• D Allen Pickups Echoes review

    D Allen Pickups Echoes review

    Changing pickups on your guitar can do wonders to your tone. It’s an often overlooked aspect of the whole tone quest but it’s just as important for your tone as any pedal. D Allen recently released the Echoes single coil set. Promising to capture over four decades of David Gilmour’s Black Strat tones I had to check them out. Here’s my review.

    It’s no secret that I’m a huge D Allen fan and perhaps I’m a bit too biased to write this review. Anyway, the man knows how to make some sweet vintage tones and after a head count I realized that a have quite a few guitars with his pickups. Se my review of the TruVintage54, 69 Voodoo’s and Voodoo Blues SSS here.

    The Echoes set feature three single coils based on the late 60s Fender specifications. The neck and middle pickups are “stock” taken from Allen’s 69 Voodoo’s set, with a 5.8k output for classic glassy top, fat bottom and a deep mids scoop. The secret of the Echoes lies in the bridge pickup. Utilizing a push/push mechanism (the set feature a custom tone pot that you need to swap with your old) you can switch between two “modes” – a slighly overwound 69 at 7.6k (same as featured in the Voodoo Blues set) and the even hotter SSL5-ish at 12.5k. How cool is that?!

    Compared to other late 60s single coils, D Allen’s 69 Voodoo’s are, in my very subjective opinion, more open sounding, with a crispy attack and over all more harmonics. Of course, this depends on your guitar – its resonance and overall tone. Like all late 60s models, they’re quite bright but never harsh nor ice picky. The low end is nicely balanced and never too dominating nor boomy.

    I like the fact that the Echoes is based on slightly overwound late 60s specs for the bridge. 7.6k provides a bit more bite for both your cleans and gains, compated to the typical low output 5.8k, which can sound rather thin on most setups. It’s also a better match for the considerably hotter 12.5k “mode 2”, which is based on the Duncan SSL-5 featured in David’s Black Strat (yes, he’s got a SSL1c but it’s the same as the SSL5).

    It seems weird but the difference between the two modes isn’t that obvious. I though there would be a noticeable volume drop or bump but they’re quite similar and what you get is a very versatile combo capable of covering a wide range of tones, from twangy cleans to almost P90 creamy mids. Mode 1 (7.6k) is great for those pre-Animals mids scooped fuzz tones, while mode 2 (12.5k) compliments David’s more recent Tube Driver and Muff tones.

    It’s easy to dismiss expensive handwound pickups as a redundant luxury and I totally understand that it’s not the first priority for a tight budget but it’s not really about good VS bad but rather finding the right basis for your pedals and amp. It’s about choosing the right tone but also discovering the true nuances and dynamics of your guitar.

    I don’t know why no one has thought of this before. Gilmour fan or not, what you get is an icredibly versatile combo allowing you to cover a wide range of tones – and possibly saving you a guitar swap or two during a show! Highly recommended for your Black Strat project! See dallen.com for more details.

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101 Responsesso far.

  1. Owen Okie says:

    I’d largely abandoned my first guitar which I left behind in MN when I moved to Scotland, a Fender Squier, made in Mexico, but am thinking I should change the pickups to a set of Echoes. It’d be great to have a Strat again to compliment my PRS. I’ve never done this before and got a bit overwhelmed on the options when looking for the necessary push/pull tone pot. Could someone recommend a specific brand that is reliable and high-quality?

    • Bjorn says:

      There are lots of different pickup makers out there and I would say that most of them are of very high quality. I’ve been using both Fender Custom Shop and D Allen for years but do check out Fralin, Lollar, Seymour Duncan, Barenuckle… among others. They all offer high quality hand wound pickups based on those classic Fender originals.

  2. Toftaky says:

    Hi Bjorn !

    I’m considering changing stock pickups on a Stratocaster bought recently (alder body and maple fretboard) and I would like to have your opinion between a set of Echoes or a combo CS 69/CS 69/SSL 5 ? How do they compare (apart the possibility of switching between two modes on the bridge pickup on the Echoes set) ? If you would have to choose which ones would you go for and why ?

    And as ever thank you so much for your website, the reviews, the time spent to answer to all of us…

    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks for your kind words!
      There really isn’t that much difference. I use D Allens because I do like them and I can hear some nuances that I don’t get from other pickups… and I’ve tried a lot. Still, Fender CS69s and a Duncan SSL5 will definitely get you the tones. Keep in mind too though that pickups interact with your guitar and amp so what I think sound great might not apply to your setup.

      • Toftaky says:

        Thank you for your quick answer ! I will go for the D Allens then (unless you tell me they are totally incompatible with a Laney Cub 12 which I doubt since this amp is totally “Bjorn approved” ! ;)), the two modes available on the bridge pickup seems an awesome feature to cover a wider range of tones than with the SSL5.

      • David says:

        Bjorn, I’ve listened for what its worth and think the D Allens neck pickup is closer than my Fender Gilmore NOS Pickups which I own. David Gilmour’s neck pickup is fuller… so I am thinking its the 71 pickup of course his fingers as well.
        I have been looking and have come across some posts that David Allen is no longer making these sets but a company from China is. If its always been that way so be it. Your videos tone is what I’d like. Is David Allen still around . Should I look for a used older set?

        • Bjorn says:

          You can’t really compare my tone to David’s because we’re not using the same setup. Our fingers aside, he’s using different speakers than I – Fane speakers are much warmer and fuller sounding than the Celestion V30s I’m using – and he’s using different pedals than I. I haven’t been in touch with D Allen for years but the Voodoo set that I’m using is hand wound by him. There are many companies that offer their take on the late 60s and early 70s single coils so D Allen are not unique in that way. Fender’s Custom 60s are really good and then there’s Kinman, Bare Knuckle, Lindy…. etc etc.

  3. Sofiane says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    What capacitor did you use with these pickups?

  4. Hamish says:

    What is your view on the Kinman Gilmour set?

  5. Renaud says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I’ve been searching for the right Gilmour + Knopfler set (2 in 1) and I found your review here.
    Really convinced as well with all your videos…
    So I ordered the Echoes set at David Allen’s, and… THANK YOU!!!!!
    Really Gilmourish, much better than the set that equips the official CS Fender Gilmour NOS strat!
    And the coil tap is really a great idea, because on the middle + tapped bridge position I could finally get the famous Mark Knopfler tone as well (that is impossible with a high output bridge pickup such as SSL5).
    All your reviews really helped me a lot, this one in particular.

    For those who are searching for the right Gilmour tone, give this set a try!
    You won’t be disappointed.


    • Joe P says:

      I have a Gilmour strat 3 years old, The bridge and especially the neck pups are awesome. But, the middle drowns in the live band mix. Even recording, it is sounds dull, I might be doing something wrong. However, I recall LOVING the middle pup in my first 74′ strat that sadly died in an 80’s dorm party,

      Is there a middle pup I should purchase? Based on your amazing reviews I would choose a D Allen Echoes but his website had disappeared, and none are on sale in reverb or ebay. (They must be AMAZING, right!)

      About me, this is a hobby but…
      I play in pro projects from covers, to originals, to TSO Christmas shows. Presently I’m mixing click tracks to perform the WALL at our local theatre, which I hope will lead to other Floyd album’s!

