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which pickups for a strat?

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ss43
 ss43
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Hey - any suggestions based on experience appreciated. I am looking to change the pickups in a US standard strat (2006 model). The stockp/ups are too thin, too much ear piercing treble, and just overall lacking - I've heard better. I play blues, classic rock, and hard rock. I like to hear all the strings/notes with authority and growl during high gain power cords. I like smooth articulate leads with a woody tone (john Mayer). I do not like twang.

I have looked into Kinmans (woodstocks), Rio Grandes (big bottoms), and Bare knuckles (irish tours or mother's milk). I have no experience with these. If anyone does or can following what I am looking for please respond. I play through tubes amps - Orange and Kustom.

Thanks


   
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gnease
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You may not need to change the pups. Are you using a booster pedal -- tube screamer or similar? This will usually help thicken the tone quite a bit. The other thing to try before swapping pups is an EQ pedal.

-=tension & release=-


   
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ss43
 ss43
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Yep - I go between a digitech bad monkey and a modded TS9 (w/better base response), also an EH small clone chorus, all of which thinken things nicely.

But it seems like things could be opened up more, a bit more bottom, with more of a throaty tone and less harshness when digging in.

I have never tried an EQ pedal. I have always been afraid of tone suckers and the less I have between me axe and me speakers the better. I mean, one of the reasons I got an Orange TT was because it only has three knobs (vol/gain/tone). But it seems like a lot of people have good results with EQ pedals.


   
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greybeard
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You say that you have an Orange TT with "..tone knob". Why are you happy to have a tone knob, but not an EQ? EQs do a similar job, but in a different way (a far more precise way, as well). Get a good and you won't regret it.

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ss43
 ss43
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greybeard - I have never been so pleased as to have a "one-tone-knob" amp because every other amp that I have owned for the past 35 years has been a PITA in that department to find a sweet spot at a particular volume level, drive/guitar/pedal/blah,blah,blah.

I am pleased with this US strat and its pickups but they could be better. Their tone is sweet and articulate but can get harsh when digging in. So, if there are really tonally better pickup solutions I would like to know about them.


   
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rocker
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get a good eq it will make a huge difference in your sound 8)

even god loves rock-n-roll


   
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DemoEtc
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Duncan Hotstacks are what I use; good signal, more mids, humbucking, and with a single magnetic bar instead of pole pieces so there's no dropouts while bending. I didn't quite like the idea of double-bar of some of the other side-by-side single coil size humbuckers because I thought it would move the point of focus for the field slightly away from beneath the harmonic of the string in the original centered pole concept.

A real small difference, but I was just theorizing like I normally do. ;)

They're real good, loud stage pickups though.

I also added a 3-position toggle to work in conjunction with the 5-way so I could get a few extra pup combinations and in the process had to lose the tone controls. I figured with all the effects I was using I wanted just the straight signal anyhow, with the volume full-out.

I'm glad I at least kept the volume knob :)


   
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ss43
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So what is a good EQ?


   
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gnease
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Duncan Hotstacks are what I use; good signal, more mids, humbucking, and with a single magnetic bar instead of pole pieces so there's no dropouts while bending. I didn't quite like the idea of double-bar of some of the other side-by-side single coil size humbuckers because I thought it would move the point of focus for the field slightly away from beneath the harmonic of the string in the original centered pole concept.

A real small difference, but I was just theorizing like I normally do. ;)

I doubt it makes much of a difference from the nodal (a.k.a. harmonic) location POV, as those move with fretting anyway. More likely is the fact that dual side-by-sides coils changes the size and shape of the spatial sampling aperture which creates a comb-like frequency response (roughly sinc^2 function, FWIW). For example: In addition to being hotter, P90s have a larger aperature which also accounts for a portion of their different timbral nature as compared to Fender or lipstick style singles. Same effect come into play in multiple pup modes -- the (in)famous Strat quack in positions 2 and 4 is cause by the comb filter effect created by the spacing between the center and either of the other two pups. That spacing, which is quite close for dual pup configurations causes the first frequency band null to occur solidily in the upper midrange, hence the "scooped" tone. Moving the pups closer together would move the first null (and the "harmonic" repetitions) up higher in frequency.

Back on topic: Boss makes good pedal EQs. At the low cost points, some of the guys here like Danelectro.

-=tension & release=-


   
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ss43
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OK, I read some stuff on the BOSS. Sounds good. What I want to know is will it be ok to run the EQ between the guitar and amp because I do not have an effects loop on my main amp. Where in the chain would be optimal (guitar/vox wah/TS9/bad monkey OD/occasional distortion pedal/small clone chorus/amp)? Do EQs affect picking dynamics? I really like the feel I get with my tube amps dimed and don't want a negative effect.

Thanks - aint this internet great!


   
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Boogieman
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The custom shop 69's that come standard in the 60's classic player are about as close to the John Mayer soundaspossible (IMHO). A great buy, by the way is the classic player series (I know you're not looking for a new guitar). I'm getting ready to drop a set of Texas Specials in my AmericanStandard.

Hope this helps.

Trey


   
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Steve-0
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I would think if you would want the sound from the pickups to be better, then setting up your E.Q right after the guitar would make the most sense.

Guitar - E.Q - Other effects - Amp

Steve-0


   
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ss43
 ss43
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HEY CHECK THIS OUT! Ok, I am excited to say the least and if I could post a sound clip I would. I appeciate everyones comments to help me think through this and will be trying an EQ before even thinking of butchering my axe.

I have discovered a new tone with #2 and #4 position (I have always hated the tele tone of #2 excepted for slow, clean ballads) AND what I found will make one like me jump up and smack his mama for not knowing about it before. For #2 and #4, just turn the tone pot all the way off and what you get is a sweet, smokey, dark humbucking blues (think Albert King) - what a trip! If you want to re-introduce quack in the tone just barely crack the pot open. Heck, and I thought I was going to have to by another guitar just for humbuckers. This is a 2006/2007 model US standard strat so it may not work right on other ones.

I found it by accident by closing the tone pots and opening them up to see where the overall tone was going and realizing that yea, I definitely could use an EQ and got a nice little surprise.

Thanks 8)


   
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vanzant38
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ss43,

I did that same thing about 6 months ago. YourSO right, I love the tone of that technique.

My dad would always talk about retirement, and allude to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And I say all you've got at the end of the rainbow is death. You're riding the rainbow right now. - Mark Borchardt


   
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Kaspen
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I would go to various websites of pickup makers, like Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio, and research with them what you want regarding to what they offer. Maybe even email customer service if you don't see the info you're after. They probably have clips on the websites, though clips can be misleading.

You might consider some single-coil sized humbuckers like the Duncan Cool Rails, wired up with coil taps so you can get both tones out of them. A single-coil sized humbucker will get a tone fuller and rounder than a single coil, but not quite as full and round as a fullsize humbucker.

A friend of mine hadd a guitar with Burns single-coil pickups, which are what Brian May uses. He had 3 wired into a Strat with 7 different sounds he could get, and he got the Brian May sound out of them. I don't know where to get those though and I think they're kind of pricey, but if you like their sound then it's worth it. You'd have to hear them to decide, I guess.


   
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