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Thread: So. I'm new to single coils,,,

  1. #1

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    So. I'm new to single coils,,,

    Hey guys & girls, my first thread, just looking for a few opinions! I've been a humbucker guy my entire career, I have little to no experience with single coils. What's the consensus on the singles used in the Cutlass? I mean so far as that "quack" in the 2 and 4 positions, a nice smooth solo tone in the neck? Great, passable, not very good? Are they considered "bright" singles? How many of you are totally satisfied with their tone, and how many of you "couldn't wait to swap them out"? And if so, why and to what? Thanks people!

  2. #2

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    I was a long time humbucker player and did not like the strat-qwak sound at all. After playing HBs for many years, I got an Axis Super Sport which was the first guitar I ever owned or played that had two HBs with a 5-way switch. I found myself really gravitating to the positions isolating single coils. That led me to a Silo Special SSS which I love. And now have a Cutlass SSS.

    I love the sounds I get from the single coils on both guitars. Neither the cutlass or the Silo Special have an excessive strat qwaky sound in the 2 and 4 position, but itís just enough IMO for when I want that vibe.

    I think whatís shocked me the most over the years is how great a single coil neck PU is for clean tones. I find myself in that neck PU only position quite a bit. I use the tone knob way more now than I ever did with my old HB guitars. Roll back the tone and that SC neck PU can do everything I loved about a neck HB and then some. Crank the tone back up and itís got a bit of spank that an HB canít give. When I got back to my dual HB guitars now, the neck PU sounds too muddy to me.

    I canít speak to your question on swapping PUs. I have never done that in any of my guitars. I just roll with the manufacturerís PUs. I am wise enough to know that will send me down an endless trail of searching ����. I have enough of that with other hobbies in my life. Haha.
    2008 LE Silhouette Special SSS
    20th Silhoutte w/Piezo

  3. #3

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    OK, so, I have a HSS Cutlass. Fabulous pickups, the 2 and 4 positions sound great.

    I also have a Silhouette Special, HSS with DiMarzio Area noiseless singles, which are some of the brightest singles DiMarzio makes. I also have a MIJ '62 RI strat with AlNiCo singles that measure very low DC resistance (closer to mid-50's spec than 60's).

    The strat is the brightest. Too bright if anything. I loved it for years but it sounds thin and sterile to me now. Guitar gets no use.
    The Dimarzio Area singles in the Silo Special are a little beefier, just where I like to hear single coils; bright and clean but not thin.
    The Cutlass singles are a little warmer and creamier than the Area singles, a little less treble and a little more upper mid, kind of like someone pre-mixed in a little bit of SRV/tube screamer vibe. Compared to even the thinnest sounding humbucker they are very obviously single coils and awesome at their job.

    Having said that, any comparison depends on what cable I use with the other guitars. The Cutlass has the buffer circuit which means that no matter what cable you use you always have the same tone. But that's not the case for the other guitars. If I use a very long cable with the Silhouette Special it sounds more similar to the Cutlass. If use a very short cable the strat and Silo Special sound really bright in comparison.
    Forum Moderator, Guitar Teacher and Guitar Tech, Folder of Underpants, Stubber of Toes.
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    Silhouette Special (2005 Buttercream Limited Edition)
    Cutlass HSS (2018 Roasted Special, Ivory White)

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  4. #4

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    I've been playing Strats for nearly 50 years now and have owned quite a few, including a real '66 and a real '72. Currently have a Cutlass and an American Standard. To my ear, the pickups in the Cutlass are as good as or better than any of them. They're pretty bright with, say, an AC15, but that can easily be tamed with the tone control, which I almost never run wide open. I can get a usable sound out of all 5 switch positions. Sound like a great Strat to me. If you're not happy with your sound, the problem is probably not with your pickups. Also, this is the best-playing guitar I've ever owned. Enjoy!

  5. #5

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    Be careful. Once you go single coil, it’s hard to go back. I love my Cutlass and it is so incredibly stable. I use it all the time.

    I grew up on humbuckers and they certainly have their place, but I now gravitate to single coils 99% of the time.
    A S T R O F R E Q . C O M

    Axis Hardtail TransPurple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)

  6. #6

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    And when you learn to love the magic of good singles, but need just a bit 'more' from the bridge pup...

    Balls are Best!!

  7. #7

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    The AL looks so amazing in orange.
    2008 LE Silhouette Special SSS
    20th Silhoutte w/Piezo

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by xjbebop View Post
    And when you learn to love the magic of good singles, but need just a bit 'more' from the bridge pup...
    Nice! What's in the bridge slot? I have a Chopper in mine.

  9. #9

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    I've owned two Cutlass SSS guitars but these days I build my own Strat clones so I dabble in a lot of boutique pickups. I can say from my experience that the Cutlass pickups are outstanding. I was apprehensive at first because I didn't like the way the Silent Circuit influenced the pickup tones in the Silo, but the Silent Circuit is pretty much transparent in the Cutlass and the subtle nuances of the pickups really come through. It's one of the few guitars I've owned where I wasn't looking to change out pickups... but I knew what to expect when I bought it. I didn't want modern tones, I wanted vintage '60s tones, which this guitar has.

  10. #10

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    Thanks, Ricky!
    A S T R O F R E Q . C O M

    Axis Hardtail TransPurple #89749 (3/28/97)
    Reflex Classic White #G71108 (7/14/14)
    Cutlass
    StarryNight #G79870 (12/14/16)

  11. #11

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    Fast Track 2 ... have a Chopper T in my AL Tele.... great pups!
    "Trans Gold", but it reminds me of melted butter, thus the name 'Butterball'
    Balls are Best!!

  12. #12

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    Thanks you guys, all of you, your info and opinions are most helpful & useful! I think I'm going to roll with my Cutlass stock for a good while as I'm still "honeymooning" and have yet to unlock the guitar's full potential, via amp(s) settings (primarily, a Helix which of course has a LOT going on) pickup heights, etc. I also own an original EBMM EVH so I pretty much have my favorite humbucker tones squared away. I've loved my "number one" EVH for decades however, there were always several things about it functionally that I would have changed, particularly the completely flat top. With the way that I position my picking hand (although I'm quite used to it by now), that sharp angle break has always been somewhat unforgiving on the arm. However, the Cutlass, body contour wise, neck wise, weight wise, is simply without flaw. It's the guitar that I would have designed for myself were I an Ed Van Halen, Steve Lukather, or John Petrucci. And that's an awesome thing to have an "off the shelf" guitar feel like it was custom made for you, which is probably why I've hardly put it down since I got it a few weeks ago!

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