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Unread 02-17-2010, 11:26 PM   #1
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Need Suggestions for Strat Bridge Pickup

I have Early 90's am std. strat, maple fretboard, alder body, 2 screw trem, it now has the original alnico sc pickups. I do not want to change the middle or neck pickup, I am fine with those. I want a bridge pickup that is just a bit fatter than what's in there, but will still retain the Fender twang, and the snarky #2 position sound. I don't want it to have significantly higher output that the other pickups. It appears that I will be playing with a "pro" (not really making a living at it, but...) country band, so I'd like to find one that would give the ax more of a tele tone, as much as is possible on a strat. I've heard that adding a brass or copper baseplate to the existing pickup adds a tele-ish quality to the tone - anyone here done that? Where can I buy one? Any DIY info?

I have toyed with the idea of putting an actual tele pickup in it - it has the bathtub route, so it might fit by just modding the pickguard - anyone done that?

Criteria:
I do not want a humbucker - stacked, or side by side.
I do not want to buy a whole set
No boutique priced pickups, non-potted squealers, or waiting lists
I do not want "vintage stagger" magnets, since I do not use a wound third and heavy strings that those were designed around.

I don't need it to be a noiseless type, and actually, I would shy away from one, because I'd be concerned that to achieve noiselessness, compromises were made that negate the single coil "twang".

Let's say upper limit of $60, either new or used

I think a perfect fit for me would be a strat pickup that has an integral baseplate, one that was specifically made to be a tele pickup in a strat size, and one that is noticeably "fatter" than a stock strat, but not high output, or lacking Fender sc sparkle / twang.

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Unread 02-17-2010, 11:32 PM   #2
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How 'bout a LIndy Fralin Blues Special with a steel base plate? I got a set in my MIJ and love them.
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Unread 02-17-2010, 11:35 PM   #3
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Have you thought about adjusting the height a little and doing the bridge tone mod?
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Unread 02-18-2010, 12:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopeful View Post
How 'bout a LIndy Fralin Blues Special with a steel base plate? I got a set in my MIJ and love them.
That's a possibility, but it would end up @ $100. ouch

Quote:
Have you thought about adjusting the height a little and doing the bridge tone mod?
The height doesn't do enough. Its just a little too thin and needs a bit more output. It does have a tone control now, that does the bridge + middle. That does help a bit, but its not quite right for me. I probably will convert it to a bridge only tone pot when I take it apart to install my new pickup...
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Unread 02-18-2010, 04:39 AM   #5
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I've got the same issue.

I've wondered about putting a tele pickup in a strat myself. The angle is a little different (I think I posted that one time, can't remember the exact amount right now)...but I think you'd get pretty close. The mounting might be odd, but it could be worked out.

Duncan has the "Twang Banger" that really looks interesting. Everything I've read about it says that while it doesn't make the strat sound like a Tele, it gets lots of the qualities of the sound.

Rio Grande has the Stelly, which is a little above the price range, but is supposed to be really good.

Someone does sell base plates, I'll try and remember who it is...
Callaham Vintage Guitars and Parts (Strat Parts) (towards the bottom)
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Unread 02-18-2010, 06:43 AM   #6
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Unread 02-18-2010, 09:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Major Tom View Post
That's a possibility, but it would end up @ $100. ouch


The height doesn't do enough. Its just a little too thin and needs a bit more output. It does have a tone control now, that does the bridge + middle. That does help a bit, but its not quite right for me. I probably will convert it to a bridge only tone pot when I take it apart to install my new pickup...
How about making your own for about $40... and still have enough wire to wind 3-4 other pickups. The only thing is you have to wind it yourself, and you have to pot it yourself.

Parts Kit for Tele Bridge Pickup at Stewart-MacDonald
Pickup Coil Wire at Stewart-MacDonald

Or just take off all the old wiring and redo the wiring and put a more powerful magnet in, or possibly do a "P-90" style magnet arrangement underneath the singlecoil.
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Unread 02-18-2010, 06:10 PM   #8
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I might watch for a rio grande on ebay...

