Looking for guidance & suggestions for pickup set based on my amp and gear

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by thelaundryman, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. thelaundryman

    thelaundryman New Member!

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    Hello,

    I'm in the process of planning an SSS Stratocaster with a Warmoth Mary Kaye body and a Fender neck (not ordered yet, so I can still change to SSH if recommended). I've still got some time to go before I start ordering everything but I'm pretty overwhelmed with the massive amount of pickup choices and companies. I've read countless threads and reviews across multiple sites but it's all getting mixed up in my head.

    Hopefully with the following I can get a direction to look to:

    My favorite guitarists/tones and what I enjoy playing:
    • David Gilmour - Late 70's/Animals and 90's/Division Bell (Marooned from Division Bell is probably my favorite guitar tone and instrumental ever); (I absolutely love both the intro solo and mid/ending solos of Coming back to Life as well)
    • Eric Johnson - both his clean and lead tones are incredible to me
    • Mateus Asato
    • Steely Dan/Chicago and the tight jazzy-rock lead guitar sounds of the late 70's and 80's, such as the solo's on Kid Charlemagne and Night by Night (these were likely played on a Gibson with humbuckers though)
    • Nothing of high extreme gain or distortion
    My Gear:
    • Amp - Vox AC15, Fender Vibrolux; both mids-scooped amps. This is where the majority of my confusion comes from. The tones I like such as David Gilmour and Eric Johnson are often through mids-heavy amps, such as Gilmour's frequent use of Hiwatt. This leads me to believe I should be looking for pickups that are a bit more mids-heavy?
    • Relevant Pedals - TS8 for a mids-boost, Vertex Steel String also for mids-boost and saturation, 10-band EQ, CostaLab Moon Drive for muff tones (Similar to a Rat mixed with Germanium Fuzz; used for smooth lead tones), BK Butler Tube Driver (both Gilmour and EJ use the same model), Wampler Euphoria, modulation/delay and reverb. I have pedals to compensate for the lack of mids in my amps, and I love smooth overdrive leads and clean rhythms. The Moon Drive muff and Tube Driver both perform much better when having mids.
    Hopefully this isn't too long of a post and can help guide me in the right direction. I'm hoping to stay around the $200 range, but I can spend up to $250 if its worth it.

    I haven't ordered the body yet, so the SSS setup isn't locked in or anything yet. Should I consider more in an SSH with a humbucker in the bridge?

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  2. guitarface

    guitarface Most Honored Senior Member

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    Any traditional low wind single coil pickups.
     
  3. Agtronic

    Agtronic Senior Stratmaster

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    The two artists you just named make it a lot easier to narrow down. Both used SSS setups, and honestly, with a Strat, mostly any pickup you choose will get you 90% there.

    I have never looked into EJ’s setups and know little about his gear, but if I had to guess I’d say he often uses positions 1, 2 and 3 and uses the tone knob to soften the high end. His sound is very single coil to me. I never fully understood the reason for a HB on a Strat but hey, many people use them so there must be something there.

    Gilmour is 100% SSS tones to my ears. A compressor and a decent array of boosts, delays and reverbs will go a long way to achieving that beautiful Marooned tone. Perhaps this can help: https://line6.com/support/topic/6905-marooned-tone/

    For what you’re describing, I think you’ll do fine with any decent Fender pickups. 57/62s as everyone on here recommends would work and your Strat will sound classic Strat when you’re not chasing those Gilmour / Johnson sounds! Hope that helps.
     
  4. Blackmore Fan

    Blackmore Fan Senior Stratmaster

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    Agreed! And if you want rw/rp middle, the pickups from a MIA Standard from 2008-2011 should work.

    I keep telling myself that one of these days I'll either buy a EJ signature strat or a set of pickups from it--the bridge pickup alone sounds so good compared to most Strat bridge pickups. Those pickups appear for sale often and would fit your budget as well.
     
  5. freddy

    freddy Strat-Talk Member

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    before changing pickups i would look into new amp like the Marshall sv20
     
  6. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    Johnson plays vintage strats, but IDK exactly what. I'm sure you can find out.

    For Animals, Gilmour was playing the black strat, at that time it had pickups from a 73 bullet strat in it. At some point he swapped the bridge to an SSL-1, but I think that was later.

    I suggest that pretty much any vintage output SSS set will get you as close as they are to each other. I'd buy bootstrap pickups. Or if you need to keep it Fender, any of the 60s type.
     
  7. BlurgyWurgyWibble

    BlurgyWurgyWibble Strat-O-Master

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    If money is no object, then you could do worse than the Eric Johnson sig pickup set: https://shop.fender.com/en-GB/acces...stratocaster-pickups/0992248000.html?rl=en_US

    Really though, anything will do..

    If you were in the UK I'd recommend Evil Sheep (<£100 a set).

    You have access to a massive used gear market over the pond. I'd just get some Fat 50's and start there.

    Honestly, modern gear is so good now, as long as you avoid the Asian junk, you likely won't be too disappointed.
     
  8. DJGranite

    DJGranite Senior Stratmaster

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    A quick Google search shows he used a DiMarzio HS-2 in the bridge position, Fender single coils in the neck and middle.

    His signature guitar uses Fender pickups with the bridge position being "hotter"

    A BK Butler Tube Driver was a big part of his lead tone.

    He also used different amps for his clean rhythym, (Fender Twin Reverb x2?, JBL speakers) dirty rhythm (Marshall 50w Plexi) and lead ( 69' Marshall Super Bass, or 50w Plexi)
    He's also has at times used a Mesa/Boogie Mark series, and a Dumble.

