VIDEO: Can Cheap Pickups Sound Good?

The Demo is Up

The cheap pickups (they cost £15) that I ordered weeks ago finally arrived and I installed them in the newly refinished “Electric” Strat. Originally a black Squier Vintage Modified 70s Strat, it is now an electric blue, late 60s/70s-inpired Strat.

Vintage Vibe

The pickups are fairly low-output, Alnico V, traditionally-voiced and I went one step further and ordered an extra RW/RP pickup to try out the following idea. It works well and I like these pickups.

I moved the bridge pickup to the middle position and I installed the RW/RP pickup I ordered separately in the bridge position. This is so I can have hum-cancelling when selecting the bridge/neck position as well as the bridge/middle position.

Also the separate pickup is a little hotter than the bridge pickup that came with this set. The DC resistance values measure: Neck – 5.4k, Middle – 5.6k, Bridge (RW/RP) – 6.0k

I also added a steel base plate to the bridge pickup, which gives it a little more twang and bottom end. Considering the low investment I’d say these pickups are excellent.

The original middle, RW/RP pickup was 5.4k and is currently in a box waiting to be used somewhere.

If I were to build or modify another Strat I wouldn’t hesitate to use these again. If you want t typical Strat tone then these pickups seem to deliver every bit as good as any pickup set I’ve tried.

UPDATE
It just occurred to me that this guitar with these cheap pickups sounds almost identical to the Fender Custom Shop ’61 relic Strat that I borrowed from a friend in 2003/2004. He let me use it for about a year and I bonded with that guitar so well that I still look back on it as being the guitar that was made for me.

Sadly he didn’t want to sell, so I had to say goodbye to it, but I feel like I got some of that mojo back now!

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