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Best value aftermarket pickups...

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by SlopeSoarer, Dec 5, 2017.

  1. SlopeSoarer

    SlopeSoarer Strat-Talk Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    Clitheroe, Lancashire
    I'm considering replacing the pickups in an Squier Affinity Strat but don't want spend more too much (not that I've decide on a limit). I'm in to indie, soft rock, blues. What do you recommend? And roughly how much (£)?

    Should I change pots as well, if yes what would you recommend?
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017

  2. gonzo

    gonzo Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 4, 2009
    Wilde pickups.
    best aftermarket for the value.

  3. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

    Feb 28, 2014
    in between
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017

  4. elliotj26

    elliotj26 Strat-Talker Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 21, 2017
    Lots of love for Rose pickups on this forum lately. I dont need a new set for my partscaster yet but those are #1 on my list.
    Yaralag, dogletnoir and stratomatt like this.

  5. Doghouse_Riley

    Doghouse_Riley Strat-Talker

    Mar 9, 2017
    Fender CS '69. I got my set for $115, new, shipped, on Ebay. Cheaper that a set of Wildes. I play in a blues band. They sound perfect.
    Pythonman, Yaralag and Nate D like this.

  6. Believer7713

    Believer7713 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Dec 27, 2016
    rich815 and Yaralag like this.

  7. ghostwolf

    ghostwolf Mod Admin Staff Member

    Jan 5, 2009
    Admin Post
    Only Rose pickups for me anymore.
    Yeah, they're that good.
    Groovey, tschucha, mkgearhead and 5 others like this.

  8. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    GFS sells decent stuff for not much.

    I would not replace my pickups with a supposed upgrade unless I was unhappy with what I had, and knew how to fix it. IE: hotter pups for earlier breakup and more mids or cooler pickups for a cleaner brighter sound. In a nutshell, those are the two choices.

    There are a ton of choices for pickups but 90% of the time people obssess over which "vintage" spec alnico pickup to buy. Yes, they all sound a little different but not enough to warrant going down the rabbit hole.

    I only say this cause I went down the rabbit hole. I have to say my amp has a lot more to say about how my guitar sounds than the pickups.

  9. rudos1

    rudos1 Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 16, 2013
    Yaralag likes this.

  10. Dadocaster

    Dadocaster Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    I really love the sound of the strat size blade pickups. I have one from some nameless Asian manufacturer that makes me smile every time. Want more, I think.
    Yaralag likes this.

  11. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Sheffield, UK
    Hunt around the UK suppliers, see what they have to offer, postage is usually free. ;) It's probably going to cost more than the guitar did. Toneriders are pretty good sounding and value for money.
    Yaralag likes this.

  12. Hal Nico

    Hal Nico Senior Stratmaster

    Apr 28, 2012
    Noahclem, Percy, Pukiman and 6 others like this.

  13. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2010
    London, UK
    The cheapest pickups are usually ones you buy used. There are lots of Duncan pickups for sale, used, on eBay. You can often get SSL-1s & APS-1s for around £30 individually. I've even found sets of these that sell for around £60-£70. That's the best value I've ever found.

  14. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Strat-Talker

    Jun 30, 2016
    meridianam altum centralis
    I'd agree with that, having gone down the rabbit hole on so many things over the years, I'm trying to apply this single truth to avoid future rabbit hole diversions, save lots of $$, loose less hair and sleep, etc. You learn a lot with rabbit hole excursions, but in the end, you end up back where you started, now armed with tons of useless trivial knowledge. So, instead of swapping pickups, I just bought another [used] guitar for the price of a set of pickups, that had the opposite sound. The two pretty much cover the two extremes you describe.
    Yaralag, fattboyzz and amstratnut like this.

  15. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014

    I used to swap pickups but now I leave them and swap pots and caps. They influence the tone you get even when dimed.

    -watch 'joe walsh gibsonuk setup' videos #5 and #6 and translate into your Strat
    -drop the middle pickup closer to the pickguard than the other two so you enhance 2 & 4 Quack
    -measure volume pot then find one higher measured kohms for brighter, lower for darker
    -tone caps to 0.033uF and 50v or 100v, doesn't have to be orange -- I like light blue

    Don't be afraid of ceramic magnets, I have good and bad Alnico just as I have good and bad ceramic. Some import pickups you buy for $10 a set sound better than popular aftermarket big brands because they may use hand winding techniques not high speed machines.

    If you are just looking to experiment with pickups, you might just buy a loaded pickguard ($25 for pickguard, pickups, and controls all pre-wired) and swap everything while keeping your original intact, because if you are searching you will one day wonder what the original tones were and if you have the stock pickguard intact you can swap back and go "yeah, I guess it did sound pretty good."


  16. mikej89

    mikej89 Senior Stratmaster

    May 12, 2016
    River Falls, WI
    They must've been on sale. Typically custom shop sets run $200.
    Yaralag likes this.

  17. Tone Quest

    Tone Quest Strat-O-Master

    Sep 11, 2013
    Raleigh, NC
    I have had good results with GFS pickups.
    amstratnut and Yaralag like this.

  18. StillAlive&Well

    StillAlive&Well Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 4, 2014
    Frog, Texas
    I bought a set of Toneriders for my Tele build $80 from Macdaddy. Waiting on my neck to arrive, can't wait to try 'em out.
    johnnymg and Yaralag like this.

  19. banjaxed

    banjaxed Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Mar 14, 2014
    Liverpool UK
    I have used Ironstone pickups and have found them to be decent quality at a very good price.
    Del1, s5tuart and Yaralag like this.