Hi all, I have a standard mexican strat that i've owned for around 9 years. It's been a great guitar but Im looking to upgrade the electronics a bit more. I want it to retain a good warm clear clean sound but I also like playing heavier metallica kinda stuff. To assist in this i recently put a seymour duncan hot rails humbucker in the bridge position, and put in new pots coz they were getting a bit crackly. I left everything else standard. I have found the hot rails to be a bit louder especially playing clean than the other pickups. Im wanting to rewire it and put different pickups in the neck and middle positions (all single space) to fatten up and improve the sound quality. I play usually only with the bridge, the neck/middle combination (for clean and warmer solos because using the combination cancels hi gain noise) and sometimes neck pickup. I never use the middle on it's own and set it quite low to the scratch plate because i pick directly over the top of it. Do you guys have any advice as to what setup would be best. I want to change the neck and middle, and even teh hot rails in the bridge if i have to, also any upgrade wiring that would improve sound would be good, and i'm in two minds as to whether or not to install a preamp kindof device in it to give a lead boost if needed. Thanks all.
i dunno but if you do get rid of the hot rails, can i have em
Leaders Of Men

-Gig Rig-
Fender MIM Strat (arctic white)
Boss ME-50
HH Performer 150.

-Practice Rig-
Squire Master Series Deluxe Thinline Telecaster. w/ Bill lawrence XL-500
Boss ME-50
Marshall MG15CDR
^seconded... The apaches are the best SC IMO BKP produce... (i'll squeeze more acronyms in another time... there's a time and a place )

Also, if the budget doesn't stretch to the above... look at Swineshead, they've some real nice handwound SCs aswell...

I also have a MIM Standard Strat and was looking for the exact same thing you are. Warmer clean sounds that could stay clear and not drastically alter that Fender sound, but also play heavy stuff like Nirvana or what not. I just put in a Seymour Duncan TB-4 (JB) in the bridge and it does exactly that. Great cleans and hot enough for most stuff. I also have a Hot Rails in the bridge of another of my guitars and IMO they are not the most ideal for clean sounds, decent but not great. They sound froggy I guess, and not that much different in any guitar I've heard them in. If you like it then keep it, but if the body is routed to fit a full-sized humbucker I would switch it out. To even out the loudness difference look at a S.D. Cool Rails or another Hot Rails for the neck and mid position (probably Cool if you don't want a lot of gain). By the way - the tb-4 is a pretty trebly pickup and my Strat was way too bright so I left the 250k pots in and it is still plenty bright with my amp. So you could have a full sized humbucker for the bridge, Cool or Hot Rails in the neck and middle and wire it up pretty easily and get a bunch of different sounds.
What sort of music do you play?
I'm not very active here on UG currently.
I'm a retired Supermod off to the greener pastures of the real world.
For "metallica kinda stuff", you really need a humbucker in bridge position.
the hot rails in the bridge is a humbucker. and i agree with one of the previous posts it sounds like a piece of shit clean but pretty good overdriven. i play some metal but also play classic rock in a band so i'd like to keep single coils for the neck and bridge. at the moment im looking at putting a full emg active system in (sa,sa and 81 humbucker) but i've gotta check how the body is routed under the bridge pickup, and im also going to battle getting a pick guard to suit as my mexican strat doesnt have the same screw hole positioning (the screws that hold the scratchplate onto the body) as an american.