Strat pickup resistance. Whats the lowest you've seen/played?

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by Wound_Up, Nov 25, 2021.

  1. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up CUSTOM USER TITLE Silver Member

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    First I know resistance readings ≠ output. Hence the "low output" in quotes... With that out of the way...


    While referencing my super "low output"/low resistance Silvertone pickups in another thread at TDPRI, it got me thinking about "low output" single coils in general. So I thought I'd poll the audience and find out what is the lowest resistance Strat pickups you've seen or played? How did they sound vs std Strat singles?

    What's the "usual" Strat pickup resistance reading? Somewhere in the mid 6k range?

    I'll start. Of my 2 Silvertones, one has the normal readings in the 6k range and the other has pickups that read in the range of 4.4k or less. One also sounds much more Stratty than the other. That being the pickups with the higher 6k+ readings. The lower ones obviously sound like singles but they just don't have the Stratiness of the higher reading ones. Wonder what causes that?

    Thankfully I was smart enough to modify the guitar with the 4k pickups because it turns out that the other one is quite a decent instrument. At 8.8 lbs, it's pretty hefty, too lol


    So, what about you all? What's the lowest you've seen in a Strat or something with Strat singles? If you were a able to play it, how did it sound? Feel free to add whatever info you deem necessary.

    Thanks
     
  2. grumpah

    grumpah Strat-Talker Silver Member

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    I have wound pickups down to 3.4k. They have an interesting sound but definitely do not sound stratty. They do work well for heavily reverberated / delayed space music.
     
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  3. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    DC resistance is not the best way to guess how a pickup will sound. At best it can give you a ballpark estimate of how many turns are in the coil. But any difference in the size or shape of the bobbin, or the wire gauge, can make that misleading. And the magnets themselves can be in various different strengths and configuration, which also changes the sound without changing DC resistance. There's an art and science of pickup voicing, and the winding is only one piece.

    Usually stronger magnets are paired with fewer windings. The 5k range is pretty common for ceramic pickups.
     
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  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    I have and have had some 3.5 to 4.5kohms.

    If you dig a little into Leo Fender's pickup developments after he sold Fender ... you'll find he went that path of stronger magnets and lower wound bobbins -- to increase the signal and reduce the noise.

    I have noticed a lot of the Indonesian-made Squiers have taken that same path, strong ceramic block magnets with low windings to give the equivalent output of historic Alnico Strats but with a lot less noise. Squiers from MIJ/MIK/MIC tended to have the same bobbin windings as MIA Strats but used the stronger bar magnets -- because a lot of guitar buyers wanted hard hitting pickups in front of their amps to drive them further into high gain. You've seen the comments about 'weak Strat pickups'. It's a pendulum in product marketing. Lately players have been interested in 'great tone' and thus backing off on the pickup output becomes more important. There are pedals galore to pound amps or even ignore amps all together (direct to PA or clean solid state amps that 'take pedals well').

    Too many players, when trying out Squier and some other import guitars with ceramic magnets will set the pickups at the same physical distance from the strings as their MIA Strat pickups with weak alnico pole pieces (the specs!) and then complain about the harsh tones. They need to use their ears to lower the ceramic pickups toward the pickguard and they will get great tones from ceramic pickups -- but of course it's much sexier to proclaim you are swapping pickups for a boutique set. Any published pickup factory height specs a player will find are for alnico pickups. Use your ears.

    Many of the 1960s MIJ import guitars like Teisco/etc had low bobbin windings, some used rubber refrigerator magnets too (to a detriment trying to push amps in those days). But that is what you will find in a lot of the 'Goldfoil' type of original pickups.

    One of the other benefits from low pickup windings -- you'll create a much lower internal capacitance. It's that internal capacitance that creates 'muddy'/'dark' pickups when more players are seeking chime and sparkle.

    My most frequently played Strat has the dual ceramic bar and steel slug MIM-Standard style pickups, neck and middle pickup I put practically flush to the pickguard and raise the bridge pickup only enough to volume balance with the neck pickup. I used my ears to get there there, you will find that 1/8th inch height difference can mean a lot. Make height adjustments over several days.

    .
     
  5. Jimbo99

    Jimbo99 Strat-Talker

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    The Strats I have are 3.5-3.7, but they are also OEM ceramic bar magnets in Squier Bullet & Affinity Strats.
     
  6. dirocyn

    dirocyn Most Honored Senior Member

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    The Lace Alumitone for Stratocaster is the lowest DCR pickup I know of, 2.514k. Of course it's a totally different design than most Strat pickups.
     
  7. Skinny Nitro

    Skinny Nitro Senior Stratmaster

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    The Seymour Duncan neck and middle Strat Lipsticks are around 3.5 - 4kOhm alnico 5. Very jangly sound.
    I have a set in an American Standard which rarely gets played.
     
  8. Wound_Up

    Wound_Up CUSTOM USER TITLE Silver Member

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    I know. Hence my very first sentence at the top of my post. "I know resistance does not equal output..."

    I figured if I said that first thing, we wouldn't have to hash that out lol
     
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  9. The_Whale

    The_Whale Strat-Talker

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    It's message board law; somebody needs to post a variation of "DC resistance in not a good way to judge pickups" in response to any statement on pickup DC resistance, regardless of any qualifiers mentioned previously.
     
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  10. The_Whale

    The_Whale Strat-Talker

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    I have a Lace Transensor that is 1.4k.
     
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  11. archetype

    archetype Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    I've measured 70s Strat pickups as low as 5.4K Ohm. Those tend to be clean and defined, but super scooped in the midrange.