Im trying to give my first electric guitar a face lift. Its a mid 90-s squier strat.

The build quality is surprisingly good (better than my mexican fender tele) and i think it will be a good player after replacing some hardware and electronics.

The guitar has great affection value for me and i would love to be able to use it but i dont really like the classical strat sound.

The setup now is HSS with the humbucker in bridge position. Im intendning to keep the middle SC for some clean Nile Rodgers like rythm sounds.

Any suggestions on pickups that dont sound typically strat but would fit the guitar without to much rewiring and rebuilding?

I like anytning from Pat Metheney to Sonic Youth, i just find that classical strat sound quite unintresting.

Sorry for my half bad english and greetings from Stockholm

Last edited by Lilla Flåset at Nov 22, 2009,
go to DiMarzio.com and make use of their pickup selector tool, that's how I found what pickups I wanted in my strat a while back.
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Well I'm doing my best to resist recommending Lace pickups in a strat because sometimes it just seems like that's how they're supposed to be... Anyway, I'd say check the Dimarzio website, they've got just about anything and everything you could want. I've used the D Activator line and I've used a Mo' Joe and I love both of them. I'd certainly recommend a D Activator in the bridge.

Quote by sol-sob-on-pcp
*flameshield* get a new guitar... like a PRS *drop flameshield* *run*

And if you're going to completely ignore the question then don't post at all okay?
you could get a seymour duncan quarter pound for strat to get a really fat almost p-90ish sound.
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If you don't want to get a custom pickguard made then I recommend some hotrails. Regular Fender pick-guards won't fit most Sqiuers (except the new 22-fret "Standard" & "Duluxe" models). A custom guard will cost from $50 - $200 depending on materials. The best way to go is to send them your current guard to trace. I don't know if anyone can do that for you in Sweden, but there's lots of places in the USA & at least a few in the UK.

I highly recommend against cutting your original guard to fit a humbucker--I've never seen anyone achieve professional results. Plus someday you might want to return it to its original configuration.

Newer Squiers have "swimming pool routes" and will fit just about anything. You might need to deepen the area under the screw tabs for a neck humbucker, though (1/2" wide, 1" long, 1/2" deep). You can do that with a drill and forstner bits, but a router would be better (you'd have to remove the neck to use a router). Or you could just chisel it out, but that's kinda dangerous; could crack the body. If the neck area only accomodates a single coil, then you'd have to route the whole thing to fit a true humbucker.

Here's another option for more of a humbucker sound in the space for a single coil:

If you want some cheap options, why not try using a different wiring scheme. Even with your stock pickups you could wire them in series to get more humbucker-ish sounds, or neck and bridge in parallel gives kind of a tele sound. There's a lot more you could do with your existing pickups and a couple mini-toggles. Or you could get single-coil sized humbuckers.
I got 3 lil-killer rail pickups from Guitar Fetish, wired each with a dpdt on-on-on swich, so each pickup gives series, parallel, and single coil mode. Wired the middle pickup out of phase so I got lots of pickup combinations for under $100.
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Well I'm doing my best to resist recommending Lace pickups in a strat because sometimes it just seems like that's how they're supposed to be...

Sorry but I din't really follow you on the Lace sensors. Would you advice against them? From what i've read they seem to have a few sets that might suit my needs. Unfortunately there aren't many sound clips out there.

Blue, Silver, Red or Light blue, Silver, Burgundy both seems to be very versatile and good for different styles. Does anyone here have any experience with these sets?

Im mainly going to use it for progressive rock but it would be nice to get some bright funk tones out of it as well.

I guess that the d'activator is a bit much of a metal sound for me. correct me i im wrong.
Now I am confused, a standard strat configuration in the neck, 4 and 2 positions is great for funk. But you said you want to get away from the normal strat sounds.
D-Activator is pretty metal. They're great for getting a Metallica tone out of Solid State amps, whereas most folks complain about the sound of actives on solid state amps.

I've got 'em in my Xiphos, but there's no coil tapping, so I don't know what they'd sound like as single coils. They do perform quite nicely on clean settings though, IMHO. Very versatile. They're hot, but they don't mess with sustain. But then again the Xiphos is mahogany with a neck-through design. The other day it had an open note sustain for at least 10 minutes when I set the guitar down before I damped the strings when I came back. Not bad for an Edge III trem and a solid state amp on 4 running through a multi-effects Digitech workstation pedal, though.

You might want to list your amp(s) here for people to give you better help.

Also, speaking of Lace, check out the "Alumitones". Also they have some other cool models in addition to the "Sensor" models sold stock on many Fenders; the "Holy Grail" series (on the outside they look like conventional Alnico pups, but they have 2 triangular coils running 90 degrees from the way a conventional pup would be). Check this out, and then this:


Last edited by jetwash69 at Nov 23, 2009,
Quote by jetwash69
Also, speaking of Lace, check out the "Aluminators".

You mean "Alumitones" - They are pretty different from your usual pickups but people seem to say that they're pretty sterile sounding.

If you're wanting something different from your bog standard PAF or Single Coil I'd check out things like Lipstick Tube pickups, Filtertrons, Minihumbuckers [these are different from those single-sized rail 'buckers that the uninformed call minihumbuckers. ] or Firebird pickups.

Personally I'm always drawn towards filtertrons - Kent Armstrong makes some pretty good 'tron style pickups that come in humbucker style housings. Ofcourse for most of these you'll need to edit your guard or buy a new one.
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Quote by Baconfish
You mean "Alumitones" - They are pretty different from your usual pickups but people seem to say that they're pretty sterile sounding.

ROTFLMAO!!!! Yeah. Alumitones. That explains the low youtube hit count. :-)

As for sterile sounding, you mean you can't get a dirty sound out of them? Or do you mean they sound generic? I've never heard them live, and I haven't heard their Deathbucker at all, but the regular ones sounded pretty good in that second video I linked to.

Of course, it's hard to tell how much of that comes from the pups and how much from that aluminum guitar. That's one of the few overdrive/distorted demos out there, so maybe that has something to do with their reputation for sounding sterile.

They market these as being able to reproduce a wider sonic range, but that just be salesmanship; I'd like to see them wrung out on a test bench compared to some other more common pups to see what the real differences are...