Squier pick-ups?

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Squier pick-ups?

Postby cllvt » Tue Mar 07, 2006 12:51 pm

Different sort of question for you more experienced players ... my son has a Squier Strat. It is a little over two years old if I remember correctly. It sounded pretty good when new, but in the last few months hear it has sort of a "nasal" sound when played. Less so, when played on the center only pick-up, but it's still there then too.

I put on some new strings, tweaked intonation, lowered the action a bit - still sounds sort of "nasally" (sorry, I don't know how else to describe it, and have no means to record it.

I have tried it on three different amps. More pronounced on some, but definitely still there.

I am thinking maybe the pickups could use an upgrade? Anyone have any thoughts?
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby rustyslide » Tue Mar 07, 2006 1:44 pm

Have the heights of the pickups been changed, perhaps?

Was the change sudden or gradual? if it's the latter, I'd suggest what's changed is you: you've simply become better at listening (as happens with most musicians over time).


If the guitar plays well and all the mechanical things work well (stays in tune, etc) then changing pickups is a great idea.
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby cllvt » Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:37 pm

>Have the heights of the pickups been changed, perhaps?
>
>Was the change sudden or gradual? if it's the latter, I'd
>suggest what's changed is you: you've simply become better
>at listening (as happens with most musicians over time).
>
>
>If the guitar plays well and all the mechanical things work
>well (stays in tune, etc) then changing pickups is a great
>idea.

Yes and no... I did not change the pick-up height, but I did lower the action somewhat, so indirectly yes, the strings are closer to the pick-ups. Can this cause this? It was sounding like this before I lowered the action though.

I think it was gradual. But it's hard to say - my son did not play it for months, then I started playing it some. I could be mnore critical at listening now, that's true. Will upgraded pickups make a noticable difference? They seem relatively inexpensive.
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby ricochet » Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:37 pm

It's got "Stratitis." The pickups are too close to the strings. The pull of the magnets makes the strings go out of tune, and you get excessive second harmonic distortion as well. Lower those pickups.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby ricochet » Tue Mar 07, 2006 3:53 pm

As for pickups, let me give you my opinion. There aren't "high quality" and "crummy" pickups. There are just pickups with different characteristics. A pickup is nothing but wire wound around a set of magnets or pole pieces. The only variables are the winding's inductance, resistance, distributed capacitance, and the magnetic field strength. (And whether the winding is "potted" in molten paraffin to reduce microphonic response.) There is no special "mojo."

Every pickup acts as an alternator to generate an alternating electric current as the vibrating string moves its magnetic field through the coil windings. The output depends on the inductance, the magnetic field strength, the mass of the strings, and how close the strings are to the pickup. Every pickup also acts as a band pass filter, the peak response frequency depending on the product of its inductance and capacitance, and the height of the response peak and bandwidth of the filter depending on the "Q" of the coil, which is determined by the reactance and resistance of the coil. (The more resistance that's present, the lower and broader the peak.)

There is never anything to be gained by just replacing pickups because they're cheap. Or by replacing them because everybody on some board says "DiExpensivo Super Extortion pups RAWK!"

You need to become familiar with the characteristics of your pickups. When you can tell for yourself that you'd like their response curve to peak at a different frequency, or be broader or narrower and peakier, with more output to overdrive into distortion sooner (knowing that that will mean less treble response) or less output with a broader response up into the treble range, that sort of thing, then and only then can you intelligently pick out pickups with the characteristics you want.

Pickups are only one part of a long signal chain and are exactly equivalent to a singer's microphone. (Can you tell right away what mics different singers are using?) Lots of other things affect tone more than pickups do. If you do want to make changes in your guitar's tonal response, you can make bigger changes with things like different tone control capacitors. (And they're a lot cheaper!)

