#1
Okay so, I've had this strat for the better part of the decade I've been playing and I'm really wondering what my options are for getting the most out of this thing. I do like the stock pickup configuration and the pickups themselves aren't bad either, however they don't offer the same tonal capabilities of a custom setup as should be noted. They certainly aren't anything special for a $500 Mexican Strat.


I've got an HSS setup, and I'm wanting a pickup that'll give me a warmer tone. Something that's not as thin or knife-edge as you might find on other options. I've kinda settled on Dimarzio for the brand, and price isn't really an issue, however nothing crazy. I'm expecting something in the range of $100 for good humbucker and equal for each of the single coils. I'll increase the price for each if it means getting a pretty good setup going. Guess it's probably a good idea to mention I use 10-52 gauge strings too.


I guess the best tone I'm looking for is something like what you'd hear from Claudio Pietronik. The exact sound I'm looking for is the same he uses in 'A Stream of Emotions'.


Any and ALL help would be muchly appreciated.
Last edited by Imglidinhere at Feb 27, 2016,
#3
Part of it is definitely the pickups, yes, but another part of it is the gear in between the guitar and amp. A TS9 boost with some tone cut and a Marshall-voiced amp will get you that tone pretty quickly. That chap looks like he is using the bridge pup for most the recording. You may also want to try flatwound strings.

There is probably a lot more "brightness" than what you think, because the track is dense and he is not trying to provoke bright overtones. As well as the highs were probably cut and the mids boosted in post.
Last edited by Will Lane at Feb 27, 2016,
#4
What's your amp. Most of your tone is coming from your amp, not your guitar.
Gibson RD Silverburst w/ Lace Dissonant Aggressors (SOLD)
Electra Omega Prime Ceruse
Fender Franken-Jag Bass

Amps and the like:
Laney VH100R
Seismic Luke 2x12
Dunlop 105Q Wah
Gojira FX 808
Line 6 M9
#5
Quote by TheStig1214
What's your amp. Most of your tone is coming from your amp, not your guitar.


I play through either my dad's JCM800 head (I think that's what it is???) or my Line 6 Spider HD100 Mk. 1 through a 4x12 slantback halfstack cabinet. He gave me the Line 6 head and the cabinet about 8 months ago this time. I've since bought the Marshall head from him but prefer the Spider HD100 for the greater tone flexibility and more broad range of sounds I can pull from it.

I really should invest in a better head, but I really don't have the cash for now. Any tips?
Last edited by Imglidinhere at Feb 27, 2016,
#6
Quote by Imglidinhere
I play through either my dad's JCM800 head (I think that's what it is???) or my Line 6 Spider HD100 Mk. 1 through a 4x12 slantback halfstack cabinet. He gave me the Line 6 head and the cabinet about 8 months ago this time. I've since bought the Marshall head from him but prefer the Spider HD100 for the greater tone flexibility and more broad range of sounds I can pull from it.

I really should invest in a better head, but I really don't have the cash for now. Any tips?
#7
Quote by Imglidinhere
I play through either my dad's JCM800 head (I think that's what it is???) or my Line 6 Spider HD100 Mk. 1 through a 4x12 slantback halfstack cabinet. He gave me the Line 6 head and the cabinet about 8 months ago this time. I've since bought the Marshall head from him but prefer the Spider HD100 for the greater tone flexibility and more broad range of sounds I can pull from it.

I really should invest in a better head, but I really don't have the cash for now. Any tips?


the marshall is a great amp that many would kill for. while the Line 6 has many options most don't sound all that great in a band setting. the marshall and a few well chosen fx will sound way better in the long run.

as for pickups you may want to look at the (DiMarzio) Area series for the single coils. not familiar with the player you mentioned so i can't say what humbucker would work best. as mentioned tone starts at the amp so knowing what you aren't getting from the amp helps make pickup choices better.
#8
Well, on a recent guitar I went with Joe Barden pickups (soapbar) and those are so good that even my direct guitar recordings sound fantastic and have similar response and feel to what I used to do with tube amps. I get a silky, woody tone, with great chime, something that never happened before with the middle of the road pickups I've had on other guitars. So there's something about paying more for a pickup. I never ventured above the Dimarzio/SD price range, but allI can say is "wow"!

