Author Topic: Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?  (Read 494 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Pizvo

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?
« on: April 15, 2019, 01:58:16 pm »
Hi guys. I'm brand new on this forum, found it searching for information about pickups and it looks like i'm in the right place.

Here's my "problem". I recently bought an old Squier Strat (Standard model, agathis body/maple neck in walnut satin color) as a project/backup/rehearsal guitar and found it surprisingly nice in terms of playability, looks and weight (back problems). I'm not a Strat kind of guy, more in the PRS and old Matsumoku original neck-trough designs ballpark, so the bridge single pickup is gonna go and be replaced by a humbucker. And the music style i most often use it for is down tuned (#C standard) modern prog metal...

Now, i'm not a real metalhead and my other band is a sort of a Hendrix/RHCP/Incubus/math rock hybrid (yes, really...) so this guitar is going to be a bipolar beast - neck (single-sized hum) and middle (single) are more traditional sounding and have their own dedicated volume pot, while the humbucker needs to do the heavy chug thing with another volume, master tone covering both. Because of that fact, my shameful unfamiliarity with Strats and certain things i want from my sound, i need advice on the best possible bridge pickup for the job.

1. It needs to be hot and angry, but not too hot and angry, both because i don't like extremes and because i don't want it to be a metric tonne apart from the neck pickup (a more-hot-than-not rail single sized hum) volume wise.

2. I would like it to have nice string separation in complex chords like a lot of more modern hot pickups, but not without some PAF-ish warm overtones. I also don't really do much lead playing, so i don't really need pinch harmonics or clear arpeggio runs.

3. I despise harsh and bitey highs, more a fan of glassy, rounded highs. On the bass side of things, it needs to be full and meaty, but more tight than boomy. Clear and pronounced middle, of course.

4. It needs to do what it does in a Strat with shitty tonewood and on 250k pots. Yes, 250k. Deal with it.


Now, the problem i have with a lot of more modern (especially signature) pickups is that they seem to have more middle than it's good for them, so they sound throaty and lack a strong bass foundation or any high end sparkle. I blame "djent" for that... But then again - over the top bass and grainy lack of definition is why i avoid hot-rodded PAFs. I'm looking for a well balanced, huge and powerful modern pickup.

I had a lot of pickups on a lot of guitars, usually more of a S. Duncan variety, but i once had a pickup in another (first) shitty Strat that turned heads whenever i played it - it was the (not Air) Norton. Love that one, underrated and powerful thingy, but not really what i'm going for now. It tends to get overly dark at times and harmonics just fly out of it like nothing. Duncan is... complicated, they don't seem to produce anything of this description. I was eyeing some Bare Knuckle pickups, but i just can't justify spending that kind of money on a cheap guitar. DiMarzio it might be, but - which one?

I don't really have the opportunity to try them on guitars or even a retailer nearby so it will be a totally blind (deaf) online purchase. Therefor, i would kindly ask for assistance on this one. It might be just a shitty Strat, but it needs to be the best sounding shitty Strat in town.  :D


Offline greenlion

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 378
  • Karma: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 05:05:27 pm »
You don't really need to limit yourself to humbuckers that sound good with 250K pots. Most don't. You can use a resistor to make the single coils "see" 250k while the humbucker still sees 500k. This video shows how: https://youtu.be/SJZ2Do7Ywx0

Offline greenlion

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 378
  • Karma: 14
    • View Profile
Re: Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 05:13:27 pm »
It really depends on what neck and middle pickup you will use. If you are using vintage neck/middle singles, then a lot of humbuckers will result in a huge jump in volume when switching positions. If you are using higher output singles, then you can use higher output humbuckers. I have combined humbuckers like the Tone Zone, Fred, Air Zone and 36th Anniversary with single coils like the Area 61, Virtual Vintage 54 Pro, Cruiser, and Virtual Vintage Blues. They work well together with only a slight drop in volume. If you try to combine pickups like the Tone Zone and Air Zone with lower output pickups like the Area 67, or Area 58, you will get that big drop-off in volume. I use the resistor trick on the singles to get the best tone out of them. They are too bright with 500k pots.

Offline Aponte

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2019, 08:56:03 am »
Are those slight drops in volume still noticeable or are they not a big deal?

Offline RayBarbeeMusic

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1107
  • Karma: 53
    • View Profile
strat bridge
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2019, 10:40:24 am »
Depending on how dark you like things, 250k pots are fine with diMarzio's rail type single sized buckers.

Chopper:  Sounds like a slightly overwound PAF
Pro Track:  low side of medium hot, paf+
Air Norton S:  Low medium output but with more bass/low mids.  THis might be the one you're looking for.

There are a lot of other options that are significantly hotter and have very specific EQ curves, but they'll be pretty dark with 250k pots and the pronounced EQ bump might not be what you're looking for.

Offline gtrjunior

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 88
  • Karma: 1
    • View Profile
Re: Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2019, 08:50:38 pm »
I prefer 250k pots regardless of the pickup.
The tonal difference is not as great as some would have you believe. It just tames the high end a little.

Offline Guitar74

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 67
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2019, 05:06:26 pm »
I prefer 250k pots regardless of the pickup.
The tonal difference is not as great as some would have you believe. It just tames the high end a little.

I have as well in many a guitar. My experience has been the same as yours. I actually PREFER a 250k with the Duncan JB. WAY better sound out of that one with a 250.

Offline A-Bomb

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2019, 11:57:41 am »
The JB is made to sound good with 250K pots in a Strat, not a big 250K fan with humbuckers myself though. HSS Strats are cool and all, but I gave up on true singlecoils in that configuration. So my advice to OP is AT-1 bridge, Cruiser or Fast Track 1 middle, Chopper or Pro Track neck, 500K pots.

Offline BluesJam

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 110
  • Karma: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Which Strat bridge humbucker (for Strat-unfriendly things)?
« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2019, 07:17:28 pm »
My choices by type:


1) full size humbucker...EJ or Humbucker from Hell
2) Rail Humbucker..... Cruiser
3) single coil..... FS1