#1
Iv recently found myself in possession of 3 stratocasters, 2 copies and 1 fender. This is something i never thought i would do but the price was right. I personally never could coax the sweet "strat" tone from any one ive ever played, all i ever got was that tinny/super thin garbage. Well iv finally got a feel for them because iv always loved the sound just couldn't produce it, so i stuck to other dual coil equipped guitars. My question is what are a good set of single coils that will help me produce a good blues/rock vibe yet remain clear and articulate enough for smooth "jazzy" cleans? I hope such a set exists!! My knowledge of the single coil market is extremely limited. Any and all help appreciated.


They all 3 have stock pups as of now. The Jap Fender sounds ok but extremely thin. The copies both sound terrible....like bees in a can.

Iv tried them through a few different amplifiers....Mustang 3, Micro terror, vintage Princeton, and a Jcm800.
#3
The Seymour Duncan Texas Hot single coils sound great.

Are any of these American Standards.
#4
What exact sound are you looking for? When you're saying "sweet Strat tone" I'm thinking 4th position (neck + middle pickup) tone rather than bridge, but someone else may have a different idea.

What are the specific models you have and what do they sound like now? How do you play them? Just bridge pickup will sound very trebly and harsh through most amps out there, no matter what you do...

Without this info it's just guesswork.
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

Apparently once also known as PonyFan #834553.
#5
Quote by Dick Savage
Iv recently found myself in possession of 3 stratocasters, 2 copies and 1 fender. This is something i never thought i would do but the price was right. I personally never could coax the sweet "strat" tone from any one ive ever played, all i ever got was that tinny/super thin garbage. Well iv finally got a feel for them because iv always loved the sound just couldn't produce it, so i stuck to other dual coil equipped guitars. My question is what are a good set of single coils that will help me produce a good blues/rock vibe yet remain clear and articulate enough for smooth "jazzy" cleans? I hope such a set exists!! My knowledge of the single coil market is extremely limited. Any and all help appreciated.


They all 3 have stock pups as of now. The Jap Fender sounds ok but extremely thin. The copies both sound terrible....like bees in a can.

Iv tried them through a few different amplifiers....Mustang 3, Micro terror, vintage Princeton, and a Jcm800.



You have a Princeton and a JCM800 and you can't get that "strat" tone out of 3 different Stratocasters? Can I ask how long you've been playing? What is your EQ set at?
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#6
Quote by Dick Savage

They all 3 have stock pups as of now. The Jap Fender sounds ok but extremely thin. The copies both sound terrible....like bees in a can.



Just spend more time with the ones you've got, and forget pickup swapping.
Take them off the bridge pickup and just start working with your amp until you get them sounding good -- it'll happen. Just remember that what you do NOT want is for them to sound like yet another humbucker guitar.
#7
Quote by JustRooster
You have a Princeton and a JCM800 and you can't get that "strat" tone out of 3 different Stratocasters? Can I ask how long you've been playing? What is your EQ set at?



Been playing right at 19yrs. And im certain my amps/eq isnt really the issue as all of my other instruments sound fantastic. Iv just had thisproblem with stratocasters or other single coil equipped guitars.

Iv also hand biult several guitars for myself and others just never with single coils. I rember one time picked up a salmon colored strat in a best buy years ago and through a crate stack it sounded phenomenal...but all the rest ive ever tried are thin sounding like there is no bass response at all. I know its strange.

And yes the strat tones i speak of are in the 2nd and 4th switch positions i just cant seem to get it to come out...

The first one is a 1982 Japanese Fender all stock

Second is a korean affinity squier....stock

Third is a no name. Im fairly certain that it is asian though due to the specs and materials/construction.


I have no idea what pickups are in any of them. The Jap sounds decent when clean, but when overdriven it becomes harsh and brittle. Like a really have to put extreme effort into trying to milk some tone from it. The other two unbearably harsh (sheilding/unpotted pups perhaps?).

I only paid $350 for the lot of them so if it comes to it im sure i could get that at least for the jap alone so.....

