Stratocaster Pickup Recommendation

teleman78

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Hello all,

My first strat was a 1995 American strat and ever since I've been fascinated by this instrument. I don't have the 95 strat anymore, it's been gone a long time. Since then I've had several strats including American Vintage (New production), real vintage Strats and Custom Shop strats.

Right now I only have one strat, it's a partscaster that I put together a few years ago, I have had several different pickups on this guitar:
  • Fralin Blues Specials
  • Fralin Vintage Hot
  • BG V60 Pickups
  • Booststrap Oatmeal Stout
  • Van Zandt Plus Strat
  • Rio Grande Muy Grande
  • Fender Texas Specials
  • Others I can't rememeber right now...
Currently has the Oatmeal Stout and even though it sounds ok, I'm not yet 100% satisfied, my guess is that I have always chosen the higher wound style pickups as I'm a HUGE SRV fan but I guess I've come to the realization that maybe I should look at true vintage wound pickups.

Upon looking I came across very highly regarded brands like: Virgil Arlo ($1500 a set) these seem INSANE prices for just a strat pickup set. Also heard Don Mares are amazing but not readily available.. there's a waiting list.

I've come across some other brands new to me that look more like viable options pricewise:
  • Raw Vintage 50 ($200)
  • Rocketfire Rockin '54 ($300)
  • David Allen Tru '59 ($250)
  • Bare Knuckle Apache ($280)
  • Manlius Vintage '54 ($180)
  • DiMarzio Area 67 ($80 per pickup)
I'm trying to get your opinions as to which one I should try this time around. I don't want to spend anymore that $300 for the set. If you have any other suggestion not listed here I look forward to it.

Thanks so much.
 
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tarheelbob

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I love my David Allen Tru 62's. They replaced a very good set of the Fender CS Fat50's, and I have never looked back.

That being said, the Fender 57/62's are excellent vintage Strat pickups. They would be the next set I put in my Strat.

- Bob
 

bgmacaw

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I'm a HUGE SRV fan but I guess I've come to the realization that maybe I should look at true vintage wound pickups.

You're on a SRV tonequest, perhaps the most expensive and usually unsatisfied rabbit holes to go down.

I think you're on the right track looking for lower output vintage style pickups. In most cases that's the kind of pickup I want across the board, single coil, humbucker or P90. I've not found the brand or the unicorn dust that was used to make it to matter so much as long as the build quality is decent and the electronics are right. After that, it's up to the effects and amp.

What amp and effects are you using?
 

StephenDeBoard

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Fender makes great pickups. I notice you have only tried Texas Specials. I love the Fender Player Series Strat pickups. They are kind of a Goldilocks of winds. They are not too hot but they are not underwound either. They are also not expensive. I heard they are based on the previous American Standard pickups which are also great if you can find some. I installed a barely used set of American Standard Telecaster pickups which are a Broadcaster bridge and a Twisted Tele in my parts Telecaster in my avatar. They sound great.
 

Cosmic Cowboy

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The overwound and High output pickups just don't sound very good with the lower gain, clean(ish)-headroom style I play. I might step on a tube screamer occasionally.

Just too bright and missing alot of soul. And we are still dealing with the late 2010's market of people trying to play Djent with strats and many pickup makers have gone bat**** on winding these things to bonkersville. While they are loud, and when playing with alot of gain sound like a humbucker, they suck!!

SRV didn't really play with much gain. He had Blackfaces and modded bassmans (Dumbles) and played an old strat. Let the notes bloom and some vintage pups are the way to get there.
 
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teleman78

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You're on a SRV tonequest, perhaps the most expensive and usually unsatisfied rabbit holes to go down.

I think you're on the right track looking for lower output vintage style pickups. In most cases that's the kind of pickup I want across the board, single coil, humbucker or P90. I've not found the brand or the unicorn dust that was used to make it to matter so much as long as the build quality is decent and the electronics are right. After that, it's up to the effects and amp.

