#1
Howdy folks,

Been looking to upgrade the single coils in my USA Deluxe Strat for a while now, and can't seem to make up my mind. I've gotten a few recommendations from a couple guys on here, but I figured I would make a thread anyways just to make sure I got everything right for the first time.

The N3 Noiseless pups in my Strat leave something to be desired, and sound way too harsh through any amp. I really want to soften things up and get more of a smoother, creamier sound, so anything with the word "fat" or "punchy" in it is probably out of the question, and I would also prefer not to mix and match different pickups.

So, with that being said, what do you guys think? I will be (eventually) running them through either a Mesa TA-30 or a Mesa Express 5:25 combo.
#2
Lace Golds. Don't even think about anything else.

If that's too punchy though get some Alnico 3s.
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Last edited by Mephaphil at May 11, 2013,
#3
Quote by Mephaphil
Lace Golds. Don't even think about anything else.

If that's too punchy though get some Alnico 3s.

Those sound pretty good, but I guess I am being a bit picky and would like to stay in the realm of true single coils. I like the 60s pre-CBS reissue underwound pups that they put in the relic'd CS guitars, but you can't buy them on the aftermarket unfortunately.

One set of pickups I was looking at was the BKP Apaches, which are alnico 3 and have that round low-end and softer high-end that I'm looking for, but I can't seem to find any demos of them. Have any experience with those?
Last edited by cdr_salamander at May 11, 2013,
#4
SD SSL-1's and SSL-5. If you want even nicer sounds, get the custom shop versions of them. Easily the smoothest single coils I've ever had. I actually struggled to get a particularly 'punchy' sound out of them, which is why I sold the strat I had.

I shouldn't have though, it was actually pretty killer.
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#5
Quote by cdr_salamander
Those sound pretty good, but I guess I am being a bit picky and would like to stay in the realm of true single coils. I like the 60s pre-CBS reissue underwound pups that they put in the relic'd CS guitars, but you can't buy them on the aftermarket unfortunately.

One set of pickups I was looking at was the BKP Apaches, which are alnico 3 and have that round low-end and softer high-end that I'm looking for, but I can't seem to find any demos of them. Have any experience with those?


Screw all of that and get some Lollars.
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#6
Quote by mmolteratx
Screw all of that and get some Lollars.

Yeah, those Blackfaces you told me about sound damn good but I was just making sure I had exhausted all of my options. Been using them as a comparison to these other ones here, and they match up pretty well with the BKPs.
#7
I have a 56 AVRI Strat with what I think I have those pickups or something very similar. They're meant to be period accurate so I think they are. They're Alnico 3 and they sound amazing if you want that 50s Strat sound.
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#8
Honestly, the N3s are already considerably smoother and warmer-toned than any 'true' Strat single coil. They lose a lot of treble.

Bear in mind that a smoother and warmer tone only really comes with at least a slight increase in output. You can compensate for this by simply setting the pickups further from your strings, so don't be afraid to use a "fat" pickup.

Take a look at the Seymour Duncan Alnico II Pro (APS-1 and 2, depending on whether you want flat or staggered poles). They're slightly warmer than SSL-1s and more so than any A3 pickup can be. If smoothness is what you're chasing then A2 magnets are definitely the way to go, almost regardless of wind.

You could also try the SD Quarter Pound. THe large pole pieces give it a much, much smoother and softer sound, and though they increase the output a lot you can tap the pickup so it has less than half its normal output (or again, just set it further from your strings).

Another SD to try would be the Five-Two. The wound strings are actually pretty bright, but the plain strings are very soft. It'd be an especially good choice for the neck; the resonant peak is just high enough to keep the plain strings clear there.


