Replacement pickups for Strat

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by LGOberean, Oct 16, 2019.

  1. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    For months I’ve been posting to threads (and even starting a couple) about my Strat search. I talked about Strat copies/budget Strats.

    And then, several weeks ago, I impulse bought a Peavey Raptor Plus. It’s not a Strat, or even a Strat copy, really. (Neither the headstock nor the body is a direct copy, and it has two control knobs, not three, with a slightly different placement.) But the pickup configuration is pretty much Strat-ish: 3 single coils, 5-way selector with the 2 notched positions.

    Problem is, I’m not that crazy about the pickups. They’re ceramic, and they’re pretty “edgy.” I was hoping for sweeter, vintage Strat tones. So now I’m wondering, “What replacement pickups would more fit the tones I hear in my head?”

    My favorite pickups in my teles are Twang Kings, so my first thought was to check out DiMarzio pickups. I’ve listened to a few videos of the True Velvet set, and the Area set. What else would you recommend, hopefully in the same general price range?
     
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  2. tarheelbob

    tarheelbob Tele-Meister

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    Well, who am I to profess to know what is in your head? But, the Fender 57/62's are always an excellent choice for sweet "vintage Strat tones".

    - Bob
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
  3. 8barlouie

    8barlouie Friend of Leo's

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    My American Standard came with Custom Shop Fat 50s. Clean, they have that 50s clarity and chime. When you overdrive the signal, the tone really comes alive. Kinda mean-like, but not compressed either. Perfect for me.
     
  4. joe_cpwe

    joe_cpwe Tele-Holic

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    Not sure what the budget is but you can get into a set of Fender Tex Mex at about $70 new and they are pretty well regarded (of course there are haters). They come standard on a number of models, the Jimmie Vaughan & Roadworn and probably some others.
    I have them in my two Tex Mex Stratocasters and get all kinds of good strat tone.
    The middle pickup is RWRP so position 2 & 4 are hum cancelling, the 57/62 are not, although that may not be a big deal for you.
     
  5. urbandefault

    urbandefault Tele-Meister

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    Call Curtis Novak.
     
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  6. SixStringSlinger

    SixStringSlinger Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Cavalier makes great pickups (as I've read here many times and recently discovered for myself). Shoot Rob an email describing the sound in your head ("sounds like so-and-so, less of X, more of Y...") and he'll give you some options.
     
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  7. LGOberean

    LGOberean Doctor of Teleocity

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    Thanks for the prompt replies. I've started watching YouTube vids showcasing the 57/62s, and one that did a 57/62 vs. Fat 50s.

    The budget is not strictly fixed, but of course I'd like to find inexpensive options. The DiMarzio True Velvets are around $55 a pickup, so $165 for a set. The Tex Mex set is $70? Really? I'll have to look those up as well.

    I've read about Rob DiStefano's pickups before on TDPRI, and his posts and input. I'll be sure to look those up as well.
     
  8. BB

    BB Poster Extraordinaire

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    Check out Bootstrap pickups. Excellent product, service and price.
     
  9. Fiesta Red

    Fiesta Red Friend of Leo's

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    Call Pete Biltoft and tell him what you want. He will accommodate you very well.
     
  10. Rob77

    Rob77 Tele-Meister

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    Not sure what you mean by edgy - but if they're hotter, try adjusting pickup height first (and its free) can really alter the tonal output. I did that to my Dmarzio injectors that were a little too hot, dropped them a few mm and its also changed the overall tonal qualities that I really like.
     
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  11. Bluesensationist

    Bluesensationist TDPRI Member

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    Was going to suggest this as well. If money is not a thing, fralin vintage hots are a great set. I've not tried bootstrap yet, but am going to order a tele set on friday and have high expectations. At literally 1/4th the price, a pretty safe bet.
     
  12. mkdaws32

    mkdaws32 Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

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    Try this. But I can also second the Tex Mex set as well. A little hotter than vintage, but warm and very nice cleans. So less “edgy” and not at all shrill in the bridge position.

    Ive never tried Fat 50s, but I would imagine them to be similar to the Tex Mex pickups. If anyone is able to contrats the two, I would be interested in their opinion and I’m sure the original poster would be interested in this as well.
     
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  13. Elmore

    Elmore Tele-Holic

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    Seymour Duncan Antiquity Strat pickups.
     
