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Low Output Pick-ups

Discussion in 'Squier Strat Forum' started by McNeish, Nov 2, 2017.

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  1. McNeish

    McNeish Strat-Talk Member

    35
    Jan 19, 2016
    UK
    Whats peoples views on underwound pickups? Deciding on new pick-ups and can't make up my mind on the kind of resistance i'm looking for. There seems to be a fashion for low output PUs these days.

    I favor cleanish, low gain sounds so they may suit but don't want to be stuck with something I can't push hard when the feeling takes me.

    I also don't know whether higher output PUs but turned down (volume) a bit would give the same results...?

    Sorry, not very knowledgeable about PUs.

    Thoughts?
     
    Textele likes this.

  2. Mr C

    Mr C Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

    Age:
    44
    Feb 17, 2016
    New Zealand
    Depends what you want to play. Plenty of great raucous music played using low output vintage wound pickups.

    Overall I prefer lower outputs for the stuff I play - lo fi indie and Americana. But if your into heavier stuff you might want something that can push the amp a bit more.

    For a strat 57/62's or lollars are my favs. For humbuckers can't really go wrong with Seth lovers or Gibson classic 57's.
     
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  3. Textele

    Textele Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 10, 2009
    USA
    I know this might not be a popular practice on this forum, but that is exactly what I do.

    But, I ride the volume (and tone) knob on my guitar constantly. I like having most of my options at my finger tips, on the guitar.

    I have a full size JB Trembucker in my Strat with the CS Fat 50's in mid and neck.

    A lot of people pigeon hole the JB as an over-wound, one-trick pony, metal pickup. And while I am not a metal player (at least not anymore except on the rare occasion a session calls for it) the way I use mine just works for me so well. I can get almost any sound I need out of it.

    In my experience, the JB is a great bridge pickup in a Strat. Back the volume off on your guitar and it cleans up to PAF territory extremely well, especially with 250k pots and set at a little lower height than normal.

    I mostly play with the volume knob a bit down around 7 or 8 and gas it to 10 when I need to make it scream.

    You could probably get close to the same results with a Duncan SSL-5 or 6 in the bridge if you want to retain the SSS look.

    I would personally rather have more throttle and use it accordingly than not have it and have to rely on a pedal. Though I do employ a basic clean boost too for another level.

    It's just one way to approach it, and there are many variables that come in to play to mold your own sound/style.

    And this amp set-up, when dialed in right, really, really, helps achieve that method because the dirty channel cleans up so well.
    stage rig 1.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
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  4. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    37
    Apr 2, 2016
    Ohio
    @Mr C and @Textele both have some good advice here. Your volume and tone knobs on your guitar go a long way.

    That being said, I prefer low output pickups because I can always boost them with an OD or boost pedal, but you can’t lower the output of the pickups as you’re playing. As a rule, lower output pickups provide better clarity and you can use your volume and tone knobs to warm the tone up and not get muddy. Speaking of muddy, you can overdrive or distort your tone without losing the clarity or not definition on a lower output pickup.

    Mostly, it’s gonna come down to your ears and hands and what sounds and feels good to you. This is the fun part of tone chasing. Just don’t go too overboard or you can break the bank :)
     
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  5. Mustrat

    Mustrat Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    38
    61
    Jun 16, 2017
    Minneapolis
    To be fair, it isn't the output of the pickup that gives clarity, it's how that output interacts with everything that comes after. In most cases the gear we use these days does impart enough gain to the signal that we notice output differences. That being said, a smoking hot humbucker played into a perfectly dry HiFi signal will be clear as day. It may not sound very 'good' but it will be clean.
     
    Textele likes this.

  6. Textele

    Textele Senior Stratmaster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 10, 2009
    USA
    Yes, especially the amp and how you dial it in is IMO more important than the output of the pickups. Though everything contributes to some degree.

    Good post.
     
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  7. McNeish

    McNeish Strat-Talk Member

    35
    Jan 19, 2016
    UK
    Two interesting ways of thinking about it. I think i'm leaning towards the lower (5.7K to 7K) end of the PU Output range as a all rounder. Chasing the clean edge of break up blues sound like most of us.
     

  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014
    Michigan
    .

    This Strat has hotter 7k neck and bridge pickukps while the center pickup is low at 4k. You might take a similar track so you have both. What this really does for me is 2 and 4 positions are super easy to get Quack.

    I also wired this for the Dan Armstrong Blender Mod (SSS that blends into HSH). As you can see it used to be HSS but now it's much more useful. I'm working on a new Hendrix-angled pickguard.


    StratandGlobal_IMG_4737c.JPG
     

  9. Seymour Duncan

    Seymour Duncan Senior Stratmaster Vendor Member

    I dig the touch-sensitivity of lower output humbuckers. If you play quietly, it stays quiet. I constantly ride the volume and tone controls, so this part is important to me. I don't really like low-output single coils, though.
     
    Robins likes this.

  10. Cesspit

    Cesspit Strat-Talker

    Age:
    61
    221
    Sep 4, 2016
    Oxford England
    Vintage pups set to a low height will give excellent clean tones. This is good starting point for driving the amp for OD tones. Remember your amp is big part of the equation.
     
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  11. McNeish

    McNeish Strat-Talk Member

    35
    Jan 19, 2016
    UK

  12. McNeish

    McNeish Strat-Talk Member

    35
    Jan 19, 2016
    UK
    Also curious about the Dan Armstrong Blender Mod, never heard of it but it sounds interesting. Any negatives?
     

  13. Nate D

    Nate D Senior Stratmaster

    Age:
    37
    Apr 2, 2016
    Ohio
    I think the output on the neck pickup is just fine, but too low for both the middle and the bridge.

    I just got a set of Lollar Blondes and they read: Neck 5.6K, middle 5.8K, and bridge 6K these are replacing some Fender Fat ‘50’s that read: Neck: 6.0K. Middle: 6.3K. Bridge: 6.2K

    Another part of the calculation is what magnet type is used. I personally prefer an A2 magnet. I don’t know why, but when I play I’m always drawn to A2 pickups for both single coil and Humbuckers. They just respond better as I play. That being said I can’t listen to you from across the room and say, “that’s an A2 equipped pickup” lol
     
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  14. LBXPDX

    LBXPDX Strat-Talker

    105
    Mar 18, 2015
    Portland
    I’m using classic players pickups in my partscaster and I love them. 5.5k for all of them. Staggered pole pieces, no rwrp middle pickup, set real low. They sound great. It’s fun getting different tones depending on the master volume and the amp volume/tone. They are cheapish too, usually $50 used. I have RS pots with a PIO cap with the second tone for the bridge. As far as my research has revealed real 50’s pickups are around 5.5k and no rwrp mid.
     
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  15. dazco

    dazco Strat-Talk Member

    Age:
    60
    44
    Oct 5, 2017
    california
    I like single coils to be low except in a strat's bridge. Tho i don't like em hot there either, just hotTER. The bridge output is always lower just due to it's location so another 1k all else being equal is about what i like to add at the bridge. So if i have 6k pickups in the bridge and middle i like a 7k at the bridge. Or at least 6.5k. But i don;t like going to hot and in the bridge and middle i like em on the low side. High 5's to mid 6k at the very most. When single coils are wound any hotter they just lose a lot of goodness IMO. As to single coils and distortion, they work great for that tho are never going to be as smooth and fat as a humbucker or high output single. But those lose a lot in the way of sweetness and cleans.
     
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