#1
Just for the hell of it, I'm considering replacing the pickups on my Squier Strat with something a little better. I've never done this before, so I'm a little clueless. First off, is it even going to improve anything on my piece of crap guitar to do so? Is the sound produced by the guitar mostly a product of the pickups, or are there additional electronics which govern the sound? Secondly, do I have to replace all of them, or would it be possible just to install a bridge humbuckler? Will humbucklers even fit in a Squier Strat?

Finally, if this is even a little bit of a good idea, what should I be looking at for metal? Obviously, either Duncans or EMGs, but is there a huge difference between active and passive? Are actives a pain, as in, do you need to change the battery frequently or anything?
Squier Strat
B-52 AT-212 100w tube
Boss Metal Zone

Amateur philosopher and physicist
#2
actives can be a pain in the ass to install if you do it yourself. I personally dont like them, they give a more compressed tone, and offer tonal capabilities that arent possible with the passives, but im still a passive fan. Duncans or dimarzios or Guitarfetish.com GFS pickups. the GFS are way nice, and are super cheap. if your looking for single coils, they have whole sets of 3 there for abour 60-70 bucks i think, and they are nice.

as far as it really making a difference on your guitar... as long as your guitar is made of a good tonal wood, they should make a pretty good difference in the sound, but sometimes that could be useless if the playability blows..

And actually, the sound is mostly governed by your amp, but new pickups WILL improve your sound, just not as much as a new better amp would.
#3
if you play squire Strat, i would save the money and just buy a nicer guitar with pickups that are not going to need to be change. Squire Strat is not really going to give you a metal tone that your going to be happy with. at least thats what i think.
#4
Your strat is probably routed for HSS configuration, so you'd be able to fit a humbucker in the bridge position without routing. For a neck humbucker, though, you'd need to route (cut out) some wood from the guitar. The pickups in a guitar seem to be a kind of holy grail for guitarists, but the rest of the guitar plays a big part in the tone too, and then you've got your amp and overdrive pedal or whatever. Squier Strats do not contain the best quality wood, and aren't put together with the greatest care and expertise. However, this cannot be corrected without simply buying another guitar. So, for modding your strat, changing pickups is probably the best option.

You'll have to decide what you want from each pickup position. For the neck, do you want a singlecoil for Strat tones (Hendrix, John Frusciante, Clapton) or a humbucker for more power (Jimmy Page, Slash, metal)? Do you want to keep a singlecoil in the mid position for chords? Do you want a cutting singlecoil or a roaring humbucker in the bridge?

Seymour Duncan and DiMarzio are great pickups, but they each have vintage- and modern-voiced pickups (50s, 60s, or rock/metal, basically). Go to their respective websites and use the wizards they have to help you choose.
Quote by derek<3guitar
Is the sound produced by the guitar mostly a product of the pickups, or are there additional electronics which govern the sound? Secondly, do I have to replace all of them, or would it be possible just to install a bridge humbuckler?

Everything in the guitar helps govern the sound. Even the scale length of the guitar does. Electronics-wise, you can get 500k pots (the volume and tone controls) to change the amount of treble they cut. You can get supplementary electronics from EMG or GuitarFetish like an Afterburner circuit to increase gain onboard the guitar.

You can replace one, two or three pickups whenever. You can mix and match to your heart's delight, provided you can use a soldering iron (or get someone else to), and don't mix passive and active pickups (for simplicity's sake).
Last edited by blue_strat at Aug 17, 2007,