The Fender Stratocaster is arguably the many iconic guitar of all time, and also it’s appeared on some of the most considerable documents of all time dating ago to the beforehand 1950s. Over the years, Fender has made hundreds of various Stratocaster models, and various other manufacturers have actually produced lots of well-known duplicates.

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All of these pickups tap right into that timeless Stratocaster mojo, but discerning players are always searching for ways to obtain closer to the holy grail of Strat tone. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of height pickup manufacturers making great choices for your Strat. Today, we’re going to look closely at the 13 ideal Stratocaster pickups on the sector.


Top 13 Stratocaster Pickups Reviewed


Before we perform anything else, let’s dive right in and also take a closer look at these terrific Strat pickups.


1. Fender Gen IV Noiseless


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Best Noisemuch less Strat Pickup

For years, manufacturers have actually grappled with the challenge of making a noiseless single coil that doesn’t shed any of the emotion or nuance that these pickups are so loved for. The latest noisemuch less pickups from Fender control to quiet hum beautifully without shedding the signature Strat tone you’re after.

Fender equips these pickups via alnico V magnets, and also each pickup actions in at 10.3K. This collection provides a punchy and also defined low end, and the crisp, clear high end that Strats are revered for. From classic Strat tones to brash overdrive, the Gen IV noisemuch less pickups are ideal for basically all players.

Pros

Truly noisemuch less operationStaggered pole pieces for exceptional responseIncredibly versatile

Cons

Only easily accessible via vintage white covers

2. EMG DG20 David Gilmour Signature Loaded Pickguard


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Best Loaded Stratocaster Pickgaurd

Swapping pickups has never been easier thanks to these loaded pickguards from EMG. These kits incorporate all the electronic devices you’ll need to offer your guitar a tonal facelift, and also installing them is as straightforward as dropping in your new pickguard and wiring the input jack.

The consisted of pickups are made to David Gilmour of Pink Floyd’s exacting standards, and EMG’s proprietary Guitar Expander and also visibility controls have replaced the typical tone knobs, so you have the right to make your guitar sing just like the iconic David Gilmour. Beyond this collection, EMG also has Steve Lukather, and also Kirk Hammett loaded pickguards available.

Pros

Completely soldermuch less installationUnique tone controlsNoisemuch less operation

Cons

Requires a 9V batteryNot as subtle or expressive as passive pickups

3. Wilkinboy Vintage Voice


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Best Inexpensive Strat Pickup

Players looking to tap into some severe vintage tone without breaking the financial institution are certain to love these single coils from Wilkinkid, which expense simply over $10 per pickup.

These pickups are vintage-voiced to capture the classical Strat sound of the late 50s, and also they measure in at 5.8K for the neck and also middle with a slightly hotter 6.1K bridge. The pole pieces are staggered to administer also response across each string, and also these pickups are accessible through white, cream, or babsence covers to enhance any type of pickguard.

Pros

Extremely affordableGreat vintage toneClear and also also response

Cons

A little bit noisyQuality manage appears to be an problem - many kind of customers obtain dead pickups and must exchange

4. Seymour Dunhave the right to Everypoint Axe


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Most Versatile Strat Pickup

Arguably the many functional pickups of all time, the Everything Axe set from Seymour Dundeserve to features single coil-sized versions of their most iconic humbuckers, the Little ‘59, JB Jr., and also Duckbucker.

These American-made pickups attribute four-conductor wires that enable you to tap right into lots of various wiring options. Pair these through a 7-way or 9-way pickup selector, and also you’ll have the ability to tap into all the classic tones Strats are well-known for, and also more humbucker-centric tones that many players would never dream of obtaining from a Strat via an SSS configuration.

Pros

Unparalleled versatility4-conductor wiring for tons of wiring optionsMade in AmericaNoiseless operation

Cons

Might be over the height for Strat purists

5. Bare Knuckle Boot Camp Old Guard


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Best Overall Strat Pickups

Bare Knuckle set the human being on fire once they arrived at the scene several years earlier with their hand-wound boutique-style pickups. The just concern was that they were about twice the price of various other high-end choices. With their new Boot Camp series, they’ve managed to make Bare Knuckle high quality accessible at a a lot lower price.

