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MG.org-er
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Having lived with the Strat as stock for a month or so, I've made my mind up about a few things:
  • the pickups need upgrading
  • the pickups need not be stacks, as the 60-cycle hum isn't quite as bad as I thought that it might be
I'm seeking a vintage tone. I have my metal guitar (or I will do, at some point :lol:), but this isn't it. Think Knopfler or John Frusciante; pure Strat, with perhaps a hair more in the mids than a traditional single coil. I'm sticking with the SSS setup.

I'm looking for model suggestions. I live in the UK, and am not really interested in having to buy overseas, so the likes of Wolfetone are out, unfortunately. Obviously Bare Knuckle are on this side of the pond, but I'd like to hear any suggestions.

:cheers:
 

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...
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18,790 Posts
Fender Texas Specials maybe? You already mentioned Bareknuckles, but everything I've heard from their single-coils is awesome.

Edit: Looks like the Knopfler signature Strat has Texas Specials in it, and Frusciante's main Strat is a '62, so the Fender "Vintage '62" pickups might be a good option too.
 

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Y R U Avoiding Me?
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Jason Lollar Blackface. A buddy of mine has these in his Nash and they're awesome. You hit all the vintage tones and they interact well with high gain also.
 

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Registered
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Texas Specials are perfect for that slightly overwound single sound.

Also shot Tim @ BKP an email because he just did a bunch of very vintage pickups for a Fender Custom Shop run and he might be able to wind you something similar :2cents:
 

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abides
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Also shot Tim @ BKP an email because he just did a bunch of very vintage pickups for a Fender Custom Shop run and he might be able to wind you something similar :2cents:
This - the custom shop run used the new Pat Pend series that will be on the new site that goes live on Tuesday. There's two sets in the series, the '59 Slab Board and '63 Veneer Board sets, both are very accurate reproductions of the pickups found in strats from those eras. They'll both give you absolute definitive strat tones, with the '63s having a tad more power and beef in order to round out the thinner sound the veneer-board instruments tend to have.

However, for slightly "hairier" tones, the Irish Tours are the pickup to go for. It's like they give you the sound of using big strings and hitting hard - plenty of body and grit, but they still are very musical and clear. They're the most popular single in the BKP range for a reason. :)

By all means email Tim, but I will also add that I did all of the clips for the new site so I have played the entire range. I also have a set of the '59s in my strat :yesway:

Good call on not going for stacked or noiseless pickups - adding a humbucking coil will always reduce the top and bottom end extension that a true single delivers and fills out the midrange in an unnatural way. You can attempt to adjust for this when voicing the pickup but the result is never the same. TL;DR, if you want a true single-coil sound, get true single-coils :metal:
 

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MG.org-er
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2,137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It seems as if the Fender single coils may be worth looking into. I know that I'll be able to get a set at a slightly lower price than if I went the Bare Knuckle route, which would be nice. That said, I'll pay if the pickups will pay back. :p

Nolly, what do you make of the Mother's Milk and Sultans sets? They caught my eye as soon as I went onto the site, and, from their description, it looks as if the Mother's Milk might just be what I'm looking for.
 

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NSLALP
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However, for slightly "hairier" tones, the Irish Tours are the pickup to go for. It's like they give you the sound of using big strings and hitting hard - plenty of body and grit, but they still are very musical and clear. They're the most popular single in the BKP range for a reason. :)
Are you sure about the IT? My impression was that it was like a Texas Special with significantly more treble and midrange bite - isn't it almost harsh? (Not a bad thing, made for RAW blues, like SRV or Rory Gallagher). I've had my eyes on IT's for quite a while.

This is the tone it's supposed to cop:

 

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abides
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851 Posts
It seems as if the Fender single coils may be worth looking into. I know that I'll be able to get a set at a slightly lower price than if I went the Bare Knuckle route, which would be nice. That said, I'll pay if the pickups will pay back. :p

Nolly, what do you make of the Mother's Milk and Sultans sets? They caught my eye as soon as I went onto the site, and, from their description, it looks as if the Mother's Milk might just be what I'm looking for.
The Mother's Milks are great! They sit pretty much in between the '59 and '63 sets in voicing, and are an interesting combination of the '50s style large diameter magnet rods with the late '60s 42AWG plain enamel wind. They also feature a more powerful bridge position than either the '59 or '63.
The sound is very percussive, with the hollow/woody midrange "cluck" that guys like Frusciante are known for.

The Sultans have a similarly hollow tone, but with smoother top and softer low end - they do the John Mayer sound to a T, especially in positions 2 & 4 with the RWRP middle pickup option. They have a very beautiful clean and still scream under gain when put in a bright instrument.

An interesting thing to mention is that in his personal instruments, Tim pairs the Mother's Milk middle and neck with the Apache bridge. While on paper you'd think the weaker bridge would be thin or wiry sounding, in practise the AIII magnet (vs AV in the MMs) gives it a fatter sound that can really rock out when wanted.

