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Thread: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

  1. #1
    Ultimate Tone Member Dahla's Avatar
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    Default Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    So I got a beautiful strat built by a friend of mine. Itís an early 60ís replica, and itís awesome. But itís no high gain monster. Right now, it has ant surfers.

    I wanna use more, both live and in the band. But it needs to work with my other guitars, an explorer with BWs, an EPI MKH with EMG het set and a mahogany tele with JB and Sentient. The strat is alder with maple neck, rosewood fingerboard. Vintage trem.

    The guitar is routed for SSS only, and I donít want to route it out for humbuckers. Music heavy and downtuned to either D standard or drop-C. What do you guys recommend?


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    Ultimate Tone Slacker Mr. B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    You want to take Antiquity Surfers OUT of a 60's replica strat? Sorry. I can't help you do that. It just isn't right.

  3. #3
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Mr. B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    On a more serious note, what do you expect this strat to do after the pickup swap that your other guitars won't already do better?

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    of the Forum PFDarkside's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. B View Post
    On a more serious note, what do you expect this strat to do after the pickup swap that your other guitars won't already do better?
    This is a great question. And do you want it to look stock? (Something awesome to me about a vintage looking Strat with a flat board, big frets, Tusq nut, and some hot stacked pickups that look like regular Strat pickups.)
    Oh no.....


    Oh Yeah!

  5. #5
    Ultimate Tone Member Dahla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. B View Post
    You want to take Antiquity Surfers OUT of a 60's replica strat? Sorry. I can't help you do that. It just isn't right.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. B View Post
    On a more serious note, what do you expect this strat to do after the pickup swap that your other guitars won't already do better?
    Haha, right? Seems like blasphemy, I know.

    On the serious note, I donít expect it to do anyhing better than the guitars I already have. Except maybe one thing, since all my other guitars are hard tail and this one has a trem. But I really like the guitar. And I want to use it, to show it off and maybe help my builder friend. Letting people see it in the wild. But the thing is, low output singel coils is waaaaaaay inappropiate for what I do right now. And keeping one guitar at home for those ęlate night jams on the couch all aloneĽ seems like a waste...

    I dunno, maybe I shouldnít desecrate the strat with high gain riffing. But indulge me at least.


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  6. #6
    Super Toneologist justFred's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Frallin HIGH OUTPUT – STRAT...

  7. #7
    Ultimate Tone Slacker Mr. B's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Most of Duncan's higher output single coils (even the new Red Devils) are still made to sound like hotter Strat pickups, which may not be what you are after. You've got the "Rails" pickups, but I find them very boring/sterile. Others really like them. There is the JB Jr, Li'l Demon, and the Little 59. They aren't going to LOOK like a traditional single coil, but may be more in line with your other pickups.

    Dimarzio has some great choices too. Super Distortion-S, Chopper, Air Norton-S, Virtual Solo, etc.

    Really depends on what you want the guitar to do.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Tone Member Dahla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. B View Post
    Most of Duncan's higher output single coils (even the new Red Devils) are still made to sound like hotter Strat pickups, which may not be what you are after. You've got the "Rails" pickups, but I find them very boring/sterile. Others really like them. There is the JB Jr, Li'l Demon, and the Little 59. They aren't going to LOOK like a traditional single coil, but may be more in line with your other pickups.

    Dimarzio has some great choices too. Super Distortion-S, Chopper, Air Norton-S, Virtual Solo, etc.

    Really depends on what you want the guitar to do.
    Awesome, thanks!

    What I want is just that itís able to hold it together under gain. It doesnít have to be a chuggachugga riff machine but a bit more chunky. And quiet!


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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    I'd swap em out for some Aniiquity Surfers

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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    I've been digging the DiMarzio Injectors in my S S S Bullet Strat. I'm just finally finishing off my first blog review in forever on these pickups. The bridge has a great blend of humbucker output and strat character, and can get pretty heavy with no real noise. The neck is a bit more tubuler and smoother sounding, but great for leads.

    The SD YJMs are a fantastic option too.
    Last edited by LonePhantom; 06-23-2019 at 08:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Keep the Surfers, buy a Pickup Booster pedal.
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  12. #12
    Ultimate Tone Member Dahla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyBsurfin View Post
    I'd swap em out for some Aniiquity Surfers
    Funny...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    Keep the Surfers, buy a Pickup Booster pedal.
    Oh, wow. Thanks!


