One of the greatest creations by Leo Fender is the Fender Stratocaster which was in 1954, introduced to the world and happens to be on of the most stylish and most iconic versatile mass-produced guitar that has ever existed. It’s also commonly known to have been used by legends such as Eric Johnson. Eric Clapton, John Fruscinate, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix just to name a few.
However, none of those mentioned above guitarists would have been able to achieve the sweet, stimulating, chiming tones without owning a set of some amazing pickups on their ax. To help you choose the best Strat pickup, we have reviewed some of the best Stratocaster pickups that are available in the market today.
Our below review is ideal if you are looking to choose a Strat pickup that can roar but is also expressive and mellow at the same time.
1. Fender Pure Vintage ’65 Strat Pickups
One of the best and secure choices that you can make when it comes to buying a Strat pickup is the Fender Pure Vintage ’65 Strat pickups. Why? Because with is you get that classic, signature, staple, golden-era Fender Strat sound that most guitarists desire to recreate.
These three Hombres produce a sound that is not only warm and organic but fuzzy as well and is in a way, gain-driven. It gives out a natural sound that doesn’t have a hint of the modern digital vibe that tends to be too clean, too plastic or too perfect.
The tone from this Vintage ’65 Strat pickup is delivered through enamel-coated magnet wires as well as a set of Alnico 5 magnets that add more focus, are dynamic and authentically express every knack of your playing style. These Strat pickups are also wax-potted, feature a period-correct cloth wire with fiber bobbin construction and the staggered polepieces that balance volume and each string’s output.
With a one-year warranty and only weighing 5.8 ounces, this pickups have aged white pickup covers and comes from a company that is known to make the best Strat pickups.
2. Seymour Duncan California ’50s Strat Pickup Set
Anyone looking to add some roar and bite in their sound should definitely consider getting these Seymour Duncan Strat pickups. They are not only well-rounded and versatile, but they will give any blues player the satisfaction they need if they are seeking a modern tone that is rooted in traditional values.
This set is designed to fit like a glove, and they operate quite well with the common Stratocaster-five-way pickup switch selector giving each position a distinctive color and character. The first position is suitable for blues-rock player and locks nicely in a warm rock-driven sound.
The second position leans more towards traditional blues but still carries with it the warmth that comes from the first position. The third position is crunch-driven and perfect for rock licks. Position four gives it clear-tone blues whereas position number five is thin and bright and perfect when combined with distortion.
While the California ‘50s set is ideal for blues, it’s not the only genre that it can suit. In fact, it’s not only the best Strat pickups, but it’s also best single-coil pickups in general from Seymour Duncan.
3. Fender Tex-Mex Strat Pickups
The Fender Tex-Mex Series are perfect for those seeking to save money but also a rich sound. And just because they are affordable doesn’t mean they compromise on quality. Far from it. This Tex-Mex series stands out with increased gain. Simply put, these Strat pickups are designed for blue rocks players than for fans looking for a clean sound.
It has a bright and warm tone and is designed for use with different guitar effects and pedals. They give out a very strong audio output that results in the increased gain which is still within the limits of normal blue sound. Although these pickups come in an aged white color finish, they are also available in different patterns which are bound to fit your guitar perfectly based on your choice and needs.
Its roar and bite can be nicely felt mid-range department making it the best fit for a Mexican Fender Strat. Of importance is that you don’t have to break the bank to get the sound you desire with this set.
4. Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster Pickups
There are lots of guitarists that want to sound as good as Eric Johnson. There is nothing wrong with that considering that Eric Johnson is among one of the greatest guitarists to have graced this earth. So if you want to sound like him, you most definitely can’t go wrong with the Fender Eric Johnson Strat pickups as they were designed in collaboration with him.
The set has three single-coils that give the sweet, melodic tone that Johnson is famous for. The three pickups each have their own eccentric sound. This is made possible by the differing constructions as the neck utilizes oversized Alnico III magnets while the middle, when used in position 2 or 4 is a reverse wound which cancels the hum.
Its bridge has an output that is quite hot than is usually expected by most people even though it keeps the desired sparkle.
When looking to buy a Stratocaster pickup, you need to ensure that the chosen pickup matches your style of the genre. You also need to choose a Strat pickup that is durable and worth the money you’ll invest in purchasing it. If you are a newbie or play the guitar for fun, consider buying an affordable device just to see how adequate it suits your needs before upgrading to the more expensive ones.
Also, consider your budget and needs. As mentioned, a Strat pickup should be selected based on your style hence it’s not a one-fit-all kind of instrument. Ensure you do a proper research and read various reviews and forums that discuss the best Stratocaster pickups that are ideal before spending your money on one that won’t work or worse off, won’t suit your needs.