      My first and main influence is, and will always be, Gimour. I had the pleasure of seeing the Wish You Were here tour in 74′ as my first concert when I was 12. (Which completely out did every show I have seen since.)

      I have never written anything online before. I think that is a complement to your website.

      Thanks Again, Joe P.

      • Bjorn says:

        Hi Joe! The middle pickup will sound duller than the bridge and neck, which I’m sure you are aware but I didn’t like the middle on David’s signature. From what I know, it’s custom wound for the guitar. Perhaps based on David’s original pickup. Maybe they altered it slightly. I think the Fender CS69 or similar works very well for the middle position. It sounds nice and twangy with the bite and top end you need to make it usable. It always depends on your amp and pedals but that’s my best tip.

      • Renaud says:

        Too bad the D. Allen site is down, I remember I ordered my set last summer and it was pretty difficult to get an answer from him, he told me he had some health issues. Just saw on Strat-talk forum recent posts from members referring to his health issues too… I hope he’s well.
        If you’re looking for really great alternative boutique pickups, visit http://www.amberpickups.com/
        He makes really great pickups. I recently ordered a custom bridge pickup with dual output, just like the one of the D. Allen Echoes set. Fantastic! He also makes pickups with Plain Enamel wire, like the CS69.

  6. Frederic GOSSET says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Update about David Allen “Fully Loaded Echoes Set Pickguard” I was about to order…
    Here is an Email from David in respond to my request :

    “I understand what you are asking but I am NOT making ANY loaded guards. I do not have any parts to make any and I am not going to order the parts. I am sorry I wish I could help you but I do not have the time to do so and take care of family and make pickups. Thank you for your understanding”.

    Too bad :-(

  7. Doug S. says:

    Hey man, great site. Had a quick question. I currently have a cij 68 reissue that I’m looking to get new pups for, (I put in noiseless ones a few years ago because for some reason the guitar always seemed very noisy). Anywell, at the moment I have a pickup blender in the bridge tone knob, and I do dig that a lot. Can the push pull of these be added to that pot? Could I use the middle tone knob, which is now basically a master tone for all three pups for the bridge boost? I like the boost option, but I don’t want loose the blender. Thoughts? Thanks, Doug

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Doug! As much as I’d like to help I’m not an expert on the technical stuff. I’d as Allen. He’s very helpful. Cheers!

      • D.S. says:

        Yeah, I emailed him. Waiting for a reply (think he’s on vacation). Btw, do you have any experience with the fralin 69s? I had a set that I thought were just ok. Any thoughts on how they compare to the echoes? Thanks, Doug

  8. Tony says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    May I ask why you chose the SSL-5 over the hot position of the Echoes bridge and what are the differences you observe tonally or sonically? I ask because I current have the Echoes set and wonder what difference I can expect if I switch out the Echoes bridge for an SSL-5 from your experience.

    Sincere thanks,

    • Bjorn says:

      The hot Echoes bridge is based on the SSL5 so they’re basically the same pickup. Sonically I can’t hear much difference and in my case they’re also on two different guitars so it’s hard to tell for sure but the D Allens is perhaps a tad more open sounding and a hair brighter. Again, it’s pretty much the same pickup.

  9. Simon says:

    Where are you buying these from in Europe?

  10. Tony says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    If someone wanted to make a Black Strat replica, would you recommend these pickups if they wanted to go for all eras?

  11. Yashir says:

    Hey everyone, i’m kind a new to this stuff but i’m seriously thinking about buying a set of this pickups but i got a question… what is about the capacitator options, because in the dallen pickups website (http://www.dallenpickups.com/Echoes_pickups_p/ap-echo.htm) there are 3 options for that, and i dont know if i will requiere ir or not.

    Thanks for your help guys.

    • Bjorn says:

      Ask David Allen. He’s very helpful and hell recommend the best option based on your guitar, amp and tone preference.

  12. Dusko Isakovic says:

    Hi Bjorn.

    I hope you are doing well, it’s me again.

    Now I am in search for the pickups replacement on my old MIJ Stat with maple neck.

    First, I am the one that (as you often mentioned) did not use to pay great attention to pickups, but rather to pedals and amps. Thank to your great reviews I was lucky to find right pedals for my peadalboard such as Buffalo Patriot, Tree of Life, etc

    For the bigger part of my life I used to play aggressive music (punk, alternative…) and I had SD Hot Rails and Cool Rails installed in my guitars. Naturally, as I grew older, both as a man and as a guitar player, I wanted something mellower, closer to the regular Strat sound. Knowing well my guitar playing, six years ago my technician suggested installing DM HS3 into the neck and middle position with DM Virtual Solo in bridge position, which gave me pleasant results in the following years.

    Now I have grown even much more (LOL) and I listen greatly to subtle tones and playing provided by Hendrix, Gilmour, Blackmore, K. Richards, R. Wood…. Since the mentioned pickups are sort of stacked HBs, not regular vintage single coils, I am toying with the idea of installing regular single coil pickups. After reading you review of D. Allen Echoes set, I got pretty interested in that particular set. So, I would appreciate if you could tell me how much my current set (HS3s + Virtual Solo) differ from Echoes, particularly how pickups in the neck and middle position HS3s compare to (actually) 69 Voodoos, and how Virtual Solo compares to Echoes bridge PU, particularly to its SSL5-ish Mode 2.

    Best regards, best wishes


    • Bjorn says:

      I haven’t tried the pickups you currently have so I can’t make a comparison. The SSL5 is the hottest of David’s pickups and it should be somewhat similar to what you have now, with a fairly high output and lots of mid range. The neck and middle pickups, Voodoo 69s, have a typically low output and a scooped tone. They’re very transparent and dead on David and Hendrix. Low output pickups might be a huge surprise if you’re used to hotter stuff but low output and a transparent tone, allow for more dynamics and they will colour your amp and pedals less, than mid rangy hotter pickups.

      • Dusko Isakovic says:

        Tnanks Bjorn

        Although you were not able to make a comparison, the information that neck and middle pickups, Voodoo 69s are dead on David and Hendrix is quite useful and sounds appealing. Just for your reference, HS3s are also very output pickups but with a bit pronounced mids (the classic setup is with an overdrive pedal and a Marshall-type amp), and i guess they color amp more that open, transparent vintage type pickups.

        Thanks again and best regads


  13. Bryce says:

    Hi Bjorn, how would you compare the David Allen voodoo 69’s to the TTS haze 65’s?

    • Bjorn says:

      Very similar. They’re both based on the late 60s Strat sound. The D Allens might have a tad more low end and an overall more open tone.

  14. Norman says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I am saving up to buy a new Mex Strat and was going to go for the Fat 50 neck, CS 69 mid, SSL5 bridge combination, as this seems to be the most common Black Strat setup. In terms of a versatile Gilmour setup, is this the best setup or are the echoes a better choice or just equivalent.

