New Arrivals: October 2021

Towards the start of the month, something in me snapped. That’s the best way that I can describe it. I looked at three guitars that have fallen out of favour this year, and said to myself, “why am I not sorting this out?”

All three guitars have the same issue: I just don’t get on with their pickups atm.

One of them (The Squirrel) has a stock pickup that can’t compete with its sister guitar (Hedgehog). One of them (Dexter) has stock pickups that just deeply disappoint. And one of them (the Charvel) is already on its fourth or fifth bridge pickup, and I’m still not happy.

So this month, it’s new (to me) pickups all around. Is this going to be money well-spent, or an expensive disappointment? Read on to find out.

Seymour Duncan Antiquity Telecaster Bridge Pickup

Remember The Squirrel? It’s my Squier FSR 50’s Esquire in butterscotch blonde that I bought about a year ago. It’s a fun little go-kart of a guitar! And it’s such a good guitar, right from when I bought it I decided that it was worth modding and upgrading.

How good can this cheap and fun little guitar be? A Seymour Duncan Antiquity should provide the answer.

I’ve played Antiquities in humbucker form, in an Eastman single-cut, and absolutely loved them. Far better (for me) than the Lollars that Eastman switched too on later production runs. If the Telecaster bridge version is even remotely close, then I’m going to be very happy indeed. Here are my First Impressions.

Bare Knuckle Pickups Apache Single Coils + Stormy Monday Humbucker, for a HSS Stratocaster

Last Christmas, Kristi bought me a Fender Player HSS Stratocaster as a present. I’ve christened it Dexter, and like its namesake it’s been a deeply disappointing experience. So disappointing, in fact, that I don’t think I’ve written about it on here since getting it.

The original play was to keep it all-stock, so that I’d be able to refer to it when talking about how new arrivals sounded with different guitars. But I just don’t get on with the stock pickups at all, and it’s just been sat there getting no playing time at all.

This guitar has become an opportunity: can you drop a great set of pickups into a dog of a guitar to elevate it? Or are the electronics merely part of a whole? I’ll let you know once they’ve been fitted to the guitar 🙂

[It’s done, and was worth the wait! – ed]

Bare Knuckle Pickups Polymath Bridge Pickup

My first serious guitar was a Charvel Model 3, that I got second-hand from Electro Music of Doncaster back in 1991. It’s been with me 30 years now, and in all that time, I’ve yet to find a bridge humbucker that really works for me in that guitar.

Will the just-released Polymath bridge humbucker from Bare Knuckle Pickups finally be the one? Here are my First Impressions.

Replacement Roasted Flame Maple Stratocaster Neck from Guitar Anatomy

There’s a lot to like about the necks on the current crop of Mexican-made Fender guitars. But there’s one thing that I don’t like about them: the necks just aren’t as stable as necks on American-made Fenders. They need adjusting more often than any other guitars that I have.

Seeing as Dexter will be going into the shop for the pickup upgrade anyway, why not get a new neck put on it at the same time? Sadly, it couldn’t be a genuine Fender neck – the only ones I could find where also Mexican-made necks – so I’ve taken a gamble, and bought a neck from a new (to me) firm called Guitar Anatomy.

Is this neck going to help encourage me to use Dexter more, or is it going to be a bit of a waste of time and effort? I’ll let you know, once the guitar is back from the tech.

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