The sound of your Strat guitar, or any other guitar you have, is primarily dependent on the pickup you’re using and have installed. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about the bridge, middle, neck or all three of your pickup positions, upgrading either to a certain pickup will define the sound you’re generating.
As you may or may not know, the pickup you’ll want to use in your Strat will be a PAF humbucker pickup. This is because humbuckers come with double-coils which results in less feedback, interference and unwanted noise. This ultimately makes your final sound clear and crisp, just how you and audience want it to be.
By installing the right humbucker pickups into your guitar, perhaps a single-coiled sized humbucker, you’ll be able to enjoy a new angle and dimension to your sound, helping it remain smooth and retain its clarity while being able to enjoy a warm tone that guarantees to mesmerize your listeners.
While the tone and final sounds that you’re producing are personal to you and there’s a seemingly infinite number of possibilities you can explore. However, to help you find your personal style, no matter what genre you’re playing, we’re here to help.
Today, we’re going to share with you the final results of our extensive search into the world of Strat humbucker pickups. We’ve taken everything into account when it comes to making a good pickup, helping you to make the best decision for you the first time around. Let’s get straight into it.
Seymour Duncan 11205-02 SHR-1b Hot Rails Strat Guitar Pickup Bridge
To start off our list, we’ve chosen an industry-leading humbucker pickup that’s produced by a pioneering company in the guitar pickup market; Seymour Duncan. This company has been leading the game when it comes to pickups for over 30 years, and this experience shows in this model.
As this is a Hot Rails design, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits that come with two thin blades that provide the magnetic pull. These are produced by the powerful underlying coils that have been wound using an exclusive method.
This winding technique provides you with an absolutely incredibly sustain and a fat and rich sound that’s ideal for heavy rock music and or even metal, similar to the sound of a passive guitar pickup. This pickup is also incredibly sensitive, with the ability to respond to even the tiniest movements of your fingers, resulting in an optimal response time.
While you’ll only receive one pickup per purchase, this model is only designed for the neck of your Strat, ensuring this is the ideal replacement or upgrade you’ve been looking for; all for an affordable price tag.
- Two thin Hot Rails for fat sound and a complete sustain
- Ideal for heavy rock or metal genres
- Highly responsive with a complete output
- Affordable price tag suitable for all musicians
- May not be suitable for ‘lighter’ genres
- Only compatible with the neck of your Strat
DiMarzio DP408 Virtual Vintage ’54 Pro Strat Pickup
If you’re looking for a premium Start pickup that’s been designed to help you emulate that traditional ’54 Strat sound that was adored by millions of fans around the world, this is the pickup you’ve been looking for.
The Virtual Vintage 54 Pro implements ground-breaking technology that is the same technology that’s used in Area 58 and Area 61 pickups, some of the leading pickups in the industry. As a result, you’ll be able to enjoy an incredibly warm and ‘smoky’ sound that could be described as velocity sensitive.
By this, we mean the harder you pick your strings, the fatter and more complete your sound will be. This is also complemented by the fact that the pickup contains a special variation of the Alnico 2 magnets which are designed to reduce your string pull, helping to boost the lifespan of your guitar.
Furthermore, as with all the Virtual Vintage pickups, this pickup has a silent operation, which means you’ll be able to enjoy the superior sound of your guitar, without any annoying interference or feedback.
It’s worth noting that there’s only one pickup here per purchase, so you won’t be able to fully upgrade your Strat unless you buy three, but that does mean that this pickup is compatible with all three positions of your Strat guitar, so you can experiment with what sounds best for you.
Ideally, placing the pickup in the neck or middle of your guitar will result in a much brighter and lighter sound, whereas placing it in the bridge will be much fatter and deeper, perfect for rocking solos. Whatever option you decide upon, you can be sure that you’re going to love it.
- Perfectly emulates the original ’54 Strat sound
- Ideal for all pickup locations; bridge, neck, and middle
- Silent operation for the best performance
- Specially designed Alnico 2 magnets
- Only one pickup per purchase
- Slightly more expensive than other pickups on the list
DiMarzio DP218 Super Distortion S Strat Humbucker Pickup Black
Another entry from DiMarzio, this Super S humbucker pickup has been designed specifically for your Strat, ensuring that you’ll be able to drop it straight in without any problems. Whether you’re upgrading your existing pickups or replacing a faulty one, this pickup makes an ideal choice.
This pickup comes in just at the lower end of the premium price range, ensuring that it’s suitable for all musicians, even those on a budget. However, note that you only get one pickup per purchase, so you’ll need to multiple ones to fully upgrade your guitar.
Nevertheless, this pickup can fit into any pickup position on your Strat, giving you the ability to play around with your installation until you find the sound that works best for you; although it’s ideal when placed into the bridge.
You’ll also find a range of different installation modes thanks to the four conductor wiring setup. This means you can use your pickup as a humbucking pickup, or a single-coil mode, all depending on your personal preferences. You may even require a noiseless Strat pickup for the sound you want to create.
If you haven’t heard of the Super Distortion range by now, this is the perfect introduction to this product line. You’ll be able to enjoy the raw power and performance of the tones and sounds that came with the original Super Distortion releases, a product that was made famous around the world.
These are perfect for all kinds of genre; you just need to play around with your settings and installation to see what works best for you!
- Modeled on the original Super Distortion range
- Four conductor wiring setup for multiple coil modes
- Raw power and an outstanding performance rating
- Premium quality pickup for an affordable price
Seymour Duncan SJBJ-1b JB Jr. Humbucker Strat Pickup
Finally, to finish off our list of best humbucking pickups for your Strat guitar, we’re heading back over to the Seymour Duncan pickups who have another outstanding Strat-specific pickup that you’re going to love.
Coming in at a mid-range price, you’ll still be able to enjoy all the leading premium benefits you’ve come to expect. Despite the twin-coil design, you’ll still be able to receive the character and personality of a single-coiled pickup, all without the hum that’s common with these models.
During the installation process, which can be anywhere in your Strat guitar, you can adjust the pole pieces to wherever you need them, allowing you to customize the magnetic field of your pickup. This means you’ll be able to fine-tune your strings and ultimately your sound, a world first for a pickup of this size and price.
You won’t even need to modify your Strat during this process. You can simply drop it in, wire it up, solder the connections together, and you’ll be ready to play till your heart’s content.
While you will only get one pickup per purchase, but one is enough to witness the raw positive changes it will make to your sounds. With a deep and fulfilling low-end, enhanced mids and a beautiful high end, it’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular humbucking Strat pickups on the market.
- Beautiful, heavy and richly fulfilling tone and sounds produced from this pickup
- Twin-coil humbucker with the sound of a leading single coil pickup
- Designed by Seymour Duncan, the leading professional of guitar pickups
- Adjustable pole pieces so you can customize your overall sound and tone
- Can only really be used in the bridge of your Strat
- Requires soldering during the installation process
All in all, it’s safe to say that there’s no reason to feel overwhelmed when it comes to finding the right humbucking pickup for your Strat. While there are a lot of elements to consider, this needn’t be the case if you’re using this awesome collection.
Any of the five pickups we’ve listed above are not only ideal in terms of performance and the sound that you produce, but it’s all possible at a low, affordable price that any musician will be able to afford.