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Strat HSS Vs Single Coil Question

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by GuitarJunkie, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. GuitarJunkie

    GuitarJunkie Gretschie

    310
    Feb 22, 2016
    Georgia
    Thinking of picking up my first Strat to try and maybe do some "upgrades" to and I was wondering if there was any benefit to the full size HB in an HSS model vs installing say SD Hotrails or JB Jr's in a regular single coil model? Looking at maybe a MIM Plus Top at the moment.
     
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Only fullsize humbuckers give a full humbucker sound, if that's what you're getting at?

    Single coils with double coils utilise the hum cancelling trick of their adult sized counterpart, but don't really give you the same tonal response.
    As ever, just my opinion.
     
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  3. Tony65x55

    Tony65x55 Friend of Fred

    Age:
    61
    Sep 23, 2011
    The 'Shwa, Ontario, Canada
    If you want a humbucker in your Strat at all, the full size ones are probably easier to find a great sounding one that a mini-bucker.
     
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  4. GuitarJunkie

    GuitarJunkie Gretschie

    310
    Feb 22, 2016
    Georgia
    Sorry if I seem a little vague but I'm not positive what I want yet really lol, I just like my guitars to be versatile. I sold my PRS earlier this year and I originally thought I wanted an HSS just to have something with a HB in in again but now seeing the myriad of options for single coil sized Strat pups I'm not sure I really need to go that route to get the tones i "think" I want. I've been watching Strat pup demos on YouTube til my eyes are blurry. I'm thinking now though that the hotrails are a little too dirty for me but I'm liking the sound of the JB Jrs!
     
  5. Lizardkinged

    Lizardkinged Friend of Fred

    Age:
    30
    Oct 5, 2009
    Michigan
    Buy a strat that has a "swimming pool" route. Then you can just have a couple pic-gaurds loaded with SSS, HSS, or whatever you want to come up with.

    I like n HSS because in the bridge I sortof like the extra mids punch and compression. The guitar is a mid's voiced instrument, but I also feel like there are just some sounds you can't get on anything but a strat.

    I whole-heartedly hate single-coil sized humbuckers. A HUGE part of a humbucker sound is the size/area of the magnetic field generated by the magnet. On the opposite end, the rod-magnets are what a Fender type single coil so dynamic/touch sensitive. I've never had enough problems with hum to where I'd lose my rod-magnets.

    It's sortof a like all these off-road sports SUV's that can't climb a small hill, and can't go over 80mph without tipping over.
     
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  6. GuitarJunkie

    GuitarJunkie Gretschie

    310
    Feb 22, 2016
    Georgia
    So here is an obvious question, forgive my ignorance...if I get the HSS can I just change the pickguard out and put regular single coils in there if desired? Maybe that's what I should consider...
     
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  7. kbcarroll

    kbcarroll Electromatic

    Age:
    34
    37
    Nov 4, 2010
    Nashville, TN
    i guess i'm gonna be "that guy" here and say it

    humbuckers in a strat just isn't the point of a strat. How many people here would flip their lid if you put some 59 PAF humbuckers in your gretsch? That's not the point of a gretsch, same goes for the strat. Get one with some spikey alnico magnets. Get any type of single coil than what they're putting in the Mexican strats. The Mexi fenders are made very, VERY well but bizarrely most of them come with garbage ceramic pickups. Even squier classic vibes made in China come with 10x better pickups than that.

    But I digress... HSS strats just never sound right or balance right. A bolt on neck with a humbucker leaves a lot to be desired. Plus the humbucker NEVER balances out right with the single coils; you end up having to get way-too-hot single coils or way-too-cold of a humbucker and you still never have things balanced right. The one guy I know who bought an HSS strat and actually plays it ended up cutting the wire to his humbucker and never using it. Laziness is the only reason he hasn't replaced it with a regular single coil. He just does everything with his neck/mid pups. When he needs spikey bridge tone, he grabs his standard Tele.

    as a forum poster once said, "you can put a humbucker in it. but you'll burn in heck. and not in a good way!"

    best of luck in your adventures!
     
