The Best Strat Pickups of 2020 – [Reviews & Buyers Guide]

Best Strat Pickup

Let Your Guitar Reach its Potential with the Best Strat Pickups

If you own a Strat guitar then finding the best strat pickups is essential to getting the amazing vintage sound you expected when you bought your guitar. Whether you want to cancel hum, or simply love the vintage sound or hot output of single-coil pickups, strat pickups are the answer. However finding the right pickup can be a time-consuming, and onerous task. Luckily, we’ve simplified this process for you by putting together some reviews and comparisons of the best strat pickups on the market according to sales and user reviews. 


1- Fender Tex-Mex Strat Pickups

**[Editor’s Choice]**

Best Strat Pickups

If you are looking for a good quality strat pickup for your guitar then look no further. The Fender Tex-Mex might just be the one for you.

It is a single-coil pickup that gives maximum output while maintaining the warmth of your guitar tone and providing great shape to the highs. True to its name, the Tex-Mex has been designed to bring out a Mexican sound, which is the Vintage strat sound that everyone is familiar with.

This pickup is equipped with a polyol-coated magnet wire that ensures that the output is bright and crisp. The output wire is vinyl-coated while the bobbin is made of durable plastic for a long-lasting performance. Whether it is hard rock or blues rock or classic rock, this start pickup can handle all kinds of rock music. The only thing you will need to add is to crank up the volume and hear the quality sound produced.

But don’t worry about static and other noise being amplified as the output is very quiet and might get noisy only if you increase the gain too much.

This pack consists of one each of the three pickups, namely the bridge pickup, the neck pickup and the middle pickup to cover all the different tones. The bridge pickup is overwound to maximize the output for a hotter sound. The middle pickup is reverse wound or has a reverse-polarity and cancels hum in positions 2 and 4.

Installing these strat pups is a breeze as it comes with everything you need in the box. From the mounting screws to the pickup height adjustment tube to the wiring diagram and the wiring harness everything is included for a quick and hassle-free assembly.

The best part is that you can fix these pickups on your non-fender guitars and reproduce the great sound of an original Fender. As these pickups are very affordable they are worth your every penny.


2- Seymour Duncan SSL4 Quarter Pound Strat Pickup

Best Strat Pickups

It is a known fact that single-coil pickups produce the maximum output, but what if you could get twice the power of a single-coil pickup. This is exactly what the Seymour Duncan SSL4 strat pickup can do.

Experience raw power with the SSL4 as it produces a fat sound that is punchy. But this does not mean that it is not capable of clean sounds. The SSL4 produces a remarkably clean sound at lower volumes and is powerful only at higher volumes.

The secret to the fat sound is in the coil. The pickup is made of rod magnets which have overwound coils to give that explosive sound to make everyone take notice of you. The magnets are hand polished Alnico magnet 5 magnets which due to the overwound coils produce the best sound that only single-coil pickups can deliver.

The resistance from the magnet and the coil gives your guitar’s output more punch and sustain. As a result, this one becomes one of the best start pickups for genres such as rock, blues, metal, and heavy rock.

If you need to replace the pickup on your strat guitar, then the SSL4 will be a great choice. But it works equally well on virtually any acoustically balanced guitar. If you want to get the best out of the SSL4 then it is recommended that you use them on rosewood fingerboards.

The SSL4 is a versatile pickup as you do not need three separate pickups for the various positions. The same pickup can be used for either the neck or the bridge position. But you will need to add a reverse-wound pickup for the middle position in order to cancel hum.

Whether you are a lead guitar player or like to play rhythm, the SSL4 works equally well in both situations. It also comes at half the cost of some high-end pickups giving you more value for your money. It is definitely a must-have if you love blues.


3- Set of Alnico V Single Coil Pickup SSS for Strat Style Guitar Black Color

**[Best Value]**

Best Strat Pickups

Never ever buy cheap pickups for your strat guitar when you can buy these budget-friendly pickups that will give cheap ones a run for their money.

You get the amazing sound of a single-coil without the brittle sound that is usually the case with inferior ceramics. They are not only for DIY strat guitars but can also be used as replacement pickups or as an upgrade. This speaks for the quality of these pickups and the unbelievable sound quality which is comparable to some high-end strat pickups.

These pickups use the Alcino V type magnets to produce the rich and warm sounds that are typical of the 60s starts. They produce a fuller sound with natural sustain and a clean sound that you will wonder

These single-coil pickups come as a set of three pickups which include the neck, middle, and bridge pickups. The output DC resistance of the neck pickup is 5.5k while that of the middle pickup and the bridge pickup are 5.6 k.

This 3pc pickup set will bring out the classic vintage sound from your guitar and let you play everything from rock to blues to hard rock to metal and much more.

If you are budget-conscious and do not want to spend a fortune on single-coil pickups then these pickups will be the right choice for you. They produce a $100 sound in just an under $15 budget giving you the best of both worlds.


