Okay, I have an HSS american strat. The humbucker I put into it was a duncan invader, and it was a complete impulse buy. It's wayy too loud compared to the single coils.

I want a pickup with balls but also a decent clean that isnt obnoxiously loud like the invader.

I'm looking into either the Seymour Duncan JB or the Duncan Distortion.

your thoughts?
2008 M.I.A. HSS Strat
Marshall JCM 900 50w Dual Reverb
I've just put a Irongear Hot Slag in my HSS strat - it's very nice too - and it doesn't overpower the single coils (which as pretty standard output).

I'd recommend taking a look at one of those - maybe there'll be other options when you list what you'll be playing.
The Distortion would be a good choice if you're mainly playing heavier stuff.

If you need versatility, and moderate output, go with the JB. It's like a jack of all trades pickup.
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I'm pretty biased when it comes to the JB. I've got one in every guitar I own. To me it's the most balanced humbucker out there. It's perfect for distorted tones and it cleans up nicely as well.
As for singlecoils, I put Seymour Duncan Antiquities in one of my HSS Strats. They sound just like a Strat is supposed to sound like. They're a little pricey, but if you can afford them, I think you'll be happy.
In my other HSS Strat, I put Fender Texas Specials. They're great, but they might be a little hotter than you're looking for.
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Last edited by seth's daddy at Dec 4, 2009,
When I think of a pickup with "balls",I think of a beefed up PAF style humbucker.Look at the Duncan custom or a DiMarzio Breed bridge model.


Dimarzio Norton
Duncan Custom Custom
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Quote by JLT73
Dimarzio Norton
Duncan Custom Custom

these...or the Dimarzio Breed.

Forget the JB and Distortion, they're not really what you're looking for.
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As steven seagull says, the JB and Distortion really are not appropriate.

A SD Custom 5 or Custom Custom may be okay for you. They're fairly high-output but both very smooth and even-sounding; the Custom 5 is, to me, 'the' overwound humbucker of choice for most heavy styles while the Custom Custom is a touch smoother and more mellow. If the difference in volume (output) of the humbucker and the single coils bothers you though, your only real choice is to go for something really rather low-output like a Alnico II Pro or '59 model. Humbuckers are always going to be considerably louder than single coils unless you buy something specifically very low-output, or if you lower the humbucker all the way down and raise the single coils further up.
One I'd suggest would be a Pearly Gates or Pearly Gates Plus. They're not low output pickups but they're certainly on the lower end of medium output, they're very clear, very, very responsive and are really good all-rounders; they're based off the pickups that Billy Gibbons has in his favourite Les Paul. The Pearly Gates uses an Alnico II magnet and is a touch smoother. The Pearly Gates Plus uses an Alnico V magnet for a tiny bit more power and would be my pick for you, however the Plus version is very hard to get hold of as it's only made for Fender and they stopped selling them individually a couple of years ago - however there are still a few Fender HSS Strats that come with them stock and you can find people selling them on eBay every once in a while. I have one in a Strat myself and it's simply fantastic, one of the few times I've not even remotely thought about replacing a stock pickup. So give the Pearly Gates a look and keep your eye out for a Pearly Gates Plus.
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I play a bit of everything (blues,punk, and alternative mostly but sometimes metal)

i eventually plan on changing out the single coils for something a little hotter sounding but im picking up a JCM 900 50w head tomorrow so thats where most of my moneys going.

the invader is only obnoxiously loud and obscure sounding when its clean, it just doesnt sound good to me
2008 M.I.A. HSS Strat
Marshall JCM 900 50w Dual Reverb
Last edited by LPstudioWRz28 at Dec 4, 2009,