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Help me recover from noiseless pickups

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by waygorked, May 23, 2018.

  1. waygorked

    waygorked Strat-Talk Member

    Nov 11, 2009
    I have been struggling to convince myself for several years now that I could get the level of detail out of noiseless pickups that can be found in a legitimate single coil design. Last night I finally gave up. My current strat partscaster has the best hardware and electronics I could find, and still sounds like it has a blanket over it that has been equalized to simulate being blanket-free. My other guitars have high end magnets (2 sets of Throbak HBs, Lollar Firebird and Telecaster pickups). I can plug any of these into the same amp setting, and while they sound obviously different, they all sound great and require no changes. If I plug the strat in I find myself constantly messing with the eq to make it recover the lost fidelity.

    The guitar currently has Mojotone Quiet Coil 58s installed, which I prefer to the Dimarzio Areas and Kinmans I have tried in the past and have sitting in a drawer somewhere. It's running a Mojotone 500K harness. The top strings can be made to sound ok, and are pretty close to the stock pickups in my 2008 American Standard. The low E and A sound like a Les Paul eq'd to sound like a strat. It's not bad, but it's just wrong.

    I'm looking to escape the noiseless realm with the most detailed set of strat pickups I can find. I prefer late 50s tones. I've been out of the strat pickup game for a long time, don't know what's good, and don't want to default to another set of Lollars if there are better options. Right now I'm thinking about a set of Klein 59s. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. albala

    albala Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 10, 2012
    stamford, CT
    Fender 57'/62's sound as Stratty as I could find.

    To me, they sound remarkably similar to a mixed set of Areas I have too, only with some hum.

    Unfortunately, the only way to know what a pickup will sound like is when it's in your guitar, plugged into your rig, being played by you.
    velvet_man likes this.
  3. johnnymg

    johnnymg Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 5, 2015
    Central Coast Ca
    Fender Fat 50’s have a very glassy/detailed tone.
    SSJR, twotoneonevolume and Sarnodude like this.
  4. Grux

    Grux Strat-Talker

    May 17, 2018
    Clarksville, TN
    In my experience all the noiseless fender pups sound like that. Some people like em, but they ain't for me either. I'm also at odds with pickups right now, was debating a fat 50's bridge or an ej signature pup but I think I'm gonna go ahead and order a full set of alexander pribora "hot customs."

    They sound great on demos and they arent expensive either .
    Believer7713 likes this.
  5. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jul 28, 2011
    Pawnee, Indiana
    I had a set of Hot Noiseless once, they were fine. I liked them, but they fill a need that doesn't really exist. Unless you are playing high gain (humbuckers are better for that anyway) or if you have wiring or power ground issues, the hum should be unnoticeable, especially with a noise gate.

    I doubt I'll ever need or really want a noiseless single coil set again.
  6. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    Dont laugh. I just reinstalled GFS Vintage alnico in my american deluxe. They are much lower output than anything but lipstick pups, and have tons of detail.

    For comparison in this guitar Ive had

    Lace golds
    Dimarzio areas
    D Allen tru 54
    D allen voodoo 69
    Van Zandt blues (would like to try their vintage)

    Also, @Bodean here on strat talk will wind a hybrid magnet set to your specs. He is a good guy.
    Groovey and Bodean like this.
  7. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Lewisville, TX
    I try not to badmouth them too often here, because I know a lot of people like them, but I despise noiseless pickups.

    I recommend something like 57/62s with a reverse wound middle so you can use positions 2 and 4 for humbucking operation.
    ProSonicLive and amstratnut like this.
  8. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp Senior Stratmaster

    May 18, 2016
    C-Town, Ontario
    I have a set of Fender PV 65's, they sound great. However the list is endless.......
  9. CalicoSkies

    CalicoSkies Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 10, 2013
    Hillsboro, OR, USA
    I once (in 2004) bought a MIM "Fat" (HSS) Strat, and I noticed the single coil pickups in it had noticeable hum. I wasn't playing high gain, and it was a new guitar, so I doubt it had wiring or grounding issues. The first thing I tried was installing a pair of Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups, which didn't have the hum, but I wasn't terribly impressed with them, especially with the middle combined with the bridge (humbucker) pickup. I asked for opinions online for noiseless pickups, and someone recommended Kinman pickups. I bought a pair and put them in and was actually happy with those.
  10. ripgtr

    ripgtr Most Honored Senior Member

    Feb 16, 2012
    I tried some Zexcoils a while back. I even posted a vid on youtube, comparing them to my '60 strat. They really sound good, not as good as the old one, but as good as most stuff out there. They are actually single coil pickups, from what I understand, he just winds each magnet separately, and opposite for the next one, so in principle, the idea behind hunbuckers. But it is not the two coils putting the noise out of phase, it is each magnet. It works WAY better than any other noiseless I've tried.