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  14. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    First I'd: Lower the neck and middle so their covers are flush with the pickguard and raise the bridge until volume parity with the neck pickup. Try that for a few days, it weakens hot single coils. You'll need to turn up the amp some. I've found that last 1/8th inch can mean a lot.

    Check the pots ... they are likely the 1/2 inch import Alphas. Upgrade to Bourns or CTS. CRL switch, Switchcraft jack. The older Peavey Predators used full size Alphas (MIA neck and body but they imported loaded pickguards). I'd still swap the full size Alphas.

    As for pickups ... it's been interesting to test various Indonesian-made Squier Bullets and Affinities and they are doing the classic Strat tones pretty easy "even with ceramic". You can probably find those cheap as there are grown adults running away shrieking when they see ceramic...

    Whatever pickups you get, aim for lower kohms (4-5kohms) and weaker magnets. I have one Strat I have a 6kohm neck, a 4kohm middle, and a 7kohm bridge. So you could even get just one pickup. Ebay a couple of under $10 Strat sets and audition those. I tend to spend money on the controls and go with less expensive pickups -- but some I've found replicate the low internal capacitance of hand-wound boutique pickups...

    .
     
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  15. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    You could try a set of Guitar Madness 62z, which are Chinese made vintage spec staggered magnet Alnicos, that sound as good IMO as many more expensive Strat pickups. I put a set in my Am Pro Strat, after becoming disillusioned with the stock V-Mod pickups, and after trying Texas Specials, CS69s and Dimarzio Area 58s, and I like the 62z better than any of them in that guitar, although I love the Texas Specials in my Deluxe Roadhouse, and the CS69s in my CP60s Strat. He's in Staten Island and the 62z are $25 a set on Ebay with free shipping. You might also consider the Fender Yosemite pickups, as used in the Am Performer Strat (my avatar). I really love them too and they're $94 for a set at SW. They're very clean and clear (even with gain), but kinda ballsy at the same time.
     
  16. Mincer

    Mincer Tele-Holic

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    I'd say either a Duncan APS2 set or a set of Five Twos.
     
  17. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire

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  18. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Of course to each our own but I'm not sure you need a $200 set of pickups for a $150 guitar.
    The Tex Mex set is probably a good way to go and great bang for the buck.
    Also not sure it's worth buying a $200 set of pickups when you don't have much to compare them to in actual Strat pickups you have and want more or less treble etc etc.
    Comparing Strat to Tele pickup sound is not very useful, so for example buying new Dimarzios for $165 is also a gamble if going by Tele Twang Kings.
    For my dollar I buy used and singles, then see if I like my $20 pickup before buying more of them.
    You certainly want a hotter bridge pickup, assuming you have a SSS Raptor?
    Online I see HSS for those guitars?
     
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  19. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Are the MIM custom 69 the same wind as the CS 69?
    If so they may not be what Larry wants if he finds the Peavey pickups thin or shrill.
    Maybe the neck and middle of that set then get a hotter bridge pickup, but at 5.8k the CS 69 bridge pickup is thin toned as can be legally used without a permit and signing a waiver.
     
  20. awasson

    awasson Poster Extraordinaire

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    Yes the CS69 and the C69 are pretty much the same. The C69’s are made in Mexico but have the same fibre bobbins and cloth covered wires.

    I didn’t think Larry thought the stock pickups were thin and shrill, I thought he found them “edgy” which is a good description of ceramics. I find single coil Strat ceramics a little course, like sandpaper for your ears whereas a nice low output set of Alnico pickups are like the feel of nitro lacquer polished to a high sheen. How’s that for an over the top description :lol:

    Anyway, I’ve got a set of Custom 69’s in my Classic Player 60’s Strat and I’m in no rush to change them. The neck and middle pickups are pretty much perfect. The bridge is like most Strat bridge pickups. You have to push it with some gain to make it stand out. A set for $65 is a pretty good deal though.

    I’d agree about Strat bridge pickups in general... The bridge pickup on anything but an EJ Strat sounds shrill to me. I put the tone control on all of my Strats bridge pickups so I can dial it back. If I dial the tone back to about 1/2 way and crank the volume on my amp, it sounds like a humbucker. Especially if I have some gain or a distortion/overdrive pedal going.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2019
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