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Strats, Pickups & Rabbit Holes – Blue Is Finally There! Maybe. [Mick's Strat Vlog]

Published 28 Apr 2020

Welcome! Regular viewers will know that I've been on a journey trying to 'improve' the sound of my favourite 2001 Sonic Blue Strat. Why? Because I've had a few encounters with genuine 1960s Strats of late, not least the incredible ’61 on loan to me… and they've all had a certain 'something'.
Can I get Blue to sound a bit more like the old ones? Maybe. We've done bridges, saddles and pickups so far, and now we're at the end.

Obvious questions that will come up in the comments…
• Why didn’t you try X pickups?
I haven't tried every pickup. But I have tried a great many over the years, in various guitars. We all have to make a choice at some point. These are my choices.

• No grounding plate on the back of the pickguard?
a) Never had one. b) People I trust tell me it might rob a //tiny// bit of high end with the shielding plate but it’s negligible. I’ve never worried about hum/buzz… even though the hum is significant at the end of this vid. My fault – over excited with gain because I haven't played loud for so long!

• Not much on Transit Van (the Black Strat) in this video. Do you not like Fender CS Fat 60s pickups?
I do, but the focus is Blue. I'm still not really bonding with Transit Van.

• Why is it called Transit Van? Pearly Gates… Billy Gibbons' 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard… Mine was a Transit van, not a 1930s Packard with divine powers.

• Wouldn’t it be easier to just buy a) An old Strat, or b) A Custom Shop / Custom Build Strat?
Probably. And I will at some point, an old one anyway.

• Can you put the old pickups in the newer guitars?
Nope. The oldie has had minimal work and the pickguard hasn't cracked yet. I don't want to be the one responsible for that!

• What are the best pickups for my/your guitar?
I don’t know. Every guitar is different, every player is different. There are so many variables… and fortunately, the biggest one is you!

Pedals & stuff in this video (in signal order)
• Ron Ellis Pickups: Find Ron on Facebook for now…

• Jim Dunlop Jimi Hendrix JHF1 Fuzz Face
UK & Europe:

• Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe
UK & Europe:

• Hudson Broadcast Dual
UK & Europe:

• Mythos Argo
UK & Europe:

• Cornerstone Gladio V1

• JAM Pedals Ripply Fall
UK & Europe:

• Supro Tremolo
UK & Europe:



- What am I doing? 0:00
- Ron Ellis 64 and 50/60 background: 1:45
- Rabea tangent: 3:00
- 1961 Strat and Ellis 64 set comparison at home: 5:05
- Wiring in the Ellis 50/60 set: 9:35
- Control knob tangent: 11:00
- Choosing a pickguard, pickup covers: 13:20
- Wiring and assembly: 15:15
- Ellis 50/60 DC resistance readings: 16:42
- Good solder joint? 17:35
- Tone pot on the bridge: 18:00
- Checking wiring: 21:50
- Putting assembly back in the guitar. 23:00
- We have a fault: 23:55
- … fixed: 24:15
- Ron Ellis 50/60 and 1961 Strat comparison: 25:53
- Pickup height? 29:15
- Let’s hear them loud then… 36:10
- 1961 Strat for reference: 36:55
- Transit Van: 38:53
- Blue with new pickups: 40:40
- Closing thoughts: 45:40
- Why no shielding plate? 46:44
- What about all the other pickups out there? 47:10

THE TRACK at 15:15 is a jam programmed using Apple loops in Logic for drums and bass. I recorded it in UA Luna, adding Oxide Tape plugin, Neve Analog Summing, Capitol Chambers and Ocean Way Studios reverbs. It’s the Two-Rock and Mesa, mic'd at home, with the Gladio, Hudson Broadcast and Supro tremolo.
Blue Strat with the 50/60 pickups.

Guitars in this episode
• THE OLD ONE: 1961 Fender Stratocaster
• BLUE: Fender American Vintage 1962 Stratocaster 2001
• TRANSIT VAN: (The black one) Fender American Vintage 1959 Stratocaster 2012

Amps in this episode
• Two Rock Classic Reverb Signature / 112 (WGS12L speaker) and 212 (TR1265 B speakers)
• Mesa/Boogie California Tweed 6V6 4:40 1x12 combo
• Marshall 1987x (reissue) with Marshall 1960AX (Celestion Greenback speakers)

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