What amp and effects are you using?

Thanks for the reply... What a "rabbit hole" lol.... I have a Vintagetone Tweed Deluxe which I love and a Revv D20.. sold all my other amps. They both have Celestion Neo Cremback 12 that sounds awesome.

My dirt pedals are BB preamp and Bogner Fuzz. I also have other FX such as Leslie speaker sim, reverb, delays, comp...
 
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teleman78

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I think you are chasing your tail. Many good pickups you have tried.
If you want tonal expanded opportunities install an EC Mid boost or try a different style of guitar.

I have other style of guitars that I enjoy very much, maybe I'll give the EC mod a try thanks
 

drmordo

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I have the 57/62s in my Jeff Beck and I don't like them as much as the cheapo GFS Alnico Staggered PUs in my Partscaster. The GFS PUs are cleaner and have more chime.

That said, I'm likely going to put Lace Sensors in the Beck when I mess with it again.
 

Stratohacker

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Ron Ellis aren't cheap and there is about a 3 month wait - but they do sound great - IMHO. Klein makes a staggering variety of really nice sounding strat pickups too.

I've heard Rocketfire are great, I've also heard Mark Foley makes a very nice sounding strat pickup as well.
 

schmee

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Hello all,

My first strat was a 1995 American strat and ever since I've been fascinated by this instrument. I don't have the 95 strat anymore, it's been gone a long time. Since then I've had several strats including American Vintage (New production), real vintage Strats and Custom Shop strats.

Right now I only have one strat, it's a partscaster that I put together a few years ago, I have had several different pickups on this guitar:
  • Fralin Blues Specials
  • Fralin Vintage Hot
  • BG V60 Pickups
  • Booststrap Oatmeal Stout
  • Van Zandt Plus Strat
  • Rio Grande Muy Grande
  • Fender Texas Specials
  • Others I can't rememeber right now...
Currently has the Oatmeal Stout and even though it sounds ok, I'm not yet 100% satisfied, my guess is that I have always chosen the higher wound style pickups as I'm a HUGE SRV fan but I guess I've come to the realization that maybe I should look at true vintage wound pickups.

Upon looking I came across very highly regarded brands like: Virgil Arlo ($1500 a set) these seem INSANE prices for just a strat pickup set. Also heard Don Mares are amazing but not readily available.. there's a waiting list.

I've come across some other brands new to me that look more like viable options pricewise:
  • Raw Vintage 50 ($200)
  • Rocketfire Rockin '54 ($300)
  • David Allen Tru '59 ($250)
  • Bare Knuckle Apache ($280)
  • Manlius Vintage '54 ($180)
  • DiMarzio Area 67 ($80 per pickup)
I'm trying to get your opinions as to which one I should try this time around. I don't want to spend anymore that $300 for the set. If you have any other suggestion not listed here I look forward to it.

Thanks so much.
On an SRV quest the Tex Mex at $75 a full set are great. That's all I use now after years of doing what you are doing.
The Texas Specials are identical to the Fralin Blues, at least the ones I had were. But there are a couple of variations in the TS sets over the years.

I have a Lollar hot in the bridge on one guitar. I can't tell the difference between it and a $25 Tex Mex. They are about the same resistance. 7.8 Kohms IIRC.

Help us out though, WHAT are you trying to sound like or what sound that is different?
The vintage, low wind are "Airy" Woody" to my ears. Hollow-ish sound. The higher winds are fuller, more "in your face".

The Mid Boost I mentioned adds a multitude of dimensions to the 5 way switching.
Boost at 0 is just a tad more powerful guitar.
Boost at 1-2 is great for just adding a hint of body. Great for comping.
Boost at 4-5 enhances the mids for slide playing, or to gain body when playing loud with an OD pedal.
Boost at 7+ allows a creamy "woman tone" without an OD pedal.

Now add each of those changes to 5 way settings and you have at least 20 more tones....
 




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