4- Tonerider TRS3 Classic Blues Strat pickup set

Best Strat Pickups

If the sound of Blues is what you love, then the Tonerider TRS3 is something you should consider for your guitar. This is one of the best start pickups for Blues and the sound of the late 60s.

The TR3 is a new and improved version of the TR1. As a result, the sound produced by the TR3 is meatier, has more punch, and is much clearer.

The set comes with one bridge pickup that is hotter, a middle pickup that is reverse wound, and a neck pickup. Not only is the sound reminiscent of the 60s blues but even the looks have been reproduced with the use of the gray fiberboard flatwork. This flatwork is hand beveled and laser cut to perfection.

The best thing about the TRS3 is that it sounds amazing in all of the 5 positions and especially so in positions 2 and 4. The pickup is very good for playing Blues, Rock, and Jazz but in reality, can be used for almost any genre.

When you play aggressively, the pickup gives the necessary punch to the sound while you can also play softly for sweet and mellow sounds. The pickup does equally well in both cases.

The TRS3 may be inspired by the very first strat pickups but their construction takes advantage of the modern design which is more accurate and consistent.

The coils have been wound after careful calibration so that the volume is consistent across all five positions. They are also bound with tape to prevent damage and wax-potted to prevent feedback when high gain settings are used.

Getting the magical sound of a single-coil pickup does not mean you spend a fortune. You can get the same sound with TRS3 but at a much smaller price point even though it is much higher than the other pickups in the segment.


5 – Wilkinson HOT Single Coil Pickups for Strat® Guitar White MWVS

Best Strat Pickups

If you have to use the Wilkinson WVS, then you will love the MWVS which is an improved version. It is a single-coil strat pickup set that will give you everything needed for a good sounding guitar.

This single-coil pick employs the non-staggered pole piece design for that incredible vintage sound. The MWVS comes as bridge pickups, middle pickups, and neck pickups.

Though it is usual to calibrate and wind all coils equally, the bridge pickup of the MWVS has been slightly overwound. This is because the vibration or the string movement becomes lesser as the sound travels close to the bridge.

So what essentially happens is that the reduced movement of the string produces lesser voltage and consequently a lesser volume level than the other positions. This can be very frustrating if you have to play a solo. But the over winding takes care of this and gives a uniform output in all positions.

The coil in the middle pickup has been reverse-wound or comes with reverse polarity. So when you use all three pickups as a set, the neck-middle and the middle-bridge pickup combinations will give you a hum-canceling effect. These hot single-coil pickups are extremely good at sustain and harmonics.

The hot single-coil pickups are constructed using ceramic magnets. They produce extremely rich vintage sounds and are more worthy than their under $40 price tag.

Whether you want to replace your existing pickups or experiment with building your own DIY strat project, these hot coils are great for both situations. The sound produced is so amazing, warm, and clean that they can be even used for professional set-ups. Clearly, when you buy these single pickups you are getting more value for your money.


Our Recommendation for the Best Strat Pickups

  1. Fender Tex-Mex Strat pickup set (Editor’s Choice)
  2. Alnico V Single Coil Pickup (Best Value)

 

How to Identify the Best Strat Pickups

strat pickup

Here is what you need to know before you buy an aftermarket strat pickup for your guitar.

1- Type of coil

Pickups come as either single-coil or double-coil ones. There are remarkable differences in the sound produced by each of these types of coils.

  • Single coils–These were the first type of pickups that were created and hence have the classic sound that is loved by all. The downside is that they may pick up ambient sound and have a low noise level.
  • Double coils –As the name suggests two coils are used in these pickups. They are placed against each other so that that they cancel out the noise picked up by each of the coils and hence reduce humming. For this reason, they are also called as humbucker pickups.

For strat guitars, single-coil pickups are the best as they have maximum output and bring out the natural vintage sound of the strat guitar.

2- Pick up placement

The pickup placement changes for each guitar type and is also known as the pickup configuration. It is denoted as a combination of the letters ‘S’ for single coil and ‘H’ for Humbucker.

For strat guitars, the pickup configuration is denoted as SSS which means that three single-coil pickups are placed on the guitar with spacing in between.

3- Budget

Strat pickups can be expensive but there are also those that come at an extremely budget-friendly price tag without compromising on quality. Thanks to modern pickup construction, the same amazing vintage sound of the single-coil is found on budget-friendly models too.

Finally, in addition to our review above, you can read up reviews of the product that you have narrowed down before you proceed to purchase. It also helps to ask for a recommendation from friends or fellow musicians

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Resource Links

  1. https://www.fender.com/articles/gear/a-guide-to-fender-single-coil-stratocaster-pickups
  2. http://www.guitarplanet.eu/how-guitar-pickups-html
  3. http://zerocapcable.com/?page_id=219
Updated: — 6:22 pm