I bought one of these for the bridge position in my Tokai Goldstar Strat ’57 replica. I never used the bridge pickup on it’s own on this strat because I always thought it was too weedy. However when practising with the band at high volume sometimes I’d switch to it to cut through the mix a bit more, there was plenty of bass supplied by the… bass and the drums! Anyway after trying a Les Paul and a PRS where I favoured using the bridge pickups I thought one of these Seymour Duncan Little ’59 mini humbuckers would add the magic ingredient to this Strat!
I’ve never bought a big name pickup before, never thought I needed to. But getting another useful sound out of the Strat to have heavy rock available at a flick of the switch to the bridge pickup was too tempting!
The pickup arrived and it was easy to fit – following the instructions. The Little ’59 humbucker is splittable into a single coil, but if you don’t have the electronics in place you can just wire it up as a straight ahead humbucker (or as a single coil, but that would be pointless?!?). I’d got it for humbucking, so that’s how it was wired, with no switching options required (or available).
Before this pickup arrived I’d recently been in possession of a Mexican Fender Strat with a single humbucker retro-fitted (Gold covered, from a Tokai Japanese Custom Les Paul), also I’d had a PRS Santana, so I knew what kind of sound I was expecting from this Little ’59. Yes, I thought I could get the great Strat neck and out of phase sounds and a big fat humbucking bridge sound for rock/distortion.
You might have a clue by now that this Seymour Duncan Little ’59 mini humbucker was a bit of a disappointment… It did buck the hum, yes, it worked pretty well in that it was still a nice usable sound combined with the middle pickup in a kind of out-of-phase sound. But as a humbucker it sounded kind of ‘mini’, which it is. Since then I’ve read about humbuckers needing more space or air for the magnetic field etc etc etc. So it did work, the bridge pickup gave more output, no single-coil humming and helped the amp overdrive a bit more. I didn’t want to carve up my Tokai Goldstar to fit in a full sized humbucker at the bridge, so this was a compromise that worked.
I had this pickup for about 6 months and it’s now been sold off to a new owner. It kept it’s value pretty good anyway, I got almost as much as I paid for it. Now I have a Fender Stratocaster HSS Mexican, with the stock factory pickups. The humbucker in this guitar is quite a lot more big and overall better sounding than the Little ’59 mini humbucker. That’s another story though, so many people complain about these Mexican Strat pickups but I think they’re fine. The Tokai Goldstar has vintage alnicos and the Mexican has 2 ceramic single coils to accompany the humbucker. I notice these ceramic single coils have more power and more bite, which is nice as they balance with the humbucker well so I’m very happy not to change anything there.
Stay tuned for more guitar designs and reviews…
N.B. the spellchecker (yes, I use one!) just suggested I change all my humbuckers for hamburgers 🙂