But i dont want to sell, i really wanna be able to harness the tonal goodness that i know can be acheived...the how is the problem?


I mainly play blues/rock and also some heavier stuff ala Vinne Moore etc....

I want to like these guitars but in having a hard time. Maybe a capacitor swap would also help?


Also that Jcm is at 7 bass/6.5 middle/4.5 treble.
Last edited by Dick Savage at Dec 16, 2015,
#8
Quote by dspellman
Just spend more time with the ones you've got, and forget pickup swapping.
Take them off the bridge pickup and just start working with your amp until you get them sounding good -- it'll happen. Just remember that what you do NOT want is for them to sound like yet another humbucker guitar.



I get what you're saying. I wish i could upload sound files of these things, then you would understand. Im not expecting or wanting a humbucker sound from them that defeats the purpose. These guitars just sound particularly shitty no matter the amp/effects configuration. And im fairly certain its not my playing as all other guitars i own sound great. Iv got an old hagstrom with p90s that sounds balls out stellar, just not these strats.
#9
the problem isn't necessarily the pickups but rather your EQing and perhaps gain settings. first thing to understand is that singles are a different beast and the tonal expectations change. lots of humbucker guys start with their standard tonal setup and then wonder why it doesn't work with singles. singles will always have a cleaner sound even when you start to pile on the distortion that's the first thing you have to get used to. knock back your treble settings as these often result in a shrill tone from the bridge if you don't.

if you can't get a great clean strat sound from a tube fender amp then you are definitely doing soemthing wrong. same with a dirty tone from a marshall.

examples of what tones you're after please.

oh and isn't your life meaningless anyway so what difference could tone possibly make
#11
Quote by monwobobbo
the problem isn't necessarily the pickups but rather your EQing and perhaps gain settings. first thing to understand is that singles are a different beast and the tonal expectations change. lots of humbucker guys start with their standard tonal setup and then wonder why it doesn't work with singles. singles will always have a cleaner sound even when you start to pile on the distortion that's the first thing you have to get used to. knock back your treble settings as these often result in a shrill tone from the bridge if you don't.

if you can't get a great clean strat sound from a tube fender amp then you are definitely doing soemthing wrong. same with a dirty tone from a marshall.

examples of what tones you're after please.

oh and isn't your life meaningless anyway so what difference could tone possibly make



Lol i said that no life has meaning outside of the meaning that we place on it.

And like i said my eq settings shouldnt be the problem considering iv ran the gammet on these things.....i plugged them in to a mustang 3 which has 100 preset patches and not a one of them sounds worth a shit.

This is not coming from a beginner here, iv been doing this mess 20 years, there is definitely something a miss with these pickups.

Im starting to suspect that the ones in the Jap have been replaced but retain the same covers as the originals vecause the stock units should at least sound decent.. these DO NOT.
#12
A few tonal examples would be SRV, Eric Johnson, (cringe) John Meyer (guys a douche but has tone) Dickey Betts etc....nearly every 40yr old fat dude EVER! They all have sweet sounding strats while mine sound like strangled cats.

I Plugged them into a very nice PRINCETON and they dont just sound bad....they are TERRIBLE.
#13
I am still recovering from the amazing deal you have struck for yourself, with those guitars together costing so little. I would love to have that opportunity.

I agree with dspellman: Try different guitar and amp settings first, possibly try other single coil guitars with the same amp, to see if your particular guitars are off in any way. There is an unlikely chance that your circuitry has a part that is poorly-connected (I had that once in a volume control pot with a loose rivet) and causing you a thin, weak tone. It is low on the list of likely problems, however.
#14
I only got that deal because a guy desperately needed christmas money...Hell its all i could afford to pay him at the time also so he took it.


Iv fully inspected the circuitry on the Jap but not the others. All is in good working condition....im just thinking that these pups are either terribly weak or horribly made. I guess i could check the ohms and give you guys that data as well if they are higher than 4 ohms id be shocked.
Last edited by Dick Savage at Dec 16, 2015,
#15
Quote by Dick Savage
Lol i said that no life has meaning outside of the meaning that we place on it.