    • Bjorn says:

      David’s Black Strat feature early 70s neck and middle pickups, which would be closest to the CS69s. The bridge is a custom Duncan SSL1, which would be the current SSL5. The Fender Signature guitars, feature a FAT50s in the neck on David’s request. The Echoes are closer to David’s own guitar but it depends on what tones you want :)

  15. Karl says:

    Hi Bjorn — I’m wondering if you have a recommendation on the Voodoo 69 Neck and Middle + SSL-5 combination you used in your Oct 12, 2014 Pink Floyd Shine on You Crazy Diamond video (great!) and the Echoes set. I am thinking of getting the fully loaded pickguard deal from D Allen, but if you think the other is better I want to at least consider it.

    Also, how noisy are the pickups? Noise is a factor in my single coil life (though I see you are playing next to a computer without noise . . . )


    • Bjorn says:

      You could go either way I guess. The Echoes set has a tap bridge, which allows you to switch between the SSL5 and Voodoo 69 models. Like all single coils they will pick up noise but if that’s an issue I recommend that you shield the inside cavity of your Strat with copper foil. It will be like night and day. Also, be sure to use good quality cables throughout the rig and try to avoid standing next to or nearby any sources that will cause noise.

  16. John says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Hope you are well and enjoying the new PF record! I am building my second “BLack Strat” tribute, but this time I’m building it like it looked and sounded during the Animals era/DG78. Black guard, Roswood 60s neck, Dimarzio FS-1 w/black cover. What pickups would you get for the neck and middle if you were attempting this project? I know David’s has the two from the “bullet strat” which are very early 70’s I think, or possibly 69. I know the Fender Custom Shop makes a 69 set, but I wondered if you had another recommendation. I love the neck pickup on a strat. Especially clean w/ analog delay and a minor blues lick.

    [I’d go with the 69s. They’re a great match to the FS1 and IMO essential for that period :) – Bjorn]

  17. Adam says:

    Just a follow up to my post on using the mini toggle switch on the Gilmour Strat instead of the push/pull pot for the coil tap on the Echoes….

    This will NOT work, unless you are prepared to route the pickguard slot a bit longer. The mini toggle switch is actually an on/off/on switch, and the pickguard route blocks the switch from traveling to the other “on” position. To use this switch for the coil tap, you need both “on” positions to be working.

  18. Julius says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    I have one question: if I decide to buy the echoes bridge pup combined with CS69 neck and middle pups, would that work well together or do you think there would be some issues?
    Thank you!

    [It will work nicely. D Allen’s Voodoo 69s, which comes with the full set, are his take on the Fender CS69s :) – Bjorn]

  19. Adam says:

    One other comment…the one mild issue I have with the Allen set is the push/pull pot is a bit awkward. Even in the down position, it sticks up higher than the other knobs. I may put the original tone pot back in, and just wire the bridge coil tap to the micro switch that was meant to blend the neck pickup, as I never use this switch.

  20. Adam says:

    You might think I’m crazy, but I replaced the pickups in my Custom Shop Relic’d Gilmour Strat with the Allen Echoes set! I wasn’t bonding with the stock pickups, especially the middle pickup. It was WAY too brittle! The Echoes set transformed the guitar. All of the low end punch, and high end clarity and note bloom is still there, and the brittleness is gone! The coil tapped bridge pickup is really handy too. In the 7.6k setting, the earlier solos (Time, Money, Shine On) sound much closer to the recordings. The 12.5k setting also seems to sound better than the SSL1C-DG that comes with the guitar. Harmonics are better. Really gets that dry, violin-like quality. Fantastic pickups!!

    [You’re not crazy at all! The DG Replic is a guitar… not a painting. I’d have no problem replacing the pickups on it if I didn’t like them. And yes, the Echoes set is amazing! – Bjorn]

  21. KEITH says:

    @Huddie, I’m by no means a tech, but have owned over 50 guitars, many of them Fenders. Check to see if your capacitor is a .022, if so, change it to an .047-.05. Also, does your bottom tone control work the tone of your bridge pup? If you want it truly vintage, have it wired so the top tone controls the neck, and bottom controls the middle only. The bridge on vintage strats have no tone control. And lastly, pickup height is very important, as are strings, and gauge. GHS boomers 10-46 have always sounded great on my Strats, and Gibsons, and pickups too close kill sustain, and too far away kill tone. The above suggestions have always worked for me, and if you aren’t comfortable doing these yourself, there are many, many YouTube tutorials, or your local music shop can provide you with the adjustments at a reasonable charge. Hope you get it worked out. When properly set up with good quality pots, caps, strings, and adjustments, even a cheapo Taiwanese Kramer was my stage, and recording guitar for 3 years, and two albums.

    Best of luck, Keith

  22. Huddie says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Thanks for the review. I was considering buying this set and you convinced me. They are a huge improvement over the stock Lace Sensors my Standard USA strat came with.

    But, and I hope you, or someone else reading this has any ideas, my strat still is missing that warmth I was hoping for. Instead of a really scooped mid this strat still sounds like it has too much mid. It’s sounding nasal and rather cheap.

    The crazy thing is, when you play it without an amp it’s got a real sweet tone. So I was thinking that wood/construction wise it ought to be ok?

    Regards, Huddie

    [Hard to tell why that is but it could be the pickups or their distance to the strings, the amp and its settings, the pedals you use… could be a number of reasons why the Strat sounds thin and bright. Do you have other guitars to compare it with? Check out my latest post as well concerning bedroom tone tips :) – Bjorn]

  23. Sean says:

    Bjorn, these sets like this (or the Kline S-8 set as well) that are based on the Black Strat, would you say they can be played on the bright side with amp settings? I am interested but am intending to use for blues and like the idea of a 12K tougher sounding bridge pickup as I used to be a humbucker guy and am still transitioning to single coils. Its hard sometimes to give up a humbucker in the bridge. So the output appeals to me and a “rock” set of pickups not totally divorced from the strat history also appeals. I also try to stay out of trouble but often work to shape tone to be on the edge of sparkle but not going thin. Not a big fan of dark sounding rigs. Would you say the middle pickup could be hijacked into some country tone? This set sounds really versatile in addition to its intended role. Thanks and best to you. Sean.

    [I think these are very versatile and for many different musical styles. Depending on the character of your guitar and the tone of your amp you should be able to cover a lot of ground with these and the hotter bridge makes the transition from humbuckers to single coils less evident. – Bjorn]

  24. Alexis says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    Thanks for your review, without it I wouldn’t find my graal! I have installed my Echoes set a month ago, and I couldn’t be happier! My Squier Strat is now at a pro level, and incredibly versatile. I was able to perform a little show at the base camp where I’m working, with songs from different sort (blues rock, punk rock, hard rock…), and a great final with Comfortably Numb (thanks for the wonderful backingtrack you host)! My gear was: Squier Strat with Echoes set, Boss CS-2, Mooer Black Secret, Mooer Blues Mood, Mooer Ensemble King, TC HOF (as I couldn’t carry my Flashback X4 in my baggage), a Yamaha solid state amp (can’t remember the reference as it’s not mine).

    The stroke of genius is this push/push pot (far better than the mostly used push/pull system), really easy to use on stage/during a song, and it permits to have a large range of tones available with only one guitar. The neck PU is perfect for rythms parts, with a chorus and a delay I think I had my best moments playing rythms parts (I usually prefer playing solos). With both middle and 69-bridge PU, I’m able to find more blues-rock sounds (perfect for Mark Knopfler tones). Finally, the SSL5-bridge PU alone is really good for those Gilmour solos, and more modern type of music. Sounds great with a distortion effect.

