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Bridge pickup on neck?

Postby Elephone » Tue Dec 03, 2019 7:45 pm

Hi. I'm looking for an Seymour Duncan SSL-1 for my neck pickup, and some are advertising the same pickup for "neck or bridge". What exactly is the difference then?

Can I use an SSL-1 'bridge' pickup for the middle pickup at least? At the moment I've got two SSL-1s 'bridge' pickups.

Seymour Duncan seem to advertise SSL-1s for neck, middle and bridge separately. I thought it was to do with the spacing of the poles and how 'hot' the thing is wired.

Thanks...
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Re: Bridge pickup on neck?

Postby Wonks » Tue Dec 03, 2019 8:43 pm

The first Strats had pickups that were exactly the same, in all three positions. Leo Fender had penny-pinching to a fine art. It was quite a bit later when the neck pickup got more windings compared to the middle and neck pickups. Having the pickups identical means that the bridge pickup's output is a fair bit quieter than the mid and neck pickups due to the smaller amount of string travel/vibration in that position.

As factory fitted, the middle and neck pickups are basically the same pickup, though on some guitars, the mid pickup is reverse wound/reverse polarity for hum cancelling in positions 2 and 4.

As the SSL-1 is a vintage 50's style pickup, that's why there aren't specific bridge-only versions.

You'll find that US-made Strats have the same length pickups in all positions. it's normally the Asian made versions that use a 2mm shorter pickup for the neck position, normally because their metric bridges have a slightly narrower string spacing than the imperial bridges on USA Strats, so at the bridge position, the string spacing is that bit narrower and the strings noticeably miss the pole-pieces on standard length pickups. Doesn't really affect the sound, but people notice and complain and so you get narrower bridge pickups on Asian (and some Mexican) models.

So if you want to go fully vintage, then the basic SSL-1 can go in all three positions, though if you are less purist, you'd put the RW/RP version of the SSL-1 in the mid position.
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