Looking for some Pick-up advice...

Hey guys,

I haven’t posted here for some time, but I’m having a bit of a crisis and need some sound advice (pun intended). I’ve had Seymour Duncan Hot Rails loaded in the bridge positions of my Strats for close to three years now. At first, compared to the total rubbish pickups that are standard equipment in so many Fender guitars, I thought the Duncans were the greatest thing ever. Last night while rehearsing with my new band (possibly the topic of a future “rate my band or I’ll call you a noob” post), I decided that these units are too “punchy” and abrasive. Plus, they grab and amplify both the slightest finger slide and the noise of the pick hitting the strings. They seem to even minimize slightly the warmth of my tube amp.

The bottom line is that I need a stacked humbucker in my guitars, I’ve no interest in Lace Sensors or EMG’s, and I’m not quite sure what to install next. I have a Seymour Duncan JB Junior headed my way for my newest strat, but I’d like to retro-fit the other ones with something else. We're going into the studio to record our first disk in mid-December and it's one gig after another starting in January.

Any advice, recommendations based on personal experience, or links to online resources about choosing pick-ups would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Nice to see you back, Toco :D

Last thing you want is the ops of a bass player, but I am interested in sites with good, technical info (bartolini.net was and still is a basspup bible) and, to be fair, Dunkmore Semen is a great site with audio clips and all (seymourduncan.com)

Having a listen, the Hot Rails are a bit strident; that post '80s lead sound and, to my ears, the JB jr is in the same vein. For a more traddish Strat with hum-cancelling or bucking, I liked what I heard from the Cool Rails and Little '59. Might not suit your style, though.

I'm about to meet up with my tech soon and he's doubtless installed many pups in a Stratalike; I'll ask him for his ops.

Thanks, 1Bass - My com puter at work has a faster con nection, and I went through the sound files at Seymour Duncan. Maybe it's just my unsophisticated ear, but a lot of those units sound very similar to each other.

My guitar guy called today and, despite being a consummate critic, he said the J.B. Jr. sounds really good. The Mrs. is picking my "new" guitar on her way home from work, and it's off to the studio at 6!


Toco, the trouble with a lot of these "click to listen" clips is the compression to cut down the bandwidth. It can really suck out tonal differences. I remember a "listen to my three amps" thread on another forum and, despite owning two of them myself, they sounded nothing like.

Matchless, IIRC, have big clipfiles that do sound different and I don't know if Dunkmore squashed his clips, but I agree with you; they sound a bit samey. I couldn't tell the JB jr much from the Hot Rails. The Cool Rails and '59 did seem a different bag; more twangy and trad. That's with my crummy PC speakers. Unless he's changed his policy, Dunkmore does offer a 30-day exchange guarantee so (if the JBs don't work out) you could swap them for the traddier pups.

Ive got my PC sound card (Terratec) running through a Hi-Fi seperate into a pair of '50s Russian (USSR) made 'Sound Reproduction Units' ie. stereo floor-standers with 5 cones each and a pair of Sennheiser headphones...the cool rails are clearly smoother, but I have to say the J.B. jr (with dirty bridge) can come to my house anytime, the suspended notes just oose grunt, good call!

Wish I could do that at night, Tim. Nice post (feel the envy :) )

Is it too late to say 'I LOVE SD HOTRAILS?' i have one on my 3 pickup Tele, in the bridge of course, and to be honest, the output is noticable if you flick to the hotrails from playing the single coil, but that pickup can really drive
a valve amp. 80's sound?? tuh im not having that! :lol:

Hey Lee,

I took both a JB Junior and a Hotrail loaded strat along to the gig last Saturday. My amp sat on standby with the tubes cooking for a good hour before we took the stage, and both guitars sounded great. Not quite sure what I was hearing at the time I authored this post - I seem to always be just slightly dissatisfied with my tone.

Maybe a Fender Hotrod DeVille would make me happy...

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