I look at the forum almost exclusively on mobile, which of course doesn't show signatures; just in case anyone else does what I do here's my signature (a list of my Strat's currently): 1991 Fender Standard Strat | 2000 Fender Powerhouse Strat | 2014 Fender US Standard Strat | 2016 Fender Road Worn 50's Strat | 2021 Fender Player Strat | 2009 Squier CV 60's Strat | 2020 Squier CV50's Strat and a collage shot of them: @amstratnut As I said in the OP, I know that going from Custom Shop pickups to Player Strat pups isn't necessarily a fair comparison, bit I'm not doing that. Today I spent a few hours adjusting the Players pickup height, string changes and experimenting with different volume knob & tone knob placements. The Player pickups are by no means bad, but they are very middle of the road to me. They are serviceable, but when the pickups in my Squier CV50's have more character & mojo it's just a bit disconcerting. As far as @CalicoSkies comment, I agree; I have researched pickups from other makers and would be totally open to it. Over the years I've tried lots of different 3rd party Strat pickups, Seymour Duncan, Lollar, etc. I once got some single coils made by the Ed Roman guitar store here in my hometown of Vegas. However, recently the best pick-ups I have heard were Fender Custom Shop pups. The Fat 50's in the American Standard I bought a few months back are just incredible. Same with the '54's in the Road Worn. Plus I'm not going to go any stronger that $200-250 for pickups right now. I am keenly aware that all of this is just serious first world problems, lol. But I will say that since I bought a few new guitars this year I've been playing for hours longer than I was in say 2019 and I'm writing more bits and progressions that are turning into new songs. That's invaluable for cats that have been doing this since our teens.