What are the Best Stratocaster Pickups?

Stratocaster PickupsWhether you want to change the sound or the feel of your instrument, you are only limited by your imagination.

The Stratocaster is one of the most flexible guitars ever made. When compared to many Gibson models such as the Les Paul or SG, there is a dramatic difference with regards to your customization options.
One of the most popular areas of focus for Stratocaster modification is the pickups. This change will have the most dramatic effect on your guitar’s sound.

There are a zillion options out there for pickups. Some good, some great, and some just plain awful. Among the “great” options, the “right” pickup depends on not only your budget, but also your taste. This is a very subjective area and opinions differ. So while some may prefer a vintage-style / low-output Stratocaster pickup, others may opt for a noiseless or active model. There are no right or wrong answers here, just what works best for you. Hopefully this list will help you get started in making this choice.
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Roland VG-99 V-Guitar Multi Effects Processor System

Roland-vg-99 LogoModel a wide range of electric and acoustic guitars, bass guitars, synthesizers and amplifiers.

This is an all-in-one package that is impressive. At the heart of the VG-99 are two completely independent signal paths. You can Model classic guitars, basses or amplifiers, and then assign up to 11 effects, twice. You can then use those two channels independent of each other, or simultaneously. Using an optional floor-based controller, you can do all of your channel switching or blending,
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HBS Zoom G5 Guitar Multi-Effects & Amp Simulator

Zoom G5What do Dave Mustaine, Wayne Krantz and Eric Struthers all have in common? They are fans of the Zoom G5. Be careful… if you take a closer look at this multi-effects pedal, you might be too.

It’s amazing how multi-effect technology keeps on progressing. Zoom’s new G5 is yet another impressive unit that delivers an overwhelming amount of value and flexibility. I have to rave about one feature first: the multi-dimensional expression pedal. In addition to moving the pedal up and down, you can twist it to the right or left. Do the math…. yes, significantly expanded levels of expression and real-time parameter changes. The end result is that you can assign up to four parameters to the expression pedal. Nuts.
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Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails – a P-90 and a Strat Pickup in a Humbucker-Sized Package

Seymour duncan hpr p-railsIf your guitar has humbucker-sized mountings, yet you dream of the sounds of a P-90 or a Strat, the Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails can make this a reality.

First things first: If you are looking for a full-fledged humbucker, go out and buy a full-fledged humbucker. Just wanted to put the whole “…well, it’s not really a real humbucker” argument aside. This pickup is meant for folks who have a humbucker-fitted guitar, yet are looking to get P-90 and or Strat tones out of it.

Some might say: “well, why don’t you just put a P-90 or a Strat pickup in the guitar?”
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Rock Solid Guitar Stands – All Wood Guitar Rack Sees Solid Growth

Rock Solid Guitar StandsWe just received an update from the awesome folks at Rock Solid Guitar Stands

Designed by a collector tired of a chaotic studio and cluttered living space, Rock Solid Guitar Stands is an emerging brand nationwide. They are designed not only to safely organize and protect guitars, but to showcase your collection and compliment the home as a piece of furniture. Rock Solid is the first multi-guitar stand made of real wood in its price range, allowing our audience to range from young adults to veteran collectors.
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What is the Relative Major / Relative Minor?

Sheet MusicUnderstanding this relationship can help improve your soloing, and lead to new sounds

In western tonality, we use the system of “Keys.” Each key has a number of associated sharps or flats that comprise the overall 7-note structure of the key. The exception is C-Major, which has no sharps or flats. An easy way to visualize C-Major is to imagine playing only the white keys on a piano. All of these white keys are in the key of C-Major. Every other key utilizes at least one of the black keys, meaning that they have at least one sharp or flat note.
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Should I Upgrade My Telecaster Bridge Pickup?

Telecaster Bridge PickupThinking about upgrading your Telecaster bridge pickup? Here are a few things to consider

Telecasters are great, probably my favorite guitar of all. But when your Tele is stock, chances are that it came loaded with vintage style pickups. Depending on your rig and your style of playing, this may translate to noise (i.e. the dreaded 60-cycle hum), or in the case of the bridge pickup: a somewhat brittle tone, and few options. Here is a list of areas to think-through before you make your final decision on which Telecaster bridge pickup to choose.
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Fender Texas Specials Stratocaster Pickups really are Special

Fender Texas SpecialsIf you want a vintage Strat pickup that is extra hot, these pickups are seriously worth considering

It’s hard to believe that these pickups just celebrated their 20th anniversary. They first made their debut in January 1992 as the stock pickups in the Stevie Ray Vaughan Stratocaster. Not too long after, they became available as a standalone product. SInce then, they have become quite popular.
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Vox Custom AC15C1

Vox Custom AC15C1For more than 50 years, the AC-15 has been one of the most coveted tools for obtaining the “British” sound

Vox has dusted off one of their flagship models for yet another reissue that offers a great blend of classic features and modern upgrades. The 12″ Celestion G12M Greenback speakers is probably the most notable improvement. You can expect some serious mids and tons of headroom from this speaker. As has been the case for many years, the “Normal” and “Top Boost” channels offer some variety for the overall voicing of the amp. Both of these channels share the master volume and “Tone Cut” controls. This is particularly cool because it means that the Tone Cut control operates on the power-amp level, not the pre-amp. The result is a true tone shaping of the overall amp voice, not the input.
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The Fulltone OCD – In Search of the Holy Grail

Fulltone OCDAn incredible palate of overdrive sounds in one little pedal

One of the aspects that seems to be particularly high on the list of priorities for guitarists is how to achieve the perfect driven sound. There are so many overdrive / distortion pedals out there. You could spend all day and night just trying them all out to see which one sounds best. Although guitars, amps and even pickups are often candidates for “Best of the Best” ranking among guitarists, the overdrive pedal seems to hold a special place in our hearts as a critical component to our sound and an item that we keep ourselves in constant “Search” more for.
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