Best Strat Pickups for Jazz [Top 3 Picks for 2023]

The Fender Stratocaster is perhaps the most played guitar out there and that might possibly be due to its great adaptability to play almost any genre plus the classic combination of three single coil pickups. 

Although people tend to associate jazz with bulky semi-hollow guitars, Strats are one of the most desired subjects by jazz players.

Although these guitars offer a great tone to play this genre, some musicians are meticulous and they prefer replacing their pickups to get a better outcome. 

Therefore, you may wonder which are the best Strat pickups to play jazz and the answer is here.

The pickups that work better for jazz on a Strat are the Tone Specific 1969, EMG S Set, and GFS ‘59. The three of them offer a groundbreaking vintage sound plus cancel hum in the combined positions.

As we are here to help you, we will give you detailed information about every set of pickups but that’s not all. 

We also have wonderful options for classic jazz and fusion, if you are interested in this gorgeous style and its derivates you will enjoy this article. 

My top picks

Although standard Strats are so versatile that can achieve jazzy tones by themselves, by replacing their pickups you could suit the style in a better way. 

Therefore, my top pick of strat pickups for jazz is the following:

  • Tone Specific 1969 Jazz Strat Pickup
  • EMG S Set
  • GFS Vintage Wound ‘59 Professional Series

Tone Specific 1969 Jazz Strat Pickup

As its name evokes, these pups are a perfect match to play this genre, they provide an open, smooth tone full of clarity. 

Besides, when rolling off the tone they have a wonderful response because they stay articulate and are usually installed when looking for warmer tones in the Strat.

Tone Specifics are inspired by pickup sets from the late 60s which offered extended dynamics plus an incredible sustain

Although most pro players affirm that these pickups work better with tube amps, they present a broad versatility to sound great with solid-state amps and digital devices as well.

Sound demo:


To continue with the list we have an active set of pickups like most of EMG’s models. 

The S Set is a wonderful creation due to offer the best of both worlds: the bright, crystal, clear sound of single coils but adding the noise bucking feature.

Thanks to its internal shielding, this pickup is dead quiet and presents extended control over the tones. 

What is more, guarantees a balanced tone with strong lows and presence that are wonderful for expressive string bendings.

As with every active device, a space for a 9V battery will be required, which may be the only disadvantage. 

Due to their undeniable versatility, these pickups will work fascinatingly with jazz but also with other genres such as country or blues.

Sound demo:

GFS Vintage Wound ‘59 Professional Series

The next pickups will probably be the ones that get closer to the classic Strat sound from the early ‘50s. 

They not only replicate the tone from that era but also have the look of classic single coils.

By using a strong wound plus combining the strong alnico magnets these pups deliver a tight, hard sound that resembles the iconic Steve Ray Vaughan tone. 

In addition to that, the set comes in two different alternatives: a normal wound middle pickup or an RWRP middle pickup for canceling the hum in the combined position.

While the former works better for vintage tones and keeps the distinctive quacky strat sound, the latter amazingly cancels the hum without blurring the tone. 

As you may notice, an incredible option for classic jazz players who have the Stratocaster as their number one.

Sound demo:

Best Strat pickups for classic jazz

Despite the great number of new genres that appeared in the last years, jazz seems to have faithful followers and still nowadays is present. 

Besides, its impact is so huge that loads of guitar players intend to add the classic jazz tone to their playing; if you are a Strat player, the following pickups will help you to achieve your goal.

Fender Original 57/62 with RWRP Middle Position

This set of pickups was designed from a 1963 Stratocaster so its tone is pretty close to the original vintage sound. 

They present white covers to maintain the look as well.

Everything a vintage strat pickup must have is in these beasts, bright, glassy high frequencies plus warms and smooth lows. 

Besides, it has a reverse-wound, reverse-polarity middle pickup which offers hum-canceling operation in 2 and 4 pickup positions.

Sound demo:

Bare Knuckle Boot Camp True Grit 

In this place, we have a custom handmade wound pickup designed by Bare Knuckle. 

The Boot Camp series Strat coils offer great versatility but they are great to achieve classic juicy jazz tones.

