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Thread: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

  1. #1
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    Default Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I have a Jazz and JB that I'm pulling from one guitar to put into a mahogany Strat. It has a 25" scale maple neck and rosewood board. I like the way both pickups sound in the mahogany body they are in now. But it's getting reassigned.
    I want to put a middle pickup in there because it's a Strat and, well, why not!

    Humbucker:
    - If I go with a HB, which one would do well between those yeo pickups?
    - I've never had a three humbucker guitar, do it might be cool.
    - Is there a Duncan pickup with a tone and output balance that sits nicely between that JB bridge and Jazz neck?
    - Or, is it a good idea to go with something entirely different in the middle like an A2Pro or whatever?
    - Or, is it a good idea to just go with another Jazz in that middle spot?

    Single Coil:
    - For an H-S-H setup, is there a recommended pickup for that middle spot?
    - Any reason to put a normal single there vs a single coil sized humbucker?

    Any advice here is appreciated.
    Thank you.
    Last edited by RMosack; 10-20-2019 at 12:47 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I'd almost go with a Classic Stack, as it would get a middle position Strat sound (which you don't have now) and still be hum-cancelling. But I tend to like very versatile guitars rather than specialized ones.

    But in the end, you have to decide what kind of guitar you are going for here.
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I’d go with a moderate output little humbucker, and set 2 & 4 positions for split coil. Or, do a normal 5 way and have a master coil split.

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    Mojo's Minions BriGuy1968's Avatar
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    Default Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I have a JB and a Jazz in the guitar you see in my avatar. Originally, when I did all the upgrades, I had a Hot Stack in middle, which sounded great but I didn’t end up keeping it because it couldn’t keep up with the JB and Jazz in terms of volume.

    I ended up putting a GFS Lil Killer in there (similar to a SD Hot Rails) which keeps up with the other two pickups just fine but is substantially “thicker” than the Hot Stack. It sounds great but it doesn’t particularly sound like a Strat unless I split all the coils… then it starts taking on a much more Stratty tone, especially in the notch positions.

    I think that most people would just as soon have a real single coil in the middle, and if that’s what you’re looking for then you just need to make sure it’s hot enough to keep up. Admittedly, the Hot Stack I had in there was the neck version, which doesn’t have the output of the bridge version. If I was starting this whole thing all over again I’d probably try the bridge version instead to see if I can get a more authentic center single tone.




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    Last edited by BriGuy1968; 10-20-2019 at 01:32 PM.
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    Super Toneologist DavidRavenMoon's Avatar
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    Default Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    My issue with three full size humbuckers is the middle pickup gets in my way of my pick.

    I have a similar set of pickups in my Parker P-38, only the neck and middle are rail humbuckers. I went for a very bright and not very loud middle pickup.

    That way I have a contrast from the bridge pickup, and I can get that quack when used with the bridge. I even have a cap rolling off some low end.

    I like the neck and middle to be brighter and lower output since they tend to sound like mud otherwise. I don’t need the outputs to match.


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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I love low output single size hbs like the DM cruiser in the middle.... Great quack in position 2 with JB

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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I'd almost go with a Classic Stack, as it would get a middle position Strat sound (which you don't have now) and still be hum-cancelling. But I tend to like very versatile guitars rather than specialized ones.

    But in the end, you have to decide what kind of guitar you are going for here.
    Thanks
    Would that pickup have enough output to keep up with the two humbuckers? FWIW, I have a few Strats, so I'm not needing this guitar to do much Strat stuff. Just looking for interesting variety in the 5 way switch.
    I haven't decided yet how to wire it, but I might even put the middle pickup on a mini toggle for 7-way switching because neck+bridge humbucker is one of my favorites.

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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I'm curious how a Whole Lotta Humbuckers would work out between the JB and Jazz.

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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I always try to determine what I want from the position and that really helps guide my decision. I would probably be inclined to go true single or classic stack in case I wanted a backup to a strat, be able to get those tones for part of a song or to cut down on swaps in a set. Alternatively, I could see something like a lil Demon neck or something like that that will give you more articulation in that position but still be usable for crunchy tones. If you go three humbucker, a Full Shred Neck will give you a completely different tone that you can't get with another combination. The full size Demon might work well there too.
    Last edited by chadd; 10-20-2019 at 05:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by RMosack View Post
    Thanks
    Would that pickup have enough output to keep up with the two humbuckers? FWIW, I have a few Strats, so I'm not needing this guitar to do much Strat stuff. Just looking for interesting variety in the 5 way switch.
    I haven't decided yet how to wire it, but I might even put the middle pickup on a mini toggle for 7-way switching because neck+bridge humbucker is one of my favorites.
    I use mine with a 59/Custom Hybrid. It isn't the same volume, but it is close. If you were to get more output, it wouldn't sound like a Strat pickup anymore.
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by RMosack View Post
    I'm curious how a Whole Lotta Humbuckers would work out between the JB and Jazz.
    I liked my 3 full size humbucker guitar when I had it. It was very versatile but fat. It still sounds like a strat but everything is fat. So if you like that then go for it. If you want the added true stratty single coil sounds then go for a true single coil or stack.
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Ok, based on feedback here and elsewhere, I’m thinking H-S-H is the way to go. I guess I’m looking at:
    - Classic Stack
    - Hot Stack
    - Little ‘59