"A cheerful heart is good medicine."
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby 1dustyeod » Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:09 pm

Strats are a different breed when setting them up. The treble side of the PU should be pretty close to the string but the bass side should be lower giving a 'tilt' to the PU. While you're setting it up have it plugged in to an amp and 'listen' for the best 'spot' for all three PUs. If they aren't set right the magnetic field of the PU will pull on the string and keep them from resonating and a great loss of sustain and loss of tone will be found.

If you're thinking of changing the PUs I reccommend Custom Shop Fat 50s or Texas Specials. I also promote throwing away the half tone blocks in the tremolo and replacing them with the old style full blocks made of rolled steel. Most of a strats tone is found within that block.

Tommy

[www.tommystriplethreatbluesrevue.com/BandPage.html]

"A strat, a cord, and an amp set to 10 is all I really need. Nothing sounds better than a tortured stratocaster....."
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby ricochet » Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:14 pm

For now I'd just lower the pickups.

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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby cllvt » Tue Mar 07, 2006 4:29 pm

Lots of good info! Thanks all I will play with it a bit more on the pickup height, etc.
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby rustyslide » Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:43 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-07-06 AT 12:46 PM (EST)]A decent starting point would be the "two nickel" rule. Put two nickels on the pickup over the first pole piece, and then fret the first strong at the last fret. The string should almost touch the top of the top nickel. Repeat for the sixth pole piece/string for each pickup.

Then adjust for taste (while playing the guitar through an amp - take the coins off first!). Fiddle with the amp too.

It's a matter of taste, but I don't tilt my pickups like 1dustyeod does.

If they still don't sound right after adjusting them, follow Ricochet's advice. If you do decide you want new pickups, I'm hosting some mp3 sound clips you might find useful: http://magnets.lonelyfridge.com
The linked discussion on that page provides the specifics, but it's one player who's put a bunch of different pickup sets in one of his Strats and recorded them. I do not know if the amp is consistent.
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby bignick » Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:48 pm

Now I am not one to tell you that a pickup is going to RAWKKKKK!!!!!!!

BUT, I will tell you that if you decide to change your pickups and do not want to spend a ton of money, GFS pickups from GuitarFetish.com are the best I have used. I have a 6k reverse wound in my GoldTone that was originally in the mid position of my Fender Strat.

They are just a great sounding pickup and they only cost about $30. There are a variety of different kinds.
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby savage » Tue Mar 07, 2006 9:55 pm

>If you're thinking of changing the PUs I reccommend Custom
>Shop Fat 50s or Texas Specials. I also promote throwing away
>the half tone blocks in the tremolo and replacing them with
>the old style full blocks made of rolled steel. Most of a
>strats tone is found within that block.


just for my knowledge... what are the blocks again? (I'm sorry, I'm just not a technical guy)
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby 1dustyeod » Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:00 pm

Its what your springs attach to. Squires' have half blocks..... I don't know what they were thinking when they did that but it sucks all the tone out of your guitar.....

Tommy

[www.tommystriplethreatbluesrevue.com/BandPage.html]

"A strat, a cord, and an amp set to 10 is all I really need. Nothing sounds better than a tortured stratocaster....."
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby rustyslide » Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:17 pm

[updated:LAST EDITED ON Mar-07-06 AT 06:18 PM (EST)]>just for my knowledge... what are the blocks again? (I'm
>sorry, I'm just not a technical guy)


This is a vintage-style Strat bridge:
http://lonelyfridge.com/guitar/stratoca ... C_2057.jpg

Inside your guitar (and from the back), it looks like this:
http://lonelyfridge.com/guitar/stratoca ... C_2052.jpg


That thing at the bottom the five springs are attached to is the 'block' in question (and attached at the top to the 'tremolo claw'). My block is a full sized steel one.
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby savage » Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:25 pm

thank you very much for taking the time to show me rustyslide! Yeah, thats not how mine is. I didn't know that that effected the tone of the guitar.
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RE: Squier pick-ups?

Postby rustyslide » Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:34 pm

Everything that changes how the strings vibrate and how that mechanical energy is turned into electricity and back into mechanical energy and sound waves affects the sound.

Somethings more than others, however.
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