Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

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Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:30 am

Can someone tell me if any sort of consensus was ever reached as to which Carvin/Kiesel pickups render the closest thing to classic Strat tones on a Bolt (or even a DC127)?

Or for that matter, is there a Kiesel pickup configuration that can provide both Strat- and Tele-like tones from the same guitar?

I used to own a Carvin DC135T with AP11s in neck and middle positons and C22 (with coil splitter) at the bridge and individual on/off switches. Beautiful tones, but I could never seem to get a true Strat sound from the guitar.

I'm now contemplating a Bolt (or perhaps DC127) with trem--alder body with translucent finish, maple fingerboard on maple neck--but don't know what I would do for pickups. I'm thinking either S60As or AP11s in all three positions, or one or the other at neck and middle positions and a humbucker at the bridge (but don't know which one would work best with the single coils, if at least when split). I'm also wondering what it might sound like with S60As at neck and middle positions and AP11 at the bridge (or vice versa).

Among the Strats I've played, I liked the mid-90s Texas Strat with its HSS configuration the best. Just something about that humbucker at the bridge along with the two single coils; the best of both worlds--arguably serving as inspiration for my subsequently opting for a DC135 over DC127. I'm nonetheless wondering whether it might be best to go with three single coils; but if so, which ones.

I've ruled out the Kiesel lithium pickups on account of them sounding too pure or refined for what I'm after. There's just something about that--how shall I say--trashy (?) tone of a Strat.

One might ask, "Why don't you just get a Strat?" Answer: Because I prefer the Kiesel Bolt body style and can get it in just about any color I want along with any of a number of value-added options I want for less than the price of a higher end Strat.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby wickid » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:23 am


In my experience, the Bolt will get you closer to the Strat sound than the DC just by construction (mostly scale, perhaps).
But as far as singles, comparatively, AP11s are a bit more hefty with some good chime. S60s are lighter / brighter with more chime yet goodly amount of output still. For a heftier Strat sound I'd go AP11, but for a "truer" Strat IMO that'd be S60.
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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby ElfDude » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:32 am

I've never used the S60s. I absolutely love the AP11s but it's true that they're meatier than Strat pickups.
I have found that the Kiesel Lithium single coils sound a lot more like Strat pickups... only louder! :mrgreen:
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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:37 am

ElfDude wrote:... I have found that the Kiesel Lithium single coils sound a lot more like Strat pickups... only louder!


Do you know of any good Lithium single coil demos other than the one Kiesel has produced? I want to make sure I'm not missing anything. Thanks.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby ghostryder » Fri Jun 29, 2018 11:43 am

Here's one that should get you running away from them as fast as possible:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8CR8auVhHo

His next vid has him swapping in the c22's and it's night and day. Neither for me is even close to a strat sound I'd want. My vote would be the s60s.

The problem with most demos is you rarely hear clean demos. Your really hearing an axefx or something. The above is the humbuckers but at least there's a clean example....and to my ears they are aweful. Just tone flat and lifeless. Something out of a $99 squire or something.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:15 pm

Spiritus wrote:One might ask, "Why don't you just get a Strat?" Answer: Because I prefer the Kiesel Bolt body style and can get it in just about any color I want along with any of a number of value-added options I want for less than the price of a higher end Strat.


Of couse, a follow-up question might be, "Well then, why don't you just get a Bolt and install Strat pups?" Answer: Because I'm not interested in spending more money than necessary and have heard demos of Carvin/Kiesel single coils that actually sound like Strat pups, but cleaner and with more output. See, for example, the YouTube videos "Carvin Bolt (Black Limba) Tone Report" by Mooseboy08 and "Carvin Bolt Guitar Demo, Play Test and Pickup Comparison. AP11 C22B Single Coil and Humbuckers" by Brett Gildersleeve. Just two demos that make the point and serve as incentive for going with a Bolt, if but one with AP11s--though I don't know what an AP11 at the bridge sounds like.

Somone on this board once posted a link to a S60A vs AP11 sound comparison, but I was unable to access the recording. I don't know if the link was disabled or what.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:28 pm

This Lithium single coil demo by Kiesel is the only one I know of: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJbuJCKyGvg . Nice clean tone, but too clean (as it were) and not what I'm after.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Doctor Turn » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:30 pm

The way Strat pups are made are very different and you're going to have to spend the money, really, if you want that actual, specific sound.

And if you want that legit Tele sound, nothing they have is going to do that either--you can get closer to a strat sound than a Tele sound with a Kiesel loaded with stock options. Probably the best you're going to do for a Tele sound is buy the Hiland sig Solo with those Electric City pups. But even those it's a swing off a Nashville style Tele and the pups are a little different. Johnny pulls it all together because his playing so well exemplifies what you think a Tele player should be doing that your ear hears a perfect tele!
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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:37 pm

ghostryder wrote:... My vote would be the s60s. ...