    Stacked humbuckers sound like humbuckers, active ones sound like active ones. Lace sound like Lace. Non of them sound like a real single coil.

    That being said, Ilitch. I have that now on two strats, including my old one. Works really well.
    modavis99 likes this.
  11. waygorked

    waygorked Strat-Talk Member

    Nov 11, 2009
    I’m leaning towards the Ilitch system if the hum winds up bugging me. I tried Zexcoils in a friend’s guitar, and they sounded pretty good, although I didn’t think they were really any better than the Mojotones. They both had pretty similar resonant peaks, and had the eq of a decent single coil. I thought they both lacked detail, as if the strings were dead. I plugged in a partscaster immediately after, a dual HB tele with Duncan Antiquities, and it had a ton more detail. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.

    Has anyone compared Klein Epic 59s to Lollar Blondes?
    mabley123 likes this.
  12. orcslayer

    orcslayer Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 8, 2008
    Ajax, Canada
    I installed a set of Kinman Hank Marvins 12 years ago in my Partscaster Strat & have never felt an urge to change back. They are excellent IMHO.
    JB74 likes this.
  13. supernintendo64

    supernintendo64 Strat-Talk Member

    Apr 14, 2017
    I love my Fat 50's, especially through a Deluxe Reverb.
    johnnymg likes this.
  14. Class A Knob

    Class A Knob Strat-O-Master

    Nov 25, 2017
    Seymour Duncan Antiquity
    PhatBoy and Seymour Duncan like this.
  15. Dan Spiffy Neuman

    Dan Spiffy Neuman Strat-Talker

    Apr 17, 2016
    Madison, WI
    I agree about Fender Noiseless. I like them, but they dont have the mojo.

    Wild Bill Lawrence pickups are the quietest non noiseless pickups I have ever tried and they do have the mojo.
  16. The Strat Dude

    The Strat Dude Posy rules! Strat-Talk Supporter

    Feb 9, 2014
    Dumpster diving
    Bodean has wound me some stellar sets of pups. He can get you where you want to go.
    I have had several different sets of noiseless pickups and have been mildly disappointed by them. The Zex coil set sounds the most strat like, but in a weird hi fi kind of way. But great for playing in places with noise issues. The hot noiseless are fine if I play rock with a bit of gain, but not so stratty. I have a mixed set of Duncans, cool rails neck stacked rail middle and lil 59 bridge. The cool rails is wired for series / parallel. This set is actually really versatile but is again not so stratty, and very compressed (no dynamics) and I like my dynamics. But pretty convincing to anyone but me.
    I can get more sparkle adding some treble which helps make them sound more convincing. But I have been spending more time playing my Gibby style guitars lately anyhow. But when I do pull a strat down it has a set of Bo's pickups in it.
    waygorked and Groovey like this.
  17. JB74

    JB74 Strat-Talker

    Mar 22, 2018
    It really depends on the tone you're looking for.

    I mentioned in another thread somewhere about the Kinmans I used some years ago and wish I never got rid of that guitar.

    my fsr strat has a set of 62 vintage pickups and they are mighty. They have a lot less headroom than the kinmans, or lace sensors, or for that matter, pretty much everything modern - but they have the quack, and it's the quack that coaxed me into buying it....

    it's always the quack.

    You can't ignore the quack.
    waygorked likes this.
  18. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985 Strat-Talk Supporter

    Nov 14, 2013
    I guess some of us are just more sensitive to 60/50 cycle hum than others. It doesn't really bother me, and I usually don't notice it. Of course I always turn down my guitar's volume knob when I'm not playing.
    PhatBoy and Will Lefeurve like this.
  19. circles

    circles Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    I've played and liked both of them, but have yet to put my money where my mouth is.
    waygorked likes this.
  20. archetype

    archetype Strat-O-Master

    Nov 26, 2016
    Williamsville NY
    As others have said, the Fender 57/62 set. That's as 'classic Strat' as I can think of. For more detail, the Robert Cray set is unique to that model and is reputedly detailed with lots of note separation in chords. The ultimate is likely the Joe Barden set for high fidelity and detail, plus it's noise cancelling.