    It’s important to notice that D Allen provides loaded pickguards with the Echoes set, that’s what I bought and I’m not deceived. There is a large choice of different pickguards (models and color), you have also the choice for knobs color. The installation is really easy and you just need to solder the jack output (the new one provided or your previous one), and don’t forget ground connections. They had the good idea to set the 2nd tone pot on both middle and bridge PU, so you’re able to find the tone you want (unlike the traditional Strat setup). Everything is of very good quality, and worth the investment.

    Hope that your review and the different comments will convince other guitarists to do the same choice!


    [Thanks for sharing, Alexis! – Bjorn]

  25. Cem says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I’ve recently discovered that I nearby transformer is causing the serious noise issue I’ve been trying to deal with. It helps when I turn my back to it and stand in a VERY specific spot, but the hum never really stops bugging me. I think that maybe I should install some Kinman pups on my strat. Can they give me that signature strat tone? (I’m talking about the Traditional Mk III)

    [I don’t have that much experience with their pickups but I think but the Traditional and Woodstock sets should give you the tones you’re looking for. Send them an e-mail and ask :) – Bjorn]

  26. Brad says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I have a full set of CS 69s in my strat. Love the tone, but want to replace the bridge with the D Allen Echoes Bridge. I can’t decide whether I want to replace just the bridge, or go for the whole echoes set.

    Do you prefer the sound overall of the Echoes set vs. the CS 69s, including the neck and middle? Do you feel the D Allens sound “better” than the 69s (again, apart from the obvious difference in the bridge pickup)? The CS 69s are 5.4k vs the 5.8k in the Echoes. A slight difference, I know. I feel like going for the whole echoes set would be best because all the pups would play nicer together not just because of the outputs but because they would all have the same pole stagger. However, I’m hesitant to give up what I love about the CS 69s.



    [Hi Brad, sorry for my late reply. The Echoes feature 69s in the neck and middle and the difference between the Fender and Allens is subtle. I prefer the Allens as I think they sound a bit more open and dynamic. The Echoes bridge with the tap feature is really great and compliments the 69s very well. – Bjorn]

  27. Dan Richter says:

    Happy New Year Bjorn,

    I just installed the Echo’s loaded pick guard. All I can say is wow. I havn’t even tried adjusting the heights yet either. I had the SSL-5, CS69, and CSFat 50 before and not quite right with my guitar and ear. The Echo’s set is exactly what I needed. I was playing along with some of your backing tracks with a giant smile on my face. Thank you so much for this site, you have helped me get the tones I have always wanted. Right now I have; American Std strat w/Echo’s pickups, TS-9, Plexidrive, Iron Bell, TC HOF, TC Flashback x4. I will be getting Wampler Ego Comp soon. With all that I am thinking of getting the Carolina Fuzz and Buffalo Power Booster. Just wondering what you think. I think I can get most any tone with that combination. My buddy just gave me a vintage Ross Red Flanger too, know anything about those? One last question. What buffer would you suggest? Thank you for your time, it is very much appreciated.

    Dan Richter

    [Glad you like the Echoes, Dan! The setup looks great and you should be able to cover a wide range of tones with it. The Ross Flanger is very subtle compared to the Mistress and MXR. Tonewise, it’s somewhere between the two. Check out the buffers from Pure Tone Pedals. I’m using them myself :) Cheers! – Bjorn]

  28. Pete says:

    I have adjusted the pickup heights and found the sweet spot. HOLY CRAP!! That neck pick up is AWESOME now!! SSL-5 in the neck. DO IT!!
    Merry Christmas, Bjorn! To you and your family, and may you have nothing but success in the following year! :)

    [Thank you! Enjoy the holidays! – Bjorn]

  29. Pete says:

    I’ve got the guitar all set up. The sound is great. The SSL-5 in the neck is a different animal. It sounds very bassy and compressed. It’s not a bad thing. It works great with an overdrive. Very bluesy in it’s sound. Of course rolling back the volume takes care of the compressed sound to the pick up.
    It sounds different than any strat I’ve ever had or tried.
    Thanks for the tip.
    (I know you were probably curious as what a SSL-5 would sound like in the neck.) :)

    [Thanks for the update :) I had a full set of SSL5’s in one of my Strats a while back but I prefer the late 60s/SSL5 combo. However, a full set can work wonders on a bright or thinner sounding setup and bedroom rigs. Anyway, try lowering the neck a little. The pickup has a high output with lots of mid range and compression, so lowering it a hair or two will compensate for some of that. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  30. Pete says:

    Thanks for the suggestion!! I’m going with SSL-5 in the neck, a SSL-5 RW/RP in the middle position, and a SHR-1 Hot Rails in the bridge. (I think that would be a nice compliment to the SSL-5’s.
    I had not even considered SSL-5’s in the middle or the neck until your suggestion.
    You ARE the man!!
    (Of course this set up is kind of hot, so the volume knob will be used a lot.) :)

    [Learning how to use the guitar volume as a part of your tone gives you so much more control over your playing and tones. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  31. Brian says:

    Hey Bjorn, don’t hate me for this, but disregard my last post, delete it even, but I discovered what the terrible sound destroying problems with the Echoes pickups were. It was a combination of two things. The pickup height was one. I had a guitar technician install the pups and do a complete overhaul on 2 of my guitars, including pup change and setup, which includes setting the pup height and string action etc. This guy did such a horrible job he basically ruined one of my guitars and set up my Strat worse than it’s ever been before, and he didn’t even ground my guitars! So now I know why I sounded like garbage, it wasn’t the pups fault, it was this guitar technician’s fault. I’m not the best at guitar setups but I sat down and set it up much better than he did and it got me thinking about what else he might have screwed up and I looked at the picture at the top of this page and saw the pups are way above the pick guard and I noticed mine were set below it. I raised them up and now I understand the hype. So please forgive me for jumping to the wrong conclusion before, I should have double checked this guy’s work sooner. For years I’ve been going to a guy about 2hrs away and he’s excellent, but slow, months for a simple setup :( but it comes out so perfect it could never be improved upon, so I’ve never had to double check a REAL professional’s work before cuz my usual guy is the best, but I tried a new guy who is closer and faster and I had to change every single thing that he touched. Anyway the pups sound good now after I fixed everything this guy screwed up.

    [Hi Brian! Glad to hear it worked out (I deleted your other post). Of course, the Echoes set or vintage sounding single coils aren’t for everyone but it sounded to me that there was something wrong with yours. The setup is crucial and not a lot of people really don’t know how to do this. There’s no exact science and each guitar, playing style and tone preference require individual attention and a unique setup. Finding a good technician and just someone behind a desk at a guitar store helps a lot and with time you’ll get enough experience to do it yourself. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  32. Pete says:

    I’ve had the echoes set for over a month now and still love them.
    I have another strat that I want to change the pickups on. Since I already have the echoes set in my main strat, I was wondering what set you think would offer some different tones for my other strat. (I’m primarily a blues rock guitarist when not jamming Floyd.)