Best Stratocaster Pickups
Sounds and tones produced by guitars usually vary from musician to musician because of multiple elements which include Stratocaster pickups. Pickups are a musical device that is placed near the guitar strings to produce an electric field that defines the sound or tone of a musician.
Leo fender revolutionized the music industry by creating one of the most iconic musical instruments revered amongst guitarist worldwide. The versatility of the Stratocaster pickup is what sets it apart from other pickups. Stratocaster pickups can achieve anything literally from higher, smooth or even edgier tones, to tones that are more bass heavy. Musical legends such as Jimi Hendrix Eric Clapton Jeff Beck and David Gilmour are but a few guitarists who have been able to use the iconic Fender Stratocaster. Finding a Stratocaster can be a rather daunting task considering the many options available in the market. We’ve reviewed what we view to be some of the best Stratocasters in the market especially if you are looking for a pickup that can be both mellow and expressive while emitting an unmatched roar.
Fender Pure Vintage ’65 Strat Pickups
If there is a Strat pickup that you can never go wrong with it would be the fender pure vintage 1965 Strat pickup. This is because the pickup has the capabilities to recreate classic Golden era sounds that a lot of guitarists desire. The sound produced is organically warm and does not sound extraordinarily refined or plastic as most sounds that we here today.
Fender vintage features animal quitted magnet wires and five alnico magnets that allow for the dynamic and expressive nature of the pickups.
You can balance the volume and output of each of the strings on your guitar thanks to this staggered polepieces.
You get a one-year warranty upon purchase of the Stratocaster pickups.
Because it mainly achieves warm vintage-style tones, the Fender vintage is limiting in terms of the tone and sound it can produce.
Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster.
In collaboration with one of the greatest guitarists in the world, Fender has been able to produce a Stratocaster pickup that produces the sweet, melodic tone that is synonymous with Eric Johnson. This set of single coil pickups Features 3 Stratocaster pickups each with a unique sound that can be attributed to the construction of the pickups.
The middle pickup of the Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster pickup has a reverse wound that eliminates the humming sounds that are common in most pickups.
The pickup is extraordinarily versatile and allows for creative freedom.
Achieving vintage style sound with these pickups is difficult.
Fender Tex Mex Strat Pickups
Designed for use with different pedals and guitar effects defender Tex Mex pickups produce a bright and warm tone that is ideal for blue rocks players. These Stratocaster pickups help guitarists to achieve I rich sound affordably without compromising on quality. The gain on this pick up is unmatched in comparison to other pickups in the market.
- The pickups are available in different options, and you can pick one that matches and complements your guitar.
- The audio output and gain of this pickups are incredibly robust.
They are extremely affordable.
Guitarists looking to experiment with sounds outside of blues will have a difficult time as these pickups are limited in their sound capability.
Seymour Duncan California ’50s Strat Pickup Set
The California 50s draft pickup by Seymour Duncan are versatile, well rounded and Ideal for guitarists and individuals looking to add some oomph to their sound. These pickups can be used with the strata caster five-way pickup switch selector that allows for each pick up to produce a distinctive sound that is equally modern and vintage. This Stratocaster pickup is ideal for anyone whose music falls in the blues and rock genre. Even though it works well for blues and rock, other music genres can also be played on this pickup.
It is versatile and can be used for multiple music genres.
Can be used with a switch selector to recreate distinctive sounds for each of the pickups.
It is delicate to touch, and the slightest change in strumming or fretting style will be picked up by the pickup.
The corners of this pickup are more pronounced than those of your typical Stratocaster pickup.
Lace Sensor-Red Pickup
Despite being named the red pickup, there is nothing red about it. Used by Leo Fender in the mid-90s, the less sensor red pickup features a lace micro comb and innovative filed barrier system capable of producing a huge tonal range of pristine trebles and strong low ends. This pick up is ideal for metal, and rock genres of music as it entirely cancels background noise and beautifully replicates earlier offender tones.
The tones of this Stratocaster pick up are both dynamic and versatile.
The package includes a mini data CD and colored schematics to assist users in configuring this single coil pickup.
- It is not cheap.
- Newbies will require professional help to install the pickup as things can get complicated very quickly.
When choosing a Stratocaster pickup, your style of music/genre will determine your choice of pickup. This is because a Strat pickup is not a one fits all kind of instrument. It is therefore vital that you read reviews on different Stratocaster pickups and ensure that your research gives you insight into what works best in suits your needs. If you are a newbie at guitaring, it is advisable to consider purchasing an affordable Stratocaster as opposed to buying an expensive one that you may not be able to use. After all, you can always upgrade to a more expensive one once you have built on your skills. Passive pickups are much better and easier to use than active pickups as they do not rely on amps and pedal boards. They can also function without a battery which makes them ideal for almost any guitarist. We hope that our article gives you some insightful information about your purchase.