Ok guys want to swap out strat pickups, need suggestions (keep reading)

MovingInSloMo

Strat-Talk Member
May 19, 2012
24
Rockland Maine
Long story short, my old strat was very un-stratty. Added back a fender mex player pau ferro neck to my old '99 midnight blue strat body. No shims needed anymore, plays like a dream, no fretwork needed, just a trus rod adjust. Added back the original metal bent saddles. Put back the original fender tuners. Dropped right in! Another plus. Had sperzels on there and just..the vibe wasn't right. 75% back to strat.

But alas, we get to the point, the pickups. Several funky non-practical modder heaven wiring schemes later we currently have three of those fender push buttons (as on the old 80's elite strat and as extra button on american player strats) in place of the 'ol blade switch and GFS neovins with 500k pots and a .47 cap (as recommended by GFS, they are stacked noise cancelling pickups). They are too dark for my taste, though they remove noise as advertised.

What I want is some basic traditional jack of all-trades strat pickups in the $99 (usd) and under-ish range. SOOO many people wind pickups these days I don't know where to begin. I don't need high-end lollars or fralins or SD's or dimarzios, just a nice set. I was looking at sheptone pickups but I want to get recommendations. I don't need hot pickups, but I don't want pure vintage either, some that can handle blues, funk and rock reasonably well and have good 2+4 positions (the neovins don't) and work nice with 9.5 radius. Again so many people rollin' pickups what are you guys digging for just basic strat tones? And what pots do you guys like I'd have to go back to 250k
 

Dibbs

Senior Stratmaster
Aug 8, 2020
1,213
North Central Florida
Two choices:

1. Spend your 90$, probably 110$, when you get done pissin' around, lather, rinse, and repeat.

2. Spend three times as much, and only buy those pickups ONCE. I like Righteous Sounds, but Lollar, and a few others make top end pickups you will be happy with. I got one set of RSs, and that pickguard will probably never come off the guitar, ever again, because I did it right.
 

Believer7713

The Pink Bunnyman Frankenstein
Silver Member
Dec 27, 2016
17,468
KC
Check out:
River Pickups. They have two really nice strat sets. Mississippi (vintage) and Colorado (modern/hotter)

Rose Pickups.

Alexander Pribora. He is located in Moscow but still normally only takes a couple weeks.

Bootstrap Pickups. They wind them either to your spec or they have shelf models.

@Bodean here on Strat Talk. He winds some really nice custom pickups (4 sets for me already)

All of these are p'ups that I have used and will again.
 

jvin248

Most Honored Senior Member
Jan 10, 2014
5,647
Michigan
.

Get the Fender stock alnico pickups and wire with an Armstrong Blender mod. That way you have all the classic Strat tones (the reason for having a Strat) plus you can thicken up the tone by blending in more series. This is my 'auto mod' on Strats I'll play regularly. I'll convert HSS Strats to SSS and wire with this for all that 'more versatility' and keep the classic single coil tones. The controls are easy to remember what does what compared to other exotic switching schemes.

Bourns 250kohm pots. Whatever pots you decide to use, measure their actual values and go high/low for brighter/darker (especially volume pot). Pots have a 20% tolerance range and it matters just like choosing 250/500 pots.

Set the pickups low/close to the fretboard for more classic tones, turn up the amp volume if you need the guitar louder. It will also make the Quack tones more impressive.


 

Audiowonderland

Strat-O-Master
Silver Member
Dec 19, 2020
941
Usa
Long story short, my old strat was very un-stratty. Added back a fender mex player pau ferro neck to my old '99 midnight blue strat body. No shims needed anymore, plays like a dream, no fretwork needed, just a trus rod adjust. Added back the original metal bent saddles. Put back the original fender tuners. Dropped right in! Another plus. Had sperzels on there and just..the vibe wasn't right. 75% back to strat.

But alas, we get to the point, the pickups. Several funky non-practical modder heaven wiring schemes later we currently have three of those fender push buttons (as on the old 80's elite strat and as extra button on american player strats) in place of the 'ol blade switch and GFS neovins with 500k pots and a .47 cap (as recommended by GFS, they are stacked noise cancelling pickups). They are too dark for my taste, though they remove noise as advertised.

What I want is some basic traditional jack of all-trades strat pickups in the $99 (usd) and under-ish range. SOOO many people wind pickups these days I don't know where to begin. I don't need high-end lollars or fralins or SD's or dimarzios, just a nice set. I was looking at sheptone pickups but I want to get recommendations. I don't need hot pickups, but I don't want pure vintage either, some that can handle blues, funk and rock reasonably well and have good 2+4 positions (the neovins don't) and work nice with 9.5 radius. Again so many people rollin' pickups what are you guys digging for just basic strat tones? And what pots do you guys like I'd have to go back to 250k

Duncan SSL-1's
Bootstrap
 

mutato

Senior Stratmaster
Jul 10, 2007
3,701
RI
I'd just look for hot single coils. But just try and hear some samples and read up on how much highs they preserve (or cut out). I have a Quarterpounder in my Bridge and it's a hot single coil. BUT it cuts off the top end. It's good for rock and OD sounds and still preserves the in between sounds well (with the middle 57/62 pickup). There are many levels of hotness and you can go broke buying set after set. I recommend doing some research on them and buying used.
 

