Whence the quack?

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Sjnoring, May 7, 2017.

  1. Sjnoring

    Sjnoring Tele-Afflicted

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    I have mentioned my new Squire Strat in other posts and am liking it more every day. The thing that made me fall for it the moment I plugged it in at GC was that it sounded like a gang of biker ducks. All the quack you could want with a bit of attitude to keep you on your toes.

    I think I'm going to have to upgrade the pickups though because while they sound great at bedroom volume they are noisy as all get out at higher volume and start feeding back. I tried cranking my AC15 to 5 (which scored points with the neighbors I'm sure) and the noise coming from these pickups was almost deafening in itself, although considerably less in positions 2 and 4. And feedback started bleeding through almost immediately. As a comparison I plugged in at the same volume my Am St Tele with the Little 59/Vintage stack set, and, well, at high volume is where you separate the men from the boys as far as pickups go.

    So I'm going to replace these but I want to keep the quack intact. And it occurred to me that I really don't know where it comes from. It is much quackier in 2 and 4, so am I right in assuming quack is generated by a single coil middle pickup combined with a bridge or neck pickup? If so, how much of it comes from the pickups you use as opposed to just being a guitar with three pickups? Better pickups will give you a better overall sound, but will different makes affect the quack quotient?

    All of which being a discursive request for recommendations for good replacement pups that preserve the essential Strat character. I'm sure there are many options that will make this thing sound better, but I also want it to still sound like Strat.
     
  2. rburd2

    rburd2 Tele-Afflicted

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    The Strat "quack" is defined by the "in-between" positions. Find some "S-style" pickups you like and you're golden.
     
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  3. felis

    felis Tele-Afflicted

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    I can only speak on the Strat's I've had/have!

    It was all about 'lowering'.
    - low output pickups
    - lowered the pickups (away from the strings,almost flush with PG)
    - lowered the middle pup a bit more than bridge and neck pickup
     
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  4. Sjnoring

    Sjnoring Tele-Afflicted

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    GC has Tex Mex pickups for $69.95 for the whole set. That sounds like a good deal. Any opinions on these?
     
  5. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    I have a set of those in my '96 Tex-Mex strat- they're a nice sounding "vintage" strength set with a slightly hotter bridge, but not as overwound as the Texas Specials. The thing that is starting to bug me about them is that I really don't like the staggered magnets, my top two strings aren't as clear as I'd like. This isn't specific to the Tex-Mex pickups, most alnico strat pickups sets are built this way because that's how the originals were made, back when everybody played a wound G.

    For the same money as the Tex-Mex though, you can get a set of pickups from Rose, handwound to your spec-

    http://www.rosepickups.com/apps/webstore/products

    I had Ken build me a Mariposa/Buff Beauty mixed set with flat stagger that sounds great in my '96 Squier Series strat.
     
  6. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    The quack sound in the 2 & 4 positions mostly comes from the center pickup being RWRP, thus two single coils trying to act like a humbucker.
    This is my understanding anyway.
    The 'quack', to me sounds more like a 'pock' or 'cluck'.
    The Custom Shop 69s have it in spades.
     
  7. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Sorry, statement one is not correct (at all). There are PILES of none RW/RP Strat sets that sound....................like a Strat with 'ol school, vintage bell, chime, quack.

    The real deal is basically, the spacing of the pickups to one another (the string vibration relative to where they are in its length) when combined parallel, make some cool harmonics ( the two signals combining).

    Actually a fluke in design. Folks by chance got the cool new tones by a partial selector lever movement, the "in-between" deal. Remember the early strats only had a 3 w switch.

    CS 69....................all three pups the same, not made to be a noise reducing set (no RW/RP), so counters your statement one.

    Not trying to be a wise guy my friend, just that facts.

    ;)
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
  8. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

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    As i said, that is just my understanding.
    I have heard the quack on pickup sets that are not RWRP but I've never heard any explanation as to why.
    YT videos show the CS69s sounding that way. Although i have no idea if they are RWRP, i have a set on the way.
    thanks for the info sjtalon. I'm still on my quest...
     
  9. Sjnoring

    Sjnoring Tele-Afflicted

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    Is he still in business? His site appears to no longer exist.
     