    [How about a full set of SSL5s? The Tex/Mex or similar from other brands is also very nice for blues with a nice mid range boost but lots of clarity. – Bjorn]

  33. Josetxu says:

    Alex: I’m also a Gilmour and Knopfler fan. I’ve got a strat with a set of 69/69/SSL5 and I feel the echoes would be a better choice as the middle/bridge position suffers with the SSL5 so using the echoes in low output mode would bring a more authentic sound. But Knopfler also used a lot of neck pickup in the first and second album (Single handed sailor is a good example) and he used a hotter dimarzio pickup (a FS-1) so maybe the fat 50 was better for that…

  34. Keith says:

    Just a quick post Bjorn, to share some of the knowledge about pickups I’ve learned hanging at Lindy’s shop.
    A vintage ’60s Strat pickup has a dc output of approximately 5.8k, giving it a resonant peak of just below 3. As you add windingings, the output rises, and so does the resonant peak, causing the pickup to lose high end,(it gets darker.), and also increases the midrange. This I’ve found is good for bridge pickups like the SSL-5, as it rolls off the ultra high end, adding midrange, and allows the bridge pup to be used for solos, without getting lost in the mix. DG tried this first with the FS-1, with an output of over 14k, and likely finding it too dark, settled for the custom SSL-1c Seymour guilty for him. That’s about as high as a humbucker, and not a mild one, and as high as you’ll ever need. As for neck, and middle pickups, the high end isn’t ear piercing with stock vintage pickups, and thus is why David has thus far stuck with the ’71 “bullet” strat pickups in those positions. They are only wound about 7800 turns, and therefore only have an output of approximately 5.5k when wound stock. I’ve seen nothing to make me believe they have been wound hotter, if they’ve even been rewound. The 3 wire SSL-5, is an excellent choice to use in conjunction with a low output pickup in neck, and middle, and when you want a bright bridge sound, you can just wire in a micro switch, or push / pull pot to switch between an output of 6.8, and 12.9k, like D.Allen has offered here. Longer than intended, but will hopefully clear up the idea behind David uses the pickups he does!
    Peace all, UNCLE EBB

  35. Alex says:

    I am also going back and forth between the ssl6/cs69/fat50s and this one.

    My question is what would be cover better gilmour AND early knopfler tones?

    [It’s very similar. The Fat50s has a bit more mids. – Bjorn]

  36. RIck says:

    HI Bjorn
    Have you tried the Dirty Blond pickups by Lollar??? Its supposed to have a scoop mid tone, and handles pedals real well


    [Nope but thanks for the tip! – Bjorn]

  37. Thierry Gerber says:

    Thank you Bjorn!

    I have purchased an echoes set ans it is just… amazing! I have rediscovered my Strat! You were totally right when you said the 69 in neck position has more bite, more open sounding and… less mids than the 50’s.

    Mids were the problem for me and the difference is noticeable. With the bridge pickup, this set is really versatile and cover a full range of DG sounds.
    Probably other manufacturers have similar pickups (like fender cs69, kinman…) but D. Allen did a great job. I am totally agree with Pete comment.


    [Glad you liked the pickups, Thierry! – Bjorn]

  38. Pete says:

    I got these on my guitar and all I can say is ….. WOW!!!
    (Well, obviously I can say a little more.) ;)
    The bridge pup is fantastic. Does exactly what you think it will, but the neck pup….. I was not expecting a sound like that from my neck pickup. It was loud, clean, and defined with the bass strings and the higher fretting. Everything I’ve ever wanted in the neck position.
    I’ve also not used the middle position much in the past, but that may change as well. The whole set brought new life into my guitar.
    Your review may have understated how good these are. Then again, you have used quality pickups all along, so the difference may be more subtle to you. I went from some crap stock pickups to this set, and the difference was amazing.
    Thanks for the great review and suggestion to try these.

    [Glad you like them, Pete! Great pickups indeed! – Bjorn]

  39. Christopher Charles says:


    I agree with Bjorn. The 90s/2000s Deluxe is probably the best. The Hartman is modeled after vintage “green” model of the Electric Mistress.

    It is a very nice pedal, but like Bjorn cautioned, it does not play well with all high-gain pedals. I find it to work really well with certain muff clones like the Pig Hoof and Iron Bell, but I am not pleased with it paired with my BYOC Large Beaver or some of my Ram’s Head clones (e.g. SUF Ram’s Head, and Guitar Gadgets Ram’s Head). With those pedals I find it to get shrill through the highs and to muddy the low end to the point of choking. I find that running it on 12v helps with this a bit, but not entirely.

    My rig is set up such that the Hartman works very nicely and I love the tone it gives me, but again I am using it with Pig Hoof and OCD primarily. Even then, I very often stack it with my MIJ CE-2 chorus to make it a bit more watery and warm it up a bit. The footprint is smaller and the power supply runs on Boss-style 9v to 12v DC.

    Overall, I love it but my Deluxe EM is so much nice (just huge and requires a separate power supply).


  40. Michael Ahlf says:

    Hej Bjørn, great review, i really wanna know how much they cost these D-Allen pu set, i have to have them, and where to order?

    [Takk! Check out D Allen’s site for prices and ordering info :) – Bjorn]

  41. Brad says:


    A little off topic, but do you prefer the Hartman Flanger or the Deluxe Mistress?


    [The late 90s/early 2000’s Deluxe. The Hartman is great but doesn’t go that well with high gain pedals like the Muff and fuzz. – Bjorn]

  42. Phil C says:

    I just wanted to comment on the “too loud G-string” problem. On the Fender ’69 pickups you can push that magnet down, I did it by putting a piece of wood on the pole and tapping the wood (a chopstick) gently with a hammer. It might be a little stuck at first, but once freed it can be adjusted easily – if you push it too far down you’ll have to push it back up from the other side. I pushed it down to be the same height as the A-string pole.
    There are other pickups you can do this with, usually vintage style, but there are some you cannot as you could break the winding if it is somehow attatched to the magnet. You can probably find out by googling or contacting the manufacturer. I totally recommend doing this with the ’69s, as I found them pretty unusable otherwise but now they are my favorite. Love this site, by the way!

  43. Gio says:

    Hi Bjorn, love your blog, I am Gilmour’s fan too, on my black strat I use an italian pick ups set:
    Romano Burini DG set.
    very impressive pick up.
    regards Giov.

    [Thanks for the tip! – Bjorn]

  44. Christopher Charles says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I just wanted to toss out a recommendation. About a year ago I bought a set of D.Allen Dovers for my secondary Strat. I gotta tell you, they have an amazing tone. Very clearly not aimed at Gilmour’s tones at all, but I find that the set provides a beautifully rounded, creamy tone for David’s solos and offers a range of very warm leads and rhythms. The set plays extremely well with the Pig Hoof and Tube Driver (combined and separately) as well as ThroBak boost and modulation. I’ve tried them with CE-2, both Deluxe Mistress and Hartman Flanger clean and with tones of Muff and they just sound great. The nature of their rounded tones helps to tame even the dirtier and more unruly muff versions (naturally I have a number of clones of various versions), especially those that are scooped with open highs. They cut some of the shrill while letting you get some interesting harmonics. They are great also on small amps at bedroom levels (I use a Blues Jr 1×12 Tweed NOS with a set of high headroom JJs from Eurotubes) and only gets better with volume and power (like my Reeves 50 w/ Vintage Purple speakers).

