Best punk/grunge/metal HSH passive pickups for a Superstrat?

davidrf

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Hi there,
as the title says, which pickups would you choose for a HSH Superstrat if you wanted to play punk/grunge/metal but wanted to stay in the realm of passive stuff? I'd like a modern-ish sound with tight and thick distortions, but still somewhat versatile for what is possible.

Thanks a lot!
 

northernguitarguy

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Vineham 6070 in the bridge, Vineham 6070 Classic in the neck and Vineham Black Strat in the middle. No experience with the last one, but the 6070s are awesome T-Top clones. What could be better to cover Punk/Grunge/Metal?
 

ArchEtech

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I don’t play a lot of that type of music however I recently acquired a guitar that has bare knuckle aftermath and they have a pretty hard gritty sound to it when they’re driven hard.
 
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akuster777

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PAF clone or SD Jazz neck, Bareknuckle Nailbomb bridge
 

BadPenguin

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A set of A8 humbuckers. Single doesn't matter with that type of music.
 

ErictheRed

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There are so many choices! I really like the Bare Knuckle Holydiver bridge, as well as the Nailbomb and True Grit bridge very much. The Holydiver is much warmer/smoother and thicker while staying tight, while the Nailbomb is pretty aggressive, brighter, and more focused. I think that the True Grit has the best cleans and split tones of the 3. However, I also LOVE the Suhr SSH+ in the bridge of my Suhr Modern Pro, which is basically a Superstrat. It's very tight and not as thick as the Holydiver, but cleans up well and splits beautifully. Not as aggressive as the Nailbomb, which I feel always just wants to do hard rock and metal, despite people saying that it's versatile. To me it's not versatile, but it does what it does extremely well. There's nothing wrong with a Seymour Duncan JB, either.

I'm a huge fan of the Suhr SSV neck pickup, it's one of my very favorites out there and can do basically everything well, from blues to modern fluid metal leads. The only Bare Knuckle neck that I really liked at all was the Emerald, and it's on the warmer side, but really weighty and firm with gain. The Seymour Duncan Jazz and 59 necks are both fine as well, but other than the Custombucker in my R9, the SSV and Emerald are my favorite neck pickups. The SSV is probably more versatile and modern.

For the middle, I'm not sure what to recommend. My Modern Pro sounded great with the Suhr middle pickup in it (I think it's called the ML?), so you might just want to copy the Suhr Modern pickup choices if you go that route. However, it's definitely lower output despite being the highest output middle single coil that Suhr offers. So, I'm currently in the process of putting a Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound middle pickup in my Suhr, and I'll see if it balances with the humbuckers better. Caveat that I don't like middle pickups to be in the way of my picking hand AT ALL, so I lower them down more than most people.

For a Superstrat type of guitar, I would definitely recommend the Suhr SSV/SSH+ or the Bare Knuckle Emerald/Holydiver combo. The Suhr will be brighter and possibly more modern, the Bare Knuckles smoother and more vintage. Both of those pickup configurations are very versatile and cand cover all of the ground that you mentioned, especially with a middle pickup as well.

Edit: when the OP says thick, I really think that the Holydiver/Emerald combo would be best. It's pretty popular so you can find plenty of videos.

I like Suhr stuff a lot, so I would consider the DSV and DSH+ combo also (supposed to be warmer and maybe thicker than the SSV/SSH+), but have never played it myself.
 
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CB91710

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SD Nazgul/Sentient pair for HB, and stick with a humbucker for the middle.... Hot Rails.
 

GUITARFORCE Pickups

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I'm a big proponant of Alnico 8 magnets for heavy music. I recommend a pickup with an A8 for the bridge. A5 for the neck pickup wound to about 8K Ohm.
 

davidrf

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I'm a big proponant of Alnico 8 magnets for heavy music. I recommend a pickup with an A8 for the bridge. A5 for the neck pickup wound to about 8K Ohm.
A8 should give tighter bottom-end and at the same time preserving mids, doesn't it?
 

ErictheRed

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A8 is pretty much like most ceramics, from what I've heard. I've never owned an A8 magnet, though.

One thing I'd point out is that nowadays, you don't actually NEED super high gain, super tight pickups, even for pretty aggressive metal. Most amps now (and with pedals especially) have more gain and a tighter bottom end than the stuff they were using back in the 70s. Even compared to amps in the 90s (Marshall JCM, Mesa Dual Rectifier, etc), modern amps can be much more tight and have much better control over gain.
 
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diavolo

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neck = DiMarzio Air Norton
middle = any single coil ceramic around 7k Ω
bridge = Seymour Duncan SH4 JB


You have to have a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge position!
can't believe no one mentioned that before, that is THE pickup for punk / grunge.
of course it will do metal too.

based on what you described for tone (tight and thick distortion) you should put a JB in the bridge, and a DiMarzio Air Norton in the neck. (Yes its a bridge pickup.)
Middle pickup, doesnt matter too much. Throw in a ceramic single coil that has a resistance of around 7k.

I have many strats and have experimented with lots of pickups. Built all kinds of custom wired guitars, mostly strats.
Sounds like we would probably play a bunch of similar type of stuff (since you mentioned grunge) and i'm telling you it HAS TO BE a JB!!!!
 


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