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willrocks
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#1
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
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New pickups for strat

Hello
I recently bought an american standard strat and sometimes (often) the radio plays through my amplifier. when i change to my other guitar with humbuckers, the radio goes away. i think this could be the pickups. they are also pretty noisy. i am thinking about upgrading the stock pickups-i want the single coil sound (think the kind you'd hear in a raw chicago blues club) without the hum and radio. i do want single coils though, not stacked buckers. any suggestions?
#2
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
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Lindy Fralin makes some nice sets for strats. I pulled the stock pickups in a strat and put in Fralin's...huge improvement. You can find new ones on Ebay at a pretty good price.
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#3
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
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Send an email to Aaron at Rumpelstiltskin Pickups. He makes incredible pickups for a great price and he has a knack for nailing the tone you're looking for. I don't know about the radio thing, but I'm sure Aaron will.
#4
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
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Or more likely, you can shield the guitar better and get some results that way. No need to change the pickups yet, if you like the sound... just shield the cavity and the pick guard better.
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#5
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willrocks View Post
Hello
I recently bought an american standard strat and sometimes (often) the radio plays through my amplifier. when i change to my other guitar with humbuckers, the radio goes away. i think this could be the pickups. they are also pretty noisy. i am thinking about upgrading the stock pickups-i want the single coil sound (think the kind you'd hear in a raw chicago blues club) without the hum and radio. i do want single coils though, not stacked buckers. any suggestions?
It sounds like this is a specific problem with your guitar and not single-coil PUs per se. Does it only happen with one specific amp?

I am very happy with my Seymour Duncan Antiquity PUs in my Tele and Les Paul. On the latter it was a MAJOR improvement over the Gibson Burstbuckers which are good but too bright for my ears. I think that the Antiquities are equally great on in their Strat incarnation but since I really like the stock PUs of my early 90s '57 reissue Strat I never tried them there.

But I'd like to mention one very important thing: The 'classic' Fender sound of the 50s originals has a lot to do with the potentiometers, wiring and capacitors. I recently got into this first with a Les Paul and now with my Strat. Changing to a 'vintage-correct' wiring kit makes a HUGE difference in the sound.

I got prewired kits from RS Guitarworks but others are selling the same parts and you could also buy individual caps for less money. I opted for the pre-wired kits though because I'm 'electronically challenged' so to say. I have the version with the Jensen cap but there is also a 'Luxe' version. (I use that kind on my Les Paul)

Pre-Wired Premium Vintage Strat® Upgrade Kit : RS Guitarworks Online...

Complete Vintage Strat® Style Electronics Upgrade Kit : RS Guitarworks...

I liked the tone of my Strat before but the Jensen-equipped wiring kit really opened up the sound. There's much more of that bell-like quality to the clean sound and the volume and tone control are so much more useful now (this is really not hype).

But the great thing is that the overdriven sound (amp or pedal) is also improved. It doesn't get shrill but just more singing and musical.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention that because I think it is an essential part of that classic 'Chicago' blues sound which is so far away from the 'modern' kind of Strat sound i.e that thin, plastic sounding, 'corporate' tone.
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#6
7th January 2013
Old 7th January 2013
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I'm admittedly way behind the times when it comes to current state-of-the-art guitar pickups, but fwiw when I upgraded the pickups on my Yamaha Strat clone I went with Seymour Duncan SVR-1 Vintage Rails, and they completely nail that iconic Strat tone with zero hum/noise/RF.

Vintage Rails
#7
8th January 2013
Old 8th January 2013
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Single coils are definite more susceptible to hum and RF interference. Does the radio signal get louder or softer if you move the guitar around the room? I would say that it might also be the cable you are using. Have you tried switching that out? You can look into shielding the body cavity with copper tape, but I'd look for a short somewhere in a cable, pedal, or maybe amp first.

Like the other poster said, if you like the sound of the pickups, then leave them in, and look to remedying the problem in other ways. I switched the stock American standard pickups for Seymour Duncan Antiquity II pickups and it made a big difference in terms of clarity, tightness, and balance of tone but I discerned no noticeable reduction in hum or interference issues.
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#8
9th January 2013
Old 9th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doorknocker View Post
It sounds like this is a specific problem with your guitar and not single-coil PUs per se. Does it only happen with one specific amp?

I am very happy with my Seymour Duncan Antiquity PUs in my Tele and Les Paul. On the latter it was a MAJOR improvement over the Gibson Burstbuckers which are good but too bright for my ears. I think that the Antiquities are equally great on in their Strat incarnation but since I really like the stock PUs of my early 90s '57 reissue Strat I never tried them there.

But I'd like to mention one very important thing: The 'classic' Fender sound of the 50s originals has a lot to do with the potentiometers, wiring and capacitors. I recently got into this first with a Les Paul and now with my Strat. Changing to a 'vintage-correct' wiring kit makes a HUGE difference in the sound.

I got prewired kits from RS Guitarworks but others are selling the same parts and you could also buy individual caps for less money. I opted for the pre-wired kits though because I'm 'electronically challenged' so to say. I have the version with the Jensen cap but there is also a 'Luxe' version. (I use that kind on my Les Paul)

Pre-Wired Premium Vintage Strat® Upgrade Kit : RS Guitarworks Online...

Complete Vintage Strat® Style Electronics Upgrade Kit : RS Guitarworks...

I liked the tone of my Strat before but the Jensen-equipped wiring kit really opened up the sound. There's much more of that bell-like quality to the clean sound and the volume and tone control are so much more useful now (this is really not hype).

