The Mongrel Strat Project!

I've got a box of strat pickups and I'm not afraid to use it!

Okay, this should be an interesting experiment!

I’ve scored a box stuffed with wildy varied Seymour Duncan replacement pickups for Strat™ guitars, plus a couple of the company’s just-announced BYOP Liberator Pickguards. (These are prewired pickguard assemblies, minus the actual pickups — “BYOP” stands for “Bring Your Own Pickups.”) That means I can pop in whatever pickup I want to try without even firing up the soldering iron.

No, I’m not going to make comparison recordings of different replacement pickup sets (though that would be a worthwhile project). Instead, I’m going to experiment with unusual/unlikely pickup combinations, searching for something cool and unique.

Will I strike pickup-pairing pay dirt? I guess we’ll find out together!

I’ll also be taking a look at some of the alternate three-pickup wiring schemes we’ve been talking about over in The Secret Room, such as the bridge-pickup on/off switch and the middle-pickup fader option.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your experiences in choosing pickups for Strat-style guitars — especially any successes you’ve had in combining pickups that weren’t necessarily intended to go together. If you have a story to share, cough it up in comments!

I have a hunch we’ll uncover some cool new things. Stay tuned.

4 comments to The Mongrel Strat Project!

  • Matt Seniff

    I put a PAF in my Sears (DanElectro) guitar which had 2 lipstick pickups originally in 1977. I bought the PAF for less than $20 new in the box at Giant Music in Falls Church VA. I installed a Strat 5 way switch to replace the original switch and added a volume for the PAF. I had to cut a hole in the middle position and used a brass mounting ring (for extra strength) the PAF was mounted originally with the poles towards the bridge (but I eventually turned it around). It was my first electric guitar that I bought from a guys attic for $75 with the nice tube amp in the case. I had no idea what I was doing but had some books about guitar repair and construction. It sounded better than it deserved to IMHO. The PAF did not over power the lipsticks surprisingly enough but it didn’t make me sound like Robert Fripp either which was my overly optimistic goal. The PAF and the bridge pickup sounded pretty good together with a sort of PAF + airy sound. The neck pickup and PAF sounded OK as well still with a bit more upper midrange than the PAF alone. I also had a Baddass bridge installed on it at the time as the original Dano bridges with the piece of wood look so bogus. Today I have Schaller 3D-6 bridges on most of my Danos which increases sustain and gives all the adjustments you could care for they are a vast improvement.

    http://guitar-bridge.com/hp135016/Artikel-Liste.htm

    I still have this guitar and use it regularly for recording. I have since tried to buy another and only managed to find one with a repaired headstock, the short neck (16 fret) and AC-DC tube amp with the 35W4 and 50C5 tubes but no power transformer I call this design the guitarist executioner, it sounds OK. The original one with the good tube amp in the case became ridiculously expensive back in the 80′s.

    I also tried the Quarter Pounder Jaguar Duncan replacements in my 1968 Jaguar first just the neck pickup because the original intermittently hummed. The QP pickup overpowered the bridge pickup and was a bit more bass heavy. I ended up replacing the bridge as well but eventually put the originals back after I realized the metal shield around the bridge pickup had a bad solder joint where it grounded to the pickup.  The original PUs sound best in this guitar not so surprisingly.

    I ended up using the Quarter Pounder Jaguar pus in my fretless reissue Dano Guitarlin as the original lipsticks were not working for fretless guitar. It was de-freted by my luthier buddy with the fret slots filled with a white super glue which has held up well for the last 11 years or so. The QP’s sound great with  the original wiring much more robust than the originals which is sort of surprising since the tone controls are fairly low value AFAIR.  The middle position which I think is series sounds particularly big and fat but has infinite adjustment due to the dual volume controls. I also have a Roland GK3 on this guitar for guitar synth and also for my OC-20 (octave and hex fuzz) and the WG-20 (wave changing and echo/chorus) which are real rare gems they are hex input double wide pedals that sound nice and strange.

    The lipsticks are now on my electric cello running parallel to the strings one under the 2 high strings and the other under the 2-low strings wired in series humbucking. The lipsticks in the cello go to a preamp mixer I built that also has a preamp for the dual contact cello pickup under the bridge. This setup works well with a balanced sound between arco (bowed) and pizzicato (plucked) styles which is a problem in cellos and basses IMHO due to the difference in string motion.

  • Scott

    an interesting combo would be (n, m, b) P-Rail, Lipstick, Pearly Gates (coil tappable)

  • imenator

    How about putting telecaster pickups for neck and middle? What kind of quack will that give?

    Also, I have never heard any Alnico II  single coils. Maybe that won’t be very strange but definitly not common to me.  

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