I think my bias is fairly obvious so I won't comment on Fender vs BKPs :)
 

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abides
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Are you sure about the IT? My impression was that it was like a Texas Special with significantly more treble and midrange bite - isn't it almost harsh? (Not a bad thing, made for RAW blues, like SRV or Rory Gallagher). I've had my eyes on IT's for quite a while.

This is the tone it's supposed to cop:

YouTube - Rory Gallagher - Off The Handle
Nah, I certainly wouldn't describe them as harsh. They're bright, but not thin at all. Basically, with 10s they sound like the Mother's Milks or '63s with 12s or 13s. They can certainly do raw, but the rawness is mainly coming from the fact that the amp is being pushed into breakup more easily by the higher output.

Just to add, the new website is going live on Tuesday. The clips are designed to be comparative, so you guys will be able to listen and come to your own conclusions!
 

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NSLALP
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Nah, I certainly wouldn't describe them as harsh. They're bright, but not thin at all. Basically, with 10s they sound like the Mother's Milks or '63s with 12s or 13s. They can certainly do raw, but the rawness is mainly coming from the fact that the amp is being pushed into breakup more easily by the higher output.

Just to add, the new website is going live on Tuesday. The clips are designed to be comparative, so you guys will be able to listen and come to your own conclusions!
Hot! I assume there will be 7-string versions of the new slab/veneer board sets? Still no baseplates available?
 

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MG.org-er
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2,137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The Mother's Milks are great! They sit pretty much in between the '59 and '63 sets in voicing, and are an interesting combination of the '50s style large diameter magnet rods with the late '60s 42AWG plain enamel wind. They also feature a more powerful bridge position than either the '59 or '63.
The sound is very percussive, with the hollow/woody midrange "cluck" that guys like Frusciante are known for.

The Sultans have a similarly hollow tone, but with smoother top and softer low end - they do the John Mayer sound to a T, especially in positions 2 & 4 with the RWRP middle pickup option. They have a very beautiful clean and still scream under gain when put in a bright instrument.

An interesting thing to mention is that in his personal instruments, Tim pairs the Mother's Milk middle and neck with the Apache bridge. While on paper you'd think the weaker bridge would be thin or wiry sounding, in practise the AIII magnet (vs AV in the MMs) gives it a fatter sound that can really rock out when wanted.

I think my bias is fairly obvious so I won't comment on Fender vs BKPs :)
Thanks for your extensive input, Nolly. :) It sounds as if the Mother's Milk or '63 set might be what I'm looking for. Do you know when the '63 set will become available to the general public?

Yeah, I think your bias is quite apparent. :lol: I only mentioned it because there have been quite a few posts recommending Texas Specials and the like. Thanks man!
 

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Slow Money
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Wirelessly posted (Hivemind: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148a Safari/6533.18.5)

You are 100% describing Texas specials or feline blues specials.
Almost vintage, a bit hairier so to speak. Vintage strat pickups for the modern player
 

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abides
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851 Posts
Hot! I assume there will be 7-string versions of the new slab/veneer board sets? Still no baseplates available?
Yep, they should be available in 7-string format, not sure about baseplates for the 7s though.

Thanks for your extensive input, Nolly. :) It sounds as if the Mother's Milk or '63 set might be what I'm looking for. Do you know when the '63 set will become available to the general public?

Yeah, I think your bias is quite apparent. :lol: I only mentioned it because there have been quite a few posts recommending Texas Specials and the like. Thanks man!
No worries dude, the '59s and '63 will be available when the new site goes up on Tuesday, along with a number of other new additions to the Tele and P90s ranges :yesway:
 

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Is Actually Recording
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Wirelessly posted (Hivemind: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148a Safari/6533.18.5)

You are 100% describing Texas specials or feline blues specials.
Almost vintage, a bit hairier so to speak. Vintage strat pickups for the modern player
I'll fix this for Max and point out he meant Fralin, not feline.
 

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Slow Money
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Wirelessly posted (Hivemind: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148a Safari/6533.18.5)

Fuckin autocorrect :lol:
 

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MG.org-er
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2,137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So, I sat down, thought about this, and finally came to the conclusion that a set of Apaches would do nicely. Nolly suggested that I check out the 'Crazy Diamond' set, which has an overwound bridge. This would have been great for slightly heavier material (think Porcupine Tree and Anathema), but would have interfered with my plan to eventually buy a Suhr noiseless backplate, as the resistance would have been too high. I believe that the Apache bridge pickup, vintage though it may be, will do just fine. If not, it can always go back for a rewind. :)

The new Bare Knuckle website looks fantastic, by the way. :)

The Apache
 

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abides
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851 Posts
Good call dude, I think you will dig the Apaches and you may be very surprised at how well they deal with the heavies. If it's not already, wire your bridge pickup to the 2nd tone knob so you can roll off some twang if need be.
 

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MG.org-er
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Good call dude, I think you will dig the Apaches and you may be very surprised at how well they deal with the heavies. If it's not already, wire your bridge pickup to the 2nd tone knob so you can roll off some twang if need be.
I have plenty of gain on tap outwith the pickups, so it's promising. :) Yeah, I'm going to have the guitar rewired with a master volume and tone. Thanks for all your help, man. It was very much appreciated. :wub:
 
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