This is a roundup of Strats with humbuckers.
Most Stratocaster models use three single coil pickups, otherwise known as an "SSS" pickup configuration. But there are three other pickup configurations seen in Stratocasters that utilize a humbucker:
- HSS (humbucker in the bridge position)
- HH (dual humbuckers at both the bridge and neck positions)
- HSH (dual humbuckers with a single coil in the middle)
In this roundup we're pulling together a list of Stratocasters from both Fender and Squier that have one of these three pickup arrangements, thus including at least one humbucker.
13 Strats with Humbuckers
Keep in mind that this is a list and roundup, which is not necessarily meant to be a rating or recommendation. If you want something more along the lines of suggesting particular Stratocasters, I would direct you here:
Read more: Best Stratocasters
Otherwise, enjoy the list of Strats with humbuckers:
- Fender Player Deluxe Stratocaster HSS (humbucker in bridge position)
- Fender American Ultra Stratocaster HSS (humbucker in bridge position)
- Fender American Performer Stratocaster HSS (humbucker in bridge position)
- Fender American Professional II Stratocaster HSS (humbucker in bridge position)
- Fender Player Stratocaster HSS (humbucker in bridge position)
- Fender American Ultra Luxe Stratocaster (humbucker in bridge position)
- Fender Jim Root Stratocaster HH (dual humbuckers)
- Squier Bullet Strat HSS HT (humbucker in bridge position)
- Fender Player Stratocaster HSH (dual humbuckers with middle rail)
- Squier Classic Vibe '70s Stratocaster HSS (humbucker in bridge position)
- Squier Affinity Series Stratocaster HH (dual humbuckers)
- Squier Contemporary Stratocaster HH (dual humbuckers)
- Fender Tash Sultana Stratocaster HSS (humbucker in bridge position)
How does a humbucker change the sound?
Stratocasters with single coil pickup configurations tend to sound brighter, with more treble emphasis, and are generally preferred by lead guitar players. Adding a humbucker can reduce that brightness and encourage more of a warm, full response that gives your Stratocaster a more balanced tone profile.
Humbuckers are also likely to reduce unwanted noise and interference with your tone, which is known to be a problem in Strats and Teles with single coil configurations.
If you add two humbuckers you'll shift the balance of power from bright lead to warm rhythm, giving yourself a much heavier tone profile.
Though it's important to note that "changing the sound" depends on what you're comparing it to.
If you're buying a Stratocaster that ships with humbuckers, you should get a pretty balanced sound, right between the extremes of rhythm and lead.
Which pickup configuration is my best option?
As mentioned in the previous section, the more humbuckers you add, the warmer your tone is going to get.
So in terms of the pickup configuration you choose, it's firmly a matter of preference. Yet the setup we'd recommend that we think will allow a Strat to retain its character while also warming up the tone, is the HSS configuration with one humbucker in the bridge position.
That gives you two single coil pickups to go along with the added thickness from the humbucker.
It's also the most common Stratocaster pickup configuration after the three single coils.
Can I install a humbucker on a regular Stratocaster?
Is it possible to modify a regular Stratocaster (with three single coil pickups) to install a humbucker?
In most cases, I would not advise this.
The reason is that the single coil pickup slots are simply too small for a humbucker to fit. You'd have to cut not only the pickguard, but the body of the guitar as well. If you want to mod a Stratocaster, we recommend replacing single coils with other single coils and humbuckers with other humbuckers, just so you don't have to go cutting into the body of your guitar.
Am I better off with three single coils?
The alternative is to stick with a Stratocaster that has the more traditional three single coil pickup arrangement.
But what are the benefits/drawbacks of that setup?
As I mentioned, single coils can be noisier and are generally better for lead guitar. However, that doesn't really mean you're better or worse off if you use them. First, the Stratocaster - in its most common form - is known as a three single coil pickup guitar.
Thus, it's fair to say that you're getting a more "true" form of the instrument of you go that direction.
But it all really comes down to tone preference.
Do you want a brighter, bluesier tone with more "quack" and definition that's better for lead? Or do you want a thicker, heavier tone that's better for power chords and rhythm?
That's the main question you've got to answer.
If you want a Stratocaster with humbucker pickups, you actually have a lot of different options. Most of the Fender Strat lines have an HSS version, and some even add the HSH version, giving you more variety.
For those wanting a heavier, perhaps more versatile Stratocaster, getting a model with a humbucker is a great way to balance things out a bit.
Everything in this list will get you at least one humbucker, maybe two.
Your Questions and Adding to the List
Do you have questions about the guitars we've mentioned here?
Perhaps you know of other Strats with humbuckers that we didn't mention. If so, drop it in the comments section below and we'll check it out.
If it's no longer in production, that's fine. As long as it originally shipped with at least one humbucker, we'll consider adding it to our list.