CandyAppleHead

Strat-O-Master
Apr 28, 2008
907
Cambridge, England
For that sort of money I would highly recommend Toneriders. I have a set of their Pure Vintage in a partscaster Strat with 9.5" radius and they are bang on the money for Texas Blues or pretty much anything. They have others in the range you could look at but going on the quality and value for money (I have a set of Toneriders in my Jazz Bass too which are also great sounding) I don't think you can go wrong.
 

HazyPurple

You've gotta get up!, to get down!
Silver Member
May 5, 2020
2,219
UK
For that sort of money I would highly recommend Toneriders. I have a set of their Pure Vintage in a partscaster Strat with 9.5" radius and they are bang on the money for Texas Blues or pretty much anything. They have others in the range you could look at but going on the quality and value for money (I have a set of Toneriders in my Jazz Bass too which are also great sounding) I don't think you can go wrong.

What I like about Tonerider sc's;

£80 a set, not charged another £20 for RWRP middle (unlike Seymour), modified pole stagger and they sound great.
 

AJBaker

Strat-Talker
Mar 5, 2021
272
Switzerland
Check out:
River Pickups. They have two really nice strat sets. Mississippi (vintage) and Colorado (modern/hotter)

Rose Pickups.

Alexander Pribora. He is located in Moscow but still normally only takes a couple weeks.

Bootstrap Pickups. They wind them either to your spec or they have shelf models.

@Bodean here on Strat Talk. He winds some really nice custom pickups (4 sets for me already)

All of these are p'ups that I have used and will again.


I can confirm that Priboras sound great. The Voodoo set is 65$ shipped.

I'm also looking into trying Q pickups, they seem to have a lot for the price.
 

Wylde Horses

Strat-Talk Member
Mar 30, 2020
82
Vancouver
Two choices:

1. Spend your 90$, probably 110$, when you get done pissin' around, lather, rinse, and repeat.

2. Spend three times as much, and only buy those pickups ONCE. I like Righteous Sounds, but Lollar, and a few others make top end pickups you will be happy with. I got one set of RSs, and that pickguard will probably never come off the guitar, ever again, because I did it right.

Troof! I was wanting a set of Fralin Split Blades, but then got convinced to try a different set out. Couldn’t make the other set work for me, so eventually ordered the Fralins and couldn’t be happier.
 

Blackmore Fan

Senior Stratmaster
Jan 10, 2010
4,532
The Midwest
I like the Fender Tex Mex pickups. They have plenty of vintage tone with just a slightly hotter bridge. They run less than $90 last I checked. In my opinion, they're what Fender should have put in the SRV signature Strat.

I just received my set of Seymour Duncan SSL-1s. They cost a little more, but supposedly nail the vintage sound.

I've since had the SSL-1s installed. BINGO. They are magnificent. I don't think I've ever used the phrase "piano like" to describe vintage tone, but I've certainly read other's posts where they used that phrase. The SSL-1s sound great, very rich! They're really quiet too.
 

Stevn

Senior Stratmaster
May 31, 2017
1,829
Oxnard, CA
Long story short, my old strat was very un-stratty. Added back a fender mex player pau ferro neck to my old '99 midnight blue strat body. No shims needed anymore, plays like a dream, no fretwork needed, just a trus rod adjust. Added back the original metal bent saddles. Put back the original fender tuners. Dropped right in! Another plus. Had sperzels on there and just..the vibe wasn't right. 75% back to strat.

But alas, we get to the point, the pickups. Several funky non-practical modder heaven wiring schemes later we currently have three of those fender push buttons (as on the old 80's elite strat and as extra button on american player strats) in place of the 'ol blade switch and GFS neovins with 500k pots and a .47 cap (as recommended by GFS, they are stacked noise cancelling pickups). They are too dark for my taste, though they remove noise as advertised.

What I want is some basic traditional jack of all-trades strat pickups in the $99 (usd) and under-ish range. SOOO many people wind pickups these days I don't know where to begin. I don't need high-end lollars or fralins or SD's or dimarzios, just a nice set. I was looking at sheptone pickups but I want to get recommendations. I don't need hot pickups, but I don't want pure vintage either, some that can handle blues, funk and rock reasonably well and have good 2+4 positions (the neovins don't) and work nice with 9.5 radius. Again so many people rollin' pickups what are you guys digging for just basic strat tones? And what pots do you guys like I'd have to go back to 250k
You need a …
Loaded pick guard with your favorite pups!
 


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