The Stratocaster, Fender's classic, which is on par with the Telecaster. It’s attractive due to its three single coil pickups and being able to create a wide range of tones, but in order to aim for more powerful sound and avoid the noise that is a disadvantage of the single coil, a humbucker is often installed in the rear position. In fact, Fender has released a number of SSH Strats.
So this time, the guitar team at Sound House selected recommended humbuckers for Stratocaster!
We’re going to introduce full size humbuckers and single coil sized humbuckers that can be installed without major processing!
■Full size humbuckers
The so-called "Superstrat" with a humbucker mounted on a Stratocaster is a style often seen in the heavy metal scene of the 1980s, but it can be said that Eddie Van Halen was the forerunner. It is said that the SH-11 (or the pickup customized based on the SH-11) was installed on the Kramer Eddie used, known as the 5150. Changing the magnet to Alnico 2 based on the SH-5 Custom, you can get a sweeter and thicker sound, so it can be said to be one of the best humbuckers for Strat that tend to have a bright sound.
The Unbucker is one of the best-selling humbuckers made by Lindy Fralin. Its greatest feature is the combination of coils with different numbers of turns. Due to this feature, you can get a smooth and rich sound as a humbucker, and if you coil split (coil tap) it to switch to a single coil, you can get a clear sound with the suppressed midrange. Like the Unbucker, there are surprisingly many pickups designed in consideration of the coil split sound. SEYMOUR DUNCAN/SH-3 and Freedom Custom Guitar/Hybrid Humbucker are items with such concept.
The signature humbucker of Pete Thorn, known as a session musician as well as a YouTuber who reviews equipment. Pete, who is involved in various support works, was frustrated with existing humbuckers, "good distortion but clean or semi-dirty are no good", "when I switch mid-gig to a guitar with single coils, it requires adjustments to my amp and effects." This pickup was done with a touch based on the vintage PAF to solve these frustrations. With Alnico 4 magnet, brightness and warmth are well-balanced, and the sound fits SSH guitars.
■Single coil sized humbuckers
vintage PAF-like sound. With a very balanced sound, it's a versatile pickup that's recommended for all positions, clean or distorted. By the way, personal impressions of DIMARZIO single sized humbuckers by a person in charge of pickups are sorted out as follows.
|DP186 Cruiser Neck||DP187 Cruiser Bridge||DP181 Fast Track 1||DP184 The Chopper||DP188 Pro Track||DP182 Fast Track 2|
|3.13k Ohm||5.75k Ohm||5.78k Ohm||9.16k Ohm||7.70k Ohm||18.07k Ohm|
|Very similar to a single coil with plain strings, and slightly hot sound with wound strings.||Very similar to a single coil with plain strings, and slightly hot sound with wound strings.||Hotter and more muscular than the Cruiser. Excellent dynamic range.||The punchier brother of the Fast Track 1. Between single coil and full size humbuckers.||The single sized vintage PAF. Very smooth sound.||The one that should be called, "Strat-sized Super 3". The single sized hum with the highest output.|
*Models based on full size humbuckers and signature models are omitted
This Red Devil is a single coil size of Pearly Gates, which is one of the most popular vintage Duncan pickups. The original Pearly Gates is a model that reproduces the pickup mounted on the vintage Les Paul owned by Billy Gibbons (ZZ TOP). Compared to the same vintage style single sized hum "Little '59", the output is slightly higher, and the sound seems to have the peak shifted to the mid-high range. The Red Devil is recommended for distortion. Another feature is that this is the only one with Alnico 5 magnet among Duncan single sized hums (as of March 2021).
BILL LAWRENCE is famous for the L-500 that has a bar type pole piece. The L-500 is also famous for being used by Nuno Bettencourt and Dimebag Darrell. This L-250 is a stacked humbucker that has a bar type pole piece similar to the L-500. The single coil size makes the sound more cohesive while retaining the characteristics of the L-500, the mid-range peak and overtones. The sound is very characteristic, but it can be said that it’s an irreplaceable pickup if it fits your equipment or meets your preference.
We’ve introduced 6 recommended humbuckers for Strat! If you want the humbucker sound without changing its look, we recommend a single sized humbucker, and if your Strat has a large counterbore, we recommend a full size humbucker. In addition, replacement pickguards for SSH Stratocasters are available from various manufacturers. It's a must when you replace the rear pickup with a full size humbucker, so check it out!