These pickups are hand-wound and attribute flat alnico II rod magnets, tradition red and also black flatwork-related, and also matching cloth push-back wiring. The neck and also middle meacertain in at 6.2K while the bridge is a little bit hotter at 7.1K. If you’re after the sparkle and also chime of a vintage Strat, these pickups are going to blow your socks off.

Pros

Incredible toneAlnico II magnets for even more high-endWound by hand also in England

Cons

Could use a bit even more low end

6. Fender Eric Johnkid Signature Series


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One of the a lot of iconic Strat players of all time, Eric Johnchild, currently has actually a signature set of pickups that allow everyone to emulate his iconic sound.

This collection offers alnico III magnets in the neck and also middle, which meacertain 5.8K and 6.0K respectively, and alnico V magnets in the bridge, which measures a hotter 6.7K. Each pole magnet is staggered to carry out an even response throughout all strings. Vintage style push-earlier conductors finish this set of classic Strat pickups.

Pros

Perfect for emulating Eric Johnson’s unique Strat toneUnique blfinish of alnico magnetsDynamic and also well balanced

Cons

Only easily accessible with vintage white coversCan be a bit noisy outside of the middle positions

7. EMG SA Series


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An active Strat pickup that provides a modern-day take on a classic architecture, the EMG SA series provides some of the many functional tones you’ll ever coax from a Stratocaster.

These pickups feature alnico V bar magnets for also frequency response, also once you’re bending strings halfway off the fretboard. They supply a lot even more midvariety than a typical single coil, which offers a unique tone that’s fairly unwidespread for Strats.

Pros

Soldermuch less installationCompletely noiselessUnique tone with a enhanced midrange

Cons

Not right for players searching for a vintage Strat toneRequires 9V battery

8.ToneRider TRS2 City Limits


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ToneRider has actually set the guitar civilization by storm after showing up on the scene a couple of years ago. No one had actually ever before heard of the brand also, however the tone of their pickups is instantly recognizable.

These timeless pickups sell a 70s style Texas Strat sound made renowned by players prefer Stevie Ray Vaughn. The bridge pickup is overwound to administer some extra punch, and the bridge pickup is RWRP to remove hum in the middle positions.

Pros

AffordableOverwound bridge pickup for added warmth and punchTexas-style warm blues tone

Cons

A little noisy, particularly the bridge pickup

9. Seymour Dunhave the right to California ‘50s


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Strat purists looking to tap right into the earliest Stratocasters" classic sounds are certain to love the The golden state ‘50s set from Seymour Duncan.

Each pickup is handdeveloped in Duncan’s The golden state warehome to the exact same specifications that Fender offered during their gold years. Each pickup measures in at 6.5K, and the middle is RWRP to eliminate hum.

Pros

True to the sound of the original StratocastersHandconstructed in AmericaVintage style conductors

Cons

Incredibly noisy external of the middle positions

10. Fender Tex Mex Loaded Strat Pickguard


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Tap into the iconic sounds of Jimmy Vaughn in document time through this loaded pickguard from Fender.

These pickups are made to Jimmy’s exacting specifications and also function alnico V magnets and also Polysol-coated magnet wires for punchy response and maximum output. The middle is reverse wound for hum suppression, and everything is dropped right into a premium Fender pickguard that’s ready to be loaded into your guitar.

Pros

Minimal wiring necessaryGreat 70s style hot Strat toneAlnico V magnetsStaggered pole pieces for even frequency response

Cons

Bobbin material is plastic

11. Lace Sensor Ultimate Triple Pack


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An exceptionally functional set from Lace Sensor, these pickups are some of the a lot of distinctive passive models available. These pickups function huge metal buffers roughly each magnet, which help them suppush hum favor no various other true single coil deserve to.

This collection contains three of Lace’s a lot of famous pickups, the Red, Silver, and also Blue. The red is a super-warm bridge pickup, measuring at 14.5K for single coil performance via fat humbucker tone. The silver procedures at 7.1K, and it provides the fat and round sound of the 70s, perfect for the middle place. The Blue pickup rounds out the collection and procedures in at 12.8K and provides a warm ’50s inspired sound.

Pros

Virtually noiselessUnmistakable Lace Sensor toneNo signal loss in the time of bends

Cons

Lacks some of the punch and high-end Strats are well-known for

12. Seymour Dundeserve to Billy Gibbons Red Devil


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If you love the look and feel of a Strat, yet prefer the tone of humbuckers, this collection motivated by ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons might be perfect for you.

