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If you are a die-hard guitar player, you would surely have experienced playing the Stratocaster pickups, and you would have fallen in love with the sharp attack and bite of the single-coil strat pickups. Yet, you would surely have experienced likewise the annoying hum given off by strat pickups because they are quite sensitive to some electric devices.
Electric guitar pickups, of course, play a critical role in how your guitar would sound. Hence, they are indispensable. But if you don’t want to get annoyed by that humming sound, you might as well go for the noiseless pickups. You have a few options when it comes to noiseless strat pickups, and each of your options generally differs significantly when it comes to audio quality.
Buyer’s Guide: Things You Must Know About Noiseless Strat Pickups
It was Leo Fender, who initially introduced the Fender Stratocaster in 1954. The traditional Stratocaster has three single-coil pickups. Yet, after six decades, its design has not altered much. Of course, there are many series of guitar pickups rolled out during the span of those decades, but right now, we are going to discuss the noiseless strat pickups and why you should choose them.
The noiseless strat pickups were first introduced in 1998, and they come with a stacked-coil design that consists of two single-coil pickups that are stacked one over the other. These two single-coil pickups are compacted together to readily fit in the actual size of a single-coil pickup.
Single-coil pickups are known for being clear-sounding without amplification. Yet, they can also get noisy at the same time. This noise can be annoying and poses as a problem. Many guitarists want something that is noiseless. Hence, noiseless pickups have been developed. These noiseless pickups are engineered to eliminate the annoying hum without necessarily changing the output capabilities of the guitar.
The 5 Most Recommended Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups
Although the lingering hum may be quite annoying, many guitarists still find that hum highly desirable because it gives them that vintage feel. Yet, many don’t like that lingering sound, and for this reason, we are giving you here the three best noiseless Stratocaster pickups to choose from:
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1) Fender Strat Hot Noiseless Pickups
If you want noiseless pickups that offer great versatility across various sound applications, you better take a look at the Fender Strat Hot Noiseless Pickups. The Fender Strat Hot Noiseless Pickups readily provide a warm and punchy tone to your guitar playing. They also give a bit of a bluesy feel. Yet, once you opt for bridge version, you’ll definitely hear them scream with a high gain.
These pickups offer a well-balanced and very articulate sound even if you give them a lot of gains. They convey much that classic tone of the traditional strat. These pickups are specifically designed for Jazz and Blues.
The installation of these pickups requires no soldering for these pickups are designed for solder-free installation. Thus, the installation process for these pickups is pretty much straightforward. These pickups are also aged white. This renders these pickups a vintage appeal. This aged white color will surely look great with your old guitar and will give your instrument a vintage appeal.
The Fender Strat Hot Noiseless Pickups are surely what you need to enhance your guitar sound. They are made in the United States, and you can’t surely go wrong with this pickup model. So, don’t forget to consider it when you shop around for noiseless pickups.
- Perfect noiseless pickup replacements that offer that extra kick.
- They are easy to install and don’t need any soldering.
- They are also easy to fit into the guitar and provide that vintage look.
- To some users, these pickups appear to be a bit too shrill.
2) Fender Generation 4 Noiseless Stratocaster Single-Coil Pickups
Fender Generation 4 is the sonic equivalent of what we call the cold fusion. It features a real vintage-style Fender tone that is combined with noiseless performance. Some consider these pickups the pinnacle of pickup designs with their crisp, clear, and clean offering.
The Fender Generation 4 also provides gigantic overdriven tones that characterize pure rock power. These pickups bring in a tight low end and well-defined high end along with punchy mids that can surely power you through any type of mix.
The Fender Generation 4 doesn’t sound like single-coil pickups, but they do come near as compared to other noiseless pickups versions sans the annoying 60-cycle hum. The downside of buying these pickups lies in the installation process because they don’t fit in readily to the standard routed Stratocaster because the pickups’ holes are not too deep.
Thus, you will be required to remove the neck as well as deepen the cavity of the pickup and the wire channel. Most buyers of these pickups will surely need to avail of the help of a professional installer. The sound, however, of these pickups is superb.
The Fender Generation 4 comes with a set of 3 single-coil Stratocaster pickups. They are noise-free and features a vintage-style tone. They come with shielded wire for more noise reduction; the set also comes with installation hardware.
- The New Gen 4 are quite sweet, and they are the best noiseless pickups at present. They may not sound like the single-coil pickups, but they can almost sound like the noiseless pickups’ previous versions of Fender.
