#1
Hey guys, I've got an American Strat I bought back in '87 or so (give or take a year). I'm doing a fair bit of recording and the pickup hum is really preventing me from using it. I mostly play blues and I'm looking for some pickups that will drastically reduce the hum while retaining that Strat sound. I'm thinking maybe Lace Sensor Gold or possibly silver (is there a big difference?) or maybe DiMarzio Area 58s in the neck and middle position and an Area 61 for the bridge. Do those sound like good choices, or would you recommend something else?

Like I say I very much want to retain a nice Strat tone for the blues, but just get rid of (or at least drastically reduce) the hum.
#2
Lace is a good option. I'd also look at Rio Grande and Vintage Vibe. All offer singlecoils that significantly reduce hum.

However, if you're really being driven nuts by the hum, you might consider something like the Lace Alumitone. They're a different pickup tech, and are as quiet as pickups get. They're made in all sizes and shapes, including singlecoil size.

I have a trio set in a maple-bodied semihollow. They don't have quite the same twang as you'd expect in a Strat, but still...

Well, let these guys show you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUuZAT3FvVo

...and for giggles, you could put a Lace Alumitone Deathbucker in the bridge position and REALLY have a different sound...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTvrmho3HnE
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Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 25, 2014,
#3
Quote by gtc83
Hey guys, I've got an American Strat I bought back in '87 or so (give or take a year). I'm doing a fair bit of recording and the pickup hum is really preventing me from using it. I mostly play blues and I'm looking for some pickups that will drastically reduce the hum while retaining that Strat sound. I'm thinking maybe Lace Sensor Gold or possibly silver (is there a big difference?) or maybe DiMarzio Area 58s in the neck and middle position and an Area 61 for the bridge. Do those sound like good choices, or would you recommend something else?

Like I say I very much want to retain a nice Strat tone for the blues, but just get rid of (or at least drastically reduce) the hum.


You must understand that all hum-cancelling single coils have some tonal differences from actual single coils. That you can or can't live with that will determine whether you'll get a noiseless PU or stick with single coils.
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#4
Is the problem mains (low frequency) hum of rf noise (white noise, sizzle)?

I'm curious to know because mains noise has never been a problem for me, and I'm wondering it it because our mains are 240v, not 110v. OTOH, I have all kinds of strife with rf noise. I fix it by shielding cavities and pickguard and/or turning the treble down on the guitar and winding it up on the amp. (Grounded) shielding under the pickup cover also greatly reduces rf noise, but takes the edge off the tone. - But the loss of tone is no worse than using a series-wired humbucker.

Do the Alumitones stop rf noise as well as mains hum?
#5
Quote by Tony Done
Is the problem mains (low frequency) hum of rf noise (white noise, sizzle)?

I'm curious to know because mains noise has never been a problem for me, and I'm wondering it it because our mains are 240v, not 110v. OTOH, I have all kinds of strife with rf noise. I fix it by shielding cavities and pickguard and/or turning the treble down on the guitar and winding it up on the amp. (Grounded) shielding under the pickup cover also greatly reduces rf noise, but takes the edge off the tone. - But the loss of tone is no worse than using a series-wired humbucker.

Do the Alumitones stop rf noise as well as mains hum?


I'm just bothered by it for recording, with a Line 6 studio UX1 and Pod Farm. The noise sounds like the gain on the amp is at ten even though it's at three. Then I plug in my Ibanez with humbuckers and it's dead silent. I'm in the US so the voltage is 120 or thereabouts.

Maybe the Fender Vintage noiseless? I've been listening to some clips on their site and they sound okay. The Lace Sensor gold's sound a lot better in those videos, but who knows, could just be the amp and the guitarist.

I'll have to check out those Rio Grande and Vintage Vibe pickups too. Thanks for the advice guys!
#7
When you use hum canceling pickups you loose some quack. I think the Dimarzio are the better choise. I would use a 61 in the neck and middle and a virtual vintage heavy blues 2 in the bridge for more puch
#8
Quote by Tony Done


Do the Alumitones stop rf noise as well as mains hum?

