Anyway, the DG20 by EMG is a replacement
of the entire harness (pickups, selector, volume, and tone pots) with the
DG20 by EMG. This is a system, but I will elucidate the individual
components as separate modifications since you can, in fact, buy each of
Control: Standard 5-way pickup selector.
Function: These work like normal single coil pickups, but they are somewhat "darker" (aka "warmer") in tone than any Strat pickup I have ever heard. However, this is modulated by other elements in the system. These pickups are made from some sort of magnetic ceramic (presumably much like Lace Sensor pickups found in many Fender signature Strats) instead of alnico (aluminum-nickel-copper) magnets found in typical guitar pickups. Perhaps as a consequence of that, there is no annoying 60 cycle (Hz) hum when single pickups are selected. This is really amazing.
Control: Middle tone knob.
Control: Rear tone knob.
Function: Boosts high and low frequencies. I think of this more as a brightness control. I do not hear any difference whatsoever in the low frequencies; and I am playing through relatively large speakers (Fender Ultimate Chorus Amp). Around 1 or 2 on the dial the signal has a nice bright edge to it. Up near 10 it sounds almost like a phase switch has been thrown (really cuts through anyone/anything you are playing with at the time). I used to think this control was too extreme, but I have since learned to adjust it with a mind toward a particular sound instead of just cranking it to see what I get. (Most people go through a similar phase when they get any effect, I'm sure.)
New tuners - I swapped the tuning machines from the red Strat to this one. The keys on the red guitar were more "vintage" in appearance (picture Clapton's "Blackie"), so I thought they worked better in achieving that classic look. Since then I purchased a new, higher quality set of Klusons for the red one.
|Update: This guitar currently resides in Paris, France. I sold it on eBay and then refit the red Strat with the same EMG electronics DG20, only in all white like Dave has rather than this creme/sparkle design.|
Being a big Pink Floyd fan, I picked up some other info about David Gilmour's main Stratocaster over the years.
Dave plays a '50s re-issue Strat by Fender. Aside from the electronics which are all the EMG bits outlined above (i.e., three SA pickups and the EXG and SPC pre-amps), the rest is pretty much standard. As stand-out feature of that model is the heavily-glossed neck, which is something I especially liked about this creme model. It is much smoother and therefore allows your bends to glide as though across ice.
Aside from the electronics, the main difference from the stock version is that Dave cuts his whammy bar down by an inch or two. This is actually a pretty good idea as it gives you more control of the vibrato. By having a shorter bar, it makes it harder to move, so the vibrato requires more conscious effort. If I was more into this technique, maybe I would get out a hacksaw as well, but I tend to do finger vibrato and use the bar mainly for dive bombs.