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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Gear »

Permalink Stratocaster Pickups Options Paralysis - Help!

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I have two Stratocasters - a stock American Vintage '65 and a Vintera '50s Modified. I am quite happy with the the AV '65 as it is awesome for surf. The Vintera '50s Modified pickups, however, are a bit lifeless to me. I'm in the market to put in an upgraded set of pickups for the Vintera '50s Modified Strat.

I've had Pure Vintage '59 pickups in a Strat that's since been sold that were lovely although not my first choice for surf. That said, I'm not really looking for pickups primarily for surf but it's nice if they can do surf well. Ideally, a well-rounded set of pickups that can cover a lot of genres.

I've had Fender Original '57/'62 pickups and they are great overall Strat tones. No complaints whatsover with them, however, I think at this point I would like to try for either noiseless, Fender Custom Shop, or boutique caliber pickups.

What are your opinions on the following noiseless Strat pickups?

  • Fender Super 55 Split Coil
  • Genuine Fender Vintage Noiseless
  • Hot Noiseless
  • Gen 4 Noiseless
  • Ultra Noiseless Vintage (updated version of the Genuine Fender Vintage Noiseless or different altogether?)

I previously have had Fender Noiseless pickups for my Tele and found them to be fairly sterile and sacrificing tone. They were earlier than the Gen 4 series. Should I be concerned of the same issue with the Strat noiseless options?

There a quite a few sets of Fender Custom Shop Stratocaster pickups to try:

  • '69
  • Texas Special
  • Fat 50s
  • '54
  • Fat '60s
  • Josephina Hand Wound - a bit outside my budget but would consider if I can find a good deal on a set.

Another consideration, but also a bit more expensive, is getting a boutique set:

  • Joe Barden S-Deluxe
  • Lindy Fralin Split Blade

My concern with Fralin pickups, which I really love in my Tele, Mustang, and Gretsch guitars, is that they are very fragile. I swapped a set out of one Tele to another only to find I accidentally damaged both pickups when installing into the other Tele. I'm usually very careful swapping out pickups in general, so I was dumbfounded that I damaged not one, but two pickups. I'm still debating whether to send them back to Fralin for the rewind fees or just pitch them in the bin. Sigh

I've been super impressed with a set of Joe Barden Two/Tone Jazzmaster pickups that I got in a trade, so the primary boutique Stratocaster pickups would be the S-Deluxe set.

Again, your opinions are very much appreciated!

The doofus formerly known as Snorre
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Last edited: Nov 21, 2020 18:05:37

FWIW, on a lark, I tried SD Cool Rails in the neck and mid positions and a Hot Rail for the bridge. Mui bien! Guitar Guitar Guitar

mj
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Cool

I did a review recently of the David Allen Tru 62's that I love.

https://surfguitar101.com/forums/topic/33374/

That being said, I like the Pure Vintage 65's but the Fat 50's are nice also. The PV's won't break the bank. The David Allens are very nice pickups for surf but 200.00

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montereyjack66 wrote:

FWIW, on a lark, I tried SD Cool Rails in the neck and mid positions and a Hot Rail for the bridge. Mui bien! Guitar Guitar Guitar

Thanks, I'll have a look!

The doofus formerly known as Snorre
Surfysonic on Twitch
Surfysonic on YouTube
World Famous Philistines: 2014 - 2015
https://www.facebook.com/world.famous.philistines/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
K39: 2013 - 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv9JADQ4ukw

stratdancer wrote:

I did a review recently of the David Allen Tru 62's that I love.

https://surfguitar101.com/forums/topic/33374/

That being said, I like the Pure Vintage 65's but the Fat 50's are nice also. The PV's won't break the bank. The David Allens are very nice pickups for surf but 200.00

I read your review, I'll definitely check out the Tru 62's! $200 is comparable cost to the Custom Shop line of pickups, so that's great to hear.

Since I already have the AV '65 Strat, I don't want to have the second Strat with PV '65s as I'd like to have a bit of variety.

