#1
I was dead set on a Shawbucker Fender custom shop pickup, but then I remembered that I've only listened to maybe 10 humbuckers total. On top of that I can't even buy a shawbucker yet and so I'm looking for advice about some possible alternatives.

I don't want to have a big volume change when I switch from the fat 50s single coils to the humbucker. I need the output of the humbucker to be reasonable.
So if I understand how this works, I need to look at vintage humbucker with less than 7k impedance?

Then if I follow that logic, I won't want to be splitting the humbucker for position 2, is that correct?
I should clarify - I like the 2nd position a lot in the traditional SSS strat but I don't NEED that sound. I'm willing to give it up. I need the humbucker to be awesome though.
Genres of music that interest me: all kinds of rock

I've still got my LP so I don't need to play Metallica with this but it would be nice if I can get some versatility. The mid and neck are going to be fat 50s single coils and I'm planning to use them to cover funk, ska, and singing sorts of strat single coil sounds.
I was thinking maybe like southern rock sorta sounds. CCR, Skynyrd, is that achievable?
#2
If you don't plan on splitting the HB ever, you might be better served by getting a HB-sized P90.
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#3
I don't see a point in putting PAFs in a strat. If you have a LP you probably have a better sounding PAF type sound in there than you'll ever pull out of a strat.

So then you either get an interesting sounding low-output humbucker like an Alnico II Pro, or you get something with more output and realize that it's not a huge deal to have a slight volume difference. Or you do what Danny said and get a P-90 or something that's got some flavor to it but isn't too hot. Or, there's nothing at all wring with just getting an overwound strat pickup. You don't have to have a humbucker.

Personally I like the JB in a strat bridge. It's hotter than the single coils, but so is every other pickup on earth, and you might as well get some crunch out of the bridge position. Tonally it fits in quite well.
#4
The Seymour Duncan '59 could be another good option- Godin uses it as the bridge HB in their Belmont, which has 2 SD Lipstick pickups in the middle and neck positions.
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!
#5
no way your gonna find a humbucker that will match your singles. fender has made a few strats with a SD Pearly Gates and i know that sounds good. now as for this "i need a humbucker to be awesome" huh? f you have a LP then why not let the strat be a strat? rumour has it some pretty "awesome" tones can be had with single coils. one other suggestion (provided your strat has an SSS pickguard) is to look at Lace Sensor pups. they are almost noiseless and do make some pickups that aren't way above your current singles but can give you some more umph so to speak.
#6
We just got in a new American Standard HSS Strat in at my store a little bit back. It's got the Shawbucker. Thing sounds amazing. Matches with the single coils very well.
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#7
http://i.imgur.com/tFCbfRh.jpg

I apologize for not including an important detail. It's a custom build. There is no pick-guard. It has to be humbucker sized.

I wasn't sure if I'd finish this when I started and the bridge humbucker rout was just an impulse when I cut it. Now it is what it is.Too late!
Having said that - the p90 idea had not occurred to me. Great catch. Is there also a jazzmaster voiced humbucker? Ideas...
#8
Quote by the_bi99man
We just got in a new American Standard HSS Strat in at my store a little bit back. It's got the Shawbucker. Thing sounds amazing. Matches with the single coils very well.


Loaded pick-guards have been selling for up to 300$ on eBay. Sometimes ads get posted, sold and removed within a few hours of going up, and there haven't been that many of them.

That's way rich for my tastes. I can get the fat 50s for 40$ apiece and I don't need the switches and pots. Is the shawbucker a 220 pickup or can I get by with something that costs half that? That's the question I've been asking myself.
#9
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!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Apr 9, 2015,
#10
This has been fruitful. I like the alnico 2 pro and sd59. I also like some of the p90 suggestions.

I liked some of the jazz voiced pickups enough that I might want to abandon the rocknroll pretenses, but I'm gonna sleep on it.
Thanks for giving me some ideas. Success.
#11
You'll never match a humbucker volumewise with standard sc's. I have not personally tried the new shawbucker, but generally I think the JB works exceptionally well in a Strat. Fender dh-1/atomic humbucker is generally thought to be a straight copy... Get the Seymour Duncan in that case, better quality control and waxpotting.
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#12
i'm with most of the other guys who have posted. you're sort of on a hiding to nothing trying to match the outputs, and you risk getting a worse humbucker sound by worrying too much about it. plus, the split sound will match up better if the humbucker is fairly hot.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
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.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#13
I'm listening, but I am currently using one off those Duncan Designed screaming demon knock-offs and the volume change is hard to handle. Admittedly that one is (I think) something like 23k... (It came from a Squier vm)

The JB does sound awesome. I can't argue with that.
#14
i dunno about the duncan designed one but i think the regular screamin demon is fairly moderate output
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
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.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#15
Take a look at the Dimarzio Bluesbucker. Its a relatively bright, but not overpowering humbucker that was designed to imitate a P90. Split, it has a very clean, stratty sound.
#16
Quote by paul.housley.7
I was dead set on a Shawbucker Fender custom shop pickup, but then I remembered that I've only listened to maybe 10 humbuckers total. On top of that I can't even buy a shawbucker yet and so I'm looking for advice about some possible alternatives.