- Moreover, they do not produce that irritating 50-cycle hum. Fender obviously succeeded in approximating the single-coil tone of the stacked humbuckers.
- The main issue faced by those who would like to use these pickups is the installation process. These pickups, of course, will not fit into a standard routed Stratocaster because it is 3/8″ taller compared to the standard single-coil pickups of Strat. To fit them, you need to remove the guitar neck and deepen the guitar’s pickups cavity. You also need to deepen the wire channel using a router down to the control cavity.
3) Fender Vintage Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups Set White, 3 Pickups
If you want a reliable brand and model of noiseless pickups, you better go for the Fender Vintage Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups. Your goal in changing your pickups, of course, is to improve sound quality. You can achieve this goal by opting for the Fender Vintage Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups.
With these pickups, you can readily do away with the annoying static and hum. Compared to other noiseless pickups, the Fender Vintage Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups are surely quieter and could deliver an amazing single-coil tone, sans the annoying hum.
The Fender Vintage Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups come with all the hardware that you need to install them. The kit also comes with installation hardware and contains all you need to install it. The kit, however, is more expensive, yet, its completeness justifies its great price.
When it comes to versatility, the Fender Vintage Noiseless Strat Pickups are of a different level. These pickups belong to the most versatile pickups that you can buy in the market today. Moreover, you can use these pickups for whatever type or genre of music that you want to play for you are assured that they provide tremendous and more precise sound quality. These pickups are highly recommended for genres like classical, rock, pop, blues, and country.
These pickups come with special beveled-edge Alnico 5 magnets along with enamel-coated magnet wire. Each pickup comes with three pots, a resistor, and a capacitor for an enhanced noiseless experience. So, if you are shopping around for the best noiseless pickups, you don’t need to go further. You simply need to check out the Fender Vintage Noiseless Stratocaster Pickups.
- Offers all the vintage vibes sans the humming. They are quieter and smoother than the N3 version and carry remarkable tonal improvement over the single-coiled ones. If you want a vintage tone, you will indeed find these pickups great. Hence, they are referred to as “vintage stagger.”
- As of the moment, we found no issue with these pickups.
4) Seymour Duncan California ’50s Strat Pickup Set
If you want to revamp your guitar sound, then swapping out your pickup to Seymour Duncan California ’50s Strat Pickup Set might be a good option. This baby won’t make you spend thousands for a swap, but it will be your best option if you want a rich and warm guitar sound, which gives you an authentic classic Strat sound. It stays true to the sound of the ’50s with its three single-coils.
The Seymour Duncan California ’50s Strat Pickup is wrought with similar specs as that of the Strat pickups of old and provides an authentic vintage tone that would genuinely impress you. Each pickup makes use of an Alnico V rod magnet that is wrapped in heavy Formvar magnet wire.
This feature leads to a distinctive sparkly tone that exhibits excellent chime. It is also wax-potted for precise playing. Moreover, it is very versatile, but you will find this pickup set well-suited for funk, classic rock, and blues.
If you want a perfect tone for classic rock, rockability, country blues, and many more, you can always check the California ’50s because it will surely deliver. Professional guitarists would indeed swear by, and it is even enhanced by its added tonal flexibility brought about by its reverse middle pickups.
Although the focus seems centered on its chime-like qualities, its low-end is also reliable and well-rounded. Using this pickup, you will notice that your chords would sound beautiful, characterized by excellent note definition. Its lead tones, of course, are incredibly bright and cuts well through various band mixes.
- This pickup set delivers an extensive and full tone characterized by bell-like highs and a clean bottom end.
- It is very balanced relative to the quack and other harmonics.
- Moreover, it is characterized by solid mid-range, though well-rounded.
- It has good touch sensitivity and doesn’t exhibit harsh brightness.
- If you go too high enough on the bass side poles, aiming to get that warmth, you may end up with too much magnetic pull on the G and D strings. This thing causes these strings to deaden sustain. Besides this thing, I don’t have any issues with these pickups.
5) Seymour Duncan SL591B
One of my favorite humbuckers is the Seymour Duncan SL591B. You will often see this on many guitars of various brands, including Gibson, Ibanez, Heritage, Yamaha, Fender, FGN, and many more. Its being ordinary and common doesn’t mean that it is more often appreciated.
