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Weak vs. "recompensated" bridge strat pickup

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by RaistMagus, Sep 12, 2015.

  1. RaistMagus

    RaistMagus Strat-Talker

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    I was wondering what's your preference when it comes to strat bridge pickups. Thin sounding vintage ones, or slightly beefed-up, hotter ones?

    It is my understanding that in the old days all 3 pickups were identical which resulted in a thin sound from the bridge pickup due to it's position being close to the bridge. The bridge pickup is also not connected to the tone pot making it even thinner.

    It seems that most current pickup manufacturers consider it optimal to make the bridge hotter that the other two p/ups, to recompensate, let's say, for it's thin sound. This would sound great for general use and it would be considered an improvement of the strat.

    But there's the old recordings of all the guitarists we love that have been using the thin-sounding pickups and I think the new, hotter bridge p/ups move me away from those tones. I still remember the first time I played a strat with 57/62s (bridge position) through a VOX AC30... Instant vintage vibe.

    So what's your take on this? Which one do you prefer and do you miss having the other?
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2015
  2. stevierayfan91

    stevierayfan91 DEEPLY SHY.

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    hey, :) .

    this is a very interesting question to me. personally since the most gain i use on a Strat is late 60's & 70's amount, i.e early Stones .

    i tend to prefer the bridge single to be low 6. K , and corresponding Henries.

    if its something with humbuckers, than medium 11.5 or 8.5 K and also adjust gain accordingly with pedals.

    since my amp is an older analog SS Peavey, i go into clean channel with 2 drive pedals. lower, and medium gain ;)
     
  3. The Strat Dude

    The Strat Dude Posy rules!

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    Of my two strats that have sss sets, one has a slightly hotter bridge pickup. But still gets great vintage tones and quack.
    The other has a bit hotter bridge pickup , 8.5k. Better for rock but the quack is almost lost.
    If I had only one guitar I would go with a slightly hotter bridge.
     
  4. ocean

    ocean Most Honored Senior Member

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    57/62 IMO.. But what do I know ;)
     
  5. ido1957

    ido1957 Senior Stratmaster

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    I've got an EC Strat so it doesn't sound like either. I picked up my old 78 a few weeks ago and didn't like the ice pick tone of the bridge pickup. I won't mod it though ;)
     
  6. fenderkev

    fenderkev Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have a DiMarzio Chopper in the bridge position of my MIM, and the stock Fat 50s in my Am Std. The Chopper is a great humbucker emulator, and gets that crunchy Rock sound when overdriven. The Fats 50s is pure vintage Rory, with some gain, but for clean Country type sounds is 2nd to none imo.
     
  7. RickS

    RickS Strat-Talker

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    I like the vintage single coil bridge so I can get the quack in position 2 (bridge/middle). I use overdrive when using the bridge pickup by itself. I also rewired all my Strats to put the tone controls on the neck and bridge pickups. I set the tone control about midway for it.
     
  8. monwobobbo

    monwobobbo Strat-O-Master

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    i like somewhat hotter pups. i tend to use a more overdriven sound to early metal distortion so squeeky clean low output pickups aren' what i look for. i still want decent cleans but it doesn't have to be crystal clear.
     
  9. AlexJCRandall

    AlexJCRandall Senior Stratmaster

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    I have a few different strats with varying bridge pickups in them. It all depends on the music, but even something quite overwound can sound great and not really out of place. Baseplates and A2 poles for the bridge posi help with taming the treble too.
     
  10. LeicaBoss

    LeicaBoss Senior Stratmaster

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    I dial my sound in to suit the bridge pickup then adjust pole height and tone/volume setting on the other pickups to fall in line. If they are not in sync, the setup is usually to blame. Not the pickup.

