Oil City: Falling in love again ... Strat content

TheGuitarWeaselTheGuitarWeasel Frets: 3654
edited December 2017 in Made in the UK
I've always liked my Squier Vintage Modified 70s Strat ... to start with I picked it up ridiculously cheaply for a nearly new (never played, still plastic on scratchplate) guitar, but it also always felt lovely in my hands, as good as any Mexican Strat I've tried. 

However, as all my guitars have a job to do for pickup demo and testing , so I stuck a set of my custom SC Rails pickups in ... and let it be a high output rock beast (very Dave Murray). Everyone loved it who tried it with those pickups in ... except me!  Don't get me wrong, I love high output pickups, but not in that guitar ... that guitar wanted the vintage treatment really. So while others played it, I tended to leave it on the rack. 

With a couple of days of no Oil City work over Christmas I took out the Squier and decided to do a pickup swap on it, and being lazy, I took a look around the workshop for Strat sets that I'd already wound. 
A while ago I did a custom Masterwound set of Route 66s with flush, relic poles and no RWRP for a customer who decided he didn't want them after all ... and these had been kicking around on my bench for ages. So in the spirit of waste not want not, I fitted them with some ivory covers and popped them in the Squier (taking the opportunity to do a bit of a setup at the same time).


Result! The guitar is everything I'd hoped it'd be ... the vintage wind pickups are open and with tons of Strat chime, but with a nice earthy growl with gain (or my favorite with a Strat: a Tubescreamer). This is not a hymn of praise to my pickups ... any good, vintage wound alnico Strat pickup would have done ... but it shows the importance of matching the pickup to the guitar  ... at least for my own instruments.

A nice side effect is the non RWRP setup emphasises the quack in 2 and 4 switch positions ... and while I don't usually bother with this tone ... it's kinda nice for some things.

Next job with this guitar will be a Earvana nut ... all my personal 'players' are being steadily converted to those ... they really are about the best bang for the buck I've found in modifying instruments.

Oh ... the Duncan Designed alnicos that were originally in the instrument when I bought it were not awful ... but were a bit scratchy in the top end and lacked 'girth' in the tone. Not a bad pickup ... just not one I especially like.
Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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Comments

  • TheGuitarWeasel said:

     it shows the importance of matching the pickup to the guitar  ... at least for my own instruments.

    I couldn't agree any more.  

    I've found my trial & error method of finding the 'right' pickups for the guitar in question is part of the pleasures of having a guitar, IMO it's like a set of strings where guitarists have different playing styles and it's good to find the variant which suits you and your instrument for your own needs the most. 

    ***
    Another aspect of this post which I think is a good one is the benefit of putting in high quality pickups into 'budget' instruments. For a lot of 'budget' guitars even after factoring pickup upgrades like your OC's they work out to be really great value instruments.  
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  • I paid just £120 quid for the VM Squier ... it was a real steal ... an e bay win from a guy who had been bought a Strat to learn on ... then gave up. If you factor in the full retail price of my Route 66 set plus the pots I upgraded ... you are talking around £300 for a Strat that sounds as good as any US instrument ... and feels as good as as any Mexican one. If I add an Earvana nut ... which will be the only other mod I'd do ... it still wouldn't top £400 ... but I think it will definately be my 'go to' strat for blues and blues rock. 
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • Adam_MDAdam_MD Frets: 2891
    I’m a big fan of the earvana nut Feline fitted one to my strat earlier this year and my les Pauls getting one soon.  None of my other guitars feel as in tune as my strat when I switch to a different guitar after playing it.  
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  • ElwoodElwood Frets: 369
    SC rail pickups!? Do you do them for a Tele?
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  • Elwood said:
    SC rail pickups!? Do you do them for a Tele?
    Elwood said:
    SC rail pickups!? Do you do them for a Tele?
    I can do ... as a special order ... PM me
    Ash
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Oil City Pickups  ... Oil City Blog

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  • ElwoodElwood Frets: 369
    Elwood said:
    SC rail pickups!? Do you do them for a Tele?
    Elwood said:
    SC rail pickups!? Do you do them for a Tele?
    I can do ... as a special order ... PM me
    Ash
    Pm sent mate.
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