I honestly can't say- the guitar I have my Alumitones didn't have RF hum before I swapped them out.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#11
Thanks for all the suggestions guys! Now I've got a ton of stuff to look at Very much appreciated.
#12
Yikes! I didn't care for the tone in either of those vids.

For a while there was a nasty hum in my studio using a stock Strat. Apparently there was a failing compressor or fan motor in the neighborhood causing RF 60hz hum. I just used HBs when the noise was bad and when it was quiet I used the Strat. If you want real Strat tone you need SC pickups IMO.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#13
Quote by gtc83
I'm just bothered by it for recording, with a Line 6 studio UX1 and Pod Farm. The noise sounds like the gain on the amp is at ten even though it's at three. Then I plug in my Ibanez with humbuckers and it's dead silent. I'm in the US so the voltage is 120 or thereabouts.

Maybe the Fender Vintage noiseless? I've been listening to some clips on their site and they sound okay. The Lace Sensor gold's sound a lot better in those videos, but who knows, could just be the amp and the guitarist.

I'll have to check out those Rio Grande and Vintage Vibe pickups too. Thanks for the advice guys!


Could you have a grounding problem on your strat? If it is making the amp noisy there might be a wire loose somewhere.
#14
Quote by Cajundaddy
Yikes! I didn't care for the tone in either of those vids.

For a while there was a nasty hum in my studio using a stock Strat. Apparently there was a failing compressor or fan motor in the neighborhood causing RF 60hz hum. I just used HBs when the noise was bad and when it was quiet I used the Strat. If you want real Strat tone you need SC pickups IMO.


Yeah there's a transformer on the power pole right in front of our house. No doubt that doesn't help much.

By SC do you mean the Seymour Duncan SC-101's?
#15
Quote by Tony Done
Could you have a grounding problem on your strat? If it is making the amp noisy there might be a wire loose somewhere.


That's definitely a possibility, I'll have to take the pickgaurd off and have a look at it. Thanks!
#16
Quote by gtc83

By SC do you mean the Seymour Duncan SC-101's?


I don't want to put words in his mouth but I think he just means "Single Coils".
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#17
Yep, SC=single coil, HB= humbucker

Each has specific tonal characteristics and they don't cross over all that much. Different tools for different reasons.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#18
I love my Lace Sensor Hot Golds. Not sure how they do it... but they are very quiet pickups for a single coil.
#19
Both Lace Sensor Gold and Fender Tex-Mex PUs sound good to my ears. They are different though. You decide which ones you like best:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6n54XZeUp0
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at May 27, 2014,
#20
Quote by Cajundaddy
Both Lace Sensor Gold and Fender Tex-Mex PUs sound good to my ears. They are different though. You decide which ones you like best:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6n54XZeUp0


That's an awesome video for comparing the two - thanks! I'm really leaning towards the golds. I see you can get them pre-assembled on the pickguard with all the proper tone and volume pots and capacitor etc. for $200.

Now I just have to decide between the golds or the hot golds. The golds sound magnificent as well.
#21
Quote by Cajundaddy
Yep, SC=single coil, HB= humbucker

Each has specific tonal characteristics and they don't cross over all that much. Different tools for different reasons.


Yeah, I'm starting to realize that. Single coils, to my ears at least, just have so much more character. Though there's certainly been tons of great blues done using humbuckers of course. But it's just not my sound really.
#22
I've had Lace Sensor Golds in my Strats before. They're exactly as advertised. Go for them if you dig them.
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#23
Quote by gtc83
Yeah, I'm starting to realize that. Single coils, to my ears at least, just have so much more character. Though there's certainly been tons of great blues done using humbuckers of course. But it's just not my sound really.


I'm with you. There is something special about that classic SC Fender tone for the blues. Most of my guitars are SC for that reason.

I liked that comparison youtube vid too. Always nice when the guy doing a comparison can actually play pretty well.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY