HSS vs SSS???

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by Agent00Vic, Sep 6, 2011.

  1. Agent00Vic

    Agent00Vic Strat-Talker

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    Please excuse another rookie question. I just want to be well informed when I by my first electric guitar and strat. What is the diff in sound on HSS vs SSS? I understand enough to know the humbuckers Eliminate the 60c hum, but what about the sound? Isn't the humming also eliminated with switch in 2 & 4 position on SSS? Should music style or taste be a factor in that decision? If so I'll be wanting to play classic and modern style rock, but not much really heavy metal. I like blues as well. I may play a little country on it but most likely I'll use my acoustic when I'm in the country mood.
     
  2. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    hey, man
    Don't worry..better to ask, then not I think :) . people here like to help :) .

    To offer some thoughts to your questions..If the middle pickup in an SSS set is reveverse wound and polarity(RWRP I think is the abbreviation), then yes, pos. 2 and 4 will hum cancel..;) .

    The HSS setup,imo is aimed for if you want to play stuff that has a really crunchy sound, on a Strat and get it closer to that(say for example led Zep,ZZ Top, AC/DC) because those guys use a bridge HB and not single coils,lol...
    So while it may not sound as exact as an SG(Angus Young) or LP(Jiimy Page, Billy Gibbons), an HSS Strat can handle that stuff better..Like have more oomph and punch on those big power chords?

    because with more gain, a bridge SC can sound not as good for that kind of stuff, imo. There are exceptions though like Hendrix and Ritchchie Blackmore who used bridge SC's through a wall of Marshall stacks, lol.

    Thanks :) .
     
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  3. Agent00Vic

    Agent00Vic Strat-Talker

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    Thanks for the reply and encouragement. It is appreciated. I will def have to try out the HSS when I start shopping as zz top and acdc are both among my favorites. Does the HSS limit my styles all or would it still be pretty versatile? Can you give some more good recognizable examples of SSS sounds?
     
  4. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    HSS is better if you're using heavy distortion. There's not a lot of examples of the different sounds, because still the majority of pickups there are single coils. If you like the strat sound yet need a humbucker, go HSS. The humbucker is only really important in 1 of the 5 pickup positions.

    the bridge single coil sounds better for country lead guitar, IMO. but for hard rock like ACDC, the Humbucker is preferred.

    I think you'd be better suited for HSS. HSS doesn't really limit you at all, unless you really love the twangy sound of a bridge single coil.
     
  5. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    hey, man
    No problem :)

    Hmm, a few examples of SSS tones would be like Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Rory Gallagher(irish blues guy..Very good!..Same ability as Stevie, imo.LOL.) , Stevie and Jimmie Vaughan, and there's more :) . just those are usually who i think of when I think Strat's with SSS tone, buddy.



    Since you mentioned AC/DC and ZZ Top being among your favorites..I would def. consider an HSS..Most of those guys I mentioned as SSS examples, used the neck pickup or neck and middle combined anyways :) .

    Like the bridge SC can be cool, but it has a lot of twang to it and some people don't like it,lol...Unless the 2nd tone pot is wired to the bridge pickup instead(like Jimmie Vaughan does as an example), bro. So he can roll treble off and all on that pickup because it being closest to the bridge adds a lot of that already?

    What is your budget? if I and the other folks know that, we can reccomend some models :) .

    Thanks :) .
     
  6. carver

    carver Gone strangling

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    hss is what i would lean towards for you, now please dont get me wrong. you can dial in a sss strat to sound evil as all sin, but it takes time and ears.. when it comes to grit. most humbuckers are straight plug and jam, single coils can have some wicked screaming tones if dialed in right but it really does take an ear that can hear what is over powering and what is lacking then you dial it all in to a nice blended sound.
    Regardless. id say go hss, so you dont feel derailed at all when you are trying to find your sound. after some time hearing what you like, you can then see if you can get a single to scream that way.
     
  7. Strategist

    Strategist Strat-Talker

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    Hey guys, that info makes a lotta sense to me as I'm getting a HSS strat and it is the sound I felt I was looking for too. Appreciated.
     
  8. carver

    carver Gone strangling

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    sweet, enjoy the new guitar :)
     
  9. abracadabra

    abracadabra Most Honored Senior Member

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    definitely sounds like you want an HSS strat. don't forget that in position 2 on the switch the humbucker is normally split and combined with the middle pup, so you still get that nice quack 'in between' sound, not too far from the sound you get in position 2 with an SSS guitar.

    as said above, you're only really losing the single-coil bridge position, but if you found later that you really needed it you can do a coil tap and have the humbucker split that way as well. it wouldn't be angled, but the sound wouldn't be far off.

    also, don't listen to the strat purists who tell you bad things will happen if you put a humbucker in a strat. :D
     
  10. Agent00Vic

    Agent00Vic Strat-Talker

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    Thanks. This is excellent help. My budget will most likely be in the $400 - $650 range. I was originally looking at the squire cvs but have been leaning toward the MIM standards, which can be readily found new in my area for around $499. I would love a MIA if I stumbled across a good deal used, but new is out of my range and I'm leery of ordering used guitars without seeing or playing them first. Unfortunately the used scene in my area hasn't looked to promising.

    Maybe it would also be easier if I gave a better sampling of what I want to play and you guys can help guide me. Here are some of my favorite bands through the years in no particular order.

