 50s bridge position sizzle… sounds too much like a tele. I set my bridge not to float. Prefer alnico for compression. Something about doing double stops on positions 2 or 4 that really lights my fire. I don’t use a grease bucket, because I do ride the volume knob all night for tone shaping as much as volume adjustment. Try to steer away from icy because I play very wet, a little dirty, and that can sting. Right now, the pickups are an ice machine, and I think they sound cheap, and not real touch sensitive. I need them balanced, so the hot Texas set is out. Rig these days is two TS9 and an Ibanez analog delay. Bought the guitar in exchange for lunch and a favor.

I love the way Kinmans sound but ouch! Pricey.
Id also recommend a set of Bootstraps. I have a set of Strat '54 Sparkle and they seem to be what you may be after. The bridge pickup isnt like a tele at all and they are quite clean. $50 for the set.
 

Ascension

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Have had a number of Strats with different pickups. My current 94 Washburn USA Silverado is the absolute best sounding Strat I have ever owned. Has a Duncan Antiquites Surfer II set a 300 ohm volume pot and is set up with neck tone and bridge tone with no tone on the middle. Guitar has to be played and heard in person to really get how good this one is. Took her to a local shop and mopped the floor with the Fender Custom Shop Suhr and Andersons on the rack there tone wise. Vintage glass and clarity but with a little extra attitude this one is a beast. Add the absolutely nuts build quality and materials that Grover Jackson had that shop using and it's truly a special guitar!
 

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gb Custom Shop

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You were also looking for bridge replacement suggestions, correct? Just for clarity, are we talking about a Stratocaster or a Starcaster? (The thread title and first post are contradictory 😉)

For a Strat, I personally recommend the Gotoh 510 tremolo unit (available in 2 post or 6 screw). Very high quality, and the price is reasonable compared to others on the market.
The Wilkinson by Gotoh also deserves a shout.
Floyd rail tail is also pretty nice

For bent steel saddles, Wudtone offers a very nice unit, as do Callaham

I don't think you'd be disappointed with any of those Strat tremolos, although if yours is MIC I'm not sure if they'd be a direct drop in.
 

schmee

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I accidentally acquired a MIC Starcaster. Love the neck after dressing the frets. Pickups and bridge have to go — what do you like??? Been in telecaster land so long that it’s been a while. Eager to hear your input!
Tex Mex pickups : $75 a set new.
A Starcaster has a TOM style bridge right?: I'm not much on TOM bridges, I'd get a Gretsch bridge or a Bar bridge on the cheap. Or get a nice Compton or Tru Arc bridge for more money.

 

tomasz

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My personal favourite strat bridges lately are the ABM vintage bridges, but I also had good experience with Callaham, Gotoh, Wilkinson. I think it depends more on what you like.. Do you want to increase sustain or do you want the sound to be snappier? Mechanically many bridges are just fine if set up correctly. Saddles and blocks make the biggest difference on sound.

As for the bridge pickup, I usually wire one of the tone pots to it, which solves like 90% of my needs around that area ;)
 

uriah1

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Price point. ?
I like sd antiquity texas hot
Rory Gallagher brit pickups
Etc etc
 

Blue Bill

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Check the thickness of the body; some MICs are thinner than MIMs or MIAs. A standard Fender trem bridge will need to be modified a bit or it hits the back cover.
 

bgmacaw

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If you aren't a trem user, just deck it to the body with 5 springs. You could even block it if you want but that isn't really necessary. There are some good replacement choices around if you want to go that way but check measurements closely to insure a good fit and smooth operation. I've been happy with the Wilkinson Strat bridge assemblies I've bought for inexpensive partscasters.

Pickups depend a lot on your budget.

Check around for used pickups. I've bought a few good deals where someone tonequesting is discarding perfectly fine MIM or MIA Fender pickup sets really cheap.

Bootstraps have a lot of fans here but they do struggle to keep up production with high demand. An alternative I've found are Tone Hatch pickups, US made, relatively inexpensive, and really good.

Keeping it cheaper, I've liked sets I've bought from Guitar Madness. I do caution that they are also struggling in the customer service area due to high demand for their products. I've also bought from GFS from time to time but their higher prices and high shipping charges usually cause me to look elsewhere for a better deal.

On the even cheaper side, some of the Artec and other pickups you'll find on EBay and Amazon are pretty good, especially the Alnico ones. Many of them are rebranded and sold by GFS and others but buying direct can save some money. Compare the specs to figure this out. It is kind of hit and miss though. For example, I bought a lot of 5 hot rail style pickups where only 2 out of the 5 worked right. But, I bought another set of single rail Strat pickups that sounded really great.
 

brookdalebill

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I like Kinman noiseless Strat pickups
They offer several “flavors”.
They are the best sounding noiseless Strat pickups I’ve found.
I don’t have a recommendation for bridges, but Highwood saddles look like a great idea.
No protruding screws.
I don’t have them yet, but they are on my “to get” list.
Good luck!
 

GGardner

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My answer is always: Fraliin Vintage Hots or Lollar Blondes. 😎 But then again, I never tried the Fender Pure Vintage series. Enjoy the journey!
 

Willie Johnson

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When I got my early 90's American Strat, I swapped in Fender Custom Shop 50's pickups right off the bat. The stock ones sat in a box for 25 years until I recently put them in my lovely cherryburst Squier Standard Strat, and they sound great. Fairly traditional sounding Strat pickups measuring in the low 6k ohms. Maybe see if you can find some of those used.
 

fenderchamp

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I accidentally acquired a MIC Starcaster. Love the neck after dressing the frets. Pickups and bridge have to go — what do you like??? Been in telecaster land so long that it’s been a while. Eager to hear your input!

what are you trying to achieve with your upgrade. You should ask yourself what you are going for before you decide what to put in it? what are you playing said starcaster through, what isn't it doing now, other than being cheap?
 




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