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Electric Guitar Manual

Seymour Duncan Pickups for Strat Guitars

GUIDE to the Best SEYMOUR DUNCAN Pickups for Electric Guitar STRAT: Single Coil, Humbucker, Hot Rails, Little, Lipstick, Stack…

Standard Pickups for Strat

To begin with, I want to clarify that when I speak of a Stratocaster model, I am referring to any brand of guitar with Stratocaster characteristics. It doesn’t have to be Fender necessarily.

The typical pickups for a Strat model are vintage-style single coil pickups. These pickups are characterized by having a low output level, a very defined sound, and a characteristic Twang sound.

twang sound guitar pickups

The typical magnet of vintage pickup models is Alnico V and Alnico II, and they are usually accompanied by 250K potentiometers for both volume and tone.

Seymour Duncan SSL-1: Strat Guitar Pickups

Some pickups that fit perfectly into the characteristic vintage Stratocaster sound are the Seymour Duncan SSL-1 with staggered pole-pieces in the purest vintage style. This type of pickups is aimed at more curved classical fingerboards between 7’25 and 9’5 inches.

The Seymour Duncan SSL-1 features low output, high definition, and is mounted with alnico V magnets. These electromagnetic pickups are a favorite of Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante.

The SSL-1 can be found in a set of three pickups, named Seymour Duncan Set California for about 300 dolars.

Seymour Duncan Set California RWRP Reverse-wound, Reverse-polarity

This set incorporates a Reverse-Wound Reverse-Polarity center pickup. In this way noise is reduced, when used in conjunction with another of the pickups. Something to keep in mind when buying pickups separately. Since we must always acquire an reverse polarity pickup to place in a central position, detailed as RwRp models.

For flatter fingerboards greater than 9.5 inches in radius, we have the Seymour Duncan SSL-2 with flush pole-pieces, also known as Flat models. These two models stand out for their strong string attack, a defined and brilliant sound, and a strong treble charge, especially in the pickup placed in the bridge position.

For less punchy highs and a slightly softer attack, we have Alnico II magnet models like the Seymour Duncan APS-1 Alnico II Pro with staggered pole-pieces. These pickups are the ones Mark Knopfler used to mount on his famous red Schecter. With the same characteristics as the APS-1 but for flatter fingerboards, we have the APS-2 in the Flat version with leveled pole-pieces.

Mark Knopfler Red Schecter Pickups

Seymour Duncan SSL-5, SSL-3 y SSL-6 Pickups For Strat

Some players miss a little more punch from this type of pickup in the bridge position, preferring a slightly fuller sound, as opposed to the thin sound of the aforementioned pickups in that position.

For example, David Gilmour mounts a Seymour Duncan SSL-5 in his Black Strat in the bridge position, mounted with staggered alnico V magnets and extra winding for greater output.

David Gilmour Black Strat Pickups

For the center and neck position, the SSL-5 can be somewhat thick in tone, so it may be more interesting to put two vintage-style single coils like the SSL-1 in those positions.

If our fingerboard has a 12-inch radius or greater, it is best to place the SSL-2 Flat, but in the bridge position we would have to place the SSL-6 Flat. Very similar to the SSL-5 but with leveled pole-pieces. And as I have already told you, always in the center is a RwRp pickup with reverse polarity.

Similar to the SSL-6 but with even more output, we have the Seymour Duncan SSL-3 Flat. This model features a smoother treble equalization and a midrange boost to reinforce the bridge position, or for a guitar with a Hot Strat character.

For a more versatile configuration, we can place an SSL-6 in the center and neck position, accompanied by an SSL-3 in the bridge position.

Seymour Duncan Twang Banger APST-1

If, on the other hand, we need a bit more punch and less treble in a bridge pickup, but without reaching the power of an SSL-5, we have the Seymour Duncan APST-1 Twang Banger. A model halfway between an SSL-1, and an SSL-5.

Seymour Duncan Pickup Sets for Strat Guitar

The Twang Banger mounts alnico II magnets, and has a sound nasal in the style of a Telecaster bridge pickup, and can be accompanied by staggered pickups such as the APS-1 Alnico II Pro, or the SSL-1.

Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound SSL-4

Among Seymour Duncan’s most popular pickups are the Quarter Pound SSL-4, used by guitar great Ritchie Blackmore. The SSL-4 features larger-than-standard alnico V magnets, offers twice the output of a traditional single pickup, and has a fat, powerful, and elegant sound similar to that of a P90 pickup.

Seymour Duncan Quarter Pound SSL-4

Also in a staggered version in the Quarter Pound SSL-7, and all these pickups have a unit price of approximately $100.

Strat HSS

Stratocasters with an HSS configuration (Humbucker, Single, Single) are some of the most versatile guitars we can find, especially if they incorporate a Coil Split system to divide the bridge pickup, and thus be able to use it as a single coil.

Coil Split Humbucker Pickups

Seymour Duncan Humbuckers for Strat Guitar HSS

Seymour Duncan Custom 5 SH-14

A highly recommended humbucker for a HSS Strat is the Seymour Duncan Custom 5 SH-14. This model of pickup mounts alnico V magnet, has a medium output, and it has four wires that come out of the coil in order to make it divisible when activating a switch, or a Push Pull system installed in a potentiometer.

By dividing the humbucker we would have a simple pickup, very appropriate to install with vintage-style pickups such as the SSL-2, thus maintaining a classic Strat sound.

Humbucker Pickups for Strat Guitar HSS

The Custom 5, in addition to combining very well with vintage pickups, also works very well with 250k pots in that position, so for me it is the perfect combination for a vintage HSS Strat.

Seymour Duncan Hot Rails for Strat Guitar

Seymour Duncan Cool Rails SCR-1

Seymour Duncan Cool Rails SCR-1

If we want an HSS-style configuration but our guitar is SSS, we can place in bridge a Hot Rails pickup like the Seymour Duncan Cool Rails SCR-1. With this pickup we will obtain the tone and noise reduction of a humbucker, and this model also combines very well with single coil pickups.

The SCR-1 mounts a ceramic magnet, generates a medium output, and has four cables to be able to have the option of different types of wiring.

Seymour Duncan Little Humbucker Pickups for Strat Guitar

Seymour Duncan also develops Single Coil-sized Humbuckers, which reproduce the sound of his most charismatic double-coil pickups. Like the Seymour Duncan Little ´59 SL59-1, which reproduces the classic sound of the legendary Seymour Duncan Paf ´59. The Little ’59 has a medium outlet, mounts a ceramic magnet, and also has four threads.

Seymour Duncan Little ´59 JB JR

The Seymour Duncan JB JR. SJBJ-1 reproduces the sound of the legendary Seymour Duncan JB SH-4. The features of this model are similar to the Little ’59, but with a high gain output. Both models are well-suited for beefing up the bridge position of a Strat, in the style of an HSS pickup setup.

Seymour Duncan Lipstick SLS-1

Other pickups that we can mount on our Strat, but these are vintage-style, are the Lipstick pickups, like the ones Stevie Ray Vaughan used on one of his Strats. Like the Seymour Duncan Lipstick SLS-1, with a high sharpness, mounted with alnico V magnet, and have a vintage-style low output.

Seymour Duncan Lipstick SLS-1: Alnico V Magnet

These pickups fit perfectly into the standard Stratocaster guitar single coil pickup hole. But always before making a purchase, we have to review the measurements so as not to be surprised.

Seymour Duncan Stack Strat

Seymour Duncan YJM Fury STK-10

At the opposite end would be the Seymour Duncan YJM Fury STK-10 pickups at 400 dolars for a set of three pickups. The STK-10s generate high output, are mounted with alnico V magnets, and feature double overlapping windings to eliminate hum at high distortion levels.

In short, it is a camouflaged Single Coil Humbucker. The YJM Fury are Yngwie Malmsteen’s favourites…, there’s a reason they bear his initials.

Seymour Duncan YJM Fury STK-10 Stack Strat

Pickups for Different Guitar Models

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