Best Strat pickups for jangly gooey biting sparkle (ha)

bossaIV

New Member!
Oct 4, 2021
4
Warrenville, IL
I have an Am Pro Strat HH that I’m going to convert to SSS. I’m not a blues player, but the closest thing to that world that I dig is Jimi. I really like Built to Spill Strat tones (but not looking to get Lace Sensors), Big Star Strat tones, and many other instances of slightly overdriven single coil rock tones through a Fender amp. I also really like fuzz with single coils. '60s and '70s rock tones are my north star.

I'm a Jag and LP player mostly, and I love the Jag "spank" which is why I want to explore the Strat single coil world. I play through a PRRI with a 10" Tim Weber 10F125 30 watt speaker. A lot of the SSS Strats I’ve played here and there sound a little too anemic or one-dimensional. "Dorky" is an adjective that sometimes comes to mind. But those special ones that I’ve played really jangle, sing, chime, dig, and have cool sparkly overtones that have such 3D depth and personality that's almost "spongey" or "gooey". I also want clarity and don't always need to bite 100%, but would like to about 50% of the time. Apologies in advance if my descriptions are weird. That’s what I’m looking for. Any suggestions? Thanks!
 

Daddy Do Thang

Strat-Talk Member
May 27, 2021
74
Flintstone
Bootstrap vintage sparkle is certainly sparkley.

Not sure about gooey, but I have both dirty blackface and dirty blondes and man.... Those dirty blondes are special.

However, if you really want the spongey thing, get a set of 5 raw vintage springs and install all 5. It will change your strat for the better. I used to hate the duck, now I love it.
 

Nevets

Strat-Talk Member
Jan 23, 2015
59
Vancouver BC
That's exactly the kind of strat sound I'm going for too (love Built to Spill) and I'm thinking of the 57/62's. Now I'm considering the CS 69s.
 

AxemanVR

I appreciate, therefore I am...
Silver Member
Feb 8, 2014
5,849
Minnesota USA

Pickup swapping is a crapshoot at best, which can cost you a ton of money if you’re not careful.

I suggest starting at a lower cost solution, since more money doesn’t necessarily yield better results - so don’t overlook some of the more affordable options.

On my Fender “Custom Shop Partscaster” project (2012 Fender Custom Shop ‘69 Relic Strat body with a 2021 Fender American Original 60s neck) I installed a set of Fender Tex Mex pickups “temporarily”, but I love them so much they’re staying!

As far as I’m concerned they have the perfect balance of tone and output (for me), plus they’re the most affordable pickups Fender has to offer (under $100 US dollars at this time for a Strat set).

Well worth trying in my opinion...

Good Luck!


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Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Silver Member
Jan 23, 2020
4,427
NW LA
Jangly, gooey, biting?

Never once have I heard gooey or biting tone.

Why don't you describe those so we know what you mean? Because I haven't a clue.
 

Wound_Up

You can call me Duane 😁
Silver Member
Jan 23, 2020
4,427
NW LA
Bootstrap vintage sparkle is certainly sparkley.

Not sure about gooey, but I have both dirty blackface and dirty blondes and man.... Those dirty blondes are special.

However, if you really want the spongey thing, get a set of 5 raw vintage springs and install all 5. It will change your strat for the better. I used to hate the duck, now I love it.

How do trem springs change the sound? I gotta hear this!
 

Whitster

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 27, 2021
94
Seattle area
I have an Am Pro Strat HH that I’m going to convert to SSS. I’m not a blues player, but the closest thing to that world that I dig is Jimi. I really like Built to Spill Strat tones (but not looking to get Lace Sensors), Big Star Strat tones, and many other instances of slightly overdriven single coil rock tones through a Fender amp. I also really like fuzz with single coils. '60s and '70s rock tones are my north star.

I'm a Jag and LP player mostly, and I love the Jag "spank" which is why I want to explore the Strat single coil world. I play through a PRRI with a 10" Tim Weber 10F125 30 watt speaker. A lot of the SSS Strats I’ve played here and there sound a little too anemic or one-dimensional. "Dorky" is an adjective that sometimes comes to mind. But those special ones that I’ve played really jangle, sing, chime, dig, and have cool sparkly overtones that have such 3D depth and personality that's almost "spongey" or "gooey". I also want clarity and don't always need to bite 100%, but would like to about 50% of the time. Apologies in advance if my descriptions are weird. That’s what I’m looking for. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Lace Sensor Gold
 

Strat-Slinger

Senior Stratmaster
Feb 9, 2013
3,026
Somewhere in Space
If you don't want all the hum... go vintage noisless... if you want to deal with noise go with standard single coils... the cheeper the better for that extra "jangly" thin tone... enjoy!
 

bossaIV

New Member!
Oct 4, 2021
4
Warrenville, IL
Thank you so much for your insights (and for suffering my weirdo, sometimes contradictory adjectives. ha!)! Your replies are exactly the kinds of answers I was looking for, and I now have some better direction to begin my search.

