Best Strat Pickups

Top Stratocaster Pickups
best overall rating
  • Extra hot bridge
  • Formvar wire
  • Beveled ALNICO V (5) magnets
  • Neck, Middle, and Bridge Pickups
premium choice rating
  • Alnico 5 and Alnico 3 magnets
  • Extra hot bridge
  • Well-balanced and dynamic output
  • Hum-eliminating middle pickup
great value rating
  • Ceramic magnets
  • Hum-eliminating
  • Dynamic response
  • Smooth and warm tones

It’s rare to find a guitarist that has never head of the iconic Fender Stratocaster – a legendary and stunning guitar that made its maiden appearance more than six decades ago. It is one of the best-selling and most desirable guitars in the world.

This guitar’s legendary status has been cemented over the decades by the number of iconic guitarists that played it. We’re talking of legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, John Frusciante, Jeff Beck, and many more.

However, those legends had Strats with great pickups {}, which helped them bring out the styles and sounds they are celebrated for.

You also need the best pickups for your Stratocaster, and we’ve come up with a list that highlights the top pickups on the market for every budget. This is a limited list, and there are many other good options out there, but our selection should point you in the direction and hopefully discover just what you need for your Strat.

You’ll come across Strats that combine humbucker (H) and single-coil (S) pickups in an H-S-S setup. However, we will concentrate our reviews and guide on single-coil pickups only, which are the most popular options on a Strat.

The Top Pickups for a Stratocaster

Product PhotoGuitar and RatingDescriptionCheck Price & Read User Reviews
+ Lindy Fralin Vintage Hot Single-Coil Set

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Buzz-eliminating set of pickups that are extremely vesratile. Gives you a sweet vintage strat tone.

+ Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster Pickups

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Get Eric Johnson’s signature tone with this set of 3 strat pickups designed in collaboration with Eric

+ Seymour Duncan Little 59er

Overall Score: 4.9 out of 5 stars (4.9 / 5)

A well-defined, warm, and smooth PAF tone. A versatile and hum-free pickup set for your stratocasters.

+ DiMarzio DP419 Area ‘67

Overall Score: 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Eliminate humming with these high-grade set. Designed to mimick the tone of Jimi Hendrix at the 1967 Monterey festival

+ Seymour Duncan California ‘50s SSL-1 Strat Pickup Set

Overall Score: 4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

A fantastic set of replacement pickups for your strat. Get bell-like highs with crystal clear lows. One of the best out there.

+ Fender Tex-Mex Replacement Pickup Set for Strat

Overall Score: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

A great set of pickups for your Fender. Very versatile and can handle a wide variety of tones with excellent clarity.

Lindy Fralin Vintage Hot Single-Coil Set

Lindy Fralin Vintage Hot Single-Coil Set

Lindy Fralin is a brand known for making the highest-quality and awesome sounding replacement pickups, and this single-coil set for Strats stays true to their ethos. This is the next best thing you can get if you can’t afford their fully customized hand-wound pickups.

This small Virginia based company makes pickups with excellent sound clarity and beautiful tones. The Vintage Hot has 3 pickups in the set, with each producing a unique and vintage Strat tone.

It is a highly durable set of pickups that will last for decades and hundreds of practice sessions and gigs without deteriorating. The 42-gauge Heavy Formvar wires, beveled ALNICO V magnets, and cloth leads give this set an output of exceptional quality. It is a perfectly balanced set of Strat replacement pickups that will elevate an already good guitar to new heights.

They’re so good they’ll handle any style of music effortlessly. You shouldn’t look past these Lindy Fralin single-coils if you’re looking for a top Strat pickup to take your sound to a different level.

Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster Pickups

Fender Eric Johnson Stratocaster PickupsBudding guitarists and even professionals idolize the playing style and sound of the legendary Eric Johnson. With these pickups, you will get Eric’s unique sounds, but we can’t guarantee that you’ll inherit his playing skills as well.

Fender collaborated with this guitar virtuoso to produce this set of three premium single-coil aftermarket Strat pickup, which produces Eric’s sweet and melodic tones.

Every one of the pickups in the set is built different and sounds different. It comes with an ALNICO 5 magnet bridge pickup that has an exceptionally hot output, a neck pickup that uses an ALNICO 3 magnet, and a middle pickup that uses special magnets from ALNICO. Combine the middle pickup with the neck or bridge pickup to eliminate hum when you’re not playing the guitar.

 These premium Strat pickups are solid and powerful and highly dynamic. They are some of the most balanced set of pickups on the market, producing tones with exceptional clarity that will satisfy any style of guitarist.

Seymour Duncan Little 59er

Seymour Duncan Little 59er x300

For those with an S-S-S configuration compatible Strat, this sweet Little 59 single-coil replacement pickup will give you that classic ’59 Gibson humbucker sound you always wanted. This is a bridge humbucker that replaces the single-coil that came with your guitar.

It is a quiet pickup that eliminates hum and produces a warm, clean, and smooth output. You can get a neck model of this bridge pickup and combine it with a middle Duckbuster for a tone that gives you the best of a ‘59 Gibson Les Paul and a ’57 Stratocaster.

This high-quality pickup has pole pieces that you can adjust to tweak the tone to the right balance and punch. It is versatile and highly responsive in a way your stock pickups cannot match. The Seymour Duncan Little 59er is one of the best Strat pickups you can buy today, and a complete set {} will greatly improve the quality of your guitar’s tone.

