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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / HSS Strats

Next 20 Messages  

Edmond, OK

Jun 30th, 2019 09:07 AM   Edit   Profile  

Who's got them
why? and are thee bridges stock?

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Jun 30th, 2019 09:36 AM   Edit   Profile  

I like 'em for the following reasons:

1. That Strat neck pickup tone is something no other guitar can do.

2. The neck + middle tone is also something no other guitar can do.

2. A humbucker in the bridge makes the Strat supremely versatile as a "one guitar for most stuff" approach to playing in a band.

Set up properly, any stock Strat bridge will work fine.



Jun 30th, 2019 10:05 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have never owned one, but have tried several in stores. In theory like Peegoo said it should work well for a good all around guitar.

However, I generally do not like them, or at least the ones that I have tried, including the new Fender MIM Paler Series. The few that I have tried seem to have a problem balancing the output levels of the two SC pups against the HB.


I recently pieced together a Strat with an MIM body and a Warmoth neck (all used off of CL).
I had a few pups laying around and put together a HSH.
B = Dimarzio PAF 36th Anniversary bridge
M = Dimarzio Area 61
N = Dimarzio Air Classic neck
All pots V-T-T are 500K.

For some reason this combination seems to balance out really well volume wise. I thought originally that the middle Area 61 would sound weak or get drowned out, but generally it hangs right in there.

I also thought that the Area 61 would sound muddy in the middle position, but that is not the case either.


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Jun 30th, 2019 10:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a 2005 Jimmie Vaughan Strat converted to an HSS with a low output (for a humbucker) Fender DH-1 in the bridge. I love it. JVs come stock with American Vintage bridges. Mine has always been set to float and it works great.


Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Jun 30th, 2019 01:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

@ejm I can;t imahine an area 61 with 500k pots. I thought it sounded great with 250k pots.

I'm another HSS lover. Lower output PAF-style pickups are my taste at the bridge. The single coil strat bridge can be achingly beautiful but most of time it's just too shrill and edgy for my ears. I prefer a non split humbucker with middle in position 2, and position 3 I prefer bridge + neck single.

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Jun 30th, 2019 01:52 PM   Edit   Profile  

One of my 4 Strats is an HSH. It's a Player body with a custom Warmoth neck, and I replaced the middle pickup with a Bill Lawrence Wilde Noisefree. I really like the guitar and think the 2 and 4 positions work remarkably well. The bridge/trem is stock but I did replace the saddles with Highwoods.

It definitely covers different ground than a SSS.

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Jun 30th, 2019 04:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

"...and are thee bridges stock?"

I read that as the OP referring to the bridge pickup, not the bridge, but I may be wrong.

I've only owned one HSS strat (Dlx Lonestar, MIM) and I also found it difficult to balance volume-wise. That had the Fender Twin Head HB in it, I never tried swapping it out with a different model and I ended up converting it to SSS (well, 3 FVN).

re: the HSH littleuch mentioned, I had a cheap Ibanez (RG series) come in for a set up that was a HSH, and I was pleasantly surprised at the 2 & 4 position sounds. Not pure strat, but not bad.

However that wiring configuration auto splits the HB's in those positions.

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contact your physician
Jun 30th, 2019 07:10 PM   Edit   Profile  

"I read that as the OP referring to the bridge pickup, not the bridge, but I may be wrong."

Now that I re-read the OP, I think you're correct, Mick!

Tom B.


Jun 30th, 2019 11:03 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have a Hotrod Series Lonestar with original Texas Specials and Pearly Gates bought in the late 90s. Later swapped the bridge tone pot for one with a push-pull switch to split the HB, then rewired to get bridge+neck in the middle position. Very versatile guitar.

I often wonder if I'm missing something since it's not a classic strat, but haven't felt enough need to get one yet.

Contributing Member

Vero Beach FL

Tbird Greg
Jul 1st, 2019 05:35 AM   Edit   Profile  

I have a 2018 American Professional Strat with HSS configuration. I too like the sound of a HB for soloing. It's nice to play rhythm & fills on the SC's and then kick into high gear on the HB for soloing.


Edmond, OK

Jul 1st, 2019 01:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

I'm surprised 5Strats hasn't chimed in.......

Yea, I was referring to the bridge pup, not the bridge itself. I has one that that I put TS's in N+M, with a Pearly gates in the bridge. Wish I still had it.