Otherwise, if you're going to go the boutique route, save your money and don't buy a pre-fab set from Bare Knuckle. Go to one of the many hundreds of other custom pickup makers and get something that actually is custom, wound to your spec for the exact tone you want. The added bonus is that virtually every single other custom pickup maker is cheaper than Bare Knuckle. Hell, you can get a completely unique set of custom pickups for about the same price as a normal set of SD or DiMarzio pickups would cost.
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#9
^ That's some good info, thanks. I think I am going to be sticking with Matt's advice and trying the Blackfaces. Although a bit pricey, I believe they will get me where I want after getting the height just right.
Last edited by cdr_salamander at May 11, 2013,
#11
despite the fact that they they work different Lace Sensors are true single coil pickups. the golds mentioned are great for vintage strat sound without the noise. for a somewhat more modern sound try the silvers as they have a little more output.
#12
Quote by mmolteratx
Screw all of that and get some Lollars.


+1 Jason knows his pickups!
#13
Quote by MrFlibble
You could also try the SD Quarter Pound. THe large pole pieces give it a much, much smoother and softer sound, and though they increase the output a lot you can tap the pickup so it has less than half its normal output (or again, just set it further from your strings).
I've got quarter pounders in my tele and I'm really impressed with the bridge pup. I'm playing slide so the neck pup may as well not even exist. Mine don't have the tap and with all the coils on they are very P90'ish. I wasn't going to rec the QP because it's a pretty brutal sc but with the tap I think you'd be right - and if he ever wanted to play some Rose Tattoo slide he'd also have that available at the flick of a switch too.
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Last edited by Cathbard at May 11, 2013,
#14
Quote by ibanart300
+1 Jason knows his pickups!


Yup. The Blackface set is what I've currently got in my CS Strat. Fairly subdued high end compared to most, and a tad bit higher in output but they've still got that Strat jangle. Considered putting in a Blonde set to get a bit more high end for cleans, but now that I've got what is basically a Twin circuit for my clean channel, I'm sticking with the Blackfaces.
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#15
Quote by monwobobbo
despite the fact that they they work different Lace Sensors are true single coil pickups. the golds mentioned are great for vintage strat sound without the noise. for a somewhat more modern sound try the silvers as they have a little more output.

I kept hearing that they sound like humbuckers. I know Billy Corgan used them in the early Pumpkins.
#16
Quote by mmolteratx
Yup. The Blackface set is what I've currently got in my CS Strat. Fairly subdued high end compared to most, and a tad bit higher in output but they've still got that Strat jangle. Considered putting in a Blonde set to get a bit more high end for cleans, but now that I've got what is basically a Twin circuit for my clean channel, I'm sticking with the Blackfaces.

When are you coming back in town? I might swing by just to get an idea of how the sound in person.
#17
Personally I and most of the guitar playing world think Bareknuckles are worth the extra £20 or so over a factory SD/Dimarzio pickup (not that there is anything wrong with them by any means). I also don't think getting a Bareknuckle is about getting something custom made, it's simply about getting a high quality and great sounding pickup.

I don't have any sound clips of the Apache for you, but don't skim over Bareknuckles just because of Mr Flibbles usual Bareknuckle bashing post of the day. There is a reason these pickups are so highly rated, despite being a little more expensive.
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Last edited by Bigbazz at May 11, 2013,
#18
Quote by Bigbazz
Personally I and most of the guitar playing world think Bareknuckles are worth the extra £20 or so over a factory SD/Dimarzio pickup (not that there is anything wrong with them by any means). I also don't think getting a Bareknuckle is about getting something custom made, it's simply about getting a high quality and great sounding pickup.

I don't have any sound clips of the Apache for you, but don't skim over Bareknuckles just because of Mr Flibbles usual Bareknuckle bashing post of the day. There is a reason these pickups are so highly rated, despite being a little more expensive.


TBH, the only BKP I've played and/or owned that I felt was worth the price was the Nailbomb neck. And they're definitely more than £20 more for a set here in the States.

Quote by cdr_salamander
When are you coming back in town? I might swing by just to get an idea of how the sound in person.


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#19
I can't tell you much about the bridge or middle, I haven't found the perfect set yet, but I can tell you that I found my perfect neck pickup and don't know that I'll go to another neck pickup again. That's the Seymour Duncan Five-Two. Beautiful sound. Highly recommend it.
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