Long old debate, HSS vs SSS Strat

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by valnuss, Jun 16, 2021.

  1. David Garner

    David Garner Senior Stratmaster

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    This is where I ended up, though for years I was a purist. My only Strat was an SSS, an EJ from 2009. It's a great guitar and I still think SSS when I think "Strat."

    But I built the superstrat in my avatar recently, and good grief, it is a versatile and amazing guitar. I still want an SSS, but I'm giving up very little with the JB in the bridge split -- it's a Strat right up until I flip the switch to activate both coils on the JB, at which point it's a Frankenstrat.

    One of each. That is 100% the correct answer.
     
  2. EC Strat

    EC Strat Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    I like them both but the SSS has to have a hot bridge

    I have an SSL 5 in one Strat and an FS 1 in another

    HSS has a Shawbucker - really like it. Just enough grit and beef but it darn near sounds like a single coil.
     
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  3. Stevn

    Stevn Senior Stratmaster

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    I gave my hss away, literally. I got sss and smiled a lot, and lived happily ever after.
    :D
     
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  4. StratSounds

    StratSounds Senior Stratmaster

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    I’ve gotta strongly disagree with you on the “sounds nothing at all” comment. Both of my HSS’s are definitely in the ballpark of my SSS’s when the buckers are split, especially this one with the slanted humbucker.

    5EDCC994-1962-47F5-8232-99427DABD11D.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  5. blackstrat

    blackstrat Senior Stratmaster

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    As mentioned earlier, it depends on what style of music you play most of the time and what other guitars you have. I mainly play heavier styles of rock so I mostly like HH, HSS etc. However, if you want to retain a more classic SSS strat and can deal with the 50/60 cycle hum (with a noise gate/reduction pedal for example) there some interesting alternatives:
    a) clapton mid boost - very potent, thickens the single coils beyond a humbucker but will introduce a lot of hum
    b) emg SPC control - thickens up single coils nicely (more polite than the clapton). i've only tried that with a DG-20 Gilmour set, but in theory it will also work with passive single coils
    c) Seymour Duncan Pickup Booster - a clean booster pedal that also has a couple of humbucker emulation settings. Works really good, it's extremely low noise and can also be used as booster anywhere in the chain (although not using it directily after the guitar will lessen the effect of the hum simulator). My only gripe with this pedal is that at times it seems to sound too bright. If this pedal had some sort of tone control it would be the best option available.
    d) Eq pedal. This is my current favourite option, you can really use it to simulate a humbucker if you dial it in properly. I currently use a Boss GE-7(together with a NS-2 noise supressor) and I can plug any single coil strat and make it sound very close to a humbucker (to my ears at least!).

    Also, a dedicated tone control for the bridge pickup will really help in all the above scenarios.
     
  6. blackstrat

    blackstrat Senior Stratmaster

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    Another option is to use a single coil size humbucker in the 12-13k DCR range (Dimarzio's Tone Zone S and Super Distortion S work really well for this). When you split this type of pickups you'll get a split coil in the 6-6.5k range like a vintage single coil. Of course, the construction, materials etc are really different but still, you are getting a single coil in the classic slanted position with similar output to the rest of the pickups. Also, position 2 sounds really great (much better than your average split full size humbucker).

    It has to be noted that the single coil size humbuckers do not sound as full as a regular, full size humbucker, but as always, life is full of compromises :)
     
  7. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    I own both ..because they sound a little different and because I feel like it. :)
     
  8. rockon1

    rockon1 Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    All blades... 5 actually- could only find a trio photo...

    20210212_164517_resized.jpg
     
  9. Skyking

    Skyking New Member!

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    Agree. I've had both SSS & HSS, and Les Paul. Problem for me is when I want both sounds during same song. Them it's compromise time...
     
  10. bluesman1956

    bluesman1956 Strat-O-Master

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    Both, I was a SSS player for many years until I tried a Suhr Antique Custom HSS, I was sold, then I got the SSS, I’m good for any gig situation. 754DA17B-05CB-475B-BA1A-3E890BFC0F8E.jpeg
     
  11. bluesman1956

    bluesman1956 Strat-O-Master

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    Great guitar, my number one.
     

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  12. Surf Green

    Surf Green Strat-Talk Member

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    I bought a sss Affinity and hated the bridge pickup. Then I bought a Bullet hss - much better. I now have a Player hss even better. That will probably be my last strat because I'm more of a tele guy. Capri Orange.jpg Shell Pink & Surf Green.jpg
     
  13. Slyy

    Slyy Strat-Talker

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    Over the years I migrated to HSH Strats. Dimarzio rails (Tone Zone/Air Norton) with a Lace Sensor in the middle is what I settled on for rock/metal.

    All three of my Strats are wired this way.



    [​IMG]
     
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  14. pkailas

    pkailas Strat-Talk Member

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  15. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon

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    They'll be putting rosewood fingerboards on them next... o_O
     
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  16. Cerb

    Cerb Anti conformist reformist

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    Surely they wouldn't go that far!?
     
  17. Pluckeverystring

    Pluckeverystring Strat-Talk Member

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    I have never played a HSS, but Shouldn’t a coil split enabling only one coil of the bucker to combine with the middle single still allow for the quack in 2nd position?


    What class do stacked pickups fit?

    I have a mixed set of dimarzio areas, plus TBX/Clapton boost pots, it goes from single coil strat sounds to fat humbucker in any position. Only negative being dialing a humbucker tone hits the amp a bit harder than without the circuit engaged
     
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  18. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    If a Strat is your only guitar ... sure, an HSS seems like a great idea.

    I had an HSS Strat and never got along with it either, I missed some of the classic tones, and when I got more actual HH guitars it became redundant. I did a hundred mods to that guitar trying to improve it. In the end I found the Armstrong Blender mod and that fixed it up. With this wiring scheme I keep the classic Strat SSS tones but have access to a big range of option between SSS and hot HSH. Plus it's an inexpensive mod, just wiring changes unless converting.

    Now any Strat I get, regardless of it's factory layout, I convert it to SSS and wire it with the Armstrong Blender. This one has a reverse/Hendrix bridge slot and it changes the tone in good ways. The Tele Esquire-H is controlled by a 4-way switch the same as a Baja Tele.

    [​IMG]
    The original HSS modded 'victim'. Last iteration of the HSS systems remained with the first test of the reversed angle bridge pickup. I just cut a scrap black plastic sheet to bridge the pickup to pickguard fitup. The 1970s MIJ LP has a P90 bridge and Dynasonic-style neck pickup.
    [​IMG]
    This is my current Strat. It's converted to the Armstrong Blender too. Fun having a stealth Les Paul just a knob away. The Tele here is stock, but sometime it will get the 4-way switch and reversed control plate (V-T-Switch to the rear).
    [​IMG]



     
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  19. publius

    publius Strat-Talker

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    I feel strongly both ways.
     
  20. StratifyMe

    StratifyMe Strat-Talk Member

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    I played only Les Pauls for years. Strats never interested me before I recently started watching YouTube videos of them. I really liked what I was hearing so I bought my Am Pro II.
    Wow! What have I been missing all these years. I love the sound.
    However, if I still want the growl of a Humbucker I grab the LP. I will never loose my love for my LP.
    The Strat will always be SSS for me and the Paul will be there for the Humbuckers.
    That’s why everyone should own at least one of each.