Jul 1st, 2019 02:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

Dr Kev wrote: "@ejm I can;t imahine an area 61 with 500k pots. I thought it sounded great with 250k pots."

It sounds Stratty (duh). ;>))
I was actually concerned that it might sound muddy in that position, but am surprised that it doesn't. It also balances well with the HBs.

The reason that I chose 500K pots is for the HBs.
Also, the middle Area 61 has no tone control, so it's 500K only (volume control).

I know that Dimarzio says that 250K will work with the Areas, but they also sort of say to try others as well, even up to 1 Meg if I remember correctly.

I am actually curious as to how the Areas sound with 250Ks. I have a set of 58-67-61 that are looking to be used.
There is an old YT Guitar World Paul R demo where they sounf very Stratty.

On the HSH Strat I mentioned, I put it together so that I can swap pickguards with no soldering (provided of course you put them together correctly).
There are two wire nuts inside to connect the hot and ground.
The next time I change strings I may try the Area pickguard.

I have a set of three Areas in a Clapton, but it doesn't sound overly Strat like. Sort of like a slightly dull or tame Strat.
I have suspicions that the impedances of the Clapton electronics and the load they present to the pups have something to do with it.

Contributing Member


England's Sloppiest Guitarist
Jul 1st, 2019 03:47 PM   Edit   Profile  

About 15 years ago my main gigging guitars were a couple of Mex Strats with a pair of Seymour Duncans in the bridge. I think they were a JB Jr, and a Hot Rails. They did the job, but as per previous posters thre was a bit of a balance issue when switching from SCs to HB.

I generally don't think a HB looks quite "right" in a Strat, but I've also got a Sambora Strat that looks ok, but I haven't played it in ages

Contributing Member


Jul 1st, 2019 04:55 PM   Edit   Profile  

I have BUNCH of them (including 4 American Deluxe HSS Strats). I can't imagine anyone not loving how versatile they are, but most people can't see past what their heroes played or are playing.

Allan Holdsworth had a humbucker installed in the bridge position of his Strat in 1969! Wake up guitar players!

Contributing Member


Jul 1st, 2019 04:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

I could see me changing my HSH to a HSS some time. I remember playing that HH Strat back in the day (Big Apple?) and almost snagging it up. About the only Strat config I don't see the logic in is SHS.


Paris, France

It's just a guitar, not rocket science.
Jul 2nd, 2019 01:20 PM   Edit   Profile  

@ejm, The Areas are some of the brightest pickups DiMarzio have ever made, I found the 61 very snappy and steely (in a good way) with 250kΩ pots. You have one 500kΩ vol and no tone pot on there? JEE WILLAKERS, THAT WILL NOT SOUND MUDDY! :-D



Jul 3rd, 2019 10:39 AM   Edit   Profile  

Dr Kev: Like I said, I have a set of 58-67-61 in a Clapton. It sounds like a Strat, but sort of a tame or reserved Strat. It's not bad, just different.
There is a demo video of Guitar World and Paul Riario from several years ago with some Areas when they first came out. THAT video definitely is much brighter and jangly and more Stratty that my Clapton.
I've always suspected that the key variable in the equation is that the Clapton preamp has something to do with it. (I seldom use the boost function, so it's not that.) That is why I'm thinking of putting together another pickguard assembly, or guitar, as a science project.

The 61 with the two HBs sounds surprisingly balanced tonally and volume wise, at least to my ears, through my set up. Maybe that extra high end of the 61 helps to push it up just enough to balance things out with the HBs.

This ongoing experiment is to be continued.......



Jul 22nd, 2019 07:42 PM   Edit   Profile  

Just scored this one on a deal with a mate. Unknown age but it's an MIM HSS.

I like the control layout with just the single vol & tone and then a switch to split the bucker.

Nice comfy player too.



SoCal, South Bay

Jul 22nd, 2019 09:23 PM   Edit   Profile  

Yep, one of mine is an HSS (USA Professional). It adds an extension to the sound range that I had not experienced with the SSS configuration.


Edmond, OK

Jul 26th, 2019 11:49 AM   Edit   Profile  

out of curiousity, those WITH HB's, do you split them? And, or, go B+N?

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FDP Forum / Fender Guitars: Stratocasters / HSS Strats

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