The doofus formerly known as Snorre
Surfysonic on Twitch
Surfysonic on YouTube
World Famous Philistines: 2014 - 2015
https://www.facebook.com/world.famous.philistines/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
K39: 2013 - 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv9JADQ4ukw

Ive used a combination of 57/62, PV 65 and Fat 50's in a couple of my surf strats. Recently I tried SD SSL-1's and they failed miserably. The voicing killed the drip. Most of my playing these days is in the middle position and a blended N/B position for a jaguar tone. I fuss with these two tones to get them exactly how I want them. The fender pickups do a good job but the D Allen's just go further and sit very well in the tonal response. The middle positions produce huge drip and more bass frequencies without any harshness. The blended position is bright and spanky matching the tone of a jaguar. I can go to the bridge without it being overwhelmed with harshness. Just a real nice balance across the board.

The Kahuna Kings

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kahuna-Kings/459752090818447

https://thekahunakings.bandcamp.com/releases

On a side note, I would contact Lindy Fralin about those telecaster pickups and tell him about your disappointment. If they were fragile like that, he may offer to repair them for a discount or maybe even for free - good people will stand by their work.

montereyjack66 wrote:

FWIW, on a lark, I tried SD Cool Rails in the neck and mid positions and a Hot Rail for the bridge. Mui bien! Guitar Guitar Guitar

That’s exactly what I was thinking, MJ. Quit stealing my thoughts before I have them. Smile

The artist formerly known as: Synchro

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edwardsand wrote:

On a side note, I would contact Lindy Fralin about those telecaster pickups and tell him about your disappointment. If they were fragile like that, he may offer to repair them for a discount or maybe even for free - good people will stand by their work.

I had the great pleasure in speaking with Lindy when I was having him make me some humcancelling dogear P90 pickups for one of my Gretsch guitars - super nice guy. I'll likely get in touch with him this week about my damaged Tele pickups. A few weeks ago, I saw on his website that they were holding off on the rewind service for a bit. Looks like the rewind service is available again where the service cost is $75 per coil and may go up depending on the model and how much work is required. Included in the service is the whole restore process and wax potting.

The doofus formerly known as Snorre
Surfysonic on Twitch
Surfysonic on YouTube
World Famous Philistines: 2014 - 2015
https://www.facebook.com/world.famous.philistines/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
K39: 2013 - 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv9JADQ4ukw

I have a set of Kinman Noiseless vintage '59 pickups. They sound great and have no hum. He also makes other year vintage pups, including '62 '54 '69, etc.

They are worth checking out and there are a lot of demo videos.

I'll check out the Kinman Noiseless pickups for sure. Thanks, raylinds!

The doofus formerly known as Snorre
Surfysonic on Twitch
Surfysonic on YouTube
World Famous Philistines: 2014 - 2015
https://www.facebook.com/world.famous.philistines/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
K39: 2013 - 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv9JADQ4ukw

Cannot say good word about any noiseless pickup, may aside Lace Sensor that got some charm in them.

My favorite Fender true singles are surely fat 50ts, sparkling, well balanced and full

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+1 on the fat 50s.
Must admit I did not play dozens of other strat pup's.
Cheers,
Andy

www.LosVenturas.be

Thanks, guys. I have to say, of all the Fender Custom Shop Strat pickup demos on YouTube, the Fat 50s do sound really great.

The doofus formerly known as Snorre
Surfysonic on Twitch
Surfysonic on YouTube
World Famous Philistines: 2014 - 2015
https://www.facebook.com/world.famous.philistines/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
K39: 2013 - 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv9JADQ4ukw

Thanks all for the great info. I've decided (for this Strat at least), to spend a bit more and go with the Fralin Hum-Cancelling, High Output Split Blade Strat pickups in a loaded pickguard with blender pot and 300k split shaft.

I spoke with Lindy Fralin - super nice guy. I'm shipping him my damaged Tele pickups and if the problem is only the outer wires, the repair cost is half priced. If I really bungled things up and these pickups are not fixable, he's offering me a discout for a new set of pickups - likely just go with some Tele Split Blades.

The doofus formerly known as Snorre
Surfysonic on Twitch
Surfysonic on YouTube
World Famous Philistines: 2014 - 2015
https://www.facebook.com/world.famous.philistines/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel
K39: 2013 - 2014
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gv9JADQ4ukw

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