The Seven-Sound Strat Modification

seven-sound strat modificationDo you want to add a “Tele” sound to your Strat? How about all three pickups at once? Try this Seven-Sound Stratocaster Modification.

The Seven-Sound Strat Modification is an easy mod that you can make to your guitar to give you more tone versatility, and despite its name, you can make this mod on any type of guitar that has three pickups and a five-way switch.

The five-way switch gives Strat players plenty of versatility in tone. Position 1 is the Bridge pickup, Position 2 is Bridge + Middle, Position 3 is just the Middle pickup, Position 4 is Middle + Neck, and Position 5 is Neck. What the five-way switch does not provide is a way to select the Bridge + Neck pickup, or a way to select all three pickups at once. This is exactly what the Seven-Sound Strat Mod (also sometimes referred to as the Gilmour mod) provides for us.

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Differences Between Single Coil and Double Coil Pickups

single coil and double coilLearn not only the technical differences between single coil and double coil guitar pickups, but also why they sound so different.

In order to understand what we are talking about when we say single coil and double coil, we’ll first take a look at the different parts of a pickup and see how they work together to produce a guitar signal. Then we’ll examine single coil and double coil pickups, the differences between them, and why you would want to use each type. We’ll discuss the single coil first because it’s the original type and it has a simpler design. We’ll start with the parts, then move into the ways the single coil and double coil pickups actually work.

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Coil-Splitting a Humbucker Pickup with a Mini Toggle Switch (DPDT)

mini toggle switchLet’s talk about how to wire up your guitar so that you can split your humbucker pickup using a mini toggle switch.

Why a Mini Toggle Switch?

A humbucker pickup contains two coils, and with a simple modification we can use a switch to “shut off” one of the coils, causing it to sound and act like a single coil pickup. The choice to use a mini toggle switch is purely aesthetic; you can use absolutely any kind of switch that you want to but you will need to modify your guitar to hold it. A mini toggle requires drilling a hole that is less than 1/4 inch and takes up very little space once it is in place.

If you have the type of guitar that requires you to drill a hole through the wood, into the electronics compartment to add a toggle switch, then I recommend taking it to a pro, unless you really know what you are doing. If you’re lucky enough to have a Stratocaster or another type of guitar with those large pickguards that give you access to the electronics by removing them, then you can probably drill a small hole in the pickguard and add the toggle switch yourself if you are very careful and have the tools.

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Coil-Splitting a Humbucker Pickup with a Push-Pull Pot

push-pull potHave you ever wanted to turn off one of your humbucker pickup coils?

Well, here we’ll talk about how to wire a humbucker pickup so that it can be split into a single coil pickup using a push-pull pot. For the split you need a four-wire humbucker; you cannot split a two-wire without first modifying the pickup itself. Each coil has a Hot and a Ground, and a determination must be made as to which is which before we get started.

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What are the Best Rock Telecaster Bridge Pickups?

rock telecaster bridge pickupsHere are some great replacement bridge pickups that have been designed for playing Rock with a Fender Telecaster.

The Fender Telecaster is actually a great guitar for Rock. The twangy sound fattens up nicely when run through some overdrive or a fuzz pedal. Even though many people consider the Telecaster to be a country guitar many great Rock players, including Jeff Beck, Mike Campbell, John 5, Richie Kotzen, Alex Lifeson, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, and Bruce Springsteen often use a Tele. One way that you might be able to help your Telecaster deliver a more Rock tone is to change the pickups. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about some of the best Rock Telecaster bridge pickups around.

The ones that we’ve listed here are of very high quality, and they were designed for Rock and for the great gain that they produce. So that means that we’ll be looking at humbucker pickups, which will allow us to run through overdrive or fuzz while keeping inherent noise to a minimum. We’ll be looking at pickups that fit into the bridge position of a Tele without having to modify the guitar, taking into account the slanted nature of its bridge pickup. So, if you’re looking to get a heavier rock sound, this list of the best Rock Telecaster bridge pickups should help you narrow down your choices.