This collection features three custom-voiced PAF style humbuckers in single coil housings, and they allow you to tap right right into the warm blues tones that have made Billy one of the a lot of storied guitarists of the last 5 years.

Each pickup has four-conductor wiring, so you’ll be able to split and tap coils to your heart’s content, which will permit you to lock into some significant single coil tones in addition to the hot and also bluesy sound of the PAF humbuckers.

Pros

Standard PAF-style tone through more bite than ever4-conductor wiring for coil-tappingSpecially designed alnico V magnets

Cons

Not for anyone in search of timeless Stratocaster tone

13. Musiclily Loaded Strat Pickguard


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Looking for a dirt-cheap alternative to upgrade your Strat with? You’ll have a hard time beating this set, which percreates incredibly well offered its sub-$25 price tag.

This loaded pickguard comes pre-wired, and also all you’ll must execute is solder the warm and also ground leads to the input jack. It’s accessible in miscellaneous pickguard colors so you can upgrade the look of your guitar and its tone.

See more: electric guitar body styles

Pros

Minimal wiring requiredSolid vintage-style toneIncludes deluxe pickguard

Cons

Mediocre pots - tone controls are essentially uselessNoisier than most single coils

Stratocaster Pickup Buying Guide

They might all look comparable, yet tright here are some substantial differences that sepaprice Stratocaster pickups. Read on as we take a closer look at the features and also characteristics you’ll want to take into consideration prior to making an option.

Types of Pickups

Stratocasters have the right to be equipped through either single coil or humbucker pickups. Here’s what you should understand about each kind.

Single Coils

Single coil pickups are the classical Stratocaster pickup, which was first invented in the late 1920s, and also they were later perfected by innovative designers like Leo Fender and also Seth Lover.

Single coils are recognized for their bright and punchy tone, which offers wonderful high-frequency response compared to other pickups. These pickups are lively and expressive, and they’re synonymous via the sounds of early rock ‘n roll, surf, r&b, and blues.

These pickups feature thousands of copper windings about a single coil (hence the name), with either individual magnets for each string, or a bar magnet that spans across all six. When strings vibprice, the magnetic area created by the pickup translates the signal right into sound waves, which have the right to then be processed by an amplifier.

One problem with these pickups is that they are prone to picking up hum and also interference from other digital resources, such as lighting, monitors, or amplifiers.

Single coils are identified via the Stratocaster, and also practically all Strat players employ a setup via at leastern two single coils.

Humbuckers

Unhappy via the hum that’s widespread via single-coil pickups, many type of guitar suppliers began to look for an different that can remove the annoying hum connected with single coils. The answer was the humbucker, a dual-coil pickup that rejects hum and interference.

Humbuckers are known for their full and also aggressive tone, and also they’ve been synonymous with rock and roll"s sound considering that the late 60s. These pickups carry out an tremendous task at rejecting hum and buzz, however they don’t market the same liveliness or high-finish response that single coils are prized for.

Most humbuckers are twice the dimension of a solitary coil, which renders feeling given that they are essentially two single coils sandwiched together. But, many manufacturers, including Seymour Dunhave the right to and also Dimarzio, manufacture humbucking pickups in smaller sized single coil real estate so they have the right to be dropped straight into a standard Stratocaster.

Active or Passive?

Both single coils and also humbuckers are available with energetic or passive electronic devices. This desigcountry describes exactly how the pickups obtain the power they have to pick up the strings" vibration.

Passive pickups function countless copper windings roughly each coil, and also a fairly solid magnet geneprices an electromagnetic field roughly the strings. As the strings are played, a signal is sent out from the guitar"s jack to the amplifier, wbelow the amp have the right to then process that signal as soundwaves.

Active pickups are similar, yet they feature much fewer copper windings and also weaker magnets than passive pickups. These pickups generate a very weak signal that have to be boosted via a battery-powered preamp before the signal is sent to the amplifier.

Passive pickups are prized for their expressiveness, organic tone, and exceptional reliability. Active pickups have actually an extra digital sound that’s in line via today’s modern music. With the assist of the battery preamp, active pickups tend to have very high output, so they’re wanted for metal and also difficult rock styles.

Today’s energetic pickups perform a wonderful project of providing some of the expressiveness that passive pickups are so loved. They carry out so without any type of of the noise associated via most Stratocaster pickups. But, if you’re after that timeless Strat sound of the 50s, 60s, and also 70s, you’ll desire to go via passive pickups.