  8. GuitarJunkie

    GuitarJunkie Gretschie

    310
    Feb 22, 2016
    Georgia
    Uh oh...forgive me my sinful thoughts! Lol
     
  9. Dennison

    Dennison Country Gent

    Jul 17, 2011
    Kent, UK
    One thing I like about Strats is having all the electronics on a single pickguard and being able to change them over in a matter of minutes. I use mini two-pin plugs and sockets between the assembly and the output jack. For my Scrapocaster I currently have three pick guards, each cut out for a different pickup configuration. Currently I'm gigging with two Strats, one with a conventional three-pickup layout, the other with two HBs which are in no way muddy sounding. I have a couple of other loaded pickguards on the way -- one will have a Gold Foil and two Strat single coils, the other....who knows? Messing around with Strat pickups never did Ry Cooder any harm.
    STRAT HH - 1.JPG
     
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  10. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Depends on the routing. If it's a swimming pool route like the one Lizardface alluded to, or one with generic HB routes like this mex strat you can fit anything you want.

    [​IMG]
     
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  11. GuitarJunkie

    GuitarJunkie Gretschie

    310
    Feb 22, 2016
    Georgia
    So is that standard routing for any current MIM Strat?
     
  12. Ricochet

    Ricochet Gretschified

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Not any, it is the routing for a HSS strat.
     
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  13. LivingMyDream

    LivingMyDream Country Gent

    GJ, I'm a Strat guy - I currently have 4 that are all SSS, and all MIM - and I found this one for a sweet deal about 12 years ago. I had to make a number of adjustments to make it playable, because the setup by the previous owner was so bad. I had found a diamond in the rough, though. I still consider it right up there with my other MIM Strats. Having let it go 2 years ago to help get a Taylor 710ce, I still miss it from time to time.

    I say go ahead and get what you want, and givie it a shot. If it turns out not to be for you, you can always sell it, and if you got it for a good price, you might make a little something in the process. Then again, you might find a keeper.

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. GuitarJunkie

    GuitarJunkie Gretschie

    310
    Feb 22, 2016
    Georgia
    Problem solved! Just spoke with a Fender rep who indicated that the MIM Strats are all routed HSS, so it should be a quick change of pups and pick guard to go from one configuration to the other. Awesome.
     
  15. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Synchromatic

    653
    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    Electified guitars (mostly) sound the way they do because of the type of pickup that's screwed to them. I awlays say there are TWO main elements that make up your guitar's sound. It's 'character and it's tonal balance.
    What I mean by character is, everyone can recognise a Strat when they hear one - a kind of slightly hollow, bitey, twangy sound. Tele's similar, but not quite the same, Les Paul/335 etc PAF derived humbucker's sort of plunky, not so twangy, Filtertron's halfway between Tele and PAF and minibuckers, as on Firebirds & LP Deluxes are kind of halfway between a Filtertron and a PAF... who said describing sound was like trying to explain quantum physic through tap dancing???
    Different pickups with a certain 'style' always nave that characteristic sound. even though the tonal balance may be different.
    That characteristic is down to 'what's under the cover', how the parts used are arranged in their construction. The tonal balance is down to the spec they build the pickup to - number of windings, type of magnet etc.
    You cannot get the exact sound of one of those pickups from one of the others. A narrow width humbucker never sounds like a PAF, a Tele pickup never sounds like a Strat pickup, a tapped/split humbucker, never sounds like a Strat or Tele pickup, a P90 never sounds like a Jazzmaster pickup, no matter how hard anyone tries to tell you they do, they don't, simply because they're physically different.
     
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  16. somebodyelseuk

    somebodyelseuk Synchromatic

    653
    Jan 22, 2013
    Birmingham, UK
    Except the Classic Series, that are routed as per the original 50 & 60s routs.
     
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  17. TSims1

    TSims1 Friend of Fred

    Jun 18, 2013
    Atlanta
    Have fun man. Strats are great. I'll be playing one tonight that feels like it was made by the hands of God, and I'm drooling just thinking about it. :)
     
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  18. audept

    audept I Bleed Orange

    Age:
    69
    Dec 1, 2010
    Sydney, Australia
    Tony, I got a message for you from heaven. God wants his Strat back. ;)
     
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  19. larryr

    larryr Electromatic

    21
    Mar 6, 2012
    Camarillo, Ca.
    I've used JB jrs, lil 59s , tonezone, my experience was that the Dimarzio Pro Track sounded best in the strat bridge position. Full humbucker tone, no, but a great sounding pickup in a strat single coil size.
     
  20. Henry

    Henry Friend of Fred

    Apr 9, 2014
    Petaluma
    I guess even fallen angels don't fall very far from the tree. This is what the devil plays:

    [​IMG]
     
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