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Replacing SCN pickups in american deluxe

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by VoodooChild501, Jun 24, 2011.

  1. VoodooChild501

    VoodooChild501 Strat-O-Master

    Jan 23, 2011
    Cabot, Arkansas
    There may be a thread on this already.. If so.. My bad. But my question is I have a american deluxe strat with the SCN pickups. I don't hate them but they don't perform like my other strats. I know it is possible to replace them but If I do so will i loose my s1 switch or de- value the guitar in anyway?

  2. Jimmy R

    Jimmy R Strat-O-Master

    Jun 15, 2011
    My fretboard
    You would definitely devalue the guitar, but you can still hold onto them and reinstall if you go to resell. I have no idea whether the S-1 can be wired to new pups or not. Sorry you don't like the SCNs, I had an ash like the one in your picture and it was real punchy!

  3. clintnz

    clintnz Strat-Talk Member

    Aug 18, 2009
    Auckland, NZ
    I replaced the pickups with cs69's when I had a deluxe, just bought new pots, wire, pickups, switch, knobs etc and left the scns all wired up for easy install if case I ever sold it, which I did, worth doing imo

  4. Steve St.Lauren

    Steve St.Lauren Strat-Talker

    Aug 20, 2010
    Mid Michigan
    You won't lose your S1 functionality.

  5. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    with any pickup, before you try the "hard fix" try the easy one first....

    Just try adjusting the pickup heights.... pickups, all pickups, have a "Sweet spot". Many guys when they get their guitar, immediately begin sticking screw drivers into screws and begin turning... often without a clue as to what they are doing, often fixing what ain't broke.

    Another "culprit" . . . few guitars come from the manufacturer with anything more than a barely minimum setup, then, if the owner starts "fiddling" with things he knows nothing about, things only slide further down hill.

    So before you get out the Credit card and soldering gun, try setting the pickups at about 1/8" from the strings and go from there.

    The SCN's were designed, no, wait, invented (he holds the Patent) by Bill Lawrence. Bill has forgotten more about pickups than most winders will ever learn. He knows a thing or two about pups, he is very "anal" about the sound they produce, and speaks with pride about the SCN, it's a hellova pup.

    as far as that goes, the American Deluxe isn't supposed to perform like the other Strats, it's not the "other" Strats, it's an American Deluxe, that's why it has different electronics, different switching and different pickups. If it performed like the others, there would be no reason for it to exist.

    I'm not trying to be a snot, but I often get requests for exotic wiring/pickups/electronics from guys that just want something different... and haven't the slightest notion of why they want all that "stuff", then comes the gripe...I "they don't perform like my other strats" to which I reply, "Thank you for noticing". ;)

    Ron Kirn

  6. BradL

    BradL Senior Stratmaster

    Jun 1, 2010
    Sussex, UK
    I agree with Ron. Sometimes I think we hear what we want to hear. There is a view about SCNs that somehow they're not organic sounding or warm and tend toward sterility. If the pickup is somehow masking part of the sound (hum in this case) then perhaps its missing in other areas but the real problem may well be between the ears rather than under the strings.

  7. Jimmy R

    Jimmy R Strat-O-Master

    Jun 15, 2011
    My fretboard
    Couldn't agree more!

  8. crane

    crane Strat-Talker

    May 5, 2010
    My experience - which may help you :

    I just put an SSL-1 in my Deluxe -did not lose S1 functionality.
    It sounded so close to the SCN, that I put the SCN back in to keep it original.
    Then I ordered a loaded pickguard with Fender Fat 50s - it cost a lot, but it is better than buying each pick up separate and having to do all the work yourself. As far as value - I'm just going to hold on to the original pick guard.

