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Thinking of Retiring From Chasing Pickups

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by SurfsUp, Jan 30, 2020.

  1. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp Senior Stratmaster

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    I mean, my 1993 Strat Plus Deluxe has been a pickup prostitute basically her whole life. I WISH I never sold the original Blue/Silver/Red Lace Sensor's, but I've since found period correct replacements and she's back to what I deem, stock. I've dam near striped the pick guard screws over the years, that's how bad it got.

    My other PLDlx, which is an older first gen model has the original Silver/Silver/Blue Sensor's, and I'll never touch those not just because of the reason I'm writing this but for the lesson learned with my '93.

    My 2015 American Deluxe has already had it's share of bed mates. Having recently the original pick guard returned and the N3's settled back in. The N3's get mixed reviews and while I'd expect that from ANY pickup, I'm puzzled at this. I'm honestly wondering if it's just internet mumbo jumbo. Honestly, that's why I replaced them in the first place. Let's be honest. We guitar players take a lot from word of mouth (well, in our cases, word of text) to heart. For me, time to play with my ears and not my eyes.

    My other non single coil guitars are stock and just fine too.

    At 47 years old this coming May, and playing darn near half that lifetime, I've come to the realization (for my situation anyway) I've been chasing a pipe dream and went into a spiral of internet, advertising & well, I guess envy (?....that MUST be THE sound) of pickup swaps and obsession.

    No more.

    I'm a good enough player with good enough gear to get a decent sound out of the decent stuff I own. I hope, anyway. For example, I have a Marshall TSL head and cab. A Fender HRDlx and Carvin V16 amp.

    Combined that is 6 different channels, well 7 if you count the Fender's boost, to work with. Plus a couple of pedals in between. Surely I've enough experience to dial in a tone, no?

    I liken it to cars.....You buy a Mustang but change the exhaust because it doesn't sound like a Mustang. Wait, it came fresh outta Detroit.....as a Mustang. Then you decided to change the sound because....? Technically then wouldn't YOUR Mustang not sound like a Mustang? Of course, that's an entire different argument I suppose. Tone being subjective. And a Strat with an HH config won't sound like a SSS of course.

    Anyway sorry for the long winded post, just having a morning coffee and thinking out loud.

    Oh, and btw I am in NO WAY saying that one shouldn't mod their guitars, in fact, do so! I love to read, talk, discuss, A/B whatever...pickup's. But other than using my Philip's now to adjust height, I'm content anyway. There. Whew. I feel like I just quit smoking lol.....

    Happy Thursday from Sunny Southern Ontario!
     

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  2. henderman

    henderman Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    a well setup guitar with good fretwork, a great amp, a celestion gold speaker and fresh strings have been the only upgrades i have experienced other than improving my understanding of music and my ability to play better since 1982.
     
  3. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    I’m most definitely not opposed to changing pickups, but as @henderman stated there are a lot of other factors that will impact your tone more, most importantly focusing in on your playing.

    That being said, the difference I’ve experienced in changing pickups is a modification of the voicing of the guitar. My guitars still sound largely the same, just a tad different in the voicing.
     
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  4. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit is no longer legal tender Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I bought guitars that I liked the feel and sound of, I've never changed anything until it broke.
     
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  5. Bighump

    Bighump Strat-Talker

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    I went down a pickup swap road on my strat but not that crazy honestly. I changed out the ceramics in the MIM for a set of Pure Vintage 59's then i was getting into playing more Gilmour and Hendrix so I traded a guy on TGP for a set he had(he didnt know the name of the boutique winder he got them from in Dallas) that were 60's style neck and middle with a Harmonid Design Vintage Middle pickup for the bridge (It is pretty fat in the bridge and is similar to a P90). I couldn't be happier honestly. These pickups are glassy and dead quiet. The build quality is outstanding. If I trade or sell my strat I'm pulling them out. Only pickups I have heard better are some of the ones in the Fender Custom Shop 64 and 59
     
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  6. Agtronic

    Agtronic Strat-Talker

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    I've always been a firm believer in working with what I have. When I first started watching the forums I couldn't believe how much discussion there was about pickups, for Strats alone. When I got my Strat in 2001 the moment I plugged it in I knew, it has "the" sound. Never ever had the inclination to change them.

    As for amps, I find I can get pretty much any tone I'm looking for between the Marshall and the Super Reverb.

    But I must say, it took a long time for me to realize that most of the tone I was looking for was in the amp settings (volume) and playing technique. I'm not sure I would have gotten there if I was constantly changing things up. It also gives me anxiety when something isn't left alone, the way it came from the factory, at least guitar wise. My amps I have modded slightly.