    Anyway, the videos available for these pickups do not do them any justice. If you are looking to try something a little different but versatile, I highly recommend you check this set out. I still run my Black Strat as my main, but I really like the contrast and different inspiration I gain from playing the Dovers. A whole different beast.

    As always, thanks for all you do, my friend!

    [Thanks a lot for the recommendation, Brad! – Bjorn]

  45. Brad W says:

    Thanks for your input, Keith.

    I have a Highway One strat with a 9.5 radius. Funny, I actually just raised my action a little, did some saddle fine tuning, and lowered the pups. The sound balance and playability is much better. I agree about many preferring action too low. Surprisingly I’ve known quite a few very good players (which is to say not beginners who don’t know better) who prefer their action much lower than I prefer, so clearly its a style and personal preference thing, not necessarily correlated to experience or talent level.

    I find when the action is too low I seem to hear too much spank and attack sounds which becomes almost distracting from the notes being played, not to mention the annoyance of buzz and fretting out on bends.

    Also I bend strings ALOT, as I’m sure many Gilmour fans do. Another reason why I love the Highway One with its big 70s headstock and jumbo frets. When you bend on a guitar with medium action and jumbo frets, it feels like you can really get your fingers under those strings without feeling like you’re fighting for room with the fretboard.

    It seems the “good” players I know who prefer lower action, and maybe this applies more to jazz players, too, tend to “slide” more and bend less, and are also able to pull of much quicker single note runs than I…just some thoughts.


  46. Keith says:

    To confirm the numbers from my last post, any guitar with a neck radius 10″ or flatter should use the Hybrid, or “Modern” stagger. Most Fenders are either 7.25, or 9.5, and thus all that should be needed is raising the G-string, or lowering the pickup. Most people tend to adjust their action too low, and pickups too high. I just readjusted all my pickups, and raised the action on Cymbaline, and the difference is amazing! Much beefier, and balanced!
    Peace, Keith

  47. Keith says:

    I re read Brad W.’s post, and if you have a radius that is somewhat flatter than a vintage Strat neck, the Hybrid Stagger would suit you. Flatter necks are one of the main purposes of a Hybrid Stagger ;)

  48. Brian says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I want to replace the stock pickups in my Strat for a set of cs69s (maybe) but this Echoes set sounds very interesting too. I like the vintage Strat tones from Medde, Pompeii, DSOTM and WYWH. I love PULSE tones too, some of my favorites but I know those aren’t really feasible with vintage style pickups. What is your opinion? If I got the Echoes set that may have a wider variety of tones will I miss out on anything in the vintage “Echoes” or “Shine On” tone area that might be better with the cs69s? Also should I get another pick guard for them or should I just install them in the same pick guard I’m using with my stock pickups? BTW I’m left handed so the non adjustable pole pieces can be a real problem when flipped 180°, if the Echoes’ poles are symmetrical (or nearly symmetrical) that’s a big plus for us wrong handed folk. Thanks again!

    [The Echoes set does feature 69 neck and middle and the low output mode on the bridge is very close to the 69 specs, so you’ll have no problem covering all of David’s Black Strat tones, incluidng Dark Side, Pompeii and WYWH. They’re different from the DG20 but with some tweaking of your pedals you should be able to get very close. No problem installing them in the pickguard you already have. – Bjorn]

  49. Chris says:

    Hey Bjorn!
    Great review as always. I actually bought a loaded pickguard a few months back with these pickups, and yeah definitely love the tone and versatility of the bridge pup. I have a little bit of tech question though I replaced some Kleins in my strat with the echoes pickguard and there seems to be alot more cycle noise than before. Nothing else has changed except the installation of the new pickguard. Did you notice how the shielding was in your setup? Or have any suggestions? I have heard normal cycle hum on other strats I own and it seems to be much more pronounced and constant with these pickups.
    Thanks again for the site and reviews.

    [Thanks Chris! You got the Echoes pre-wired? I haven’t noticed any change with mine. Send David an e-mail and ask. He’s very helpful. – Bjorn]

  50. Keith says:

    I meant hand scatter wind, not stagger, ding-ding, and sorry about the typos, my phone sucks!
    Keith ;)

  51. Keith says:

    This may answer some of the questions in some of the above posts. The “Modern Stagger is what is really called a hybrid stagger, and us usually done when you have a flatter neck radius. As fir Allen getting his idea from the split rail, it’s actually almost exactly the sane as a 3 wire, tapped SSL-5, that is available from Duncan. However, tapped singles have been around quite some time. The Echoes set, speaking strictly spec wise, is two CS 69s, at 5.8 K, or about 8000 winds, and the bridge is almost identical to Seymour’s 3 Wire SSL-5. The ’71 Grey bottoms DG has in the black strat, if still original, use regular #42 plain enamel, and are about 7800 winds,
    or roughly 5.5 k dc output. It’s all about the stagger, in hand wired vintage pickups, and that is the art, D.Allen seems to be very good at it, and if the naterials are period correct, and wound reasonbly close, say between 5.5, & 6.8, the resonant peak remains above 3, and therefore gives that balanced, and very vintage tone. As for RWRP screwing up your Quack in 2 & 4, I have played identical guitars, with identical pickups, except one was normal polarity, and any difference in quack, was negligible at best. I’m not there yet, but have started studying luthiery, and pickup design, so I hope the little I do know, is helpful.
    peace, Keith

  52. thierry Gerber says:

    Hi BJORN,

    These pickups seems to be really great. It’s hard to make a choice…
    I own a Fender american standard stratocater 2012 with fat 50’s but in my quest of the “Gilmour tone” i plan to replace them. It’s hard to decide what is the best choice : keep the 50’s in neck position, with a cs 69 in middle and a seymour Duncan ssl5 in bridge position or install the D allen echoes set.
    My gear is : Koch amp studiotone xl, Effectrode pc2a comp, Pig Hoof mkII, Throbak od boost, Hartman flanger, Roger Mayer Voodoo vibe tc, Retrosonic Phaser and TRex Replica delay.

    Any suggestion?

    Long life to Gilmourish.com!

    [The difference would be the Fat 50s in the neck vs the late 60s specs. Personally, and since you ask, I prefer the Fender CS69 or D Allen Voodoo 69 in the neck. It has a bit more bite and a more open sounding tone compared to the Fat 50m which has more mids. The difference is huge but noticeable. The Fender signature guitars feature the FAT50s, which is what David wanted but his own BS, feature a 71, which is very close to the 69. Based on your setup, I think both fits nicely so it really down to taste. – Bjorn]

  53. Jeff Pinkstaff says:

    I would still love to hear you do a tutorial for Mudmen! These pickups would be perfect for that!

