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Discussion Starter #1
I decided to take a relatively inexpensive guitar ( a Classic Vibe 60s Strat) and put some very expensive pickups in it: 3 output balanced Lollar Charlie Christians in the neck format.

It is isn't so unusual to use a CC pickup in the neck of a tele and even to throw a middle pickup however most people pair this with a Lollar BS pickup or a Special T in the Bridge. We can see Tim Lerch here demoing two of the neck pickups and a Blade Steel pickup in the bridge:

I was unhappy with the bridge pickups that I had tried to pair with the CC neck pickup that I loved in my tele:

- Tonerider Classic Hot (Underpowered for the CC neck pickup)
- Baytone CC Bridge pickup (Beautiful looking pickup but still weaker output - great middle sound )

- Lollar Blade Steel Pickup (Loud enough but too bright for the neck pickup - IMO - great for slide)
- SD Quarter Pounder (Best of the bunch - darker and loud enough- but still not perfect)

Then I saw a Crestone guitar sporting 3 Lollar neck pickups and I contacted Lollar and they told me that they could make three neck-style pickups with compensated outputs for the different positions. So, I thought I would experiment by putting them in a strat instead and they really turned out to be just what I am looking for.

Not the most elegant looking instrument but it is way fatter sounding than a conventional strat while retaining more clarity for chords than a humbucker and breaking up later than a p90.

This 3 pickup set option isn't available on Lollar's webpage. I had to ask so I just thought I would alert people of that option is there for those who are interested.

Here is Lerch using a distorted not often associated with these pickups.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am a real neck pickup guy generally. Usually when someone is playing clean and I like what they are doing, it is a neck pickup. From Gold Foils to humbuckers I love them all in the neck.

Now having a three CC pickup strat in addition to the CC tele I have, I think I could get 80% of the sounds I would ever need from the two pickup combination. It seems just a neat luxury to know that if your neck pickup was a bit dark in the mix of a certain tune, you could choose the middle pickup. The in-between positions (2 and 4) are nice to have for some shimmer/cluck for rhythm playing. I could definitely be perfectly happy without the middle pickup. That's just me.

But I REALLY like having a CC bridge pickup which is made the same as the neck pickup in bridge position rather than the BS pickup.

I have a bit of tendinitis in my right ear and the brightness of the powerful Blade Steel pickup in my telecaster always seemed to find the right highend pitch to activate it. It lies in a drawer presently. As I mentioned, I swapped it out for a few pickups before settling (for the moment) on a SD Quarter Pounder.


The lollar bridge version of the neck pickup is just great in the bridge of my strat though. It is perfect for me.

Just as guys wanting more bite and drive will find the BS pickup perfect for them. :)
 

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It's a cool idea to try.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
How does the Lollar compare to a broadcaster style pickup?

Nathan
I would say that they are not at all alike.

The Lollar B.S. pickup I had in my tele seemed louder than the Quarter Pounder that is in there presently with much more 'cut'. It is a loud and proud pickup.
With 40 gauge wire the 3.8K output doesn't have any meaningful comparison to pickups with 43 or 43 gauge wire. It is bright and fat at the same time. It breaks up well and brings a lot of character.

The CC neck pickup that I had wound for the bridge position is less strident. I feel it is a better match for the neck pickup, very warm with more bass. Although there is more definition and they break up later than a humbucker, they are more akin to humbuckers than Broadcaster pickups in the frequencies they favour.

But if you like a bit of boost to your sound and to cut through the mix, you would like the BS pickup better.

The Baytone JAG CC pickup I had in there was closer to a Broadcaster pickup with a further softening of highs. With 42 gauge wire, Alnico V bar magnet and 8.5K output, ironically it was a lightweight pickup compared to the 3.2K, 38 gauge CC neck pickup. But if you wanted traditional tele in the bridge and were willing to use a boost on the bridge or roll back the volume on the neck, this would be the pickup for you. It had the best middle position sounds of the four pickups I had in my tele by far.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Also of note is that it is not an inexpensive proposition to get the routing and custom pickguard done for 3 CC pickups.

I did manage to save some money by getting a pickguard from Warmoth rather than Pickguardian as Lollar recommended. (Lollar sells CC routed pickguards for teles directly but not for strats.)

I got the pickguard precut for the Lollars from Warmoth for about $40 instead. Pickguardian wanted to make a custom pickguard for me for $80 but it really wasn't necessary. A standard strat pickguard covers the routing with no problem.

Mine are body mounted pickups and so I had the pickups installed to fit the pickguard. It is more flexible (and cheaper) to get the Lollar "pickguard-mounted CCs" - but I already feel there are too many screws on a stratocaster pickguard. ;) The Lollar neck pickups use 3 screws per pickup.

Interestingly the neck pickup for the Warmoth pickguard is situated about a bit closer to the bridge than on my Tele which I used a Lollar supplied pickguard for. The pickup sounds great in the strat but looks like it should be higher aesthetically to me.

The pickup placement on the Lollar tele pickguard is already closer than a traditional tele as they assume the top of the tele pickup route will be used for the top of the CC pickup route which is wider pickup and so the blade is placed lower than the magnets of a tele or strat would be.

The Warmoth strat pickguard extends this a bit more than cm down from where 24th fret harmonic occurs. I can't say that it sounds a whole lot different because of it.

The strat is already darker, I suppose because the tele has a maple neck, pine body and traditional tele bridge with barrel saddles. With that many differences who could pinpoint a difference in sound down to pickup placement? Perhaps bringing the neck PU closer to the bridge is doing me a favour here by making it brighter than it would have been. It still is darker sounding in the neck position than the Tele. I would say that the Tele has a slight edge in that position but of the course the strat is more versatile.
 
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