Pickups suited for Metal in a Strat

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by MyToyBrain, Jul 16, 2020.

  1. MyToyBrain

    MyToyBrain Strat-Talk Member

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    image.jpg I have an MIM Strat body that I’m looking to part together and looking for a pickup setup geared more for Metal music. Any recommendations for the pickup routing I have?? Thanks!
     
  2. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    Either a hot rail, or any full size humbucker in the bridge position will do the trick. You can switch out the neck pickup for a hot rail too, but for most distorted rock, I use the bridge pickup anyway.

    Pickup recommendations would depend on budget. I spent a tiny bit on some asian humbuckers from Guitar Madness on ebay, for my hollowbody..and they're great for all types of music.

    Seymour Duncan makes great humbuckers if you want more expensive ones.
     
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  3. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    Hi, @MyToyBrain
    Maybe a Duncan JB and 2 Duncan Classic Stack Plus 4 for neck an middle.

    Or Duncan JB And 2 Duncan SSL-6S for neck and middle.
    or
    Maybe Dimarzio Super Distortion bridge and 2 Dimarzio Fast Tracks for neck and middle.
     
  4. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Do it or screw it.

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  5. ThinLizzy73

    ThinLizzy73 Strat-Talker

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    It depends on what kind of metal. For 80’s metal, the Seymour Duncan JB is great. A lot of players used them back in the day. Another good choice, used by Eddie Van Halen himself, is the Dimarzio Super Distortion. For more modern metal tones, if you can’t go active then choose a high output ceramic pickup like a Duncan Invader or Black Winter.
     
  6. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    I've tried a bunch of different humbuckers in a strat and I think for hard rock/classic metal, the JB is the standard for all other pickups to be judged against. I'm currently using a Super Distortion in my strat and its no slouch either, it just comes down to personal preference.

    PAF: classic rock to hard rock
    Screamin Demon: hard rock to hair metal
    Super Distortion or JB (or the DeMartini signature RTM) hair metal to classic metal
    Distortion: classic metal - thrash metal

    Here's my old strat with a JB...

     
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  7. nickmsmith

    nickmsmith Dr. Stratster

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    I've got an old early 90s Screamin' demon myself. Really liked that pickup. Lots of bite.
     
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  8. sam_in_cali

    sam_in_cali Scream for me Strat-Talk! Silver Member

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    Ya, I remember that one having a bit more top end than I was used to and not really liking it at the time but lately I've the urge to put one in my ESP strat (currently outfitted with a Custom 5).
    All I know is that if I could figure out to the get the same tone as my Flying V with a super distortion in all my other guitars, I'd do it in a second. For some reason, that pickup in THAT guitar sounds better (to my ears) than the same pickup in my strat. I need to find something that compensates for all the differences (25.5 vs 24.75 scale length, Floyd Rose vs Fixed briddge, maple vs mahogany, etc, etc...).
     
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  9. fenderkev

    fenderkev Most Honored Senior Member

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    Another vote or the JB. Fantastic high output humbucker with growl and clarity.
     
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  10. DrDiederick

    DrDiederick Strat-Talker

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    For Metal there are many great pickups. Depends a lot on your setup, amps, and pedals. I have some experience with the ones that I have listed below. All do have great features that could be used in metal. I am sure that there are many more never the less.


    In the Bridge a humbucker: DiMarzio X2N, DiMarzio D-Activator X, DiMarzio Superdistortion (all time favourite), Bare Knuckle Warpig, Bare Knuckle Silo, Bare Knuckle Painkiller, Duncan Pegasus, Duncan Nazgul, Duncan Black Winter, Duncan Dimebucker, Duncan Invader

    In the Bridge single coil size: DiMarzio Super Distortion S, DiMarzio Fast Track 2, DiMarzio Tone Zone S, Duncan JB Jr Strat, Duncan Hot Rails Strat

    Middle: Di Marzio Chopper, DiMarzio Air Norton S, DiMarzio Pro Track, Duncan Red Devil, Duncan Lil' Screaming Devil, Duncan JB jr Strat, Duncan Hot Rails Strat, Fender Jeff Back Hot Noiseless

    Neck Humbucker: Di Marzio Superdistortion, DiMarzio Super 2, DiMarzio D-Activator Neck, Bare Knuckle Warpig, Bare Knuckle Silo, Bare Knuckle Holy Diver, Bare Knuckle Painkiller, Duncan Black Winter, Duncan Distortion, Duncan Invader, Duncan Jupiter Rails

    Neck single coil Size: DiMarzio Satch Track, DiMarzio Chopper, DiMarzio Fast Track 1, DiMarzio Virtual Solo, DiMarzio Injector Neck, Duncan Red Devil, Duncan Lil' Screaming Devil, Duncan JB jr Strat, Duncan Hot Rails Strat, Fender Jeff Back Hot Noiseless

    My personal favourite is the Dimarzio Super Distortion and D-Activator for the Bridge, Middle with DiMarzio Chopper, and Neck DiMarzio D-Activator Neck, DiMarzio Super Distortion S, or Satch Track. These mentioned are the passive ones, you can also go the active route. EMG and Duncan have great PU in that range.

