Thanks to Warren Mendonsa https://music.blackstratblues.com/ for this fantastic demo with this HSS set.
The “Tui”- hot Strat needed to be most definitely a Strat sound – I hear plenty of Strat replacement pickups that are fine but just not Strat-ish. Secondly I wanted a bit more power, just a bit, enough to make a good old valve amp clip a bit easier than a “vintage” pickup would. And there needed to be dynamics – tickle it and it’s clean, dig in and it grits up. As I was making the original version of this set for a player used to humbuckers I wanted to reduce the ”ping” of the attack. I’ve added steel base plated as standard to this set. This changes the shape of the magnetic field, broadening the harmonic window. They add a wee bit of power, a wee bit of bass and reduce that pesky ping.
The neck pickup needed to have “that” Strat sound with fullness and clarity. It’s the ‘go to’ sound for most Strat players. The middle pickup needed to have some ‘quack’ to it with its own distinctive personality. The bridge pickup shouldn’t be too thin, it needs to have plenty of highs but not too much of that ‘ping’ or it’s almost useless. Then there are the other sounds – positions 2 and 4, mistakenly referred to as ‘out of phase’. They are really just 2 pickups in parallel. It’s hard to predict what those sounds will be, there was a lot of experimenting.
So I consulted my old note book and wound a lot of pickups and fitted them in a few test Strats. I’ve been lucky enough to have some great players as repair customers and so I was able to get quite a few opinions.
Eventually I was happy and I fitted a set for my ex Les Paul customer and he loved them straight away. A few months later he contacted me to say he was still loving them. I love it when players do that.
I’ve fitted resulting sets into a lot of instruments and it turns out that not only blues players like them, they seem to work for everyone. I shouldn’t be surprised, the Stratocaster is such a versatile guitar, of course they do.
Further experiments have shown they balance really well as part of a HSS set with either my Blue Sky or Cloud Nine humbuckers in the bridge position.
My “Vintage” Humbucker has an Alnico II magnet and I’ve used plain enamel insulated magnet wire with asymmetric coils to open up the mids. The very first pickup I ever made back in 1995 was a PAF style and I’ve been tweaking the recipe ever since. Like all my pickups I’ve used a number of test pilot players in its development as well as gigging it myself. It wasn’t until around 2015 that I settled on this particular design. I did a gig with a set in a PRS SE series only last weekend – sounded great to me.
The full and honest sound of this pickup along with it’s timeless tone inspired the