I have got a few for under $40 with patience,

Anyway, I might also just put a tele bridge pickup in there... Actually, that is what I would for sure do, but that does not mean that is even remotely sane. Might need to get some pickguard material for that...
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Unread 02-18-2010, 08:13 PM   #9
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Here's some more stuff I found (I've been thinking about this for a while!):

These are cool, esp. if you've got a swimming pool route already...
Flat Black, Metal, Humbucker to Telecaster Bridge Single Coil


and some pics of strats with tele pickups:
Attached Thumbnails
stratzrboring-1.jpg   lolahoulapf002.jpg  
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Unread 02-20-2010, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWatford View Post
Duncan has the "Twang Banger" that really looks interesting. Everything I've read about it says that while it doesn't make the strat sound like a Tele, it gets lots of the qualities of the sound.

^^^
This.

It has also been commonly said among Strat afficionados that Fender's so-called "X-1" was the best Strat bridge pickup that they had ever made.

(edited to add) Since a few people have mentioned baseplates: when Fender introduced its Deltatone upgrade around 1995, it inclueded a (slightly) hotter bridge pickup featuring two large bolts on the bottom of the pickup. The bolts were ferrous and effectively act like a bridge plate. The Deltatone upgrade also featured the no-load tone control which replaced TBX.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thesteve View Post
bridge tone mod?
Unnecessary. Unlike "vintage" Strats, the American Standard is already wired with the tone control connteted to the bridge pickup (actaully, it shares the same tone control with the middle pickup). Having said that, some people have modified the wiring so that the bridge has the tone contool by itself leaving the middle and neck to share the other control.
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Last edited by funkStrat_97; 02-20-2010 at 10:26 AM.
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Unread 02-20-2010, 10:20 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the great suggestions. I initiated some ebay saved searches. It looks like the Twang Banger meets most of the criteria, not the least of which is the price, I see them for $70. new from some ebay vendors. Maybe I'll get lucky and run across a used one, or a used Stelly, Fralin or ?.

LC7 - As far as winding my own... I may be a poster boy for guitar gear DIY, but wrapping a mile or two of super delicate wire around a bobbin seems more work than its worth. From what I've read, its not easy, the wire wants to break, the potting process....etc. I actually did buy some pickup wire a few years back, with the intention of adding some to that same pickup, and creating a tapped pickup, but when I had it apart a while back, there's no room on the bobbin.

I decided against modding the pickguard for a tele pickup, it would just be so much easier to use a baseplate, or one of the available tele-in-a-strat-size pickups, while keeping the ax stock.

I might even think about trying that conversion ring, and putting a tele bridge pickup in one of my humbucker axes, I do have a cheap import tele bridge pickup laying around.

Has anyone seen any DIY info for bottom plates for strat pickups? I know some are steel, and some are brass or copper. I wouldn't know what gauge/thickness to use, and whether you are supposed to mount the plate right up against the magnets, or use some sort of spacer in between.

I looked at GFS, their strat pickups look to be made well, with several different versions, and they get good reviews, but unless I missed something, they sell them in sets...I don't need a whole set.
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Last edited by Major Tom; 02-20-2010 at 10:38 AM.
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Unread 02-21-2010, 11:59 PM   #12
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Update - I checked DiMarzio's site, they have a pickup that looks to be essentially the same thing as Duncan's Twang Banger called Red Velvet, but its $20. less. I ordered one today, should get it in and installed this week.
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Unread 02-22-2010, 03:32 PM   #13
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Hey, Tom - before you do the swap, how about recording a short sample of the old pup? Then record the sound of the new one, and let us hear what the difference is. Go direct from the guitar, with controls open, so we're able to hear a direct 1 to 1 comparison.
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Unread 02-22-2010, 03:53 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1/2-Fast Player View Post
Hey, Tom - before you do the swap, how about recording a short sample of the old pup? Then record the sound of the new one, and let us hear what the difference is. Go direct from the guitar, with controls open, so we're able to hear a direct 1 to 1 comparison.
Hmmm. that is a good idea, I will if I get around to it. One thing though, I will be putting new strings on there, which will be brighter, since the ones on there now are getting somewhat dull sounding (although nowhere near as dull as what I find on some player's guitars) so that will mitigate the results significantly...
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Unread 02-22-2010, 04:01 PM   #15
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Yeah, it sure would. Any reason you can't do the strings before you swap the pups? If you don't trim the ends at the headstock (or at least leave a couple of inches hanging), it won't be bad to re-string with the same strings.
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