But the great thing is that the overdriven sound (amp or pedal) is also improved. It doesn't get shrill but just more singing and musical.

Anyway, I just wanted to mention that because I think it is an essential part of that classic 'Chicago' blues sound which is so far away from the 'modern' kind of Strat sound i.e that thin, plastic sounding, 'corporate' tone.
So this puts the guitars to true vintage spec?
#9
9th January 2013
Old 9th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by litepipe View Post
So this puts the guitars to true vintage spec?
Well, having a Les Paul with Seymour Duncan Antiquities and 50s Wiring/Bumblebee caps (the real ones as opposed to the 'fake' ones used by Gibson themselves in their reissues) is probably the closest thing you can do to be 'true vintage'.

It's still not a '59 Les Paul or '54 Strat though but personally I was surprised how much difference it makes to a good guitar in the sense of using its full potential.

But even without going the relatively expensive 'true vintage spec' route I think potentiometers, caps, etc are things that often aren't being considered by guitar players amidst the 'new noiseless vintage pickup' hype. It's all part of a chain and I think that many players have unrealistic expectations when changing a PU (this is a general observation and not aimed at the OP )

I know it made a difference to me and its' much like amps. I sold many an amp without analyzing what it was that I didn't like about its sound. Once I was able to do that a simple change of tubes or speakers made a HUGE difference in certain cases.
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9th January 2013
Old 9th January 2013
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#11
9th January 2013
Old 9th January 2013
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Does it still hum and get radio interference when using the "in-between" settings? When you select the neck and mid pickup, or the mid and bridge pickup together, since the mid pickup is usually reverse wound, it should act like a humbucker. Now it won't sound exactly like a humbucker, because the pickups selected aren't right next to each other. But it should cancel out the hum and radio interference like a humbucker. If it doesn't, then your problem isn't the pickups, but probably the wiring/cable/amp/something else. If it does then swapping pickups might help.

That should help locate where the problem is coming from before you start blindly throwing money at the problem.
#12
9th January 2013
Old 9th January 2013
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Bill Lawrence is one of the king's of noiseless strat and tele replacements.

If you want to hear the true character of your guitar, these are an excellent choice.

Wilde Bill's NF Singles
willrocks
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#13
10th January 2013
Old 10th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent Sound View Post
Does it still hum and get radio interference when using the "in-between" settings? When you select the neck and mid pickup, or the mid and bridge pickup together, since the mid pickup is usually reverse wound, it should act like a humbucker. Now it won't sound exactly like a humbucker, because the pickups selected aren't right next to each other. But it should cancel out the hum and radio interference like a humbucker. If it doesn't, then your problem isn't the pickups, but probably the wiring/cable/amp/something else. If it does then swapping pickups might help.

That should help locate where the problem is coming from before you start blindly throwing money at the problem.
Yes, the in-between setting significantly reduce the hum and radio frequency. I'd like to get that reduction on all 5 settings though.
#14
10th January 2013
Old 10th January 2013
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I have been having weird noise problems lately. I had 2 basses shielded with copper tape and shielding paint. It reduced the noise by about 80%.

I personally would never put humbuckers in an instrument unless that's the sound I was after. I would try to solve the noise in some other way.

Have you tried a power conditioner? I have also heard that can help.

I honestly don't think that replacing with other single coils will change the noise issue. But if you decide to change your pups, look at Nordstrands!! I just put two of them in a bass of mine and they sound unbelievably good.

nordstrand pickups > welcome

#15
10th January 2013
Old 10th January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willrocks View Post
Yes, the in-between setting significantly reduce the hum and radio frequency. I'd like to get that reduction on all 5 settings though.
That's perfectly normal because the 'in-between' setting acts as a 'humbucker' in priciple. Though technically it's not a true humbucker because both PUs/coils are in use.

Maybe you're just new to the world of single-coil guitars in general? Playing live - especially with dimmable lights,etc - the amount of interference/noise can be absolutely devastating. Especially so with distorted sounds.

Personally I can live with it and sometimes things get better by just using a different power outlet for your pedalboard, etc or changing your position on stage.

It's old school technique: turn distortion pedals off when not in use, work your volume control or use a volume pedal to control the interference in between phrases, etc.

You might get different opinions on this but I think the true single-coil sound comes with a price. I would go so far as to say that a certain amount of hiss, noise is actually part of that 'classic sound'. Modern 'vintage without the noise' designs might get you pretty close to the classic sound but there's a difference no matter what the advertising says.

It's up to you to decide whether that difference is worth the trouble or not. Since you mention the 'classic Chicago sound' I really think that old-school is the way to go.

Compare it to tape hiss with analog recording. In most cases it is perfectly managable but once you try to remove it completely by using Dolby, etc there is a change in sound.
#16
10th January 2013
Old 10th January 2013
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Take a look at the Dimarzio area pickups. They're noiseless. You can look at YouTube vids to get an idea of how they sound and if u don't like them, dimarzio will exchange them for other pickups until you're satisfied. I actually have the dimarzio injector in the bridge which is a hotter version of the area pickups and it sounds great clean or distorted.
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10th January 2013
Old 10th January 2013
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John Mayer Big Dippers. You gotta buy the pickup assembly off eBay but I have never heard a cooler single coil pickup. And I have heard a lot.
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#18
14th January 2013
Old 14th January 2013
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Fender Vintage Noiseless installed by a tech is All ya need...
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