I don't want to have a big volume change when I switch from the fat 50s single coils to the humbucker. I need the output of the humbucker to be reasonable.


You should probably consider an SD P-Rail, then. It's a humbucker-sized pickup that has both a real P90 coil and a real rail-coil singie coil in one pickup. You can use either one of these (via switching) AND you can put them together in serial mode for a standard humbucking pickup response, or run them in parallel for a slightly thinner (but still humbucking) pickup.

There are three output levels available in the P-Rail (two that SD has designated "bridge" and one they've tagged for neck position), and if you simply treat them as three different output pickups, you're better able to pick the best for your use.
#17
JB, all day every day. It's my favorite Strat HB.
OBEY THE MIGHTY SHITKICKER
#19
holy crap that's the best pickup ever. you can see there at 5:17 or so it keeps playing even though he's stopped playing and started talking.


seriously though it just sounds like a fairly low output humbucker. and it sounds like there's a volume difference there between the humbucker and the singles too. plus i mean the in-between positions on a strat are at a different volume too, and the "don't put humbuckers in a strat, the volume jump is too extreme!" camp hardly ever complains about that.

maybe i'm just cynical (and i haven't tried it, it probably is a pretty good pickup to be fair) but it strikes me that fender is making a really big deal about finally putting a decent humbucker into its fat strats, which arguably it should've done long ago.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
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.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Apr 10, 2015,
#20
Quote by Dave_Mc
holy crap that's the best pickup ever. you can see there at 5:17 or so it keeps playing even though he's stopped playing and started talking.


seriously though it just sounds like a fairly low output humbucker. and it sounds like there's a volume difference there between the humbucker and the singles too. plus i mean the in-between positions on a strat are at a different volume too, and the "don't put humbuckers in a strat, the volume jump is too extreme!" camp hardly ever complains about that.

maybe i'm just cynical (and i haven't tried it, it probably is a pretty good pickup to be fair) but it strikes me that fender is making a really big deal about finally putting a decent humbucker into its fat strats, which arguably it should've done long ago.


The cynical point of view had occurred to me as well, and maybe I'm getting hyped up about a "decent" pickup.
I'm willing to listen if nothing else. The weight of the votes for the JB has been strong. I know they say tone is subjective, but tastes can also change.
#21
I like the JB as well, but I prefer the '59 (as mentioned previously).

Still unanswered (seemingly): are you planning on splitting the HB or not? Because if the answer is "yes", then you need to decide if you want to match the output when split or when in normal mode. Which means different suggestions.
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!
#22
I don't know. I think I needed someone to talk me out of the shawbucker and that's been done, but I guess I'm back at square one again.

Here's an idea that's probably been done somewhere; what about wiring it up so that the default mode is a split humbucker, and the humbucker is only engaged when a separate switch is flipped?
That would protect the function of the 5 way switch. It would be a sound selector only. No troublesome volume changes.

So if I tried that, I'd want something that matches with a fat 50 middle pickup when split and then the output of the humbucker wouldn't be as big a deal.

I don't know if that creates any new avenues to explore. Otherwise I suppose the SD 59 is the leader for vintage output.
#23
Lace Sensor has a side by side pickup that looks like a humbucker and can be put into a hb mode. when split you get an actual single coil sound.
#24
Quote by paul.housley.7
The cynical point of view had occurred to me as well, and maybe I'm getting hyped up about a "decent" pickup.
I'm willing to listen if nothing else. The weight of the votes for the JB has been strong. I know they say tone is subjective, but tastes can also change.


yeah. just to add some balance, i'm kind of ambivalent about the JB. I don't hate it anywhere near as much as I used to, but it still wouldn't be my absolute favourite pick. It's a bit "jack of all trades" to me. for most specific uses I can think of better options, and even for a genuine jack of all trades pickup there are probably pickups i'd prefer.

Quote by paul.housley.7
I don't know. I think I needed someone to talk me out of the shawbucker and that's been done, but I guess I'm back at square one again.

Here's an idea that's probably been done somewhere; what about wiring it up so that the default mode is a split humbucker, and the humbucker is only engaged when a separate switch is flipped?
That would protect the function of the 5 way switch. It would be a sound selector only. No troublesome volume changes.

So if I tried that, I'd want something that matches with a fat 50 middle pickup when split and then the output of the humbucker wouldn't be as big a deal.

I don't know if that creates any new avenues to explore. Otherwise I suppose the SD 59 is the leader for vintage output.