Humbucker: I'd say without any hesitation Dimarzio PAF Joe.

Single coil, I'd say look at Joe Barden if you can, again, depends how many you'd be getting as they're not cheap. Maybe there are some Ebay bargains on these, I see them every once in a while:
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/stratocaster-pickups-single-coil/joe-barden-pickups-barden-s-deluxe-chunky-bridge-guitar-pickup-for-strat?rNtt=joe%20barden&index=15

Arcane will be worth a look (again shop them around):
http://www.arcaneinc.com/#/strat-54-proto/4014939

Look up Lace Sensor as well, I love how their single coils are quiet and silky smooth.
Awesome pickups, they also come in different degrees on output, I'd recommend the blue for traditional Fender cleans with less hum and more clarity:
http://www.amazon.com/Lace-21121-02-Sensor-Blue-Pickup-Black/dp/B001RF294M/ref=pd_cp_267_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1KZH32EJXN81ZAAX98X7


Anyhow, any of these, once you put them on, you'd forget about any of the garbage the Fender custom shop dishes out.
Last edited by diabolical at Feb 27, 2016,
#9
I know I'm probably getting weird looks for saying I like the Spider HD100 more, but there's something literally wrong with the JCM800 head. It just... it sounds *bad* really really thin and nothing I do makes any difference.

Anyway, the humbucker I was contemplating on getting was indeed the PAF Joe.

I'll probably start with that, and then move from there. Appreciate the help. ^^
#11
Well this is embarrassing. It's not a JCM 800 head at all as my dad still has that one. This is an old Dean Markley head and the tubes are shot. I have no idea how I made that mistake. Visually they look nothing alike.

I'm not looking for something 'warm' after all, it's something 'bright', but well rounded that's got good sustain. Preferably a bridge humbucker and a middle position single for a strat. The pickups I have aren't powerful enough to get the sound I want unfortunately.

Did a tad bit of research and the sound is something brighter, not warmer. Apologies on the terminology. Not tone-savvy here. >.<
#12
Quote by Imglidinhere
Well this is embarrassing. It's not a JCM 800 head at all as my dad still has that one. This is an old Dean Markley head and the tubes are shot. I have no idea how I made that mistake. Visually they look nothing alike.

I'm not looking for something 'warm' after all, it's something 'bright', but well rounded that's got good sustain. Preferably a bridge humbucker and a middle position single for a strat. The pickups I have aren't powerful enough to get the sound I want unfortunately.

Did a tad bit of research and the sound is something brighter, not warmer. Apologies on the terminology. Not tone-savvy here. >.<

...



No, that guitar sound in the clip you posted was definitely what I would describe as "warm". You specifically said in your original post that you wanted something not so "knife-edge" or "thin", so you can determine the difference between bright treble frequencies and warm lower/midrange frequencies yourself.

With that said, I do not think the pickups will solve the majority of the problem. Pickups, especially a bridge humbucker, are not just "not powerful enough". The majority of your tone and "power" will come from the amp. Maybe you can work some more with the Line 6 unit and try to get a better sound for yourself.

Start out with a basic amp model or however the amp works, maybe a crunch channel or a Marshall simulation, keep all the EQ flat/at 12 o'clock, add a little bit of gain/distortion just so you get a little bit of distortion in the signal. If the amp has a built-in overdrive effect add that in, max the volume on that effect but keep the gain/distortion on the effect low. See if that gets you a nice, singing sustain. If you need more distortion, add more on the amp, not the overdrive effect. Bump the mids on the amp EQ, reduce the treble a bit, add bass to taste. Use the bridge position of the guitar of course. Keep the volume and tone pots of the guitar at max.
Last edited by Will Lane at Mar 1, 2016,
#13
Quote by Will Lane
...



No, that guitar sound in the clip you posted was definitely what I would describe as "warm". You specifically said in your original post that you wanted something not so "knife-edge" or "thin", so you can determine the difference between bright treble frequencies and warm lower/midrange frequencies yourself.

