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Tools for the Task: Single-Coil Replacement Pickups

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

A pair of new, mighty Sunn 100S amps—the company’s original flagship amplifier—built by the new team led by James Lebihan, Mike Eldred, and Steve Skillings.

Since forming to help early garage rockers the Kingsmen bring their hit “Louie Louie” on the road, Sunn amps have roared behind everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Leslie West to Kurt Cobain to the doom-metal act that bears their name. After laying dormant for decades, the brand is back and the new team promises to live up to its legendary reputation.

“Have you ever considered covering ‘Louie Louie,’” I ask Stephen O’Malley over Zoom. The doom-metal guitarist and half of the band Sunn O))) is a native of Seattle but has lived the past 20 years in Paris, France. “I see where you’re going with this,” O'Malley chuckles, and says, “but we’re not a rock ’n’ roll band. Still, the Kingsmen and Conrad Sundholm building a bass amp for his brother—that’s a legendary Northwest story.”

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Introducing the limited-edition HALO Core by Keeley Electronics, with only 300 units available.

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ESP Guitars introduces the new LTD DX Series, offering high-quality guitars at a more affordable price.

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In Flames' Björn Gelotte, Chris Broderick & Liam Wilson Rig Rundown
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The Swedish melodic death metal pioneers continue solidifying their reign as technical titans. That’s due in part to signature guitars—Epiphone Les Paul Customs plus Jackson Diabolics and Soloists that rip and roar—as well as Zon Sonus basses. Altogether, these steely vets with thundering tenacity are feeling the surge of fresh sonic blood.

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