    Hope this is helpful
     
  9. RPKennedy

    RPKennedy Senior Stratmaster Platinum Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum!
    The David Gilmour black strat has a *very* hot bridge pickup, hotter than a lot of humbuckers.
    Eric Johnson has, on occasion, used a hotter DiMarzio pickup in the bridge position.
    I would say an HSS set is not out of the question.
     
  10. Ebidis

    Ebidis Providing the world with flat bends since 1985

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    He used a Tele for a great portion of the Animals album (in particular, Dogs).

    On The Division Bell, he was most likely using his red Strat with the EMG Gilmour pickups. Which just goes to show you, it's the player, not the gear.
     
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  11. thelaundryman

    thelaundryman New Member!

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    Thanks so much for the replies, this is great.

    I've done a fair amount of research on EJ's tone and you're correct about rolling back the tone knob on a strat. I think he does it by lowering the high EQ on the BK Butler Tube Driver down to 0 and keeps the treble on his lead Marshall amp (stereo setup) also at 0. I think you're correct in avoiding the humbucker on a Strat, I intend on going with the SSS setup.

    57/62's have gotten great reviews across all the forums I've looked at. People often compare them to CS69's and say the 57/62's are fuller and not as thin sounding. Definitely have it on my short list! And thanks for that Marooned tone link, that's great.

    The rw/rp is something I need to do more research on. I'm going to check out some A/B videos on YouTube comparing them to non-rwrp. I will definitely keep the MIA 2008-2011 on my list should I be interested in the rwrp, and the EJ pickup set is definitely interesting. Thank you for the suggestions.

    A new amp is going to be my next purchase down the line. That Marshall looks great. I'm also a fan of the Laney Lionhearts. This Strat is going to be a new build and my first Strat. I've got a Fender Jazzmaster now that I've had a lot of fun upgrading and modding.

    I'll look into EJ's and Gilmour's setups. The SSL in the bridge position is something I've been reading up on. I'm not set on needing only Fender pickups. I'm very open to any company that makes a quality product. Bootstrap's got several pickups on Reverb now that I'll look into. Thanks!

    Unfortunately I'm in US, but a quick Google search on Evil Sheep makes them look really promising. And yea it seems like it's hard to truly go wrong as long as you stick with a good brand. Thanks!

    It's very helpful, thanks a lot. The hotter bridge pickup is something I'm considering. I've got a 4-knob BK Butler Tube Driver and love it. His massive rig plays a huge part into his sound as you said, and his fingers and technique of course. Someone earlier in the thread suggested a Marshall SV20 which is a Plexi amp. I checked out a couple of videos on it and it sounds great. Dumble amps are incredible. One day I might sell a kidney and some skin for a real Dumble amp ha. Thanks for the help!

    Yea his bridge is likely too hot for my smaller setup. His Hiwatt 100W amps with massive amounts of clean headroom allow for all the input he wants. Someone else also mentioned EJ's DiMarzio bridge pickup as well which I'm going to check out. I haven't eliminated going with an HSS yet; the replies here have given me a lot of great advice and plenty of options to research. Thanks!
     
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  12. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    Why use Reverb when you can go direct to the source? https://bootstrappickups.com/

    Oh, I see--he's closed down his site for a few days to catch up on orders. Still, it says he's re-opening online sales on August 6. If you can stand to wait that long.
     
  13. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    If you are fan of both EJ and Gilmour I would suggest looking into the DAllen Echoes pickups set - the neck and middle are based on late 60's, clear, Hendrixy 5.8k.
    The bridge is tapped to have two different outputs (you'll need to install either a toggle or a push/pull knob,) that lets you select between a 7.6k output (similar to the output of EJ's bridge pickup,) and 12.5K, which would get you into Gilmour's later tones when he was using the Duncan SSL5. I have them on two of my strats and it can get you from sort of vintage hot to almost like a P-90 sound:

    https://www.dallenpickups.com/Echoes_pickups_p/ap-echo.htm

     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2020
  14. thelaundryman

    thelaundryman New Member!

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    Wow this really intrigues me. How would you say the mids are on them in the neck and middle positions? Given my mid-scooped amps I'm trying to avoid too much mids-absence in the pickups. I love that the bridge pickup is tapped like that. If you have any experience with the Fender 57/62 set, Fender CS 54, and/or Fender Fat 50 sets, how would you say the neck and middle mid response in the DAllen Echoes compares to them?

    Thanks a lot for the help.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2020
  15. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    Klein 62 or kloppman 62s if you looking for more mids. I don't see how you got a vox and it's mid scooped? Must be new cause vox amps are very mid heavy
     
  16. ToneRanger

    ToneRanger Most Honored Senior Member

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    Sorry for the late reply - just got back from vacation.
    As these are based on late 60's pickups, they are going to tend to be on the bright/scooped side - again, think late 60's, Hendrixy neck and middle tones.
    I believe if you reach out to David Allen you may be able to purchase just the bridge pickup - it's worth an ask - that way you could mate it up with something that has more midrange focus.
     
  17. Cali Dude

    Cali Dude Senior Stratmaster

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    Doesn't David Gilmore use EMGs?. You might enjoy those for his sound. I really dig Lollar pick ups. That's what I would go with.
     
  18. Evil Sheep Pups

    Evil Sheep Pups New Member!

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    Because I’m a nosy bugger, I noticed someone in the thread mentioned my pickups (Evil Sheep).
    Just for information, I do ship worldwide (20 countries so far).
    Here’s a link to someone using a set of my Vintage ‘55’s.