pickup placement


Feb 5, 2010
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I know this is going to be very subjective and everybody will have an opinion but I wanted to ask anyway. My next build is going to be a strat style with two humbuckers that tries to sounds as close to a Les Paul as possible, if it's even possible. Here is the catch, it's going to be a 25.5" scale so I am not sure where to locate the pickups so it will sound as close to a Les Paul as possible. Should I measure from the nut on my Les Paul to each pickup and then determin the percentage down the scale and then use that percentage to place them on the fender scale? Or do I put them where fender places the neck and bridge pickup? Am I overthinking this??? This build is more of an experiment just to see what it sounds like nothing more.

I know I am going to get a lot of comments that it will still sound like a strat and maybe it will. Here is my plan, I am going to use a rosewood fretbard, mahognay neck, mahogany body with maple cap, tonepros bridge and ABR tailpiece with humbuckers. I do not hold onto the thought that the wood makes all that much difference in electric guitars (cardboard strat). I makes some difference but I am not convinced it is the driving force in the tone but that's just me and what the hell do I know


Sep 25, 2013
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There are millions of guitars with a 25.5 in scale and two humbuckers. Apart from those where the humbucker is split, I don't hear any strat-ness from them. Also, I'm from the camp that thinks the choice of wood and/or other materials plays a part in the tone and sustain. Ofc the difference becomes less and less apparent the more gain and effects you use to lace the sound, but it's there.

As for the placement of the pickups, it does effect the sound some, for sure. The general consensus is 24 fretters sound worse than 22 in the neck position, and this has to do with the neck pickup's placement in relation to the scale. The thing is, it's not really a thing that can be calculated, as the situation changes depending on the fretted position. So the way I've been doing it, is by finding a guitar in the sought specs that sounds great, and take the position from that. And I've always been a happy pupper that way, so that's the option I endorse: utilise a proven placement. I guess if you wanted to experiment with it, you could have a pool-route for the pickups, and mount the pickups into a track-like slot in the pickguard, which would let you play with the positions.

cheers, Will


Senior Member
Apr 16, 2012
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The neck pickup will be at the same place....under the 2nd octave node (or 24th fret) for the screw coil.
The bridge pickup can be nominally anywhere. You are going to get a 'humbucker in a strat' tone out of it no matter where you place it, and there is no magical place to put it that it suddenly won't sound like that any more.
That said the closer it is to the bridge the more of the bitey strat tone you'll get out of it. But get to close to the middle pickup location and you lose that bite that even a LP has in the bridge location.
As to woods etc, construction matters. It is certain that every incremental shift from one style to the other will make for a difference to tone. If you are making the body a bit thicker that a regular strat then this will help with some of the body or lower mids to the tone.
You can also help with pickup choice. I know Duncan's PATB 3 was specifically designed around getting some of the LP grunt out of a strat - even one with a Floyd.

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