Pickup level balance between bridge humbucker and neck/middle?

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by sacaric, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. sacaric

    sacaric New Member!

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    I upgraded my Strat pickups to fender ultra noiseless, which I really like for the neck and middle. But I then further replaced my bridge with a Seymour Duncan Lil 59'er humbucker. I am really liking the combination. My question is about the bridge output level. The humbucker is significantly hotter. At the height I have put it, the output at vol 7 is equal to the output of the neck at vol 10.

    My question is would you recommend I leave it like this because I like how it sounds now... I like the way the hot bridge pickup overdrives the amp without a pedal. The neck and middle can't safely be moved any closer to the strings.

    If I lower the bridge pickup until its level is about the same as the neck and middle it would be better for any middle/bridge position playing as well as switching between neck and bridge during a piece.

    Is there any consensus on how this is dealt with on HSS strats? I have only had SSS in the past.

    thanks,
    Scott
     
  2. SIngles Forever

    SIngles Forever Strat-Talker

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    Put each pickup how it sounds the absolute best then use your volume knob and boosts for the rest.

    My dad taught me not to be lazy. I mean I didn't listen, but he still taught me that.
     
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  3. The_Whale

    The_Whale Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    Don't feel like you need to make up your mind quickly about this.

    Keep turning the screwdriver until it sounds best.
     
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  4. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    Hi @sacaric
    Welcome!

    I think if you like the higher output bridge pickup and overall sound , then keeping as is would be my vote.

    on my MIM /only Strat which is HSS now,
    if I need the neck pickup or such louder -I just use a bit more gain.

    i find the neck pickup or neck + middle combo sounds great to me if height is down a bit :):)
     
  5. Baelzebub

    Baelzebub Dr. Stratster

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    THIS!

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
     
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  6. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    Pickup heights is how you balance them.

    With my 5e3, a stock Strat bridge pickup hits the front end just fine.

    What amp are you playing through?
     
  7. StratUp

    StratUp Senior Stratmaster

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    Set up your controls with one as a volume on the bridge, one as master volume, and one as a master tone. That way you can balance when you want to or run full out on the bridge.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
  8. Leofender

    Leofender Strat-Talk Member

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    The Humbuckers are HOT, and are loader. It's never going to behave like you were used to... Eg even volume among the 3 single coil pups.
    Embrace the hotter bridge.

    Or

    Drop it down lower to the deck, that might reduce some volume, but go too far and you'll risk losing dynamic range. That's bad, because treble clarity is gonski. Bass can get muddy too.
    It's a matter of experimentation to find a happy medium! Check it out.
     
  9. Hal Nico

    Hal Nico Senior Stratmaster

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    Buy a cheap compressor pedal and use it as a volume boost when using the Middle and Neck pickups and or just add a little compression to smooth out the volumes to taste :)

    https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/CS400ped--behringer-cs400-compressor-sustainer-pedal

    $25 :)

    Compressor pedals are one of the most underrated but useful pedals IMHO especially when playing live. I used one for,"Solo" volumes boosts and extra sustain.

    To save the battery you could use it in reverse e.g have it off and when you hit it it lowers the bridge pickup volume :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021