Opinions on noiseless Strat pickups

Rocco Crocco

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I have a Schecter Nick Johnson Strat... stock it was an SSS configuration.

The noise from the single-coils in my house is unusable. I installed a JB Jr (single-coil sized humbucker) bridge pickup which sounds really nice, but isn't "Stratty" enough.

Anyone have opinions on brands of noiseless single-coil pickups that still sound like a Strat?
 

Freddy G

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I have a Schecter Nick Johnson Strat... stock it was an SSS configuration.

The noise from the single-coils in my house is unusable. I installed a JB Jr (single-coil sized humbucker) bridge pickup which sounds really nice, but isn't "Stratty" enough.

Anyone have opinions on brands of noiseless single-coil pickups that still sound like a Strat?
I like these.
 

ArchEtech

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I had a guitar, a Clapton signature strat with lace sensors, that sounded very good. It’s a different sort of sound. The alumitone pickups are super quiet and clear too, just not as colorful maybe?

Some people swear by EMG singles too. I like their humbuckers and p90, but I have never played an EMG single. EMG pick up every nuance, are super loud and clear without any noise. What they lack is the ability to shape the sound with fine and volume controls with as much touch and feel. You can probably change that to a degree depending on electronics, circuit boosts etc. I’m not an expert at all.
 

CerebralGasket

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In the past I had a Strat with Kinman Woodstock set and a Tele with DiMarzio Super Distortion at the bridge.

I do like hum-cancelling single coils, but for bridge position only where I use hi gain.

For neck position, I prefer true single coils for cleans.

I use the same configuration on my P-90 guitars as well, regular P-90’s at the neck and hum-cancelling P-90 at the bridge.
 
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BenjaminW

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Yngwie has used noiseless single coils his entire career.

You can also go onto Dimarzio and Seymour Duncan’s websites and use their pickup selectors that they do for you based on the questions they give you.
 

Freddy G

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Some people swear by EMG singles too.
I love EMG single coils. They do something no other single coil I have ever heard does. They are so clean and they have a shimmer....a sparkle. I really need to put together an EMG strat.....haven't had one since the early 90s. I miss that sound.

Just read the whole site! Didn't know it was even out there..

He powered the Sportscaster bridge too, didn't he?
Yes.
 

Rocco Crocco

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I had a guitar, a Clapton signature strat with lace sensors, that sounded very good. It’s a different sort of sound. The alumitone pickups are super quiet and clear too, just not as colorful maybe?

Some people swear by EMG singles too. I like their humbuckers and p90, but I have never played an EMG single. EMG pick up every nuance, are super loud and clear without any noise. What they lack is the ability to shape the sound with fine and volume controls with as much touch and feel. You can probably change that to a degree depending on electronics, circuit boosts etc. I’m not an expert at all.
I played a borrowed Strat for a couple gigs in the early 90s with EMG singles. That guitar sounded great but I don't think it really sounded like a Strat... It was 30 years ago, though so I may be misremembering.
 

Freddy G

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I played a borrowed Strat for a couple gigs in the early 90s with EMG singles. That guitar sounded great but I don't think it really sounded like a Strat... It was 30 years ago, though so I may be misremembering.
No you're right....EMGs do not sound like a traditional strat. They are a different animal altogether.
 

Roxy13

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I did some work on someone's strat that had EMG single coils and I really liked how they sounded.
 

freefrog

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.. then there's Duncan stacks, Barden rails, Fralin Split Blades, Zexcoils, DiMarzio Area's... Non limitative list.

If I wanted a "realistic" Strat tone, I'd just avoid old stacks (like the HS3), whose noise cancelling bobbins are highly resistive and dull the tone in a special way: recent products with ultra low DCR noise sensing coils are better IME and IMHO when it comes to emulate real SC's. Last Fender noiseless PU's (gen 4) are more realistic than the first ones, for instance.

I'd also stay away from some "lemons" like the Fender Super 55 split coils, whose side by side bobbins affect the volume when one bends strings above the neck pickups.

Maybe I'd consider some products "under the radar", like the Lace "Holy Grails", with their unusual sidewinder design, or the Mojotone "Quiet Coils"...

And I'd take in account alternative ideas: Lace Sensors, active pickups, Music Man silent circuit, "Ilitch" air coil... or noise gates.

All that being said, here is what I use personally when I want to avoid noise:

- some Kinman's in my main Strat - but modified by myself in a potentially unique way so it would be meaningless to recommend them. That said, Kinman remains specialized in noiseless PU's and offers a vast choice of fine "ready made" products. Like with other brands, his last models are closer to real SC's than the old ones;

-a home made clone of Ilitch air coil in a Superstrat with a large backplate : the back of this guitar has been routed to host the large air coil and it allows to cancel most of the hum even though the pickups are still real SC's;

-a simple crude dummy coil wired in series with the single coils of another Strat. It's not stratty sounding but it mimics rather well the sound of old DiMarzio stacks when I want to shred with much gain and without hum... and when I want to come back to a true Strat tone, I just disable the dummy to play clean in single coil mode. As a matter of fact, I find the real Strat sound mostly interesting with clean or crunch tones, with which noise is less an issue. The more gain I use, the less "authenticity" of SC emulation stands out in my sound and the dummy coil becomes a useable tool...

These three solutions work fine for me. Maybe it will give you some idea to dig, who knows?

Good luck in your quest, anyway.
 

ArchEtech

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The fralin split coils are really really good. I don’t know if was the particular models I had, but the only criticism I had is they seemed to be much less powerful and needed a bit more amp gain and volume, than my other guitars, but were very quiet and very shapable. I would defiantly put them in another guitar.
 

Musha Ring

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I had a guitar, a Clapton signature strat with lace sensors, that sounded very good. It’s a different sort of sound. The alumitone pickups are super quiet and clear too, just not as colorful maybe?

Some people swear by EMG singles too. I like their humbuckers and p90, but I have never played an EMG single. EMG pick up every nuance, are super loud and clear without any noise. What they lack is the ability to shape the sound with fine and volume controls with as much touch and feel. You can probably change that to a degree depending on electronics, circuit boosts etc. I’m not an expert at all.
I had a set of their classic sounding single coils in my Tele. They were fantastic. I've tried their Strat pups and liked them as well.

OP, I'd recommend EMG or Lace Sensors.
 

ArchEtech

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I plan to put an EMG p90 into my Zakk Attak guitar at the neck, ans leave the 81 at the bridge.
 

Gryphon

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I bought a Jeff Beck strat and it comes stock with 'Hot Noiseless' by Fender. I'm impressed. They are silent (more so than any of my humbucker guitars) and they are very powerful, which is great if you want to play high gain stuff on a strat. To get traditional stratty sounds I just turn the volume down to about 6, and that does it. I can noodle away doing Robert Cray stuff with volume at 6, and then add more gain as needed from there up.

The surprising thing about the Hot Noiseless is that the JB strat is the only guitar Fender fits them to as stock. They are available as a set for retrofit, and certainly worth a try.

 

freefrog

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I just ordered these. Thanks for the tips!

GEN 4 NOISELESS™ STRATOCASTER® PICKUPS
Cool!

A few measurements on a Tele Elite that I had in maintenance left me rather impressed by Gen 4 Fender PU's: they did exhibit realistic inductance and realistic rfrequency curves, without the "dual peak" so often produced by stacked humbuckers... Should be the same with the Strat model (that I've not lab tested yet): their inductivity is a tad higher than with real SC's but on par with Kinman Impersonator 54's, for example.

Let us know if you like them... :)
 


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