    Acdc, zz top, nickleback, rhcp, creed, ccr, Tom petty, the stones, gnr (appetite era), aerosmith, bto, Stevie ray Vaughn, John mayor, the doors, Clapton, inxs (hutchence era), foo fighters, George thoroughgood, greenday, brad paisley, Kenny wayne Shepard, Keith urban, Gary Allan, skynyrd, Melissa etheridge, led zeplin staind, 3 days grace, 3 doors down Santana, older Metallica is about as heavy as I'd ever go.

    As you can see I'd like it to be pretty versatile, but sound good for most of those styles. I haven't been an enthusiast long enough to know what most of these guys play. Looks like alot of replies came while I was typing this on iPhone so sorry if it's redundant now.
     
  11. abracadabra

    abracadabra Most Honored Senior Member

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    the MIM Std HSS would be a good place to start having a look, but definitely check out the the MIM Deluxe Lonestar strat. it costs about $100 more than the Std, but is easily worth it imo, especially as it's well within your budget. the finishing on the Deluxe strats is on average much better than the Stds.
     
  12. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    if you are just switching from an acoustic, any strat is going to be easy to play.

    I honestly recommend getting a Bullet. You can get one with HSS for 100 dollars (new) one cheaper than that used, and they are good guitars. For another 100 you could get a killer set of replacement pickups, and it would be nearly as good as anything else you could play. My upgraded bullet is seriously just about as good as an MIM. The stock bullet pickups sound good right out of the box as well.

    Just trying to save you some money. I think for a person just starting out on electric, Bullets or affinities are great. I play out for money, and I still play Bullets with MIM pickups, and affinities with CV60 pickups. My lead guitarist loves his Bullet stock pickups.

    My advice is to go to a music store, and get a sunburst HSS bullet, or even 2 bullets. They have nice finishes, too. I 100% guarantee you will be satisfied with your investment, or I'll buy it from you. You could get a Bullet HSS and an Affinity SSS and get the best of both worlds for cheaper than one new Fender.

    Anybody who tells you that it's necessary to start out with a 600 dollar guitar is blowing smoke, and probably trying to sell you something. I do not own a 600 dollar guitar, probably never will, and all 30 of my guitars play very well, and sound good, in my opinion.
    That's my honest 2 cents.

    one like this[​IMG]
     
  13. HBOilers

    HBOilers Strat-Talker

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    I play the same stuff( zz, free,skynard) and I had to put a PAF in the bridge to get the sound I wanted for that style. I like to use as few effects as possible and the paf with moderate gain gives me a great classic rock tone.. The great thing is If I want to play any bluesy sounding stuff or clean I put it in 4th position and it sounds like a totally different guitar.

    Good Luck\m/
     
  14. Shepard_man

    Shepard_man Strat-O-Master

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    This is certainly true...having a humbucker in the bridge will definitely make an already versatile guitar, even more so..ymmv though.
     
  15. abracadabra

    abracadabra Most Honored Senior Member

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    just a word of warning for the OP: this 'guarantee' is exactly how nickmsmith ended up with 30 guitars in the first place. :mrgreen:

    jk :)
     
  16. stradovarious

    stradovarious Senior Stratmaster

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    AMEN AMEN AMEN!
     
  17. stratomaster96

    stratomaster96 Banned

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    In a Strat, SSS absolutely. Leo designed his guitars with single coil pickups for a reason, and Fender guitars should stay that way. If you want a thick humbucking sound, look into an Epiphone or a low end Gibson. If you want a great single coil sound, a SSS Bullet with a pickup change or MIM should be just fine.
     
  18. stradovarious

    stradovarious Senior Stratmaster

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    Just be advised that while shopping, you may be swayed by the Affinity Strat which is also excellent but is a bit more cash and the recent ones are designed I guess for "beginners" hence the nut is narrower than most import Strats. Silly I think because a beginner needs more room not less...Justg about everything from the MIM Standard Stratocaster down to the Bullet-Strat has a 42mm nut (MUST be 2008-preset serial #- look on back of headstock and make certain the first 3 letters are either COB or COS and the next 2 numbers will be the year)- make sure it's a 2008-2011. Solid Basswood body, close to standard thickness (Affinity is thinner, noticeably) and the 42mm nut that is pretty much the norm for import Strats.
    The tuners are better on the Affinity, and but the other factors (mainly the narrow nut) are not to my taste, and you can always swap tuners with a hand tapered reamer to make the holes gradually large enough (don't try drilling them!). Truth be told, I am fine with the Bullet tuners, not problems with them yet!
     
  19. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    Yes, there was a reason: They designed the Stratocaster in 1954, and Lover made one of the first successful humbuckers for Gibson in 1955.

    aka-they didn't really exist.

    They were pretty much Gibson's baby at the time, it's not as if Fender had some sort of uppity hatred for humbuckers. They just weren't around.

    It isn't blasphemy to have an HSS strat. Please don't try to turn new guitarists into snobs when it isn't necessary. Leo's dead, and not like he's rolling over in his grave because somebody decided to make a humbucker, P90, or hot railed strat. He made strats so they could be modifiable and interchangeable.

    The Fender corporation pretty proudly touts the Jim Root strat, and that's as far from the SSS as you can get.
     
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  20. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    hey, man
    No worries :) .

    For what you want tone wise ..My advice would be find a used MIM HSS for around $499..IThen put an Alnico PAF style HB in the bridge(the stock ceramic pickups might be a bit too gritty for the petty songs and similar) then also some Alnico single coils for the neck and middle)..I can tell you some suggestions for those too, buddy.

    Thanks :) .

    The only tones that setup might not cover(to me) is George Thorogood since he uses P90 pickups, and Metallica,lol.