Replacement for CS '69 bridge pickup

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by paulblackford, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. paulblackford

    paulblackford Tele-Holic

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    Pickup gurus,

    I have a set of Fender Custom Shop '69 pickups in my Strat. I'm happy as a clam with positions 2-5, but the bridge, by itself, leaves a bit to be desired. I'm looking for a single coil solution for the bridge that won't spoil the great quack that I'm getting in position 2. When clean, the '69 bridge is too 'ice picky', and bright. It was much worse when I had a volume kit installed, but removing it was a significant improvement. With gain, it's a little more twangy than I like. Understanding that outboard gear has more to do with it - I would like a more clear, soaring lead tone with less single-coil coloration.

    I was thinking about the Duncan SSL-5, so that I could split it's output for the 2 position, to keep my good quack. I don't intend to route the guitar, so a humbucker is out of the question. I've never heard a single-coil sized humbucker that I like the sound of, so I don't know that it would be a good solution. I think it needs to be a single-coil, but maybe a little more full on the treble side, and where the twang dissipates as the gain goes up.

    Thanks,
    PW
     
  2. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Have the 2nd tone control work on the bridge position and maybe get a pedal to get that soaring lead tone. Or get a new pickup and change your 2 position sound
     
  3. paulblackford

    paulblackford Tele-Holic

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    Yeah, the 2nd tone control is already on the bridge. Good advice, though. Man, I would really hate to lose the 2 position, and I think it's the very brittle nature of the bridge that makes to 2 so good. I was thinking about that Duncan SSL-5, in the hopes that it's tapped sound would be weak and brittle for the 2, and untapped in the first position would be ripping. Maybe an experiment is in order. I'd love to hear the tapped sound, but most of the samples I find seem to be the untapped mode.
     
  4. waparker4

    waparker4 Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Would be easy to wire the strat switch to auto tap the SSL-5 in the 2 position. Cool experiment if you like the untapped sound.
     
  5. AJBaker

    AJBaker Friend of Leo's

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    The cs69 measure about 5.6k in my experience, and I also found the bridge pickup almost useless for me.

    For a slight improvement, you can add a steel baseplate. I think they sound great on bridge pickups, but the change will probably be a bit too subtle for what you want.
    The other thing you should do in any case is have a tone control on the bridge pickup. I like a master tone control, and a neck/bridge blender pot.

    For a new pickup, I'd try to find something similar to what you have, but with more turns, maybe measuring 6.5-7k. It's enough to be as loud as the others and have the mids stand out a bit, but not so much to completely screw position 2.
     
  6. Witcher

    Witcher TDPRI Member

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    You should try a fat 50's bridge pickup. Keeps the position 2 nice and quacky. Big tone from the bridge.

    My fav is the dimarzio injector bridge. Great tones. Stil looks like a single, and no splitting needed for quack. Noiseless too!
     
  7. uriah1

    uriah1 Telefied Gold Supporter

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    SSL5 is nice and mid punchy......remember SD reverses polarity vs Fender..
    white is black , black is white..lol
     
  8. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

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    Bumping this old thread because I have the exact same problem/need, only I already have the SSL5 in the bridge position with the 69's in the neck and middle and find that the SSL5 gives up too much quack in the #2 position.

    Can anyone recommend something in between the stock CS 69 bridge and the SSL5 and will also be RWRP with the 69 middle pup? I tend to prefer Alnico 2 for bridge pickups....
     
  9. rze99

    rze99 Poster Extraordinaire

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    This is quite a quest in my experience.

    I am always disappointed by strat bridge pickups because I’m the spoiled by Tele bridge which is leagues above.

    They either sound thin or plinky or muddy. Or something that’s not perfect. I love all the other positions.

    I’ve had 3 strats since the early 80sI’ve tried the ss ssl5 and 6 - both good pickups but not perfect.

    Of these I’ve actually preferred the ssl6 disconnected from the tone pot and set low. Also rolling the tone back for the other positions. So I set all the controls up for the bridge position to get that close and adjust tone for the other pickups. I have Still got that in one strat.

    Of all the replacements I’ve had I like the used fender USA Highway One bridge pickup best. I think it is Alnico 2 also set quite low. It’s DC 11 or something a touch hotter but it’s pretty balanced has a warmer attack but not woolly or muddy and it works well with the other pickups. I use this disconnected from the tone pot

    I have a strat with Texas specials and I use the boss GE7 set only on the bridge position. Those pickups need to be set low due the magnet pull and I hind it needs a boost and some eqing Then it sounds right.

    I stopped buying strat bridge pickups a while ago because I got fed up! I now accept the compromises required and get on with playing!
     
  10. Chunkocaster

    Chunkocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'd put a dimarzio tone zone s in there.
    I'm not a fan of single coil strat bridge pickups.
     
  11. mflemmer2

    mflemmer2 TDPRI Member

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    I'm reviving this VERY old thread in case anyone else finds themself in a similar position as the person who started it. I had 69's in all three positions for several years, with the same thoughts on position 1 versus 2-5. Didn't want to sacrifice position 2, didn't really like position 1 except with heavy fuzz. A CS 54 bridge worked well in my case. Still vintagey, 6.5 K, slightly more mids, slightly fuller treble (less ice pick), a little less percussive & brittle, and balances better against the other two pickups (69's). Position 2 is a little bit more full and lost a TINY bit of that crystalline sparkle, but still quacks like a Strat. I use a blender pot, and actually get the most quack and sparkle with all 3 pickups on at once. So it's a tiny compromise for position 2, but IMO the position 1 improvement makes up for it.
     
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  12. Hoodster

    Hoodster Friend of Leo's

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    Since this thread was bumped, I will update my earlier post to report that once I raised the SSL5 I became extremely happy with it. Many people mistakenly believe it is an overly hot pickup, which it is not. Sounds fabulous clean.
     
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