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What are the Best Rock Stratocaster Pickups?

best rock stratocaster pickupsIf you’re a Rock or Heavy Metal Stratocaster guitar player looking to upgrade and improve your sound, check out this list of the best Rock pickups for the Strat.

Perhaps your guitar tone is getting stale, or perhaps it never sounded that good to begin with. Well, before you buy a new one, review this post and put some thought into upgrading your pickups instead. If you play Rock or Metal through a Stratocaster then this information should be especially useful to you. In making our selections for best Rock Stratocaster pickups, we looked at a number of things. For example, since Rock guitar players are probably going to use a lot of overdrive and distortion, they’ll need a high output pickup capable of delivering a lot of voltage to the amplifier, to push the preamp harder for a better-sounding overdrive. But, lots of overdrive and distortion can also be very noisy, especially in a Strat, with its stock single coil pickups.

So, because noise is a serious issue, it’s probably best to use a humbucking pickup. For those who don’t know, a humbucking pickup is two coils working together to cancel out noise and just leave the pure guitar signal, in much the same way a balanced XLR mic cable does. Because a humbucker is two coils, we need those that can fit into a single coil space. Of course, all of the other things that you might look for in a pickup — such as even, clear tone across all strings — are still important. So, all that said, here are what we consider to be some strong candidates for the best Rock pickups for the Strat.

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What are the Best Blues Telecaster Bridge Pickups?

best blues telecaster bridge pickupsGreat Blues tone is just an upgrade away. If you are a Telecaster player looking for the best Blues pickups, the below list should point you in the right direction.

Many people think of the Fender Telecaster as a Country or Rock guitar but the Tele is actually quite good for playing the Blues. Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Albert Lee, and many other great blues players played a Telecaster. The combination of the biting, gritty, bridge pickup mixed with the warm, smooth tone of the neck pickup really work together to create the perfect instrument for playing the Blues. Right now, let’s talk about some of the best Blues Telecaster bridge pickups out there, and how you can swap out yours for one specifically designed with the Blues guitarist in mind.

We’ll discuss the differences between each, and what makes them great for creating a blues tone. The pickups in the bridge position of the Tele are known to be pretty twangy so in this post we will likely be looking to fatten up the sound just a bit. Continue reading “What are the Best Blues Telecaster Bridge Pickups?”

What are the Best Blues Stratocaster Pickups?

blues stratocaster pickupsGreat Blues tone is just an upgrade away. If you are a Strat player looking for the best Blues pickups, the below list should point you in the right direction.

It is possible to upgrade your guitar at a reasonable price: change the pickups. Quite often, the results can be significant, especially with lower priced guitars in which the quality of the pickups is questionable. It is possible to get the sound you are looking for simply by selecting the right pickups rather than buying a new guitar. Pickups are fairly easy to change yourself, as they require minimal knowledge and a few tools. There are probably more brands of pickups than brands of guitars and amps combined. That said, it’s no surprise that there are pickups for virtually every style of music, type of player, and type of guitar. Naturally, it can be hard to know where to begin when faced with so many options. This post narrows it down to a Stratocaster body style, with three single-coil pickups, and a five-way switch configuration, but any of these should also be available as a single. From smooth David Gilmour to Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Texas tone,” or from vintage to modern, this list covers most Blues players and includes some great Blues Stratocaster pickups. Continue reading “What are the Best Blues Stratocaster Pickups?”

Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails

Seymour duncan shpr-1s 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.

The Seymour Duncan SHPR-1s P-Rails is a P-90 and a Strat Pickup in a Humbucker-Sized Package. So, 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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Deciding on a Telecaster Bridge Pickup Upgrade

telecaster bridge pickup upgradeThinking about your  next Telecaster bridge pickup upgrade? 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 your next Telecaster bridge pickup upgrade.
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