Stratocaster Pickup Recommendation

teleman78

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Help us out though, WHAT are you trying to sound like or what sound that is different?

Great question, I guess what I want is more "openness" I want more definition to the sound ala "Riviera Paradise". I feel the pickups I've tried lack certain clarity and openness.. this is why I decided to look at vintage wound as opposed to overwound pickups. One thing for sure I want to avoid thought it's the "Ice pick highs", I can't stand that sound. I just want well rounded pickup sound... I know they are out there just haven't found them yet.
 
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teleman78

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Thank you all for your replies, I guess sometimes it takes a conversation to understand the best way to approach an issue. I have come to the realization after your replies that it makes sense to try a different Bootstrap set for $49. It really makes sense to do that before doing anything else. I will buy the '54 Vintage Sparkle Set and see how it goes, if it goes well then I'm done, if not then I will look elsewhere. Thanks again to all and Merry Christmas!
 

tomasz

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I think the main question I would have is, what are you lacking in those pickups you have? If they are too hot, I assume therefore too dark sounding maybe? Have you tried setting them lower, or higher, but dial back the volume knob? Plus throw in a treble bleed?

I've been chasing pickups for years, just to realise, they are all fine.. I just didn't know how to work them properly. Did you noticed, that playing with the fingers instead of the plectrum brings back a lot of chime and harmonic components, as the attack is softer?

I try recently to have the bridge pickup on strats overwound, just to tame the highs. That functions as well, or better than an HB in the bridge to my ears. But hey, thats another rabbit hole. Play with the setup, figure out what you like/don't like, then decide for the right cure.

Just reading from the bootstrap specs:
- The Oatmeal Stouts are probably overwound to give you that darker tone and will probably come with lots of volume and drive (~8.6K, 8.6K, 9.5K is hot).
- The 54 Sparkle Set from Bootstrap are low output (~5.6kOhm) and will deliver high treble. They seem to have a tad more treble than the Fender Pure Vintage '65 (5.9kOhm), which I consider to be a good balance (bass: 5, mid: 5, treble: 6). Magnets are both Alnico V, if I remember correctly. Depending on what you want - you may be fine with that. But again - this is all very subjective and a lot of other factors influence the tone

Hope that helps, if only a little :)
 

Willie Johnson

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I had the original pickups from my 90's American Strat sitting in a box for decades after immediately switching them out back in the day for Fender Custom Shop 50's, and I recently decided on a lark to try them in my Squier Standard Cherryburst. They sound great in there.
 

Tarkus60

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I have the stock pups in my 2009 american standard and I would not change them. But I had the 57/62's in a player strat. Those would be my choice!
 

kiwi blue

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Think more in terms of specs than brands. I'm no SRV expert but I seem to recall he played late 50s Strats mostly? Any well built set with 50s specs will do it. The rest is the player, the guitar set up, and the amp and pedals.

For a Strat pickup with the same wire and magnets, higher resistance specs means more mids and less highs. Lower resistance means less mids an more highs. That's about all you need to know.

You're on the right track going for lower output.

Different magnet types will also affect the sound a little if all else is equal. Most vintage style Strat pickups have alnico 5 magnets. But for a short while in 54 Fender used weaker A3 magnets. Because of that, the Bootstrap 54s use A3, and so do the Manlius 54 pickups. A3 sounds a little warmer and looser, but still plenty of sparkle on top. A5 is punchier. A3 also lets you get the pickup closer to the strings because of the lower magnetism.

The Manlius pickups are wound slightly hotter than the Bootstraps (5.8k vs 5.6k), but are still well and truly in the low output range. I like the Manlius ones a lot with the right amp set up. Never tried the Bootstraps.

BTW I shifted my tone control from the middle pickup to the bridge. Works well with the Manlius set as the middle pickup seems voiced right without a tone control, but the bridge does need taming. If I didn't do that I might have looked at a beefier bridge pickup instead.
 

viking

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For some reason people think he used Higher output pickups , he didnt.....Vintage style pu´s , tune down half a step ,Tube Screamer , and be prepared to turn a decent amp up higher than ever before.
Bed room level players will never get that sound , Im sure
 

Happy Enchilada

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strat_smaller_Suncity_300x300.jpg

Bootstrap Sun City Selects Set for Strat®
Regular price$49.99
 

oyobass

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Thank you all for your replies, I guess sometimes it takes a conversation to understand the best way to approach an issue. I have come to the realization after your replies that it makes sense to try a different Bootstrap set for $49. It really makes sense to do that before doing anything else. I will buy the '54 Vintage Sparkle Set and see how it goes, if it goes well then I'm done, if not then I will look elsewhere. Thanks again to all and Merry Christmas!
I recently put in the Bootstrap 54 Vintage Pro pickups in my strat (They have A5 magnets in them BTW). They sounded great in my room- airy, funky, very expressive. When I got together with an acoustic and bass player, the sound just disappeared, probably due to the extreme mid scoop vintage pickups have. I had to switch to an identical guitar with the stock ceramics (more mids) in it to be heard. I still need to tweak my setup to help the 54 Vintage set to stand out more. More mids, here we go! I understand the Vintage Sparkles are even more scooped sounding than my Vintage Pros. They may or may not work for what you are going for.

One other thing that occurred to me is that you don't mention a Tube Screamer anywhere. Transparent overdrive is great for a lot of things, but I was using one when I couldn't cut through even a lightweight mix. When I swapped out guitars, I also swapped the transparent OD for a Tube Screamer, since it enhances/boosts the mids in a good way. Didn't SRV have one or two TS pedals in his effects chain? I seem to recall reading that in different articles for years. I think one or two might help you toward your goal...
 

SnidelyWhiplash

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For some reason people think he used Higher output pickups , he didnt.....Vintage style pu´s , tune down half a step ,Tube Screamer , and be prepared to turn a decent amp up higher than ever before.
Bed room level players will never get that sound , Im sure

A LOUD clean Fender amp is in order. That is what is missing in this equation. People try to chase the classic rock tonz with practice amps. They were achieved, for the most part, with amps on the point of over saturation. A Princeton on 3-4 volume just ain't gonna cut it.
 

bgmacaw

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A LOUD clean Fender amp is in order. That is what is missing in this equation. People try to chase the classic rock tonz with practice amps. They were achieved, for the most part, with amps on the point of over saturation. A Princeton on 3-4 volume just ain't gonna cut it.

You can get close to the recorded tone using a Princeton or Deluxe going into a good big cab IR with good monitors. But that's different from the massive "amp in the room" tone from a big amp with a 4x10 or 4x12 that you'll enjoy until you can't hear any more.
 

Lou Tencodpees

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That's a lot of pickups to still not find joy. I'll share my one and only "I'll never change these pickups again" quest one last time. Partscaster, tried Fralin Hots/Blues Specials in it and found I seriously disliked the results despite being an established Fralin fan already. I tried one more time, Fralin Real 54's and it just turned that guitar into magic. I tried another set of the same pickups in another Strat and those didn't hit the mark. Maybe the tone gods were present the day my first set was spun.

Best of luck.
 

Willie Johnson

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You can get close to the recorded tone using a Princeton or Deluxe going into a good big cab IR with good monitors. But that's different from the massive "amp in the room" tone from a big amp with a 4x10 or 4x12 that you'll enjoy until you can't hear any more.
Wasn't Texas Flood (or maybe it was Family Style?) recorded with a house full of small Fender amps pushed to full tilt boogie?
 

Maguchi

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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.
Fender Corona Classic set!
 




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