    The trick is to balance the PU....

    Chrz!
    D
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  11. problem-child

    problem-child Senior Stratmaster

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    These seem to get the job done...

     
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  12. Stratoholic

    Stratoholic Senior Stratmaster

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    I say Dimarzio X2N for the bridge. That pickup is absurdly high output, like higher than some active pickups.
     
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  13. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    The quick answer will be the Super Distortion or JB pickups.
    I've often used some of the 2/$15 humbucker sets off ebay with 16kohm specs and ceramic magnets.

    For a stealth machine you can find the original MIM Standard single coils with the dual ceramic magnets and put them in series. The higher output ceramic magnets help with pushing the amp over the cliff like a fiery burning demon.

    That's what I have in this Strat .. MIM standard pickups (Hendrix reverse angle bridge slot) with an Armstrong Blender mod so the second tone pot rolls from classic SSS into HSH where the series pickups approach the output of the hot humbuckers 12-14kohms. Sometimes it's useful to dial back a little more single coil tone too for more bite. I use a 250k volume pot so the humbuckers are darker, if I was planning on being most often HSH end of the scale then I'd use a 500k volume pot to bring up the classic mids to properly 'cut through the mix' and then use the master tone knob to mellow out the single coil playing.

    The Tele has one of those ebay 16kohm hot humbuckers split to a 4-way so I can get individual bobbins or full humbucker.

    [​IMG]

    Of course, the classic is to just have a single humbucker direct to volume to jack like the 80s demanded...

    [​IMG]

    .
     
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  14. pazman6

    pazman6 Senior Stratmaster

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    I had a Screamin Demon in my 85 SG bridge position for the time I had it. Now it is in an Ibanez RG. Always liked the way it sounded. I never used the neck pickup on either guitar.
     
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  15. sssstratsss

    sssstratsss Strat-O-Master

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    I have a duncan distortion in one of my strats. Super hot.
     
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  16. ThebiggestJerk

    ThebiggestJerk Senior Stratmaster

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    EMG H4 or EMG OCR1
     
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  17. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    I recently installed EMG's in two Strats, the SA and SA-X models. By themselves, I don't know that they're overly metal, but David Gilmour used the SA's, and though he's not metal, I think his tone works great for it, super smooth with percussive pick attack. But the real magic is the EMG SPC active mid boost that people pair with the Strat sets, which gives you a very rounded mid hump (because the mids are actually boosted, as opposed to a resonant peak being lowered), and it makes a Strat sound wildly fat when it's full open at "10", which I can tell you is great for metal. IMO, SA's with the SPC at 10 is effectively the same as a full sized humbucker.

    I'd say that SA's with SPC mid boost is not completely unlike Hot Rails that can be parallel or series, for thin or fat tones. I'm amazed how "full size" Hot Rails can sound in series, but the nice thing about the active pickups is that the response is very linear and broad, because they're buffered internally, thus no high impedance runs, and the capacitance is super low, and all the tone shaping is deliberate, not an accidental characteristic as it is with passives. The whole thing about passives is that you're exploiting the resonance with the internal capacitance, sort of a happy accident. Active pickups start with a flat tone that is then deliberately attenuated, so if you look at it on a graph, the curves are much smoother, without the hard knees. The hard knee defines the "vintage tone", but for metal, or even crystal cleans, one can do better.

    IMO, a lot more people would embrace active pickups for high gain and metal if not for the fact that they're associated with the 80's. I think a lot of the rationalizations around getting away from them has more to do with how they look and less about how they perform.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
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  18. WelhavenT

    WelhavenT Strat-Talker

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    JB is safe. I have a pearly gates i mine. Not enough for thrash/death, but more than enough for Priest and Maiden :)
     
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  19. Seamus OReally

    Seamus OReally Buried alive in the blues Gold Supporting Member

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    I don't play metal, but I use EMG SA-X pickups with an SPC in my Strat, like @Antigua mentions above, and the guitar is wildly versatile.
     
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  20. Rudedawg

    Rudedawg Senior Stratmaster

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    I don't play metal but own several guitars with full size JB's and while they are nice I like the SH-15 Alternative 8 a lot more. I put one in the bridges of my 2 Epi SG's and they go from clean to downright mean with the right amp settings. https://www.seymourduncan.com/single-product/alternative-8
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2020
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