Thanks to RWRP middle pickup, they are able to hum-cancel with other coils. 

As their name evokes, they provide a sandy sound, and as they are medium output coils, Stratocaster will make a profit from them.

The interesting thing about this boutique set of pickups is that it has both clean and driven tones. 

Give a try to these pickups and you will get a well-defined rich clean tone and a punchy, slappy overdriven sound as well.

Sound demo:

Fender Gen 4 Noiseless

When it comes to classic jazz tones, this set of beastly coils is a must-have. 

With them, you will have two options that will blow your mind just by listening to them: the vintage tone characteristic of the single coils and at the same time the noise-free performance.

Fender always surprises with their products and this is not the exception, with the Gen 4 Noiseless pickups you will easily achieve crisp clean sound with defined high frequencies and fat-pushed tones with a tight low end. 

In addition to that, the attack delivered by the midrange frequencies is hot as hell.

Sound demo:

Best Strat pickups for fusion

As the years went by, the purity of jazz sound has touched guitarists from almost every genre and they have adopted and incorporated its tone into their playing style. 

Thanks to that, we currently have a combination of music styles that still today is in force.

The band that probably best represents this genre is King Crimson, some people claim they are progressive rock, though. 

A Strat will be perfect for achieving this sound so next, you’ll have the best pickups to get that beautiful, heartbreaking tone.

EMG DG20 David Gilmour Signature Pre-Wired Pickguard

The EMG DG20 will bring the iconic sound of David Gilmour to your guitar. 

In this particular situation, we are talking about a loaded pre-wired pickguard rather than pickups themselves.

The pickup model is EMG SA and consists of a set of active pickups that offers a vintage Strat sound, bright presence, and rich bottom end. 

What is more, thanks to the pickup’s internal shielding they are virtually noiseless.

EMG SAs provide a perfect output to play this genre thanks to their balanced performance great while doing bends. 

Moreover, you will get emotive lines due to their smooth creamy mid frequencies.

Sound demo:

DiMarzio Area ’61 ’58 ‘67 Stratocaster pickup set

Last but not least we have a set of pickups by DiMarzio that relies on a combination of three different single coils great for vintage fusion sound and as happens with most pups in this list, no hum in positions 2 and 4. 

This blend of three pickups joined altogether creates a unique wonderful tone.

The middle pickup is perhaps the most powerful single coil of the set, thanks to the improved sustain it offers enhanced quack in mixed positions. 

In addition to that, provides an amazing clean sparkling sound.

Sound demo:

Other things that can improve your jazz tone

Instruments and gears are not everything, whatever the style you are playing, the main source of production will be your fingers or, failing that, a pick. 

In the case of jazz, most players use their fingers even though they are playing an electric guitar.

Because they use their thumb to accentuate the low notes, acting as a kind of bass, this gives them more freedom when playing. 

The rest of the fingers are usually plucking instead of playing strings with their fingertips.

By doing so, you will notice how your sound becomes a little jazzier. In addition, you can use a thumb pick, a ring-shaped pick, which as the name suggests is used on the thumb.

Generally, what you do on the guitar when playing jazz is to leave a somewhat soft neutral tone. 

To achieve this, you can set your tone control in the middle to make it as flat as possible and then start rolling it down (cutting highs) as much as you feel like it’s needed.

Jazz players are known to use the tone knob a lot.

When playing chords, it is suggested to leave the volume somewhere in the middle and turn it up slowly when playing melodic lines or solos to balance the sound. 

In the case of Stratocasters, the neck position or neck and middle are great as a starting point.

But not only the guitar setup is important, the amp does its part as well. Jazz guitarists generally use flat eq settings to start with but reduce the presence somewhat.

Although these players generally prefer tube amps, solid-state equipment will do the job as well. 

Remember to accentuate the low end without sounding too fat and tone down the high frequencies to lose a bit of brightness to sound muddier.

As regards effects, this style loves clean tones, it will be rare to find distortions or overdrives beyond those found when cranking the amp’s tubes. 

The most used are modulation effects: chorus, delay, and obviously reverb.