Seymour Duncan SL591B is perfect if you are desirous of a heftier vintage tone. It comes in a neck model likewise, and it is a single-coil sized humbucker that bears the classic charm of the Gibson ’59 PAF.
This wax-potted pickup comes with a ceramic magnet and pole pieces that you can adjust. These features let you quickly fine-tune your guitar for a perfect sound. The SL591B also provides a warm tone and a medium output along with its twangy cleans.
The Seymour Duncan SL591B accommodates gain beautifully, showing its incredible versatility, making it best suited for blues, country, jazz, classic rock, and funk. It also works well with heavy rock. Thus, if you want the best of two worlds, you can always check out Seymour Duncan SL591B.
- They are wrought with nickel-plated studs with enameled wire like the original.
- They also offer balanced coil windings, with a four-conductor design for coil-tapping.
- Their sounds are rich and full.
- They also have a clean bass tone with an added crunch when you use the distortion pedal.
- So far, we have found no issue with this pickup set.
The Fender Stratocaster, of course, is arguably the most remarkable creation of Leo Fender. It was introduced in 1954 and became one of the most stylish and iconic mass-produced guitars that ever existed. Yet, this guitar will not sound great without its set of great pickups.
If you want to sound like any famous Fender Stratocaster users like Eric Clapton, Ritchie Blackmore, Jeff Beck, David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix, and many more, you should consider the use of the Strats great pickups.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you find it a bit difficult to decide which noiseless Strat pickup to choose, it will be useful to know the following frequently asked questions about Strat pickups for these questions might be the questions too that play in your mind at this moment:
What Constitutes a Stratocaster Pickup?
If you are wondering what makes a Stratocaster pickup, well, it is a single-coil pickup that comes with magnetic poles/slugs that are wound in a thin wire. These magnetic poles are hemmed by two flats consisting of a top plate and a base plate, which, in turn, are covered with materials like vinyl, brass, or chrome.
The Stratocaster pickups vary from the Telecaster pickups because they are shorter in size than the Telecaster and come mounted on a metal plate. They also have a higher output than the Telecaster.
How To Setup and Configure Strat Pickups?
The Stratocaster comes with an iconic shape, but it is also recognizable due to its familiar pickup setup. The Strats’ traditional setup includes three single-coils positioned at the neck, middle, and bridge positions. They are then controlled via a (5-way) pickup selector switch that lets you choose among the three while letting you play two together via the two and four positions.
There are some Strats, however, that break free of the traditional Strats setup and got a humbucker at the bridge. This configuration is called the H-S-S configuration. You will also find an H-S-H configuration with an additional humbucker in the neck position, although you would seldom find this setup.
How Does Noiseless Electric Guitar Pickups Sound?
You may argue, just like others would, that the humbuckers lack the typical brightness and tone of the authentic single-coils. Of course, you will find stacked pickups that haughtily brandish their humbucker inner workings with their warmer and higher output tone. Nevertheless, you will also find some stacked designs that retain the tone of the traditional single-coil with their hum-cancellation feature.
Many such designs are so similar that once you have configured every other signal chain’s piece into the equation, you can hardly distinguish them from the authentic single-coils. When it comes to tone, the Strat pickups provide the classic single-coil sound that most lead guitarists are desirous of. These pickups can cut through the various mix and are great for rhythm likewise. For this reason, the Strats pickups are characterized by versatility and applicable for a wider spectrum of genres.
You will often find the Strats pickups in most music genres, including pop, country, surf, classic rock, heavy rock, soul, blues, and punk. You will also find them successfully utilized in heavy metal. Nevertheless, the more modern metal styles characterized by intensity is more suited to humbuckers with higher output.
Why Should You Opt for Noiseless Pickups Instead of a Real Humbucker?
If your guitar comes with a solid body with a pickup cavity that can only accommodate single-coils, then installing a humbucker on it would necessitate altering your pickguard and the guitar’s body itself. Of course, you can engage in such a serious surgical alteration of your guitar, and you can do it. Nevertheless, if you are not careful or experienced enough, you may end up ruining your precious guitar.
You might also have a vintage model, and you don’t want to alter its look. In such instances, you can opt for noiseless single-coil stacks, designed for giving your guitar that hum-canceling ability that a typical dual-coiled pickup has without needing any size alteration or requirement. Many of these stacks are also designed with the purpose of retaining much of the single-coil tone.