    Too many people dial in their sound to be great on the neck p/u then switch over to the bridge and say "Ewww, it is weak and thin"

    I tend to prefer vintage output bridge pickups, as they play nice with pedals and amps
     
  11. RaistMagus

    RaistMagus Strat-Talker

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    Funny that you say that... I hear most people sound great on the neck position and then switch to other positions and sound great too. However I feel both of my strats sound boomy/muddy at the neck position if I set the amp to sound nice at the middle position (where I mosty play). Weird?
     
  12. AlexJCRandall

    AlexJCRandall Senior Stratmaster

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    You can cut treble, but you can't add it back. Hence the setting the tone generally for the neck (and height etc) and then turning the tone control back for the bridge.
     
  13. libertarian

    libertarian Strat-O-Master

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    Not necessarily. You will actually find vintage strats that are exactly like that. That wasn't intentional at the time but I'm my opinion those are the better ones.
     
  14. stratman323

    stratman323 Dr. Stratster

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    To me, a Tele bridge pickup is a much more usable sound than a Strat's bridge pickup. So the best compromise is a Seymour Duncan Twangbanger - a Strat bridge pickup with a metal baseplate, wound to about 8k, & designed to sound like a Tele - fatter, warmer & more compressed than a typical Strat bridge pickup. Best of both worlds as far as I'm concerned.
     
    nickmsmith likes this.
  15. AlexEP

    AlexEP Strat-Talker

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    I prefer to have a hotter bridge: in my classic 70 I have a SD SSL-5 and the other strat is equipped with Texas Specials (stock)
     
  16. ripgtr

    ripgtr Most Honored Senior Member

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    My vintage strat pickup is the fattest bridge strat pickup I have ever played. so, not neccesarily.
    It IS 6.8K last if I remember correctly.
    It actually was in the middle position, my tech at the time swapped it back in the early '80s.
    I find if I get past 7k, they start to get muddy, and lose the whole thing that makes me play a strat. I do have humbuckers (paf type) when I want that kind of sound.

    I do play the bridge on a strat a lot. It is my money pickup
     
  17. Nuno

    Nuno Strat-Talk Member

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    Personally, I've grown off the hot pickups on strats. Was a somehow slow process, i came from hot rock and humbucker pickups, hss style superstrats. Most of the time I played the singles, cause I loved the tone. On my hh guitar I splityed the coils. Later on my first strat I needed to go a bit overwound, and fell to the myth of the texas sizzle texas hot style pickups, I went for the bare knuckles irish tours. I loved the set for several years, live and studio, it has balls. Recently I felt that those "balls" come with the price - a compressed, almost humbuckerirsh.
    Its when I got the 2nd strat, with cheap plastic bobin but low dc reading (5.4) I realize what I needed.
    The IT is indeed a top shelf set, but I couldn't dile in the type of definition I had in my head. - vintage style output is the way to go.
    Now I'm not even into handwound pickups vs machine.. I dont believe it matters that much.
    I went ahead and bought a set of Fender PV59 set (dc 5. 9)... and there it was. I'm still struggling to get around the bridge pickup output thing. I have the 2nd tone pot already controling bridge and middle pickups on both strats. I understand that the string up by the bridge moves far less, so the output is naturally lower up there.
    For me to get the volume evend down, I have to raise the bridge far too much than I wanted to (even If I lower the other two). The truth is when you raise pickups, you gain volume, highs, and lose definition. So lowering neck and middle is great because if you balence things right, you get sparkle and warmth at the same time, and plenty of that juicy note definition. The bridge pickup however is quite the oposite. So it makes sense to get a slightly hotter pickup to the bridge posicion.
    I did try one SD Ssl-1 (dc 6.3-6.5) i had around the house to balance the PV59 (dc 5.9),- it works like a charm. Both this pickups are vintage 50s style construction, the specs are in fact real close, same wire, bobin construction, magnets...i got lucky. This way my bridge pickup doesn't have to go at such of different height than the other two.
    SD uses old direction and polarity coils, so to keep things working together I use tbe rwrp ssl-1 to match the polarity and coil winding of the fender ones.