Now that you’ve read all you can about Strat pickups and we’ve recommended the best Strat neck pickups on the market, now’s the time to think about upgrading your bridge pickup too. Here’s our handy run of 10 of the best.
DiMarzio Super Distortion S
Alongside being a great pickup, the Super Distortion arguably started the idea of replacing your guitar pickups en masse. Made to push your tube amp into previously undiscovered dirty territories, it’s still widely used today and has been honed by players such as Kurt Cobain, Def Leppard’s Phil Collen and Kiss’s Paul Stanley. Also available in single-coil form, the Super Distortion S offers the now famous tonality of its sibling but doesn’t require any mods to yor beloved S-Type.
Retails for £75/$79.99.
Lindy Fralin Vintage Hot
The bestselling pickup available from Fralin and co, this pup has become ubiquitous amongst Stratocaster players for almost 30 years. Honing that open top end with plenty of sheen plus an even low-end, these pickups are difficult to contend with. Fralin recommends you buy this offering as a full set in order to avoid pickup polarity issues.
Retails for $95.
House Of Tone House Special S Type 1960
Conceived as an “idealised” Strat tone, The House Special S Type 1960 (HSST 60) pickups are based on readings that were taken from a few different examples of great sixties Fender Strat pickups. Including hand-bevelled alnico V magnets and 42 AWG heavy formvar wire, these are probably the best sounding pre-CBS slab ‘board variants available.
Retails for £155 (set).
Lace Sensor Red
One of the hottest pickups in Lace’s range, the Lace Sensor Red boasts an aggressive, fat and punchy output that’s perfect for searing leads and chugging rhythms. The Lace Sensor family has a radiant Field Barrier system that surrounds both coil and magnets, reducing the 60-cycle hum that offends so many players. The patented Lace Micro Combs replace traditional bobbins, yielding a wider tonal range and better string balance than traditional pickups. Perfect for rock and metal players alike.
Retails for $77.
Fender Tex-Mex Strat Pickups
As seen on Jimmie Vaughan’s signature model, these Tex-Mex pickups from Fender are now available as a stand alone set. With sparkly highs, a high output and that traditionally chimey Strat tone, this set is also light on your wallet.
They may not compete with the highest echelon of say a Custom Shop option, but at this price you’re not expecting them to. The middle pickup’s reverse polarity aims to eliminate that all-too-familiar hum, too.
Retails for £115 (set).
Radioshop ID:Chris Buck Signature Strat Single
YouTube’s new favourite son, Chris Buck has teamed up with fellow Welsh Strat fans Radioshop to develop the ID:Chris Buck Signature Strat pickups. Also available as a full set or even in a pre-wired harness, these pickups possess staggered pole pieces for an even response across all strings and an astounding clarity across all switch positions.
Retails for £73.
Klein 1969 Epic Series Stratocaster Pickups
Classic Strat tone can mean late-60s as well as pre-CBS, especially if you like Clapton, Gilmour and Hendrix. This set features grey baseplates, alnico V slugs and ‘flash-potted’ 42 AWG plain enamel wire. Right-handed Hendrix fans can order left-handed pickups at no extra charge for the reversed stagger.
Retails for $90.
Seymour Duncan SL591 Little 59
If your beloved Strat or S-Type is routed for three single coils but you’re desperate for some humbucker tone then fear not. Seymour Duncan has stepped in once again to save the day with its SL591 Little 59. This charming single-coil sized humbucker is aiming to replicate the tone of a ‘59 PAF, without needed to re-rout your guitar.
Wax-potted and featuring a ceramic magnet with adjustable pole pieces, it allows for plenty of adjustment to find your desired tone. It also takes gain beautifully, just like a humbucker should, and is very versatile, and more than suitable for a plethora of genres from country to funk and even hard rock. For players that desire the best of both worlds, it’s a great value option!
Retails for $85.
Fender Pure Vintage ’65 Strat pickups
With an enamel-coated magnet for vintage warmth, plus staggered pole-pieces for accurate and balanced volume, these vintage-inspired pups from Fender are one of the best vintage replicas available today.
Featuring vintage bobbin construction and original-era cloth wiring, Fender’s Pure Vintage ’65 Stratocaster pickups are wound to clear-cut specifications for the authentic tone and performance associated with traditional Fender models of yesteryear.
Retails for £179.
Monty’s Guitars Full Monty Strat Pickup
The brains behind Monty’s Guitars claim their Full Monty pickup aims to take your humble Stratocaster or S-type and “feed it some wholesome tonal pies and fatten it up.” A tonally versatile pickup, the full monty neck can easily range from modern pop jangle to classic rock growl, all with the sweep of your volume pot. With the volume wide open it leans into P-90 territory, whilst position two and four on your switch retain that all-important Strat ‘quack’. And for those of you that are concerned about vintage correct accuracy, it also features vintage-correct cloth pushback wire and forbon flatwork.
Retails for £80.