    [They would! – Bjorn]

  54. Gareth says:

    @Keith I very much enjoy reading all the comments you make with your gear and experiences. I had never even heard of Fralin but after you mentioned him I did my homework on the web and there will definitely be set of vintage hots in one of my strats at some point in the near future. But you know as the story goes, once you get comfortable with your guitar and playing you start to tinker about and wonder about changing this and that :) I’ve just been dying to see what Bjorn says but even if they don’t turn out to be Gilmourish I haven’t really been able to find a bad review of them.. Thanks for clearing that up with the tuners, I dont really have access to a large variety of guitar part upgrades at my local music shop so its great to see what the general opinion is here with people who have the same sort of tonal direction (more or less) as myself! Bjorn what I found amazing is that I’m pretty sure this site has been the driving force behind the apparent push by pedal makers (boutique and more commercial) to go on and make some really cool Floyd inspired pedals which they were making in the past but have really upped their game to bring some awesome pedals to the table because you have shown them that there is a market!
    Thanks Again!

    [He he, well perhaps :) The Floyd/Gilmour market is a considerable one at least. – Bjorn]

  55. David says:

    hello bjorn, two doubts. 1: What do you think (if you ever saw one) about The Caprid by Wren and Cuff? it is said to be the exact replica of the vintage rams head big muff. well if you ever saw one or you tried one tell me, i want to know!!
    2: Would be a mistake of mine to say that the Animals Tele was a cherry sunburst one? i´ve got this picture http://k20.kn3.net/2D14A02D3.jpg . there you can see gilmour´s tele. with that pic i can hardly say its the brown sunburst, besides you could tell the light is white so there is no light coloring on the guitar. so either way it goes im going on the cherry one, i find it prettier, so what do you say?? thanks for your support ;) David

    [Sorry for my late reply David. I’ve never tried the Caprid, so I can’t tell. I’ve no doubt that it sounds awesome though. W&C knows their stuff :) Mind though that making an exact replica is near impossible. The early Big Muff models had some many inconsistencies that you can’t really compare two seemingly identical pedals. Most of the clones out there are either reverse engineered based on one specific pedal or sort of a “best of” of many pedals.
    Check out this article on David’s Animals Tele. – Bjorn]

  56. Richard says:

    It has been thought if before – the tapped version of the SSL-5 would do this.

    [Indeed. I was commenting on the whole set but the SSL5 coil tapped version would give you a similar result. The tapped “mode” is a bit milder than the Echoes though, with a 6.6k output. Not a huge difference but it doesn’t sound as warm. – Bjorn]

  57. Ken says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I’ve been looking at these pickups and was wondering how does the bridge pickup compare to a coil tapped version of the SSL5? I am either going to get these or Fender CS69 in the neck/mid and a coil tapped SSL5 in the bridge, or should I stick with my DG20’s?

    [I’ve never tried the SSL5 coil tapped version but it’s very similar to this one. The SSL5 has a slightly lower tapped mode though, reaching 6.6k compared to the Echoes’ 7.6k. It’s not a huge difference but the Echoes sound a bit warmer. The DG20 are great pickups but very different from the late 60s sounds, so it depends on what tones you’re looking for. – Bjorn]

  58. Stephen Ford says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    So you record this digitally onto a mixing program on the computer, I am guessing. It would be great to have you switch the channels mid phrase and note it in the video so the viewer can actually here the difference between 2 PU’s! That would be amazing, and a step ahead of all the other videos being put out there for PU’s because it is really hard to tell unless the guitar is in your hand or there is another guitar to reference it against.

    Thanks again Bjorn.

    [Good point :) – Bjorn]

  59. Keith says:

    And Gareth, I think Bjorn would agree, Gotoh Vintage Fender style stay in tune better than Sperzel’s. Just my opinion having had many of both.

    [I haven’t tried Sperzel’s but I’m very happy with the Gotoh’s and don’t have a problem with them. A good and stable tuning depends on many things but using good tuners is a must :) – Bjorn]

  60. Stephen Ford says:

    Honestly it is just hard to tell… sounds like a strat other than the bridge PU at two different values…

    These reviews of things such as pick-ups really are hard to judge without a constant. As in any science experiment you need to have a reference point. Always having a reference ie, the Strat you like the best with your favorite PU’s that do not change in comparison would add valuable information not contained in this video review.

    It would be great to do the same tunes and all with your chosen strat and then with the other strat with the altered PU’s, with the amp left alone, everything just the same other than the two guitars (the actually taping would not take much longer as you would just need to switch guitars and replay the tunes through a second time.

    Then go back in forth in the video (through splicing, a little extra time here indeed, but really worth it!) to allow you to hear the tonal differences.

    Just alone there are just too many factors as you mentioned. Mic placement, Amp settings, room ambiance…etc.

    Thanks for all your hard work Bjorn this is not a critique but just a thought of how to give a more valuable final product.

    [Thanks for your input, Stephen! – Bjorn]

  61. Keith says:

    @ Gareth, hi fellow follower of Bjorn’s womderful site. I realize I do make a lot of noise about Lindy’s pickup’s, but there is a very good teason. I truly believe he knows more about Fender pickups than almost anyone alive, and has made pickups for me for over 30 years. He fell in love with vintags Fender guitars as a very young man, and has the playing talent of SRV, and has been playing in the same blues band for over 30 years. Duncan, Allen, and many others make great pickups, I love the sound of the D.Allen Echoes set, but the SSL-5 has always come the same way, you can buy it tapped, or not. The addition of the Push-pull pot can be used the same way on a 3 wire SSL-5. Fralin has never tried to penetrate the Hilmourish market, and thus isn’t as well known in the genre, but loves Floyd, and as I’ve stated, it is a fact that when the original ’69 pups from the BS needed a rewind, they were sent to Lindy, with a note from Phil that no one but Lindy Fralin was to so much as touch the pickups. Never paying attention to who he’s winding a pickup for, he didn’t know anything about the pickups he was winding, because he, and only he winds all vintage Fender pups, and all with the same care. One call to his shop, and you would be able to speak with him directly,( he answers the phone half the time anyway), and by the end of the conversation, you’d feel you gad a new friend, but one who thinks of nothing but Fender guitars. Bjorn has a set being sent to him, and then I’ll be vindicated in my accessment, or he’ll hate them, and I’ll shut up, but the latter is not to be the case, of that I’m confident. I hope my constant talk about Lindy isn’t a
    bother, but as he doesn’t really advertise, I try to do it in the Gilmour community for him, because I want you, that community to know of his true genius at hand scatter winding. I have NOTHING negative to say about D.Allen, or Seymour, who is a friend of Lindys, but he is as good as they get, and will make any pickup you wish, with all period correct materials. But I’ll say no more, until Bjorn has a chance to tell you what he thinks. ;)
    Peace, Love, and Gilmourish, Keith

  62. Brad W says:


    There is much discussion on forums concerning whether/how a RWRP middle strat pickup affects tone or that strat “quack” in positions 2 and 4. Since the Echoes set has a RWRP middle pickup, do think there is any loss of quack or liveliness to the 2 and 4 positions, or compared to a vintage output non RWRP set like custom shop 69s?

    I have the CS69 set and was wondering, does the tall pole piece on the g string on the cs69 ever bother you? When I first got the set it was annoying how much louder the g string sounded. Now it doesn’t seem to bother me as much…maybe I’ve adjusted or it in my playing?

