Best Noiseless Strat Pickups that Reduce Hum Without Affecting Sound

A lot of players across the world love the bite and sharp attack of the Strat single coil that made it one of the most recognizable tones in rock ’n’ roll history.

However, we could argue that many of those players have heard their share of annoying hum coming from their Strat pickups that are sensitive to many electric devices including household appliances and neon lights.

But, how do you get rid of this hum without switching to another guitar? Your best bet would be getting a single coil sized humbucker that would eliminate this noise but would also give you a noticeably different sound.

So, if you’re a fan of the single coil sound but have had enough of the 60-cycle hum, you’re probably considering noiseless Strat pickups. That’s why I created this list of my favorite noiseless Strat pickups to help you make your choice.

4 Noiseless Strat Pickups to Eliminate that Annoying Hum

Here are the best noiseless Strat pickups you can get right now.

You can’t talk about guitar pickups today without mentioning Seymour Duncan. Whether you are looking for a humbucker, P90, single coil sized humbucker, or virtually any other type of pickups, this company seems to make them all. And more than that – they do so with great success.

Unlike all other entries on the list, this is only a neck pickup, rather than a whole set. The reason for this is that the STK-S4 bridge and middle pickups can sound a bit too fatty for a single coil while the neck pickup delivers a classic Strat sound.

The special bottom coil that Seymour Duncan patented in the 80’s feeds negative hum into the pickup circuit which gives you great noise cancellation and preserves the traditional Strat tone.

If you’re in the market for just one noiseless pickup or you don’t want to invest in a whole set before trying them, the Seymour Duncan STK-S4 neck pickup could be a great choice.

  • Seymour Duncan build quality
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    Supreme noise cancellation even with the distortion cranked up
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    Easy to install
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    Perfect choice if you’re looking to upgrade only one pickup
  • If you want the whole set, have in mind that bridge and middle pickups may be too muddy

Any list of Strat pickups wouldn’t be complete without a set from Fender, and I went for the Fender Hot Noiseless set that sports a beautiful aged white color.

These pickups deliver a true hot vintage Strat sound at a great price, especially considering the Fender brand name. They have incredible definition and high output in all three positions without compromising the “noiseless” side of the equation.

If you’re replacing stock pickups on a Squier or a similar mid-level product, you’ll notice a dramatic difference as soon as you pop these in – their hotness and snappy attack rings out on clean as well as on distortion.

But, don’t get me wrong – if you want to keep a low profile, these pickups are more than happy to sit back and let you strum open chords with ease, as the neck position provides some warm and bright sounds only a Strat is capable of.

  • A true Fender Stratocaster sound like this is hard to get anywhere else
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    If you have a Fender, the aged white design will fit your guitar perfectly
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    High output and punchy attack
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    Featured in the Jeff Beck signature model
  • May produce some hum on high gain
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    Instructions may not be clear enough, especially if you’re new to pickups

Getting a powerful sound on distortion without tons of hum is nearly impossible on a single coil. But, the Fender Gen 4 Noiseless seems to do just that – it packs a punch similar to that of a humbucker when the gain knob is turned all the way up, but it also delivers on its hum-cancelling promise.

However, don’t let this fool you – these pickups still give you a vintage Fender sound with punchy mids, a clearly defined high end, and a tight low end. If looks are important to you, these pickups will probably be at the very top of your list. Their beautiful creamy white color looks perfect on almost all Strats and gives your guitar a vintage Fender look.

If you’re looking to eliminate hum while staying as close to vintage Fender tone as possible, these pickups are a great choice.

  • Vintage Fender sound
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    High output, great tone on overdrive
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    Solid noise cancellation
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    If you have a Fender, the aged white design will fit your guitar perfectly
  • Not 100% noise-free

They may lack the mainstream appeal of Seymour Duncan or DiMarzio, but EMG pickups are far from a low-end product. This company makes many Strat pickups the SA Active Single Coil is arguably one of their most favorite ones. Give one listen to it, and you’ll instantly see why.

This pickup combines the old Fender tone with a higher output and added midrange response, which results in a better sustain and a smooth midrange overdrive.

It retains the familiar punchy high end of a single coil while providing you more versatility than some of the other entries on this list. This makes it a good choice for a variety of genres – jazz, blues, country, and even some harder styles like hard rock and metal.

If versatility is what you’re going for, this pickup is your best choice.

  • Great sustain that allows for easy bends and solos
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    Easy to install
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    More versatile than a standard single coil
  • If you’re looking for a true vintage Fender sound, this might not be for you
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    Lows could be too muddy for some players

Final Word

Replacing your stock single coil pickups with noiseless ones is a great way to get rid of the 60-cycle hum without compromising the unique tone of a Strat by switching to a humbucker.

One thing to note, however, is that many of these pickups are much taller than stock ones. So, either make sure that the pickup routes on your guitar are deep enough to support them, or get ready to make slight modifications.

Gavin Whitner
    Gavin Whitner
     

    A guitar player, lyricist, composer, and also the lead editor of MusicOomph, Gavin is one of the four musician friends behind this site. Outside of music, he's an avid sports fan and hardly misses anything from football (soccer) to F1.

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