And like i said my eq settings shouldnt be the problem considering iv ran the gammet on these things.....i plugged them in to a mustang 3 which has 100 preset patches and not a one of them sounds worth a shit.

This is not coming from a beginner here, iv been doing this mess 20 years, there is definitely something a miss with these pickups.

Im starting to suspect that the ones in the Jap have been replaced but retain the same covers as the originals vecause the stock units should at least sound decent.. these DO NOT.


you plugged into a modeling amp and then used presets . really . ok have to compose myself. try actually working on your own settings. a modeller isn't likely to get some of the better "strat" tones as edge of breakup isn't one of their specialties. i'd think after 20 years you'd know that though.

do you have a tube amp to use? seriously if you want the best a strat has to offer then that is what is needed. now you said you had strat copies and those may well have crap pups but you should be able to get atleast a servicable clean tone from them. your actual fender should be able to get decent tones either clean of dirty. again what exactly are you after? are we talking hendrix, SRV, Clapton? newer guys what?
#16
I have found that I personally don't like how my playing sounds through single coils very much. I much prefer a HB sound
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#17
Quote by Robbgnarly
I have found that I personally don't like how my playing sounds through single coils very much. I much prefer a HB sound


lot of players do. i didn't really use singles for many years either and stuck with humbuckers. only in the last 7-8 years did i really delve into the strat / single coil thing. took some effort and a bit of a change to my tonal perceptions but once i did the strat became my fav guitar to play.
#18
Quote by monwobobbo
you plugged into a modeling amp and then used presets . really . ok have to compose myself. try actually working on your own settings. a modeller isn't likely to get some of the better "strat" tones as edge of breakup isn't one of their specialties. i'd think after 20 years you'd know that though.

do you have a tube amp to use? seriously if you want the best a strat has to offer then that is what is needed. now you said you had strat copies and those may well have crap pups but you should be able to get atleast a servicable clean tone from them. your actual fender should be able to get decent tones either clean of dirty. again what exactly are you after? are we talking hendrix, SRV, Clapton? newer guys what?



Have you seriously not read any of my posts? I have stated mh gear. A vintage Princeton...a micro terror....a mustang 3 and a JCM 800 with a 4x12 with Vet 30s.

And i made the statement about the mustang because alot of the factory (clean) presets are quite good....others have played there strats through it and loved it and there are even a few higher gain channels that are pretty nice as well. I have also personally made over 50 custom patches that sound pretty damn gig worthy on it. I basically used it as a control test
Because of the fact they are factory preset....like a bareboned 60s twin reverb..it should sound good no matter what but it dosent.
#19
Quote by Dick Savage
I get what you're saying. I wish i could upload sound files of these things, then you would understand. Im not expecting or wanting a humbucker sound from them that defeats the purpose. These guitars just sound particularly shitty no matter the amp/effects configuration. And im fairly certain its not my playing as all other guitars i own sound great. Iv got an old hagstrom with p90s that sounds balls out stellar, just not these strats.


Sorry -- these days when a guitar sounds bad it's almost always ME that's particularly shitty.
#20
Quote by dspellman
Sorry -- these days when a guitar sounds bad it's almost always ME that's particularly shitty.



There's been plenty of times i felt the same way lol.
#21
Quote by Dick Savage
Have you seriously not read any of my posts? I have stated mh gear. A vintage Princeton...a micro terror....a mustang 3 and a JCM 800 with a 4x12 with Vet 30s.

And i made the statement about the mustang because alot of the factory (clean) presets are quite good....others have played there strats through it and loved it and there are even a few higher gain channels that are pretty nice as well. I have also personally made over 50 custom patches that sound pretty damn gig worthy on it. I basically used it as a control test
Because of the fact they are factory preset....like a bareboned 60s twin reverb..it should sound good no matter what but it dosent.


dude chill i'm at work and can't memorize everything. you brought up the Mustang so i responded to that. should sound good and do aren't the same thing. i've found factory presets to be pretty useless(i use a POD for recording and tweek the hell out of everything to get a decent tone.)

so are you telling me you can't get a decent clean sound out of your princeton or a good dirty sound out of your marshall? it's pretty common knowledge that strat bridege pickups are very bright and can sound brittle so you have to tame the highs on your amp. don't use the bright switch if it makes it to brittle sounding on the princeton. again i'll ask you what tones you are going after (give examples). you haven't been very clear about what exactly you want.
#22
Again,if you refer to my previous posts i cited several examples. I am also at work unfortunately.