With that said, I do not think the pickups will solve the majority of the problem. Pickups, especially a bridge humbucker, are not just "not powerful enough". The majority of your tone and "power" will come from the amp. Maybe you can work some more with the Line 6 unit and try to get a better sound for yourself.

Start out with a basic amp model or however the amp works, maybe a crunch channel or a Marshall simulation, keep all the EQ flat/at 12 o'clock, add a little bit of gain/distortion just so you get a little bit of distortion in the signal. If the amp has a built-in overdrive effect add that in, max the volume on that effect but keep the gain/distortion on the effect low. See if that gets you a nice, singing sustain. If you need more distortion, add more on the amp, not the overdrive effect. Bump the mids on the amp EQ, reduce the treble a bit, add bass to taste. Use the bridge position of the guitar of course. Keep the volume and tone pots of the guitar at max.


Then I blame the internet for the spreading of misinformation.

Fair enough I suppose! I will work with what I have for now for tone control. What would changing pickups do for me then? I'm assuming it'd have to have some kind of direct impact on the overall sound from the guitar itself.
#14
A pup change, from a MIM strat, probably would be more of a nuance thing but you would be able to tell. But again, that is not really the majority of the problem, it is just a matter of having the proper amp and amp settings.
#15
Quote by Imglidinhere
Well this is embarrassing. It's not a JCM 800 head at all as my dad still has that one. This is an old Dean Markley head and the tubes are shot.


Could you look at the amp and see if you can find a model number? If it's an old '80's CD60, it might very well be worth retubing. The original Dean Markleys were famously used by folks like Alex Lifeson, Andy Summers and Eric Clapton during that period.

The controls have a wider-than-usual operating range, the amp has great bottom response, and you want to listen to it with everything EQ'd in the *middle* position before tweaking.

If it's the 60W version, there should be three smaller tubes (12 AX7s or ECC83 or ECC83s) and two larger tubes (6L6s). The 120W version would have FOUR of the larger tubes. A retube would run about $74 from Bob at Eurotubes (dot com) assuming two ECC83S's and one ECC83S balanced tube (I'm assuming a phase inverter in V3) plus a matched pair of JJ 6L6GC's. You'd want to email or call him to make sure, of course. He's pretty good about making recommendations.
#16
Quote by Imglidinhere
Then I blame the internet for the spreading of misinformation.

Fair enough I suppose! I will work with what I have for now for tone control. What would changing pickups do for me then? I'm assuming it'd have to have some kind of direct impact on the overall sound from the guitar itself.


Pickup changes are generally a minor tweak rather than a major one.
Getting your amp where you want it is usually the first item on the checklist.
#17
Quote by dspellman
Could you look at the amp and see if you can find a model number? If it's an old '80's CD60, it might very well be worth retubing. The original Dean Markleys were famously used by folks like Alex Lifeson, Andy Summers and Eric Clapton during that period.

The controls have a wider-than-usual operating range, the amp has great bottom response, and you want to listen to it with everything EQ'd in the *middle* position before tweaking.

If it's the 60W version, there should be three smaller tubes (12 AX7s or ECC83 or ECC83s) and two larger tubes (6L6s). The 120W version would have FOUR of the larger tubes. A retube would run about $74 from Bob at Eurotubes (dot com) assuming two ECC83S's and one ECC83S balanced tube (I'm assuming a phase inverter in V3) plus a matched pair of JJ 6L6GC's. You'd want to email or call him to make sure, of course. He's pretty good about making recommendations.


yeah those dean markley's aren't bad amps at all. a pup change won't really help much with the Line 6 amp as they don't really "see" the differences in pickups as well as a tube amp does. my strats have different pickups that is immediately noticeable thru my tube amps but my POD can't really tell the difference very well at all.
#18
As others have said, fine tune your amp to get the best out of it and roll off the guitar tone to warm things up.i don't know anyone with great Strat tone who runs the bridge pu with the tone wide open.. Just roll it off to taste and wail.
"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
#19
I would agree that it is worth spending money on getting the amp working well. When they are up and running, they were great amps, and sounded great with pedals.
Dave @ Seymour Duncan
#20
Well then I guess that settles it! Guess I'll be gettin' new tubes for the DM head before anything else!