Pickup Configuration

Over the years, Stratocasters have come in a variety of different pickup configurations to fit the requirements of many kind of various styles and players. These are the 5 most popular:

SSS - Single/single/singleSSH - Single/single/humbuckerHSH - Humbucker/single/humbuckerHH - Humbucker/humbuckerHHH - Humbucker/humbucker/humbucker

The the majority of famous and also the many “Strat-like” configuration is SSS, adhered to by an SSH configuration, which maintains most the timeless Strat mojo by keeping single coils in the two top positions and also replacing the bridge pickup (which is most at risk to hum) with a humbucker to combat noise and also provide a much more modern tone.

Thanks to single coil-sized humbuckers, players can currently area a humbucker in any kind of position to make their Strats even more versatile. These mini-humbuckers virtually always have actually four-conductor wiring, so you have the right to quickly break-up coils for even more standard Stratocaster tones.

The various other configurations are even more popular with steel and shred guitar players, and they’re ideal suited to contemporary lead guitar playing. These guitars could look like Stratocasters, but they don’t sound a lot like them at all.


Why is the Bridge Pickup Slanted?

Due to the fact that their inception, the bridge place single coil of a Stratocaster has always been on a slant. Many players think this is sindicate a stylistic quirk, but there’s a legitimate reason for the slanted pickup.

The closer a pickup is mounted in the direction of the bridge, the high-finish response goes up while the low-finish response goes down. You can show this principle by plucking a string on your guitar as close to the bridge as feasible and comparing the sound to just how it sounds as soon as you pluck a string commonly.

By mounting the bridge pickup favor this, Leo Fender was able to rise the low-end response on the bass strings while enhancing the high-end response on the treble strings. This architecture has actually been a significant characteristic of eincredibly Strat ever before made, consisting of the hundreds of duplicates made by various other manufacturers.

Magnets

Inside of eextremely pickup is a magnet, and also numerous various magnets are provided in pickups, each with distinct tonal features.

Alnico

Alnico magnets are the a lot of renowned, and also their name represents aluminum, nickel, and also cobalt. Each alnico magnet is made up of a blfinish of these 3 metals, and there may likewise be various other metals combined in relying on the type of alnico magnet it is. There’s a complete of nine alnico magnets, yet 3 are especially well-known for pickup making:

Alnico IIAlnico IIIAlnico V

Alnico II is just one of the most well-known pickup magnets, specifically for neck positions and also humbuckers. The magnet is fairly weak, and also it gives a clear, characterized tone through less high-end than other pickups.

Alnico III is even weaker, and it contains no cobalt, which is interesting because it’s still taken into consideration an alnico magnet. The tonal profile of alnico III magnets is fairly similar to alnico II.

Alnico V magnets are the the majority of widespread magnets in guitar pickups. They market a little even more midrange response than various other alnico magnets, and notes tend to blfinish right into a thick and also rich “wall of sound.”

Ceramic

Ceramic magnets are more inexpensive than alnico, so they’re commonly offered in cheaper pickups. They’re likewise well-known in active pickups and pickups voiced for metal and also heavy rock. These magnets tend to offer a scooped mid profile and plenty of reduced to assist you make it to the front of any type of mix.


Final Verdict

The 13 pickups we extended over are the cream of the crop once it concerns pickups for your Strat, however just one rises over and also earns the title of the finest Stratocaster pickups, and that’s the Bare Knuckle Boot Camp Old Guard collection.

These vintage-style pickups are fairly noisemuch less, which is exceptional considering the amount of classical Strat tone they’re able to dish out. Each pickup is wound by hand in England, so you have the right to rest assured that the quality is top-notch. From the original tones of the mid-50s Strats through to their heyday in the 70s, these pickups seem to capture eincredibly tone via ease.

See more: Gearank Rated Best Acoustic Guitars Under 1000 (2021), 17 Best Acoustic Guitars Under $1000 In 2021

If you’re trying to find somepoint a little bit more budget-friendly, the Wilkinboy Vintage Voiced Strat pickups are challenging to beat. At the same time, if you’re in the mood for something a little more functional, you can’t go wrong via the Seymour Duncan Everything Axe collection.

Of course, there are still plenty of other good Strat pickups on our list. Why not play them all prior to you choose your favorite?


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