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I use a Fender Stratocaster guitar and, especially with clean sounds, I often find that the neck pickup sound very pleasant with the first three strings, but a bit too boomy for the 3 lower strings. The opposite happens with the bridge pickup, where lower strings sound right, at the expense of the thinner strings sounding too bright.

Has anyone heard or even tried some solution that would combine different pickups for different groups of strings (e.g., splitting the 6 strings in 2)? If yes, is there an off-the-shelf solution?

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There are solutions out there that provide split pickups (from 2 to 6) and you can easily find these using Google (we aren't in a position to recommend a particular one here) however I don't feel like that is what you need.

There are other ways to sort out the tone:

  • adjusting your pickup height can have a major effect on tone - experiment with raising or lowering one end of a pickup or the other
  • altering your picking style - position, angle, depth and power all have an impact on tone
  • the circuitry in the guitar can be altered, and in fact this is the most common modification people make, changing the way the pickups interact, changing frequency rolloff etc.
  • or you can even adjust your tone after it leaves the guitar using a graphical or parametric EQ to reduce 'booming' bass.

That said, the specific setup of a Strat is famous for the tone you describe - it gives a great deal of flexibility in sound types.

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    … & it never did Hendrix any harm ;) I often find people have the pickups way too close to the strings on a strat. For me, the ideal sound is obtained just before the pickup falls off the screw-thread, as far away as you can get it. – Tetsujin Dec 11 '15 at 13:01
  • I totally agree with your comments and, in fact, those are the ways (especially EQ at pre-amp or FX board) that I employ to circumvent the described issue. My question, though, primarily stemmed from technical curiosity as to whether there exist implementations like the one I briefly described. – Christos Oreinos Dec 11 '15 at 13:22
  • Well, yes they do. I have seen half-split pickups (which are very similar to bass-guitar split pickups) and 6-way pickups (which are especially used with MIDI guitars) – Doktor Mayhem Dec 11 '15 at 13:23
  • After searching on Google with the "half-split pickups" keyword, I found another a relevant thread on GearSlutz. It looks like no popular solution exists for that (and I don't find that too surprising!) – Christos Oreinos Dec 11 '15 at 13:45

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