  10. tonytrout

    tonytrout Friend of Leo's

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    I clicked on the link and the site came up just fine for me.
     
  11. Sjnoring

    Sjnoring Tele-Afflicted

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    Yup there it is. Must have been down for maintenance. I'll check these out too.
     
  12. sjtalon

    sjtalon Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You are more than welcome.

    No, the CS69 are not RWRP, just as 57/62 and CS54's are not.



    CS69 and 57/62's are the best Fender Strat pup on the planet earth. Each sound FABULOUS !!

    Great choice, do keep us posted. I had a set of the CS69 for a time, loved 'em !

    Another misnomer that keeps getting regurgitated is that Strats sound the way they do (pos. 2&4) because the pickups are out of phase, or some call the Strat tone that out of phase tone.

    Wrong.



    .02 and such as.
     
  13. Randypttt

    Randypttt Friend of Leo's

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    Have you tried raising the pups some? That can help with the hum.
    Can't help with the sounds but...
     
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  14. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    While the pickups are not actually wired out of phase, the characteristic Strat "quack" is the the result of phase cancellation between two pickups. When a sound arrives at two transducers at slightly different times, there is some nulling when the waveforms combine:

    phase.gif
     
  15. AAT65

    AAT65 Friend of Leo's

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    I put a set of Pribora Red & Whites into my old Squier and it still quacks! http://www.priborapickups.com

    They are handmade, scatter wound, beeswax-potted pickups from Russia at very decent prices, with several options for more traditional or slightly hotter.
     
  16. 24 track

    24 track Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    I used lace alumatones Dead quiet, and Tons of quack , but I did a trick wiring using a 3 way switch ,I took out the middle tone control and put in as a volume for the middle pickup and put a TBX tone control for the whole guitar switch config is 1) Neck, 2) Neck/Bridge, 3) Bridge and I can roll any amount of mid pick up I want in all configs. wiring.jpg

    P1011439_2.JPG
     
  17. ricknbaker

    ricknbaker Tele-Afflicted

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    So why doesn't a Tele quack in the middle position? Or an LP?
     
  18. beyer160

    beyer160 Friend of Leo's

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    Because the pickups are further apart, so the effect is different. They still get that hollow "scooped" middle position sound, that's phase cancellation in the midrange.
     
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  19. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    I get quack on a regular old PAF-style Humbucker. I also get it on Strat pickups. Here are the hints to do it.

    Neck pickup whatever you want but not overly heavy kohms so look for 5-6kohms. Middle pickup weaker output like 4-5kohms than the neck makes it easier. Lower the middle pickup nearly flat with the pickguard and raise it up until the quack is maximized at position #4. You can have neck and middle pickups identical kohms and just use height but the easiest is when the middle is about 1kohm weaker. Some tipping of treble vs bass sides of the pickup can be done. Expect several sessions of testing and height adjustment (different amp settings, general messing around).

    You want the neck pickup poles to be staggered. Middle pickup can be flat or staggered. Classic Strat neck tones I find from staggered neck pickup.


    However:

    First #1! if you are planning on new pickups, keep that loaded pickguard you have with the pickups and the controls you have intact as they are. Do not change the pickup heights getting it out of the guitar. You may need it later, for reference, for going back.
    Take a picture from the side of the guitar showing relative heights of the pickups to each other and include a scale that goes from the pickguard to the strings. Note any 'tipping' of side to side treble-bass heights. Measure and record heights on an index card.

    Determine if the noise you are getting is microphonic feedback or guitar chassis noise. Replace the two wires to the output jack with a shielded cable and retest the noise level. Then foil line all the cavities, using an ohm meter to check conductance. Nashua aluminum flashing tape does the trick. No need for copper - kits are always short and people slice up their hands installing.Check noise level. If still too noisy then focus on the pickups as you originally thought.

    Find someone or build a rig that can vacuum wax pot those pickups. That will eliminate the microphonics at high gain. Just plain dipping them in wax won't do enough, you need the vacuum. Buying a new set of pickups does not get away from wax treatment, many are not even dipped because some players like the microphonics and it's more difficult to remove wax than add it.

    .
     
  20. Henry

    Henry Tele-Holic

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    I have no interest in whatever the quack is but I just love any individual who, these days, is brave enough to use a word like "whence".

    And do so correctly.
     
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