Ten passive single-coil options for a total tonal makeover.

Be it a bargain find or pricey acquisition, Strat-style axe or the real deal, it might be time to go pickup shopping if your guitar’s tone is less than inspiring. We’ve rounded up 10 sets to help get you started.

Texas Special

Characterized by midrange chirp, crystalline highs, and tight bass, these pickups have an overwound single-coil construction for producing big and searing Texas-blues tone.

FENDER
$199

Traditional Mk-III

This Zero-Hum set features proprietary alnico-5 rod magnets and is intended to sound and perform like gracefully aged ’60s pickups with a softened attack and no high-end brittleness.

KINMAN
$264

SSL-1 Vintage Staggered

Using hand-ground alnico-5 rod magnets and heavy Formvar magnet wire with a special wind pattern, this set is meant to produce tone with bounce and sparkle reminiscent of the best ’50s Strat pickups.

SEYMOUR DUNCAN
$159

Area Strat Set

Consisting of the Area ’58 (neck), Area ’67 (middle), and Area ’61 (bridge), this hum-cancelling set offers up a collection of classic, authentic tones for any Strat-style guitar.

DIMARZIO
$229

Sensor Hot Gold

Available with an optional 13.2k Hot Bridge for more power and cut, Hot Golds are designed for full bottom end, singing midrange, and plenty of high-end sparkle.

LACE PICKUPS
$149

Alinco II Blues TRS4

Scatterwound with single-gauge AWG 42 wire, these alnico 2 pickups offer players sweet, clean tones without boom-y bass or harsh trebles—ideal for blues or jazz.

TONERIDER
$99

’58 Quiet Coil

Using the exact same parts found in vintage ’58 Stratocaster pickups, this set was designed to capture the warmth, clarity, and fat low-midrange of their inspiration, without the 60-cycle accompaniment.

MOJOTONE
$229

S-7 Stratocaster Set

Via reverse engineering, this wax-potted, handwound set was designed to faithfully recreate the warm, full tones from Fender Stratocaster pickups from the late ’50s/early ’60s.

KLEIN
$240

SP 42

These single-coils with adjustable pole pieces are wound with 42-gauge wire for more mids and take on some of the character of a P-90 for a big, round Strat tone.

LINDY FRALIN
$250

Starwood

Harnessing the soul and tone of TV Jones into traditional-sized pickups, this set features a bridge pickup with a patent-pending steel gadget that helps to deliver sparkle with a husky presence.

TV JONES
$290

This 1964 Vibrolux Reverb arrived in all-original condition, right down to a two-prong power cord and a death cap wired to the ground switch. The author’s well-worn Strat is the perfect companion.

How our columnist’s risky purchase turned out to be a dusty pre-CBS jewel.

This month, I’d like to share the story of my 1964 Fender Vibrolux Reverb. It was a really risky purchase that had some big surprises.

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Fat tones from a sweet niche where Les Paul, Gretsch, and Telecaster share the limelight.

Copious, unexpected tones. Cool, useful bass contour control. Very nice build quality. Excellent value.

Heavy.

$1,199

Reverend Flatroc Bigsby
reverendguitars.com

4.5
5
4
4.5

If you only pay casual attention to Reverend guitars, it’s easy to overlook how different their instruments can be. Some of that may be due to the way Reverends look. There are longstanding styling themes and strong family likenesses among models that can make differentiation a challenge for uninitiated guitar spotters. For instance, the Flatroc reviewed here has more or less the same body as the Charger, Buckshot, and Double Agent OG (which has an entirely different body than the more Jazzmaster-like Double Agent W). If you don’t have an experienced Reverend enthusiast at your side, it can all be a bit mind bending.

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