    Pros and cons of any of these with my JB and Jazz?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Hot stack to balance volume wise. I didn't think the sc size hums sounded as good with the full size hums.
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by RMosack View Post
    Ok, based on feedback here and elsewhere, I’m thinking H-S-H is the way to go. I guess I’m looking at:
    - Classic Stack
    - Hot Stack
    - Little ‘59

    Pros and cons of any of these with my JB and Jazz?
    These are 3 very different sounding pickups. What sound are you going for in the middle position?
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I'd look at the STK-S4 Classic Stack Plus (same sound as SSL-2, the flat pole version of the SSL-1, but without the hum/noise) or the STK-S7 Vintage Hot Stack Plus. Awful lot of players prefer a strattier 2+4 position, so the middle coil being relatively weaker is an advantage. It does mean more volume variance between 2 through 4 positions compared to the full humbucker modes, though.

    STK-S7 still sounds like a strat to me... But it is louder, a more midrangy overwound tone, not as glassy by itself or as clucky in the notch positions.

    Only way to absolutely know which way you prefer things is to try both and compare, really. There are tradeoffs for either approach. Also depends on whether you want a switch for parallel or split mode on neck & bridge for better volume balance/strattier tones when switched fully to neck/bridge.

    The STK-S4 also comes in a RW/RP STK-S4m variant, which is handy depending on which coils you want to split to on the bridge/neck. Or a hassle where you have to flip magnets & rewire things to get phase/hum cancellation right. I don't remember which combo is for splitting to what coils, by default.

    If you never used the middle pickup by itself (and thus don't care about noise), an SSL-2 is cheaper than a stack. Or if you are one of the folks who feel that noise adds magic to the experience of a single coil.

  16. #16
    Ultimate Tone Member audiocheck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by RMosack View Post
    I have a Jazz and JB that I'm pulling from one guitar to put into a mahogany Strat. It has a 25" scale maple neck and rosewood board. I like the way both pickups sound in the mahogany body they are in now. But it's getting reassigned.
    I want to put a middle pickup in there because it's a Strat and, well, why not!

    Humbucker:
    - If I go with a HB, which one would do well between those yeo pickups?
    - I've never had a three humbucker guitar, do it might be cool.
    - Is there a Duncan pickup with a tone and output balance that sits nicely between that JB bridge and Jazz neck?
    - Or, is it a good idea to go with something entirely different in the middle like an A2Pro or whatever?
    - Or, is it a good idea to just go with another Jazz in that middle spot?

    Single Coil:
    - For an H-S-H setup, is there a recommended pickup for that middle spot?
    - Any reason to put a normal single there vs a single coil sized humbucker?

    Any advice here is appreciated.
    Thank you.

    Humbucker:

    I am kind of partial to the StagMag. It splits to a real Strat pup and sounds like a humbucker in the middle and neck positions (i never tried in bridge).

    just make sure you include splitting in your wiring. I have it with a Distortion in the bridge and it keeps up very well as far as output goes.

  17. #17
    Tone Member BeKindRewind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I'm curious about this now too. I like a lot of the suggestions so far. Has anyone actually tried a cool rails in this situation ? Does it sound good in split mode with the JB and the Jazz ? I feel like it'd sound cool on its own in the middle too. and I kinda wanna try it out.

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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    I didn't like the cool rails that much. It just sounded like a lower quality humbucker sound compared to the hums. I liked the quarter pound better.
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  19. #19
    Tone Member BeKindRewind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55 View Post
    I didn't like the cool rails that much. It just sounded like a lower quality humbucker sound compared to the hums. I liked the quarter pound better.
    How did the QP play in there ? I've come to realize lately, I'm not that much of a single coil guy - even when it comes to clean, I can coax a much more beautiful clean out of a SD jazz than a vintage Stratocaster. I'm just used to the thickness & fluidity of humbuckers.

    That said you've got my interest.. do you think the QP would work for me better than a cool rails ? Since it's thicker and juicier than most SC's and probably not as bright. Also - Any other rails you'd suggest ? (Not trying to hijack the thread, just getting interested in your experiences )

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: Middle Pickup Between JB and Jazz?

    Well the Cool Rails is sort of a single coil version of a Jazz, so it would almost be like having a Jazz in the neck & middle. In the end, it depends what you want from a middle pickup.
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