‘Jangly, gooey, biting sparkle’ I have absolutely no advice to give but, please, when you find the answer, let us all know!

Jangly, gooey, biting?

Never once have I heard gooey or biting tone.

Why don't you describe those so we know what you mean? Because I haven't a clue.

"Gooey" and "spongey" come from my favorite RAT settings through my Jag: almost no distortion, just a smidge of filter, and volume at about 3/4 goosed with PRRI dialed in a pretty middle of the road EQ with about 4 on volume. Jamming chords and digging in on leads with that setup evoked the word "spongey" to me, and the rest is history. It "bites," but the little bit of filter softens and gives it a nice pick-sensitive bouncing response. I'm not really able to reach that tone as successfully with my LP the HH Strat due for conversion—a little on the bridge pickups but not like single coils (although my 2/4 on the HH selector do the quack, so I can kind of get it there).

How do trem springs change the sound? I gotta hear this!

Yeah, that's new to me, too! I definitely know about hardtail Strats sounding different than those with synchronized tremolo system, but I never considered the actual spring itself making much of a difference!

Lace Sensor Gold
That's exactly what Doug Martsch in Built to Spill uses. Someone told me a while ago before I knew anything about anything that Lace Sensors were just for shredders, and ignorantly I haven't been able to shake that misconception. Perhaps now is the time... Because obviously I do like how they sound seeing that two of my guitar heroes play them (the aforementioned Doug, and Jonny Greenwood in his Tele). And for some reason I get hung-up on the "noiseless" label, like it takes away from the charming edginess of the technology (although we all know the 60-cycle hum and other interference can ruin certain situations really quick, so again, I need to quash that baseless stigma I have).

But the ones that'll give what you want are CS 69's.

These are looking appealing to me. Thanks for the suggestion!

suggest starting at a lower cost solution, since more money doesn’t necessarily yield better results - so don’t overlook some of the more affordable options.

Always sage advice (and a great reminder during the search for a new sound. THANKS.)
 
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Whitster

Strat-Talk Member
Aug 27, 2021
94
Seattle area
Thank you so much for your insights (and for suffering my weirdo, sometimes contradictory adjectives. ha!)! Your replies are exactly the kinds of answers I was looking for, and I now have some better direction to begin my search.






That's exactly what Doug Martsch in Built to Spill uses. Someone told me a while ago before I knew anything about anything that Lace Sensors were just for shredders, and ignorantly I haven't been able to shake that misconception. Perhaps now is the time... Because obviously I do like how they sound seeing that two of my guitar heroes play them (the aforementioned Doug, and Jonny Greenwood in his Tele). And for some reason I get hung-up on the "noiseless" label, like it takes away from the charming edginess of the technology (although we all know the 60-cycle hum and other interference can ruin certain situations really quick, so again, I need to quash that baseless stigma I have).

yea, i honestly think if lace gold sensors LOOKED like conventional pickups (with pole pieces - even if fake and embedded in the cover) they would be way more popular. Guitarists are just ABSURDLY conservative and if it isn't the same as what their heroes in the 60's and 70's played - IT'S NOT GOOD AND IT'S STERILE AND DOESN'T HAVE MOJO HURR DURR ... we see this all the time. It's why Gibson LP's don't have volutes.

My Strat Plus with Lace Sensor golds is SO jangly and has such incredible harmonics... these are in no way "sterile" pickups (god I hate that thing)
 

J557

Strat-Talk Member
May 24, 2021
15
Indiana
I absolutely love my mother’s milk from bare knuckle. RWRP mid coil and they’re very quiet. A significant improvement from the noiseless scn’s I replaced.
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,433
Michigan
.

Spend more time measuring and swapping pots 'n caps than pickups. Pots 'n caps have as much influence as pickups for the tone you get when the knobs are 'dimed'. Most players know what to expect from 250k/500kohm pots and then understand that pots have a 20% tolerance range min-max ...

.
 

Belltonenblues84

Strat-Talker
Oct 12, 2019
379
Chicago, IL
If you want abit more jangle... try boosting your treble and lowering your pickups abit and your middle pickup all the way down to the pick guard surface...... you're welcome

Money spent 0 lol... all you need is a screwdriver lol
 


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