DiMarzio DP419 Area ‘67

DiMarzio DP419 Area ‘67

The 1967 Pop Music Fest in Monterey, California, is best remembered for Jimi Hendrix’s first appearance and a major American music festival. Jimi performed Wild Thing and then set his Strat alight before smashing it into pieces. DiMarzio made the Area 67 to celebrate the sound of Hendrix’s Strat at that festival.

DiMarzio is a world-renowned maker of aftermarket pickups, and the list of the number of famous musicians that play their pickups is in the thousands, including the legendary Eric Johnson. The Area ’67 pickup delivers the bright and immaculate sound of the 1967 Strat without the famous humming associated with the pickup.

The Alnico 2 magnets and DiMarzio’s Area technology has produced a Strat replacement pickup that has longer sustain and exceptional tone clarity across the neck, thanks to a 40% reduction in magnetic pull without compromising on output. The DP419 is ideal for replacing a single-coil pickup at the neck or middle positions.

This is an exceptionally high-quality pickup for your Strat, and at this price, you’re literally making a steal.

Seymour Duncan California ‘50s SSL-1 Strat Pickup Set

Seymour Duncan California ‘50s SSL-1

The Duncan California ‘50s is an affordable but high-quality set of single-coils – built to Strat’s ‘50s specifications without the buzzing.

This is a well-balanced set with a warm and full tone with clear lows and bell-like highs. The Alnico V rod magnets of the pickups produce a tone that is sparkly with a nice chime.

These are ideal for playing classic rock, blues, and country music, but you can also play other genres of music on it with no issues. However, they may not be the ideal pickups if you intend to play heavy metal.

The California ‘50s SSL-1’s bridge pickup has exceptional tone clarity that excels in any band performance with a gnarly bite. The clarity of the middle pickup is just as good, but the star of the show is the neck pickup. It has a fat, brilliant, and smooth tone that sounds amazing.

Those who bought a foreign Strat because they can’t afford the American versions should give this a serious consideration. It will elevate your sound to the level of the high-end Strat you’ve always wanted.

Fender Tex-Mex Replacement Pickup Set for Strat

Fender Tex-Mex Replacement Pickup Set

For a good but budget-friendly pickup set for you, Stratocaster, the Fender Tex-Mex is a worthy consideration. They produce the true vintage Stratocaster tone with a strong and warm output with highs that sparkle.

They feature Alnico 5 magnets a middle pickup that is reverse-wound to eliminate the hum associated with the classic Strat guitar. They offer exceptional sound clarity for a set of Strap pickups selling for under $100. They are very hot – perhaps even hotter than the much more expensive Texas Specials.

They are ideal for a wide variety of music genres and playing styles but not the best for ear-popping heavy metals. These set of pickups can help transform your made-in-Mexico Strats to sound like a high-end $1,000+ American Strat. Don’t hesitate to try these because they are cheap, sound amazing, and great value for money.

What Constitutes a Stratocaster Pickup?

The typical Stratocaster pickup is a single-coil pickup {} that usually has a magnet with a thin layer of wire wound around it. This assembly is then placed between two plates, and covered with a protective, chrome, vinyl, or brass shell.

Strat pickups tend to produce an output that is higher than a Telecaster pickup. Telecaster pickups {} are also typically longer and mounted on metal plates, unlike those of a Strat.

The Setup and Configuration of a Strat Pickup

One of the most easily identifying features of a Stratocaster is its iconic shape, but avid fans of this guitar will also recognize it by the way pickup is set up. A traditional Stratocaster will have an S-S-S pickup configuration, which means that you’ll find a single-coil pickup in the neck, middle, and bridge positions. This arrangement will typically come with a 5-way switcher that lets you combine or play individual pickups.

That is the typical Strat configuration, but you’ll also find a different arrangement on some Strats. Some models may have an H-S-S arrangement, which means the guitar has a Humbucker pickup at the bridge position with single-coils at the middle and neck positions. Another common configuration is the H-S-H setup, which replaces a single-coil neck pickup with a Humbucker. However, traditional Strat fans will always stick with the S-S-S configuration.

What Does a Stratocaster Pickup Sound Like?

The traditional single-coil produces a clear, bright, and bell-like tone that is a hit with lead guitar players. This style of tone cuts through any live performance with a stunning solo.

They are well-balanced and dynamic, making them ideal for a wide range of musical genres like pop, country, rock, jazz, blues, and many more. You may play metal on single-coils successfully, but you really should be investing in a good pair of humbuckers {} if you want to play heavy metal music.

Are There Disadvantages with Using a Single-Coil Strat Pickup?

The best pickups for a Strat are definitely single-coils, but this type of pickup is susceptible to humming – just like that of a P-90 pickup or a Tele. Another disadvantage is that their output may be lower than the P-90s and humbucker pickups.

However, you can get a reverse-wound single-coil middle hum-eliminating pickup that tackles the humming issue.

Our Final Thoughts

Some Strats come with pickups that sound good but may have some drawbacks. Upgrading your guitar with replacement pickups can elevate them to the level of the high-end instrument you’ve been dreaming of but can’t afford due to a limited budget. These pickups are not only made for Strats but can also be installed on other brands of guitars like a Yamaha or an Ibanez.

Our list is by no means an exhaustive one, but you’ll find some of the highest-quality Strat pickups available today. We encourage you to go through our list and find one that meets your needs and see the change it can make in your guitar.

We also want to hear your thoughts and suggestions, so please go ahead and leave a comment below to let us know what you think. Maybe we’ve missed a few good ones you can add.

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