I have tweaked the mustang presets to death.

The Princeton is a phenomenal amp for every other guitar but these 3. Iv been predominantly using the 2nd and 4th positions.

The JCM actually sounded best out of all i tested it on but its still extremely lacking. In my original post i said that iv never gotten good tones from strats (this may have caused confusion) that isnt particularly true. Iv played a few that sounded great but these 3 are just blood suckers. They are particularly bad. Hope that clears things up.
#23
ok first skip the affinity and the no name. cheapie strat isn't going to sound great the pickups are usually total crap. affinity has fairly weak pickups that certainly aren't going to get you SRV of Eric Johnson without a ton of help. i assume you have a JV strat if it was made in 82 ( these are pretty collectable and worth a bit). they feature vintage voiced pickups that are really low output. not the besst pickups out there but should be servicable. now personaly when i set my amps up for strats i do it by balancing the tone to work for the neck and bridge pickups with a slight emphasis on the neck tone. i've never tried to set the tone in the 2 or 4 position (don't ue them much). once i find a good balance then i'm good to go and find that the in between tones sound good as well. so perhaps give that a try. do you use an ovrdrive? for SRV a tubescreamer is pretty essential. eric is super tough even with good gear so if you can't match that then don't feel bad. john mayer uses crystal cleans and often a klon so again if you can't match it well no shame, he also uses custom pickups. often the great strat tones of the past were also a result of opening the amp up which often isn't an option when sitting home.
#24
Iv got an assortment of pedals i comped off a music store that went belly up. Ended up with some fairly wonky shit. (Hole in the wall place) iv got pedals that literally just make sustained fart sounds when engaged and its a feature not a defect lol.

But yea have 808 thats been thoroughly abused but works great. And iv got a Boss EQ a BIG MUFF, a OCD, blues driver,echoplex...you name it. I probably have 50 pedals or so. Hell i have an Ampeg Scrambler (no ine wants to hear that shit).

But im not so interested in creating those players tones as much as i was just trying to genralize the "strat tone" i want for examples sake.
#25
Have you tried a good compressor? That usually gets me any tele sound I'm after, works for many people and Strats.
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#26
I actually haven't tried a compressor (only because i dont dig it with humbuckers) i do have one its just not currently on the board. I guess it would kinda thicken things up a bit where as with humbuckers i always wind up making shit muddy with it. Ill try that tonight.
#27
I play it with my Esquire at all times, and I roll the attack off my Strat, but it's definitely the secret weapon of a lot of single coil players. Hope it works for you!
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#28
Man i will give that a shot as soon as i get off work! Ill have to dig out the big box o' pedals.
#29
Advice:

Use THICK strings, as thick as you can stand.

Raise your action up higher than you would if you use HBs.

Wire your bridge pick-up to the same tone nob as the middle pick-up.

Use medium gain \ overdrive and turn up the volume.

enjoy
#30
Just figure out why the Japanese strat is so horribly ice pick like! I'm not sure how i overlooked this before....but some jackass slipped 1meg pots in this thing! Im assuming it had EMG/active pups at some point and they got swapped back without the pots....anyway ill be loading in some good 250s and hopefully that will tame the treble substantially.
#31
I would recommend an SD JB Junior, as it is a humbucking pickup that is single coil sized. They sound outstanding on Strats and the like. You can expect these pickups to sound great from clean to heavy metal.
#32
The one thing I can think of is maybe you have some sort of cheaper ceramic pickup in your guitars. I know my lite Ash strat was not that great sounding with its Duncan designed pickups. Get a proper strat pickup with alnico magnets it might get you there. I've had three Fender strats only one of them has a proper good strat sound.