I have played electric guitar for 35 years, but to this day I know next to nothing about pickups. Oh, I understand the basic electronic principle behind coils and magnetism and how they work. But I know nothing about which pickups to use for what kind of tone.

For years I played stock, off the wall guitars thru so-so solid state amps and never gave it a second thought. But a couple three years ago I finally reverted back to the All-Tube side of The Force. One night while playing my beautifully setup MIA Strat standing in front of the TV, I realized how tired I was of having to tolerate that loud and annoying 60hz hum/buzz in my guitar when I switch to certain positions on 5-position selector switch.

So I was thrilled a week later when I got my guitar back from the local retailer with Fender Hot Noiseless Pickups on it. No more hum. That was about a year ago.

Now I have been trying to "find my tone" and I realize that the one ingredient I have not messed with in the whole recipe is the pickups. I have been thru a couple dozen amps, a few dozen speakers, and a basket full of pedals, with some success. I am closer than ever now with the gear I have to getting the tone I want, but there is still something in the sound I dont really care for. And I am finally wondering if that last "make a difference" ingredient might be those Hot pickups.

I constantly have my tone knobs turned down to 2 on both the guitar and the amp just to tame the highs and to stop that eardrum piercing sizzle. I frequently have a high freq response in my tone that I would describe as simply too much, too hot, too bright, too brash, too edgy, tooooo darn HOT. I have lowered the pickups quite a bit with only small improvements in this biting response. I'm tired of not being able to have a full range of movement on my tone controls for fear of getting ice picks in my ears!

The tone I'm after I would describe as Lee Ritenour meets Jeff Beck. Or put a different way, take Stevie Ray Vaughns licks but play them on Lee Ritenours rig. Not a perfect analogy, but you get the idea. Some of the smoother Steely Dan solos come to mind, on their later albums, like the solo in FM. I'm after smoother, phatter, warmer, darker sound that can still punch and rock and grind but without that old fashioned single coil scream and piercing high sizzle.

So the questions become these: Will different pickups make that much difference? Am I correct in thinking that it's the "Hot" in these pickups that is causing the too bright too edgy tone I get when I crank my tone knobs up? How can I get the smoother phatter warmer darker tone and still be "noiseless"?? Since I cant very well run "a few dozen" pickups thru my ringer, I need to narrow down the options before I buy. So which ones are going to get me closest to the sound I describe? Can I get there or really close to there without breaking the bank on a bunch of custom forged hand wound Dilithium Crystal pickups from the planet Romulus?? And can I do it with the Strat I already have?

I know my amp and my frets, but I know next to nothing about pickups. Any tips/links/recommends?

Thanks in advance!
sorry, can't help you.
i basically posted here to call out the tl:dr replies... or does that only happen in the pit?
id say you want to look up p/ups that are geared more towards jazz to get that sound out of your strat.

Left hand man of the fargoth fanclub! PM lamafunguy to join.

Quote by InvaderTSN
Better yet. "My arm is tired, could I put it in between your legs so I can sexually violate you during the movie?"
Quote by Irnmaiden4life
lets watch this thread die like i should have on page 1
try some humbuckers. maybe even some P90s
Quote by BryanChampine
It was like a orgasm in my ear.
Chea_man is the best.
alot of people dislike it but i am not 1 of them so will suggest it anyway so you can make your own opinion the duncan jazz humbucker

Left hand man of the fargoth fanclub! PM lamafunguy to join.

Quote by InvaderTSN
Better yet. "My arm is tired, could I put it in between your legs so I can sexually violate you during the movie?"
Quote by Irnmaiden4life
lets watch this thread die like i should have on page 1
I would also get some humbuckers.

But, perhaps if you are willing to get some hand wound single coils with really low output.
I had "Gold" Fender Lace Sensors on my American Strat which were supposed to emulate the vinatge tone but they were kind of sterile. These were the predecessors to the ones you got. Yopu can get humbucking pickups in a single coil package, check out Dimarzio I think. Generally speaking, single coils are brighter than humbuckers and have less output. You can get a new pickguard for your Strat to allow you change one or more pickups to traditional humbuckers. That may be more what your after and you can choose from lower output vintage HBs to higher output HBs that'll be thicker and distort more easily if you want.
I wonder why you opted for the "Hot" noiseless pickups when "hot" isn't your thing.

Can you turn down the treble and/or presence on your amp some? There's nothing wrong with using your tone and volume controls on your amp and guitar - that's why they are there.

Are mainly playing clean or distorted? A strat is going to have some piercing highs, especially on the bridge pickup. Use the neck pickup instead.

btw - lower output pickups are going to have more highs - hotter pickups sound darker, generally.
for the hum with sigle coils, you could shield the whole cavity, that is what i did, almost no hum any more.

humbuckers have a lower freq response, that seems like what you want.

try lowering the height of your pick ups (the screws that mount your pups to the pickguard adjust the height), you might be surprised how much of a difference it makes. closer to the strings makes it brighter and higher output, drives more. lower is warmer and jazzier, drives less.