I have a Fender Standard MIM fat stratocaster which I play through an Egnater Tweaker 15w half stack, and generally I just use the tweaker's built in gain stage for that expressive overdrive but occasionally I use a fuzz pedal to get a sleek driving fuzz with lots of attack. Or is it with low attack? Not really sure, but I mean with less of a *twack* and more of a *hnnnnn*.

Anyway so I have been playing out of the stock pickups and I have never really been able to complain about them, however recently I notice they are a little lacking. I can't really be more specific, but the single coils lack a certain "oomph" and the bridge humbucker is a little too harsh and brittle sounding. After spending a lot of time fussing with eq's and such, I have concluded that true tone happiness for me can only come after a pickup change.

However, I really don't know which pickups to get. I ordered a Duncan Sh-6 Distortion pickup off eBay, but I cancelled the order because I really didn't know what I was getting myself into. Do I really need a high output pickup? I like being able to have a lot of expression in my distorted playing, and I hear that with high output pickups there's a certain amount of compression so everything comes out sounding the same level, ie there's no room for expression.

However, are low output pickups the solution? I have another guitar, an Ibanez Artcore semi hollow and I notice how boomy the low output pickups sound when overdriven. I like this for some things, but for my strat I want a more focused sound.

Youtube demos are of absolutely no help, they usually show some guy shredding through a bad microphone when really all I want to hear is a barrage of power chords. I want to hear if the pickups allow each note of the chord to ring out distinctly, or if the notes blend together into a muddy mess.

To be more specific about my playing style, I'm into early-style metal and guitar-driven rock. I like to seamlessly blend together lead and rhythm playing when performing a song. For instance, a lot of my riffs involve playing two notes simultaneously, so I want a pickup that will allow each note to have a certain distinction. My amp is low output, so I don't know what that'll mean for my selection. When playing clean, I want my guitar to sound sparkly even if it is a little grating to some listeners.

I'm also a fan of playing with the middle pickup and the humbucker combined, it really adds more power to the single coil while decreasing harshness from the humbucker, however with the stock pups there's kind of too much twang and not enough "oomph". So hopefully, someone out there will read this and know exactly what I need. Cheers!
Last edited by Holykatzbob at May 29, 2013,
Also hey guys, QOTSA's new album is streaming free on itunes. If this question is daunting, then I'd just rather appreciate whoever's viewing this to just tell me what pickups they have, and to rate their satisfaction with them.
Go to the guitar store and try a few with different pickups. Google is a great tool for finding out what guitars have what pickups.
I have a tweaker 15 myself, and a strat with an old (good luck finding one) kramer quad rails pickup in the bridge. Power chords sound great through it. Good chunk, no thwack.
Quote by Wesbanez
You need the Evo bridge / Breed neck combo. Heavenly.

I only have room for one humbucker. And is Evo good for me? I hear it lacks bottom end. Would a Super Distortion sound appropriate?
Quote by ryanbwags
I think one of the QOTSA guys uses a super-distortion.

Yeah I'm really tempted to get a super distortion, it really seems my style!
Alright I think I need a pickup that puts more power to the lower-mids as opposed to one that puts more emphasis on the upper mids/highs, can anyone help me out on that one?
Im getting a squier fat strat in a couple weeks to mod and upgrade and ive been looking into new pups the past couple of days. I was thinking to get some Texas Specials in the neck and mid, with either a Duncan SH6 like you or a Pearly Gates if I can spare the extra cash. The PG because so many people with Fat Strats seem to love them, and the Texas Specials simply because they sound the best to my ears
i doubt you'd need that high output pickups for what you play. and if you don't want "harsh and brittle" probably avoid the duncan distortion.

high output pickups drive your amp harder. meaning more distortion for any given gain setting. Often they're better-voiced for heavier tones too, being tighter etc. with lots of distortion. Downside being cleans and lower gain tones tend to not sound as good. It's a balancing act.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
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I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

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Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

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Et tu, br00tz?
For the single coils - Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100

Cathbard Amplification
My band