    One of the things tempting me to swap out the whole set for the echoes is that the D Allen poles are a “modern stagger.”


    [There is a difference between RWRP and not having it obviously but I haven’t really considered it a problem. It’s just slightly different sounding and how much difference there is also depends on the guitar and its resonance. In regards to the vintage staggering you can compensate to some extent by raising the G-string. A proper setup, followinmg the curve and contour of your neck should be enough but you might also want to adjust the height of the G-string if that’s possible. Don’t compromise your playing though. – Bjorn]

  63. T.Quay Williams says:


    Yes, I agree that versatility is a great thing in equipment as long as quality isn’t sacrificed. Seymour Duncan makes an interesting P-Rails pickup (not for Gilmour tones necessarily) that is supposed to split a Humbucker into a P-90 and Strat sound. As long as it sounds good it is a great idea and may well be where D. Allen got the concept to play around with the Echo set.
    Cheers All,

    [Possibly, I don’t know. I absolutely agree that quality can’t be compromised for versatility nor quantity. I don’t think that’s the case here though. Based on my own tests, the two modes on the bridge is just as good sounding as having two separate pickups. – Bjorn]

  64. Carlos Brazil says:

    Hi, Bjorn! As I’ve posted at Facebook, the “final results” are quite similar to those that I can obtain using the Fender’s Custom Shop NOS BlackStrat (including the different combinations of pickups through the 3rd knob simulating that “extra button” that is present at Dave’s BlackStrat and its replicas that makes his Fender unique). Its a cheaper alternative for buying a Custom Shop guitar that costs around USD 4.600. A very interesting kit, without any doubt! Regards!

  65. Brad Roller says:

    Interesting. These sound pretty good. What do you think of the Crazy Diamond Set compared to these? I have the neck and middle of the crazy diamond set and an ssl5 in the bridge. pretty good combo to me! Im happy with it anyway :P

    [They’re both great sounding pickups. If the pickups are made with high quality parts and the craftmanship is good, then difference will be down to nuances. I prefer D Allen’s Voodoo’s but I also have Strat’s that doesn’t go that well with those pickups. It’s the combination between the guitar, pickups, amp and your fingers that determine the sound. – Bjorn]

  66. Keith says:

    I’d be curious what wire he’s using. I’m sure the bridge is probably #43, bevause you can’t overwind #42 anywhere close to “a slightly? Overwound” 7.6. The most you’ll get on a true vintage pickup, which uses #42, is about 6.8. His 69 specs are dead on the vintage wind, at 5.8, but the bridge pick up, is basically exactly the same as Seymour’s 3 wire SSL-5 in the three wire version. That is a true single coil, where the wind has one lead attached at the halfway,( or wherever you decide), and one at the end, so the pickup can use half the wind, or the full wind, at 12.5+-. This is true coil tapping, which is often confused with coil splitting, which is the term for splitting the two coils of a humbucker. Neat Idea, been around a long time. The idea of connecting all three leads is a great Idea, so you can have a more vintage sound in the lower tapped output, and a more modern 12.5 super high output, as far as singles go. I still believe you should check out Lindy Fralin pickups as well. While his highest listed output pickup, is 10k, he will make anything you want, has a spotless reputation, and is the nicest, most accessible guy you could meet, and is who the pros go to fir anything vintage Fender, ask David, The Edge, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, tge list goes on!!! And, he gives you a month to decide if you got exactly what you wanted, and if not, he’ll rewind them to a different value. And I believe he’s the oldest boutique pickup building shop in the world, if not, he’s awful close, having been in business for well over 30 years. D. Allens are some of the best, I think the Fralins, ARE the best. I don’t work for Fralin, nor do I receive anything for the comments. I truly believe the above to be absolute truth.
    Try everything, choose what suits you, Keith

  67. Fabrício Conrado says:

    1st time that I saw a really diferent set of pickups. Nice!

  68. Yoel says:

    I’ve been waiting forever for this! Thank you Bjorn! Now the only question that remains is, do you reccomend this bridge pickup over the SSL-5?

    [The 12.5k mode sounds more or less identical to the SSL5. I like the combination of the two and I’m sure I’ll leave it on this Strat for a while. My main Strat feature a SSL5, which I don’t see the need to replace for now :) It all comes down to which tones you need and what fits the guitar. – Bjorn]

  69. Gareth says:

    Hi Bjorn

    Those pups really do sound awesome! Being able to switch “modes” on the bridge gives you so many more options tonally! An incredible idea! With all the noise Keith has been making I was wondering if you’ve managed to get hold of and give the Fralin Vinatge Hots a go? Also whats your take on Sperzel machine heads? Got any on your axes?

    Thanks Bjorn! Really appreciate all the time and effort that goes into this site!

    [Thank you Gareth! I think Keith’s got something up his sleeve but I’ll get back to that later :) – Bjorn]

  70. Scooter says:

    Hi Bjorn, I installed a set of the D. Allen echoes p/u’s in my 96 50th anniversary Ltd. Ed Strat last week and I couldn’t be happier with the tone. First rate quality workmanship and customer service! David was extremely helpful and quick to respond to my emails. I’m glad I purchased them before you posted this outstanding review and video. He’ll be swamped now and most deservedly too.
    Thanks as always

    [One of the more dedicated makers out there :) – Bjorn]

  71. Bill Jones says:

    I’ve been searching for comparable pickup replacements for my telecaster. Since I can’t afford a new stratocaster, I’m looking for a set for my guitar that resembles Gilmour’s black stratocaster. I’ll have to see what Allen’s can provide.

    [Contact him and I’m sure you can figure something out. I’ve tried quite a lot of combos for my Teles – even some custom wound SSL5 for Tele, which sounded amazing but as you know, Tele’s aren’t suited for that high outputs so they got all microphonic and squeeled like mad when I engaged heavier pedals. For the moment, my 62 reissue feature a NoCaster neck and a custom wound 7.2k bridge. Very versatile combo I think. You get that classic Strat tone from the neck and a bridge with lots of bite. – Bjorn]

  72. Andy McKay says:


    I’ve just ordered a Fender CS ’69 to finish my blackie (Fat 50 in neck, CS 69 mid, SSL5 bridge), this always happens; I buy a new fx pedal or pickup(s) and you go and review something even better! lol
    I have 5.9n 5.9m 7.6b in my white strat and always wished I could boost the power at a flick of a switch.

    As ever great review Bjorn, best wishes.

    [Ha ha, your BS combo is spot on though :) You can also order just the bridge with the push/push tone pot from Allen. – Bjorn]

  73. Will says:

    Great review Bjorn, and nice playing too! It’s gonna be hard for me to choose a set of pickups for my Black Strat man! So many different brands and models to choose from!!! :)

    [Thanks! There are lots of stuff to choose from and the quality is very high among most of them. Allen is very helpful and makes great sounding pickups. I think the best approach is to just read a lot of reviews and check out some clips on YT and go for a set and brand that you think will fit your guitar and the tones you want :) – Bjorn]

  74. Pete says:

    AWESOME!!!! I put in my order. (I’m a gear junkie and there is no cure.)

    [I know how you feel :) – Bjorn]

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