  9. amstratnut

    amstratnut Peace thru Music. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 1, 2009
    My house.
    The s-1 is wired to the switch and has nothing to do with which pups are installed. I switched out the SCNs as well because the guitar did nt have the typical strat sparkle. Whie its hard to argue with Ron Kirns background of wisdom, I'm glad I made the switch. The important thing to think of IMO, is what is missing or what do you wish it did or didn't do.. In the case of my guitar it was kind of dull sounding and lower output pups was the cure. They heped liven it up a ot. The same pups in another guitar may be too bright. So figure where you are, and where you want to be and then start trying to find a pup that wil do what you want. A general guideline is vintage or low output pups tend to sound bright and have spanky wound strings. Overwound pups tend to warm up the guitar to a degree drive the amp harder and emphasize mids more. General guideline here.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011

  10. VoodooChild501

    VoodooChild501 Strat-O-Master

    Jan 23, 2011
    Cabot, Arkansas
    Thanks for the input guys. I guess I just have my days... Sometimes I really like the sound of the scn's but other times they just don't do it for me. But I guess if I'm not digging the sound that day I can always play one of my other strats! :) also good idea about the adjusting the height or maybe buying a loaded pickguard for a easy change while being able to go back stock as I please or for resale.

  11. wahcat

    wahcat Strat-Talk Member

    Jun 8, 2011
    On the run
    Buy a new scratch plate, pots, knobs etc and then you can basically hot swap from the new set of pups to the SNC's (I dont know why you would want to). I took mine out and am using cs69's and the sound is the best ever. The SCN's were a major disappointment IMHO.

    If go to sell you could offer both pickguards or keep the new ones for your new project. I sold my SCN's on ebay as I was not worried about selling the guitar. It looks so good and plays so well I just wont sell it.

  12. bluesky636

    bluesky636 Strat-O-Master

    Apr 5, 2010
    Definitely play with the pickup height. In my experience, SCNs sound best when set low. I have mine set as follows (as measured from the magnet top to string underside):

    Neck: Bass = 12/64", Treble = 10/64"

    Middle: Bass = 13/64", Treble = 11/64"

    Bridge: Bass = 12/64", Treble = 10/64"

    Nice crisp sound in positions 1, 3, and 5. Good quack in positions 2 and 4. :D

  13. arnie65

    arnie65 Strat-Talk Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    Maybe I missed something, but why would you want a Strat to perform like other Strats you already have? Unless this is a guitar you use as a replacement when you do live shows etc.. I would think if anyone has more than one Strat, they be happy that both have their own sound.


  14. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016
    At first I hated SCN pups, just couldn't get it. But these days, I play an Ash Strat, mounted with SCN pups. I play straight on a Blues Jr, clean sound. Yes, height is an important factor to make the best of those pups. Spent a lot of time exploring picking techniques & got to a stage where l wouldn't swap them for any other. So it really depends the genre, style of play.

  15. Strat-Slinger

    Strat-Slinger Senior Stratmaster

    I can fully understand if you want to take those pups out and go with something else... I think the cobalts were the absolute worst noiseless pups that Fender ever put out... Yes, I know Bill Lawrence invented them... and I have nothing but respect for the man and the work he had done... but... those pups, in my book, plain and simply don't cut it...

    Get a loaded guard with something like N3's or one of the many other decent noiseless (if you want to go noiseless) pup sets... I would think you can get one with S1 config... hold onto the original guard with the cobalts and electronis all intact and you're golden if you ever wish to reinstall them and the guitar's back to awesome, stock condition and retains it's full value...

  16. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016
    That crossed my mind, I must admit. But after spending a fair bit of time trying out strats mounted with all sorts, ranging from Abi to customs to Seymours etc... on many visits to Denmark Str. I really felt none came out as giving me an obvious Xtra. That is, for my style of play. The SCN pups deliver a more than decent vintage, 50s style range of tones on that particular guitar. The neck pup on its own delivers an amazing tone! I might just be very lucky in having an odd set, I don't know... Those were mounted by a previous owner, I believe , as l have the S1 & the Strat is not a Deluxe. I also find they respond really well to all little tweeks I pull plucking the strings.