Reverse angled Strat bridge pickup - my anecdotal experience

Bruce Campbell

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I just set up a reverse angled Strat bridge pickup in my Warmoth Strat with Fralin Split Blade blues output pickups. There are $12-ish pickguards on Amazon available with this feature. There is only one good demo on YouTube that I could find of someone demonstrating this; I didn't have the patience to do a full consistent demo, but did record stuff for my own personal comparison. So here is my anecdotal opinion, if it helps anyone interested in trying it:

Clean tones with bridge only are improved IMO - closer to a humbucker in terms of roundness, but not muddy, just more even across strings in terms of frequency balance. Bridge & middle together is a little different clean, but not altogether different from normal angled - more interesting if you're playing a wide spread across the strings consistently like funk strumming.

Dirty tones with bridge only are WAY better, again closer to a humbucker but not quite. I feel really good using it for heavy stuff now, though - doesn't sound weird like a normal Fender bridge slant (this is one reason why Baroness's recent guitar tones irk me heavily, despite the incredible music). Dirty tones with bridge & middle are kind of a mixed bag but still a valid unique tone especially if only moderately overdriven.

Both the clean & dirty tones unique to the Freeway switch (bridge & middle in series, bridge & neck in series and parallel, and all 3 in parallel) are a bit different than the normal slant, not really in a preferable way except maybe the neck & bridge in series. Bridge & middle in series is OK, but the bridge by itself is closer to a usable humbucker-ish sound than the series options IMO.

So, if you really want the bridge single to be useful with distortion, and a bit more even clean, and don't necessarily need the same results in bridge & middle together, this is a great cheap reversible mod to try. I've ended up basically with a hardtail Hendrix Strat, and although I tend to really like the neck pickup, I bet the bridge will be in play much more now.
 
Do you find there is enough output from the bridge pickup? Otherwise would you consider a full size humbucker in an HSS setup?
 
Do you find there is enough output from the bridge pickup? Otherwise would you consider a full size humbucker in an HSS setup?
Good question. There's enough output with my bridge pickup - partly because when I bought them as a set, the bridge was wound hotter like often done with full sets. Also, I did adjust pickup heights a bit - on the bridge, the bass is closer to the strings than before, and the treble further, as well as slightly lower height on the neck and middle.

If I didn't already have the 3 single coil setup, a humbucker in the bridge would definitely be the way to go. I plan on building another guitar with a Dimarzio Minibucker and Pearly Gates, as there's just no way to get the actual sound of singles/humbuckers without actually using said equipment. But for typical Strat use, the bridge becomes a serious option with the reverse angle slant.
 
Bruce, I'm really interested in that combo (DiMarzio MiniHumbucker and Pearly Gates). I have the vintage DP240 in the neck of two of my guitars, and it sounds great! I've played guitars with the Pearly Gates, and that's a sweet sounding pickup. I'm wondering how the two mate. When you do the planned build, please post your impressions.
 
Bruce, I'm really interested in that combo (DiMarzio MiniHumbucker and Pearly Gates). I have the vintage DP240 in the neck of two of my guitars, and it sounds great! I've played guitars with the Pearly Gates, and that's a sweet sounding pickup. I'm wondering how the two mate. When you do the planned build, please post your impressions.
Cool, good to know. I'll try to find out more about the difference between the neck & bridge models when both are used in neck position.

It seems like a less hyped, more organic alternative to the Jazz/JB setup. I find those pickups to be a bit overrated, almost synthetic compared to a truer PAF tone. If I needed to go that route, I'd rather go all the way with EMG 81/85 or similar.
 
I just called Warmoth and they said they can't cut a pickguard for the Dimarzio Minibuckers. I also asked about the Trembucker spacing, as Warmoth states it's not really needed if the bridge spans 2-1/8" or less, but the Pearly Gates Trembucker spacing ends up .01" narrower than the Hipshot hardtail bridge, so it might still be more aligned than a normal humbucker(?)
 
