I finally got the chance to swap the Tonerider TRS4 Alnico II Blues pickups out of the Vintage Modified Strat into the Crazy Vibe Strat.
I wanted to compare how they sounded in both guitars, so I could decide which Strat would be permanently hosting them and so I thought “Why not document it for others to compare too?”. There is also the likelihood that I will be curious to swap them again in the future, so I can at least refer back to these demo videos first to possibly save myself any waste of time.
So my personal decision is that the TRS4s will live in the Vintage Modified Strat. Initially, even before I received the Toneriders I found the VM Strat to have more attitude – translated as more output and more bite than the CV Strat. At that time, both guitars had the same pickups (Duncan Designed SC101s), with the exception of a Duncan Twangbanger in the bridge position of the VM Strat. I put the difference down to that.
Once the Toneriders went into the VM Strat, it was the same story. The guitar sounded different, mostly in terms of a better balance between settings and an overall smoother tone, but still with that bite and aggressive character. When I swapped the pickguards around this time I found that the VM Strat still has this slightly wilder quality and the CV Strat still sounds more refined and polite with the TRS4s.
The SC101s sound better in the CV than in the VM to my ears, or maybe it’s because the TRS4s sound better in the VM than the CV to me. Either way I’m happy to hear a distinct difference that makes me know which pickups I want in each guitar.
The main reason I thought it worth publishing more demos of the TRS4s was because of what I could hear as a difference in the tone between the guitars. I don’t know how obvious that really is in the videos, but it does highlight an important factor.
Everyone has a different guitar and one set of pickups may sound great in some guitars and not so great in others, which is no fault of the pickups.
Plus of course, being so subjective, people will prefer this tone to that tone and the opinions will vary infinitely. For anyone who is interested, this provides more data to form an opinion on these pickups.
It’s also a way to find a reason for me to play and record some guitar, which is always a good thing!