I don't see why that wouldn't work, but I'm no electronics guru. It should just be a matter of wiring up the 5-way like a regular strat 5 way but then having the push-pull switch (or whatever you use to engage/disengage the split) select the full humbucker.

if the single coil sound and no volume drop are more important, as monwobobbo says, you can get pickups which are more or less two single coils together (e.g. duncan stag mag). I haven't tried them, though, so have no idea how good they are- plus making an educated guess I'd assume the humbucker tone isn't as authentic, and if the single coil tone really is most important it might make more sense just to get an SSS strat and be done with it, and maybe rely upon wiring the bridge and middle pickups in series (on a push-pull pot, say, like the USA deluxe strat) for a slightly heavier tone the odd time you need it. Again, though, you don't get something for nothing and it doesn't sound quite as good (to my ears) as a full-sized humbucker.

and don't let me talk you out of the shawbucker, as i said, i haven't tried it
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
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.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Apr 11, 2015,
#25
I love all the positions on a sss strat except for the bridge single coil. The number 2 position on the other hand is awesome.
I can have a good position 2 or a good position 1, but not both? That's part of the problem. The other part is that while I do prefer single coils to humbucker, I still like to have a humbucker.

So if I have to sacrifice one or the other, I guess I'll give up position 2. It's the least compromises.
#26
Quote by paul.housley.7
I love all the positions on a sss strat except for the bridge single coil. The number 2 position on the other hand is awesome.
I can have a good position 2 or a good position 1, but not both? That's part of the problem. The other part is that while I do prefer single coils to humbucker, I still like to have a humbucker.

So if I have to sacrifice one or the other, I guess I'll give up position 2. It's the least compromises.


dude wire the tone pot to the bridge pup and you''ll notice a difference right off the bat. you can tame the ice pick tone that way and make the bridge pup very useful.
#27
^^good advice. A lot of people don't realize that most SSS Strats are wired so the bridge pickup isn't affected by the tone knobs. That can be changed easily, and will allow you to tame the bridge pickup a bit.
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#28
Nobody specifically mentioned the Seymour Duncan Custom Custom yet but I assume that it's basically sort of implied within all of the JB recs.

I feel that there's a lot of good omens there. EVH kind of defines rock God for me, and although I'm not going to attempt to sound exactly like EVH I think I'll enjoy having that sound. some of the other names mentioned were also pretty interesting to me. Satriani was mentioned, and it sounds like it's in the same general hemisphere as Slash as well. Which is also cool.
#29
^ yeah superstrats sound awesome. i'd argue they're nearly a classic in their own right these days as well (as you said, EVH is one of the most aped tones of all time and he used one).

admittedly i'm a superstrat fanboy.

Quote by paul.housley.7
I love all the positions on a sss strat except for the bridge single coil. The number 2 position on the other hand is awesome.
I can have a good position 2 or a good position 1, but not both? That's part of the problem. The other part is that while I do prefer single coils to humbucker, I still like to have a humbucker.

So if I have to sacrifice one or the other, I guess I'll give up position 2. It's the least compromises.


yeah i think that's pretty much the height of it, unfortunately. if there were anything which wasn't a compromise we'd all have it. you can get a passable position 2 if you split the bridge humbucker when it's combined with the middle single coil, but most would say it still doesn't sound as good as a regular single coil. if that's the compromise you're more willing to make, though, go for it.

having the tone knob wired to the bridge single in a strat will help, but it still won't turn it into a humbucker. plus turning the tone knob down lowers the pickup's output a bit, which isn't really ideal when a regular strat single is already a lot less powerful than a humbucker.
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Quote by K33nbl4d3
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.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
Last edited by Dave_Mc at Apr 12, 2015,
#30
Quote by Dave_Mc
^ yeah superstrats sound awesome. i'd argue they're nearly a classic in their own right these days as well (as you said, EVH is one of the most aped tones of all time and he used one).

admittedly i'm a superstrat fanboy.


yeah i think that's pretty much the height of it, unfortunately. if there were anything which wasn't a compromise we'd all have it. you can get a passable position 2 if you split the bridge humbucker when it's combined with the middle single coil, but most would say it still doesn't sound as good as a regular single coil. if that's the compromise you're more willing to make, though, go for it.

having the tone knob wired to the bridge single in a strat will help, but it still won't turn it into a humbucker. plus turning the tone knob down lowers the pickup's output a bit, which isn't really ideal when a regular strat single is already a lot less powerful than a humbucker.


superstrats are without a doubt a modern classic. certainly since VH hit the scene they have become a guitar staple in their own right. where would much of 80s metal and shred be without the super strat. thye have a fairly distinctive sound and are really versatile. played them for many years but now i go for the more standard strat sound.
#31
^ Yeah. I love most guitars but if I had to pick one I'd probably go with a superstrat- as you said, they're really versatile, really comfy, and they also suit my style of playing as well.
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.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
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.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?