Pups gotta have character; otherwise, what's the point. In my experience, a split C22 (or H22 for that matter) doesn't result in a true single coil sound. If I were to get a Bolt with say, a C22 at the bridge, I would nonetheless opt for the coil splitter simply to run the split humbukcer with a single coil; otherwise I would simply run it by itself for hard drivin' and screamin' lead work. What else is a bridge pup for anyway.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:48 pm

Doctor Turn wrote:... And if you want that legit Tele sound, nothing they have is going to do that either ...


Thanks. The only reason I bring up the Tele is because one of the guys in our worship band at church has a Tele that renders incredible tones ranging from something reminiscent of the late 60s, to a workin' man's sound, to crazy wonderful whatever. I haven't yet heard him do any country with it, but apparently it can cover just about everything else. Another guy in the band has an American Standard Strat and the two guitars are a nice contrast to one another. I'm not as big on the Tele sound as I am the Strat sound though, if in part due to my style of playing and what I need to accompany my voice.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Fri Jun 29, 2018 12:57 pm

I perhaps should have added that I'm not looking for a Kiesel pickup that can produce the exact sounds of a Strat, but am simply after a rather classic Strat-like character and would be good with something better. After all, Carvin modified the Strat body style more to my liking. And even Leo worked at improving his single coils, apparently not content with his previous Strat pups.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby spudmunkey » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:39 pm

Don't forget the sasquach of the Kiesel pickup line: the Berylium singles. :) (I would say the Thoriums are more like the Nessie :mrgreen: )

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby ghostryder » Fri Jun 29, 2018 1:53 pm

Kiesel demos can be deceptive. There's really no telling what amp or it's settings or how long they took dailing in the tone. A good pickup in my mind shouldn't take a lot of fiddle faddling to sound nice. It should sound nice at defaults. And there really isn't any utube dems that do that.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby killa j » Fri Jun 29, 2018 3:40 pm

I have a koa Bolt-T that has a koa/mahogany neck and S60s. They aren’t my favorite single coil pickups, but they have what you’re looking for. I had a Bolt with AP11s and found them to have too much output and midrange to sound like a true Strat. I’ve never tried Kiesel single coils.

Here’s a clip I made with my current Bolt with S60s. Both tracks are the same guitar, the cleaner part is neck/middle with the volume rolled off and the lead is the neck pickup. Amp is a Fender Deluxe Reverb model with a clean boost. Not the best clip, but I just made it for reference as I was trying to set the amp model like I want.



However, Lithiums split very well in my opinion. Not that this is an awesome example, but you kind of get the idea.

https://youtu.be/fFQK6ymEW3I

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby ghostryder » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:37 am

Short and sweet but there's more information found in that short clip than what can be found in dozens of so called demos.

The s60s do indeed get into a strat sound rather nice. The lithiums sound better here than they do in the demo I posted. They aren't aweful sounding. That may be do to the guitar and the fender reverb. Whereas my example was from a guy who had 'presets' - again another axefx or modeling tool.

But the cleans there hurt my hear. Again the neck through and it woods-- just goes to show the difference in bolt on guitars and also a straight organic setup through a fender amp as opposed to tons of software driven drizzle. :sounchick:

Kinda reminds me of an article:

"Pedal Users Are "F**king Lazy" Says Joe Bonamassa" "So you don't want to play a guitar [properly] so you buy a box that makes it sound like an algorithm."

:stir:

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby arahobob » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:35 pm

ElfDude wrote:I've never used the S60s. I absolutely love the AP11s but it's true that they're meatier than Strat pickups.
I have found that the Kiesel Lithium single coils sound a lot more like Strat pickups... only louder! :mrgreen:



I second this statement.
As a lover of the rude and crude side of guitar playing, I love the Ap11s.
The new lithium singles worked just fine for me too though - definitely a cleaner pup to my ear.
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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:59 pm

killa j wrote: ... Here’s a clip I made with my current Bolt with S60s. ...

Definitely a classic sound there. Thanks much.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:00 pm

killa j wrote: ... Lithiums split very well in my opinion. ...

What am I hearing for pickups in that video? And on what type of wood?

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:09 pm

killa j wrote:... koa Bolt-T [with] koa/mahogany neck and S60s ...

You know, the lead part in that demo nicely illustrates the--for lack of better term--"trashy"-ness I was referring to in my initial post, while the clean part is just that, nice and clean with definition. That clip helps a lot. I don't suppose you have a sample of the bridge pup.

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Re: Strat sound - Which Kiesel pickups bring it on?

Postby Spiritus » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:12 pm

killa j wrote:... Lithiums split very well in my opinion. ....

Is that to potentially say that a Lithium humbucker with coil splitter at the bridge could/might be a good match with S60As at middle and neck positions? Or would it be better to go with single coils in all three positions?


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