I just called Warmoth and they said they can't cut a pickguard for the Dimarzio Minibuckers. I also asked about the Trembucker spacing, as Warmoth states it's not really needed if the bridge spans 2-1/8" or less, but the Pearly Gates Trembucker spacing ends up .01" narrower than the Hipshot hardtail bridge, so it might still be more aligned than a normal humbucker(?)
Be aware the Duncan bobbins are actually a hair wider in trembuckers. Dimarzio moves the poles but same overall size. I have found the duncans to line up better, but couldn't prove I hear any difference.
 
I've used the DiMarzio minihumbuckers many times, don't worry about it. Get the cut outs for the Gibson minihumbucker, and then get a 120 grit sandpaper, and wrap it around an emery board, and gently sand, till you get the width you want.

Check this out

And this

In the neck position, the Dimarzio DP240 is one of the best neck pickups I've ever heard.

Also, I did the same thing with a trembucker to make it fit, just did a little sanding, no big deal.


If you want Trembuckers and DiMarzio mini hums go for it.
 
I've used the DiMarzio minihumbuckers many times, don't worry about it. Get the cut outs for the Gibson minihumbucker, and then get a 120 grit sandpaper, and wrap it around an emery board, and gently sand, till you get the width you want.

Check this out

And this

In the neck position, the Dimarzio DP240 is one of the best neck pickups I've ever heard.

Also, I did the same thing with a trembucker to make it fit, just did a little sanding, no big deal.


If you want Trembuckers and DiMarzio mini hums go for it.
Very very cool Rick.
 
The width of the Seymour Duncan “Trembucker” bobbins can be a headache. It requires a wide routing of the pickguard, ie. Warmoth’s trembucker route. It’s bad news if you try to use a standard pickguard or mounting rings because they won’t fit without modification. The “SH” version of Duncan humbuckers are close enough for most modern hardtails with 52.5mm string spacing. I think hipshot hardtail bridges are around 53mm, which is similar.
 
I'm going to get a pickguard made specifically for this situation, so that shouldn't be a problem as long as it can be routed that wide. But the incompatibility is definitely something I'm going to do more research on; going with less specialized or non-standard equipment has saved me headaches before in this kind of situation.
 
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Bruce, I'm really interested in that combo (DiMarzio MiniHumbucker and Pearly Gates). I have the vintage DP240 in the neck of two of my guitars, and it sounds great! I've played guitars with the Pearly Gates, and that's a sweet sounding pickup. I'm wondering how the two mate. When you do the planned build, please post your impressions.
Combining those two sounds very interesting. Both are known for their distinct characteristics, so it'll be intriguing to hear how they complement each other in your setup.
 
Combining those two sounds very interesting. Both are known for their distinct characteristics, so it'll be intriguing to hear how they complement each other in your setup.
I might end up with a pair of the Minibuckers. I feel like it'll be more versatile - the Pearly Gates is awesome, but a very specific sound, and not one I typically yearn for as a player, just really like as a fan.
 
I agree with what you said. There are instruments you want badly for reasons other than looks.
I've never felt like spending extra to get cosmetic stuff, so I have a very plain Strat but I still like the basic utilitarian functional look more than something gaudy. For the same reason I like the Martin 000-15m, although the inlays on that are a nice decoration.

My next Warmoth will probably be poplar because again, I don't care about the looks ultra specifically and it's cost effective/less endangered here in USA. I also doubt the tone would be way screwed up from the shootouts I've heard and from the fact it's used on a ton of successful/quality instruments already.
 
I've never felt like spending extra to get cosmetic stuff, so I have a very plain Strat but I still like the basic utilitarian functional look more than something gaudy. For the same reason I like the Martin 000-15m, although the inlays on that are a nice decoration.

My next Warmoth will probably be poplar because again, I don't care about the looks ultra specifically and it's cost effective/less endangered here in USA. I also doubt the tone would be way screwed up from the shootouts I've heard and from the fact it's used on a ton of successful/quality instruments already.
What do you think about all white color scheme?
 
What do you think about all white color scheme?
I'm not opposed, but again if it ends up more expensive than Tru Oil or natural type finishing, wouldn't go for it personally. Also tough to work with if there are dings or other stuff that gets messed up. So on that note, I also prefer matte over gloss finish.
 
For all white check guitar check out videos of sister Rosetta Tharpe. No problem from my view, but I get Bruce's view too.
 
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