It Just Kind of Happened
I got my Squier Vintage Modified 70s Strat in May 2014 and I’ve been enjoying since. I subjected it to various modifications almost as soon as I got it, seeing as I can never leave a guitar stock for long.
I had no intention of turning my Strat into a David Gilmour Strat, but it has ended up closely resembling one in both looks and functionality.
I’ve been fanatical about the Strat neck and bridge pickups together for a while (I still can’t understand why it’s not a standard pickup setting on current Strats) and so I made sure I had that option on my Squier. I did that by installing a solderless 7-way wiring harness, which allows me to have all 5 standard pickup selections, plus neck+bridge and all 3 pickups too.
The 7-way is setup so that the the 5-way switch works as standard, but when the volume knob is pushed the neck pickup is activated. At the same time I put a single-ply black pickguard on the guitar as I like the aesthetic. Not realising it immediately, this wiring is pretty much the same as the Gilmour Black Strat, except his guitar has a mini toggle to activate the neck pickup.
After that I got some Tonerider Alnico II Blues pickups – model number TRS4. They were given to me to trial and they were a prototype set, so I installed them with the white covers they came with instead of my black covers because I assumed they’d be coming out after the trial anyway.
Well they stayed and I really liked the look of the white pickup covers with black knobs that I had. I thought it was cool because it was “Semi-Gilmourized”. After that I decided to complete the looks by changing the knobs and switch tip to white, which I thought looked and carried on enjoying my Strat. Those Tonerider TRS4 pickups are great by the way.
Recently I stumbled across a used Seymour Duncan SSL5 pickup on Ebay. The SSL5 is the Dave Gilmour bridge pickup that everyone raves about, so I thought if I could win it at a bargain price it would be worth trying. I bid and a week later I had an email saying it was mine. There were no other bids and I got it for a song!
It is now in my black Strat with the wires reversed because Seymour Duncan pickups are wired the opposite way round to these Toneriders (and standard Fender pickups I believe). It’s every bit as good as people rave about. It’s very powerful, but actually doesn’t sound like an overwound pickup to me. It still has plenty of clarity, seems to give clean tones more sustain and richness and pushes overdrive settings like a humbucker without sounding like mud, which is what most humbuckers sound like to me.
Now my Vintage Modifed 70s Strat is a Vintage Gilmourfied 70s Strat to go with my modified Classic Vibe 60s Strat – renamed Crazy Vibe 60s Strat!
UPDATE 18 Nov 2015: I’ve ordered another SSL-5 for my Crazy Vibe Strat!