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What's your favorite clean strat pickup set?

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by Fuzzpop, Dec 29, 2017.

  1. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Happy Friday! (At least here in the U.S.)

    The title kind of says it all, but what pickups do you all like for classic low output, 50s, bell-tone sounds? We talk a lot about dirty tones like SRV and Hendrix, but how about that beautiful, crystal clear sound?

    I've heard amazing things about the Don Mare Brown0Tones, Klein 1955 Epic Series, Fralin Real '54s and the Arcane Proto 54. But...I've never played any of those myself.

    I have the BK Irish Tours in my '59 AVRI. They're mind blowlingly amazing, but for my new '57 reissue I want to try something completely opposite from the Irish Tours.

    Thanks, all!
    CephasG likes this.
  2. Guitarmageddon

    Guitarmageddon Squier-A-Holic Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 19, 2014
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    Fender 57/62's are my fave for sure!
    jrbirdman, Nate D, Percy and 5 others like this.
  3. Ace38

    Ace38 Strat-Talker

    Aug 8, 2016
    Tulsa, OK.
    I actually like the sound of the SC-101's clean. Comes through loud and crisp with a good string balance.
    metale and Fuzzpop like this.
  4. knh555

    knh555 Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 6, 2016
    Hard to pick. Currently, I'm getting to know the pups in my new AV65. The neck pickup is sweet but I like all three and in combination. Still playing around with the clean sounds.

    For me, I can always count on my Fender Lace Golds (orig version from the Strat Plus). I record with those often and if I'm not sure what guitar to take out with me, this is the one. I've recorded these clean through acoustic amps a bunch and love how it turned out.

    For a cool range of tonality that lets me get good, clean, throaty tones, I often go to my mk-guitar Schecter F500T clones. Those things are incredible and can give a very unique sound. They are tapped with three-way switching on each pup, so I can go cool-off-hot in any combination, and I use quite a few of the combinations. These pickups are particularly bell-like, which I love.

    What I look for in a clean pickup is the ability to better control my articulation and how it comes through the amp. I don't like pickups that smooth things over too much unless the song really calls for that.

    Finally, one set that I don't use often but when I do, really enjoy, are the Peavey Super Ferrite pickups in my old '87 Peavey Patriot. I don't really know how to describe them other than unique, at least in my limited experience.
    Fuzzpop likes this.
  5. Tone Guru

    Tone Guru Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 13, 2011
    Music City TN
    My favourite set is not available as a "set".
    I have 2 AY Custom Shop '69s for the neck and middle and a slightly hotter Custom Shop '60s grey bottom for the bridge.
    I sorted through quite a few Fender grey bottoms to mate these up.

    I'm not familiar with the aftermarket options you mention except the Lindy's.
    The set of Fralins I have are a bit more mid dominant.
    I'm not convinced that buying pickups as a homogenous set is the ideal solution.
    Tone Deaf, PhatBoy and Fuzzpop like this.
  6. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 10, 2014

    While I have some fancier Fender Strats, a Squier Bullet Strat's neck pickup actually gives the best clean tone 'in spite of' the ceramic bar magnet along with a Washburn/Samick under wound (4kohm) middle pickup. (Gasp! Ceramic! How can that be?) Even a local pro player was surprised at the great tone when he tested it out. I eventually landed on internal capacitance as the deciding feature, high capacitance (typical of machine wound) gives muddy output while low internal capacitance (typical of hand-wound) gives brighter and cleaner output - like having a tone knob permanently engaged or disengaged.

    Don't forget that your controls contribute to the tone scape you seek. Pots and caps can vary 10-20% and they alter the resonant frequency of the system even when wide open. Some like to swap pickups until the output of the system sounds pleasing to them, I like to start with the cheap pots and caps and work up to the pickups. I rarely do pickup swaps now unless I'm looking for a dramatic style shift like humbuckers to P90s.

    glmino, Mandok and Fuzzpop like this.
  7. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    Bill Lawrence's MicroCoils... simply stunning... and at a price that defies belief...

    skypeace, Doug B, jamieorc and 3 others like this.
  8. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Thanks for the advice, everyone!
  9. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Hey, Ron. Do you have a specific pickup or selection of pickups you use as standard in your strat builds?
  10. EricMag34

    EricMag34 Strat-Talker

    Mar 25, 2016
    Granville, IL
    I have recently installed a set of Fender 57/62's in one of my Strats. I've spent a great deal on boutique Strat pickups in the past. They're all really great. But to my ears, you cannot beat a set of Fender 57/62's. They're fantastic. And they make me feel like a fool for all the money I've previously spent on others.
  11. kennesawbob

    kennesawbob Strat-Talker

    Apr 21, 2010
    Kennesaw, GA
  12. Rufustelestrat

    Rufustelestrat Senior Stratmaster

    avri 65's
    abby CS 69 hand wound
    fat 50s
  13. Ronkirn

    Ronkirn Senior Stratmaster

    May 26, 2006
    Jacksonville, FL
    My default is my custom wound pickups... but if you prefer any other's it's nada problem..however it does increase the cost by whatever their cost it..

    Fuzzpop likes this.
  14. Vjerilood

    Vjerilood Senior Stratmaster

    Jul 30, 2017
    Custom Shop 54
    ShaneRingo and Fuzzpop like this.
  15. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Thanks, Ron! I was actually the person you were just emailing with about the hardtail build. Thanks, again for your help!
  16. bchaffin72

    bchaffin72 The wizard next door. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Oct 4, 2008
    Well, my own, if I do say so myself.............:D

    Outside of my general fascination with pickups, it was my desire to experiment and find my own clean sounds that led me to start building pickups.
    glmino and Fuzzpop like this.
  17. Bladesg

    Bladesg Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 31, 2013
    Best clean strat pickups I've played are the Klein Jazzy Cats.
    Fuzzpop likes this.
  18. Fuzzpop

    Fuzzpop Ryan-Ola Silver Member

    Aug 14, 2012
    Washington, D.C.
    Do you have a website? I see the link to your FB page, but I don't have FB. Thanks!
  19. fezz parka

    fezz parka Do you Reach? Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    Right behind you...
    Low wind (7500 turns) A5, 42 awg. for Strats.
    For Telecasters:
    Bridge 8000 turns, A3, 42 awg.
    Neck, 7500 turns, A5(tall .688), 42 awg. Nickel silver cover.
    Buckers, low wind 42 awg(DCR under 8k) , A2.
    PhatBoy, Ebidis, Nate D and 2 others like this.
  20. Vic Interceptor

    Vic Interceptor Strat-Talker

    Dec 28, 2017
    Sparkleberry SC
    Clean for jazz, 69's. clean for surf, 62's.
    fezz parka likes this.