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Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #83664  by schmidtz
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:49 pm
I just picked up a 1977 Twin (I know, I know, ultralinear Twin's suck) and one of those lil' AC4TV heads with the matching cab. They both sound wonderful, and I thought I would share a pic or two. Please don't make fun of the Vox VT series amp. It was my first amp, that's why I bought the other two. :-)

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Now to my question. I'm going to be building a Partscaster soon, with a Warmoth neck and body, and I'm wondering if anybody can chime in on what would be the optimal Jerry pickup. I've heard good things about the Fender Custom Shop 1954's, but I'm not sure if I want all that hum, so I've also been thinking about the DiMarzio Area 58's. Whaddya guys think?
 #83671  by DeadlyHeptet
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:35 pm
There might have been rare occasion when Jerry used a stock Strat, but most of his Strat style guitars, I believe, had either reworked single coil pickups by Alembic (Alligator) or Dimarzio SDS-1s (Wolf). The SDS-1s are more like a P-90. I am not sure the true single coil Strat pickups (or modern hum canceling versions) are exactly what you want if you like the Alligator or Wolf tones.

Here is a YouTube video of someone using the SDS-1s in a cheap Casio guitar. May give you an idea if this could work for you. Wouldn't know if the guy is a Deadhead, but sounds like he would be able to cover it pretty well judging by his tone, note choice, technique and phrasing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD8yvJcWFn8
 #83672  by schmidtz
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:54 pm
So you would suggest three SDS-1's?

I really am after an Alligator tone. I guess I was just thinking I should be trying to emulate a '57 strat, but am I venturing down the wrong street if I do that?
 #83674  by DeadlyHeptet
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:25 pm
From all I have read, no one seems to remember what the pickups were in Alligator except that they were modified by Alembic. There are guys here who have built Alligators and I am sure they will chime in. I just reacquired from a friend a partscaster that I built 23 years ago and will be installing three SDS-1s. Just because pickup selection seems like such an iffy process (you really don't know what you will get until they are installed), I am going with the SDS-1s because I am familiar with the sound and one of the best pickups I ever used was a P-90 style.
 #83675  by waldo041
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:32 pm
:peas:
Last edited by waldo041 on Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #83676  by waldo041
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:40 pm
DeadlyHeptet wrote:From all I have read, no one seems to remember what the pickups were in Alligator except that they were modified by Alembic. There are guys here who have built Alligators and I am sure they will chime in. I just reacquired from a friend a partscaster that I built 23 years ago and will be installing three SDS-1s. Just because pickup selection seems like such an iffy process (you really don't know what you will get until they are installed), I am going with the SDS-1s because I am familiar with the sound and one of the best pickups I ever used was a P-90 style.

http://www.wald-electronics.com/alligator.html

peace,
waldo
 #83677  by schmidtz
 Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:59 pm
Do I want to stay away from the hum-canceling single coils? I have read that they lose some of the top end brightness, and that definitely isn't what I want.
If you suggest those three sets of Fender Custom Shops, then I think I will probably pull the trigger on the '54's or the '57/'62's. I'll save the '69's for when I try for some Jimi tone. :cool:
 #83680  by tcsned
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:18 am
Rio Grande makes pretty sweet Strat pickups. Good classic Fender tone. Also check out Fralin pickups - they also make a blend knob that's cool for getting Tele sounds too.
 #83755  by Chuckles
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:08 pm
Fralin's are mighty sweet; our other guitarist has them in his strat - not sure which exact ones, tho.

Anyone try the Bardens while going for a Jer tone on a Strat? They wouldn't give you Alligator, but they are super strong and crispy. (Evil disclaimer: I am scheming to upgrade the MIM Strat I bought my daughter a couple of years ago... heh heh heh :twisted: )
 #83756  by JonnyBoy
 Tue Jul 20, 2010 11:44 pm
I went with the Area '58 Diamarzzio humbucking (noiseless) singles. They are fantastic pickups and made a good sounding Strat sound vintage and better. Voiced after the late 50's fender pickups and designed after the custom pickups made at the time, they really bring out the best in my strat. They are not super hot pickups, but with their weaker magnets you can get them close to the strings. I haven't heard of anyone else that has them here, but they do make a '61 and 67 which are both hotter. Hotter doesn't nessicarily mean better tone or more Jerry like. dial your amp or add an LPB1 or the like to the signal and push the front end of the amp. I won't ever change these pickups, and I went through 3 sets before I found them. They are dead quiet on stage too. I used a 58' n the neck and middle and a '61 in the bridge. You loose some brightness, but not that much and with all of the tone applications we use in our rigs you can get your glassy stuff back.
Its great for non jerry stuff too, like blues and SRV. you can also split the coils on them to get the glass back. It is not so dark that these pickps are not worth using or don't sound like strats, it is a slight difference imo gives the tone a well rounded presense. The differences are small, and you can compensate for any reaction from the pickups. It gets rid of that high Freq white noise interference that we call brightness. the area 61 in the bridge is bright like a Tele., without all the stage interference. I do not notice a huge drop in brightness if any at all relative to my other singles. always EQ to taste before you play!!

If I was playing this in my room or inferequently in jam sessions, I wouldn't mind having some of the Fender Classic strat pkups single coil. I just know the dives I play in at times everything from the ciggerette machine to the lights are going to try and make music through my guitar, on top of anything else large and electrical around there.
 #83757  by tcsned
 Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:15 am
Chuckles wrote:Fralin's are mighty sweet; our other guitarist has them in his strat - not sure which exact ones, tho.

Anyone try the Bardens while going for a Jer tone on a Strat? They wouldn't give you Alligator, but they are super strong and crispy. (Evil disclaimer: I am scheming to upgrade the MIM Strat I bought my daughter a couple of years ago... heh heh heh :twisted: )
I use Barden humbuckers on my WGD and have used their Strat and Tele pickups over the years. They are the best pickups all the way around that I've ever used. They worked fine for Dead music - not exactly the same as the Alligator but sweet as hell. I have not used the new generation of his pickups, I understand Joe turned over the business to younger hands. They were good enough for Danny Gatton :cool:
 #83759  by lunasparks
 Wed Jul 21, 2010 6:16 am
+1 on the Area '58. I'm not expert but there was a noticeable improvement vs. the stock strat pickup when I installed the Area '58 in the middle a few weeks ago. All around I would say it's smoother or less trebly and harsh than the stock pickup (mine is a 1989 or so MIA strat). It is maybe a little less bright but a few minutes tinkering with guitar and amp was all it took to dial in something nice -- if not precisely Jerry-like.
 #83781  by DeadlyHeptet
 Wed Jul 21, 2010 8:45 am
I have not played them, but I had gotten a great recommendation from someone whose opinion I respect regarding the hum canceling Dimarzio Area series. Also, Don Grosh here in Colorado has been offering his vintage and hot vintage series to great reviews, some saying they thought they were superior to many high end pickups. I played them and they were quite nice, but I don't have enough recent experience to make an absolute comparison.
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