I'm sort of a n00b when it comes to pickups, i get the concepts and all that, and i realize that compared to my 2 other guitars, my new strat (2009 standard cherry sunburst with stock everything)'s pickups are not that good. they don't have a high output, and i really only like the sound of the neck pickup but it has a great deal of gain, even on the clean channel. I'm using this guitar in a band, and when i play blues live. my band plays sort of clean, staccato-ish guitar lines, (myspace.com/moscowtraffic please look at our video to get the idea), then switches to distorted solos, usually. i love my amp, but with this guitar i can't get the right sound out of it. I thought maybe replacing the pickups might work. what pickups would you recommend for me? my guitar teacher also recommended that i replace them (thats where i got the idea), so can you help me? blues, rock, reggae clean sound, a little bit of metal, kinda sound would be best. i need a higher output too. thanks
well generallly higher output distorts more and is better for gain. generally lower output makes cleans very clear and great. thats why strats have that sound.

output does not mean volume (well it can. but not in that context).

your sayinga strat isnt good clean? cause i mean, since the beginning of guitar strats have always had a great clean sound/blues sound.

is it a quality strat? its not mexican or a squier or anything is it? are they for sure stock pickups?

if its just the tone you dont like, ok then you just dont like the pickups. but i would definitely get a lower output/gain pickup mde for blues/soft rock that are noiseless, and designed as great bluesy strat pickups.

perhaps its your amp? what amp are you running? if its a smaller amp and your cranking it, it could be distorting naturally. higher gain/output pickups will only make that worse. but you want metal? so let me get this straight. you want cleanish, but still having gain?

sounds to me its just the overall tone. i would stick with a rock/blues pickup, and get a good pedal you want to get higher gain tones out of it. if you really want to amp it up for metal, throw a stacked humbucker in the bridge, which will help that. thats what i would do. what guitarist/music do you like or what kind of music is similar to what you play?
for a very staccato style with high outputs 50s strat pickups or something like that
ikey_, yeah i guess i'm just not a fan of the pickups on this one. but i'm looking into a fuzz pedal, and i'd like a really crystal clear sort of clean sound, and i can't get it with this guitar, believe me its not the amp, i've tried 12 different ones that i know to be good, but yeah i thought maybe if i had 3 different pickups, like, one for metal with a higher output, one for my clean tones, and one for my rocky bluesy sound that i could boost with a fuzz pedal. i have a metal pedal that i like with my other guitars, but i'd prefer to play this one cuz the neck's easier to move around on, so basically the question is
can you recommend me a pickup for each of those three categories?
1) bluesy-rocky (think maybe 'the black keys' or a hendrix fuzzy sound?
2) crystal clear clean (from jazz to "james brown DNA" staccato sound by the band junkie rush)
and 3) a higher output metal pickup that sounds tasty.