Worth upgrading Shawbucker?

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by Mega-Gazz, Oct 5, 2021.

  1. Mega-Gazz

    Mega-Gazz Strat-Talk Member

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    Hello,

    I have an HSS Player strat, currently with the default Shawbucker 1 that comes with it (https://www.fender.com/en/accessori...-1-humbucking-pickup/0992249001.html?rdl=true)

    I got the HSS strat so that I could play a bunch of different types of music, since its my only guitar.

    I’ve been wondering if I should replace the Shawbucker with something like a Dimarzio tone zone to improve the tones when playing stuff that warrants the humbucker - using the single coils for “strat” sound.

    The problem is I can’t find any direct comparison videos for the Shawbucker to other pickups to really be able to hear the difference. Has anyone done this upgrade, and is it worth it? I’m still not a super skilled player, perhaps an advanced beginner, so perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself? Do you know of any comparisons I can listen to?
     
  2. StratSounds

    StratSounds Senior Stratmaster

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    What’s wrong with the Shawbucker? Why don’t you like it? Fender chose that humbucker for an HSS, and more specifically your particular guitar, for a reason. It should balance well with your single coils and you should be able to get most of what you’re looking for by adjusting tone/volume on the guitar and/or tone and gain on your amp. I vote for “getting ahead of yourself”.
     
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  3. fezz parka

    fezz parka fezz parka

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    Do you find the humbucker lacking something?

    Uprade implies an improvement. Do you feel the need to improve it?

    Yep. ;)
     
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  4. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    +1, just play it for some time.
    The tone and volume certainly don't need to be dimed to sound good.
     
  5. Mega-Gazz

    Mega-Gazz Strat-Talk Member

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    I wish I could express what I find lacking in it, but your comments about just trying to overcome it with the amp go a long way. I’ve tried that of course, but there is no guarantee that a new pickup will really make it better.

    I did try to look at the EQ graphs on the Shawbucker and the other pickups, but would rather a side-by-side to really hear instead of trusting that. The Shawbucker does seem to have fewer mids than the bass and treble -according to the fender marketting material - so maybe that’s it but I’m just not experienced enough to say if that’s it or not. I know that when I listen to the tone zone in comparisons to other pickups it sounds really nice.
     
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  6. Willmunny

    Willmunny Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    No one here will try to talk you out of spending your hard earned cash, I myself modify plenty of guitars
    Good luck
     
  7. StratMike10

    StratMike10 Dr. Stratster Silver Member

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    Really not worth the trouble man. You should be able to dial just about anything you need out of that shawbucker, just give it a little time. If you focus on playing rather than hardware, the tones you're looking for are likely to show up without making any changes to the guitar. Best luck!
     
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  8. Flapjack

    Flapjack Strat-Talker

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    I was not aware that the Player Series HSS models had Shawbuckers in them. I see "Player Series Alnico II" humbucker wherever I look, including Fender's website.
     
  9. Brian H

    Brian H Senior Stratmaster

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    I like the Shawbucker. Its not going to sound like a Les Paul...to me is still had a Strat sound, but thicker. Which I like because sometimes the single in that position it too thin and Tele like for me. And I like that its not too hot.
     
  10. Mega-Gazz

    Mega-Gazz Strat-Talk Member

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  11. Jason D

    Jason D Senior Stratmaster

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    The real problem with replacing a pickup for a “better” one is that most people have never heard very many aftermarket pickups in real life. Most people thing they can go by the sound examples on the website and then pick from there. That doesn’t work. Most of the excerpts sound nothing like real life, much less in someone’s individual guitar. You have to know specifically what pickup you are looking for from experience. I know what pickups I do and don’t like because I’ve tried a bunch of them in a very small number of guitars over the years. Without that experience, it’s a gamble as to what you’ll end up with. It’s a deep, money-sucking rabbit hole.

    I agree with the folks saying not to replace it.
     
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  12. Colnago1

    Colnago1 Senior Stratmaster

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    I find that most humbuckers are made with The Les Paul in mind. When put into something else they just don’t sound as intended.
    The Shawbucker was made for the Stratocaster, leave well enough alone until you know exactly what you want.
     
  13. hamerfan

    hamerfan Strat-Talker

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    This is very true. And roughly said humbucker can be put into 3 directions. Vintage, overwound and modern hi gain (Dimarzio calls that vintage, medium and high power). Your first decision is to go in one of these directions.
     
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  14. EC Strat

    EC Strat Senior Stratmaster Gold Supporting Member

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    I tried a Shawbucker 1 in an HSS setup and just didn’t gel with it. I was looking for more of a full bodied growl from it and I found it to be voiced with A LOT of high end trebles and upper mids. Some folks really like them though. Nothing in the world wrong with them at all. Just wasn’t for me.
     
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  15. Textele

    Textele Senior Stratmaster Silver Member

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    Depends on what you want to hear really. I'm sensing you want more output.

    I am not fond of the Shawbucker's voicing at all.

    I understand the logic @Brian H has about it, and why he and others like it. And Brian certainly can make his guitar, or any guitar, talk.

    If you want a great, imo, humbucker that can do it all in a Strat, I would suggest a Duncan Pearly Gates.

    It would mix well with your singles and can be controlled really precisely with your guitar's volume knob. Plus, you can use your stock 250K pot with it, no prob.

    Back it down, still sounds like a Strat. Full on, has just the right amount of sustain and body for leads and driving rhythms.

    All the clean tracks and all the lead tracks in this cut I did with A Pearly Gates in a Strat. The crunch rhythm guitar was a Tele.

     
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  16. gjohnson441496

    gjohnson441496 Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm not a super skilled player either but I know what sound I'm after and the Shawbucker didn't do it for me. I wanted to like it but it didn't like me so I went with a combo SD 59 neck and Pearly Gates in the bridge and achieved enlightenment.
     
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  17. Brian H

    Brian H Senior Stratmaster

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    Right...if you want a typical humbucker tone then forget about the Shawbucker. Its not hot, not fat. To me its very Strat like just not as thin as the single coil. Bit it gets nice sounds. Also will effect the bridge/middle tone....which I miss. I like that classic position sound there. But...it does give a different nice sound.
     
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  18. Brian H

    Brian H Senior Stratmaster

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    I think this is a decent example of the Shawbucker with gain. Starts out with the guitar volume down.....turn it up and it sings. It does have a lot of highs and upper mids, which helps retain its Strat like tone. But its warmer than the single coil....great with sustain and a singing tone. Not going to sound like a typical humbucker though.

     
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