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  13. #13
    Ultimate Tone Member Dahla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Quote Originally Posted by LonePhantom View Post
    I've been digging the DiMarzio Injectors in my S S S Bullet Strat. I'm just finally finishing off my first blog review in forever on these pickups. The bridge has a great blend of humbucker output and strat character, and can get pretty heavy with no real noise. The neck is a bit more tubuler and smoother sounding, but great for leads.

    The SD YJMs are a fantastic option too.
    Thanks! Iíll check Ďem out.


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    Mojo's Minions Edgecrusher's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    You can boost those pickups to the moon and they wont do what you want them to do. They frequencies they feed the amp are different and wont dirty up in the same way. A boost pedal is good if you need a little volume or grit. Not if you need more girth.

    My favorite single sized humbuckers at the moment at the Dimarzio sugar chakras. They are pretty ballsy and push the amp much more like a traditional humbucker. You can use them with like pro track in the neck and mid spots and they hang pretty well.
    "It keeps you fit - the alcohol, nasty women, sweat on stage, bad food - it's all very good for you." -Bon Scott

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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Quote Originally Posted by Edgecrusher View Post
    You can boost those pickups to the moon and they wont do what you want them to do. They frequencies they feed the amp are different and wont dirty up in the same way. A boost pedal is good if you need a little volume or grit. Not if you need more girth.

    My favorite single sized humbuckers at the moment at the Dimarzio sugar chakras. They are pretty ballsy and push the amp much more like a traditional humbucker. You can use them with like pro track in the neck and mid spots and they hang pretty well.
    Never tried em, YET. The Billy Corgans seem like they could do the job

  16. #16
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Actually, the resonance switch on the Pickup Booster does a great job at adding that 'girth' to the signal.
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    Tone Member Calsip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    This might not be in your realm of ďheavyĒ but my strat has lace red, silver, blue. The red sounds good with a lot of gain and I do a fair amount of trem picking and heavy chugging. Without the gain, they kind of sound boring and similar to a rail pickup.

    Iíd get a lil pearly gates or screaming demon and then use the surfer in the neck for some clean leads over heavy saturated rhythm.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    I've hot the duncan hot rails neck in my HS strat with a black winter bridge. In terms of output it definitely keeps up and sounds muy bueno with the 500ks, it does shine under the higher gain settings, the "sterile" clean sound I keep reading about is to my ears is like an HB with the tone rolled halfway off, with the tone dimed on the rail and gets muddier as you taper down. It retains an all around "warmness" to the sound and sounds good for 80s metal type liquid soloing, and it fuzzez up a bit on the bass, can be good or bad. For my uses (heavy, funky, bluesy rock and hard rock) it pretty much lives in the high gain chorus solo situations. It performs admirably in most higher to high gain settings, I personally will be swapping for a full size HB (thinking sentient), but mine is routed for a neck HB.

  19. #19
    Super Toneologist allbutromeo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    Get a loaded pickguard with either the Everything Axe set or the Dave Murray set

    Gibson LP Trad Pro II->Various pedals->MEsa Boogie MkV->Owensby/219 Guitar Works Vertical Slant 2x12 w/WGS ET-65 and Veteran 30.

  20. #20
    Tone Member cliffenstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Pickups for a strat (hard rock/high gain)

    This idea that the single coil size Seymour Duncan humbuckers don't sound like real humbuckers is poppycock. I should know...I've been using them since 1995. I've currently got guitars bridge loaded with a JB Jr and a Red Devil. I also have a guitar with a full size humbucker in it (Gibson Burstbucker type2). I have had CONSIDERABLE experience with Gibson 498T and Angus Young Signature as well. Album recordings, rehearsals, live shows...the SD single coil size buckers are great all the way around. They are definitely real humbuckers.
    1989 Fender American Standard Stratocaster w/SD JB Jr
    1990 Sebring LP Special w/Gibson Burstbucker (type 2)
    2008 Squier SE CXS Strat (White) w/SD Red Devil
    Jet City JCA50H amp head
    Jet City JCA48ST cab
    Marshall JCM 2000 DSL100 amp head
    Marshall JCM 800 1960a cab

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