    As for the Mustang analogy, interesting you should mention that. If you were around when the Foxbody Stangs were abundant in the streets, that hollow pipe sound is etched in your brain. No V8 has ever sounded so beautiful. And there is actually a reason for that. The firing order is different on the 302 EFI motors. And believe it or not, Ford engineers actually changed the firing order with SOUND in mind. They were trying to enhance the sound coming through the intake, and in turn the exhaust note. They have since gone back to their old firing order, which still sounds like a typical V8, but doesn't have that sweet hollow sound anymore. Unfortunately. Source
     
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  7. Dreamdancer

    Dreamdancer Strat-O-Master

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    Thats a very healthy approach...but for your own amusement you can still not retire in f..ing cork sniffers up.Just tell them from time to time that you caved and bought the X pickup set from the Z winder and watch as they vomit their precious little theories of how your guitar....has better top end now or that it resonates better...while you still keep the same set without spending a dime more.
     
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  8. jvin248

    jvin248 Senior Stratmaster

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    .

    I used to swap pickups until I figured out how much the pots and caps can push the tone around and for a tenth the price.

    .
     
  9. Miotch

    Miotch Senior Stratmaster

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    What's that I hear in the distance? Must be a wail from pickup manufacturers and advertisers: "NNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ....."
     
  10. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit is no longer legal tender Strat-Talk Supporter

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    We know what Mr Beato will be plugging next then. ;)
     
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  11. Cyberi4n

    Cyberi4n Strat-Talker

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    Tom Morello said something interesting in an interview I read earlier last year, which has stuck with me (I’m 47 and have been playing since I was 16).

    He said, ‘the minute I stopped chasing tone and trying to sound like someone else was the minute I realised that my tone and my gear was me!’ Once he’d discovered that, there was no holding him back.

    I’m now at the point where I’m happy with my tone after reading that. Funny old world isn’t it
     
  12. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp Senior Stratmaster

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    That's interesting! I have an '83 GT hatch in the garage. All original, down to the TRX rims & tires. less then 50,000 original miles on her. Funny thing is, I just recently had to replace the original exhaust lol......not out of want, but need. Still. Too funny.
     
  13. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    This is the majority of my experience Most of the stuff is pretty good right outta the gate
     
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  14. SurfsUp

    SurfsUp Senior Stratmaster

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    Mine too. So I'm finding lol......But like I said, fell sucker to the "grass is greener" stuff.


    I'd like to say again that I'm not against the idea of swapping pickups nor will I become some "don't you dare touch that" poster child. It's a big round world out there and I encourage us all to explore it.
     
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  15. Nate D

    Nate D Most Honored Senior Member

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    Yep!
     
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  16. simoncroft

    simoncroft Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

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    It's possible they are on my Wamoth partsocaster. :D I bought a set on ebay when I put it together. They record very nicely, with no problems with noise or interference. If I'm putting a guitar together, of course I'll think about which pickups I'd like, but once they're in there, they're staying there!
     
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  17. jaxjaxon

    jaxjaxon Strat-O-Master

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    I don't change out any part unless it will not preform to my expectations. That being said I changed out a set of Duncan designed PAF style for a under wound type only because the DD PAF would not work with and OD/Fuzz/Gain pedals because they where too hot and made only mud when using those type pedals.
     
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  18. diverse379

    diverse379 Strat-O-Master

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    I feel you on that lace sensors story.

    I tend to save the pickups I pull out. If for no other reason than to sell them with the guitar so the new user has an option to go back to stock.

    congrats on your move toward contentment
     
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  19. Believer7713

    Believer7713 The Modern Day Frankenstein Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I laughed hard enough to snort through my nose!!! there are so many jokes that could come out of this.
     
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  20. BuddyHollywood

    BuddyHollywood Strat-Talker

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    The Strat I built in my avatar originally had all Fender Tex-Mex pickups in it. I realized I liked the bridge pickup but I wasn't getting the awesome neck pickup tone I heard on other Strats so I bought a Rose Robusta neck pickup. That solved that issue. I also started not liking the reverse wound middle pickup because it affected the tone on positions 2 and 4. Then I realized that yes, I did like the sound of the bridge pickup as it was designed but I wanted more out of it. So I installed a TV Jones Power'Tron I had from another guitar and moved the bridge Tex-Mex to the middle. I am really happy with it now.

    The moral of my story is it's OK to make the guitar your own but know what you're doing and why. I remember being tempted to change out the Gretsch Dynasonic pickups on my Duo Jet because everyone on the Gretsch forums were saying how much better the TV Jones versions are than the Gretsch versions. Every time I plugged my Duo Jet in and played I loved the sound I was hearing. I did some tweaks to balance the pickups better but I kept the originals.

    "For me, time to play with my ears and not my eyes." - SurfsUp

    "Yes!" - Me
     
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