Some people call them HSS Strats. Others call them Fat Strats. Some people don’t care for them, others don’t know what they’d do without them. Either way, you can’t deny the appeal of a guitar that combines the feel and mechanics of a Strat with the chunky kick of a bridge position humbucker.
So you’ve been lured by a guitar with the HSS (humbucker/single coil/single coil) pickup configuration. This mullet-of-the-guitar-world (business in the front, party in the rear) is as old, as, well, the mullet. Can you really have it all in one guitar?
I was a humbucker-kinda guy for years. Sparkle, chime, glassiness and notched tones? Not my thing. I needed power, aggression, tightness, harmonics, articulation! But when I finally got a great Strat I understood the attraction. Personally I still can’t cope with the standard bridge pickup in a Strat. The way I use a Strat and…
Guitars with one humbucker and two single coils always seem to be a compromise. The idea is to get that chimey, jangly, quack from the neck and the middle single coils and the rock and roll from the humbucker in the bridge position. The HSS (which stands for humbucker-single-single) pickup configuration gained popularity in the 80s, much like everyone’s favorite haircut, the mullet. And much liked the maligned mullet, we get, in theory, business in the front and party in the rear. This article is my take on this pickup configuration, and how I came up with a way it could work for me.
I put two Classic Stack Plus pickups in the neck and middle positions of my Strat, and a JB Model Trembucker in the bridge. I set up some fancy switching to split the pickups at appropriate times, and to change the volume pot from 250K to 500K when the humbucker was active.