FAQ’s: Frequently Asked Questions


At Ironstone, customer service and technical support are seen as a big part of the Ironstone 'package'.  The support section menu (click on the Support tab above) explores a wide variety of topics relating to the technical side of your pickups installation and adjustment, including the associated guitar electrical circuitry. Additionally, these FAQs may help with some of the most frequently asked questions coming into Ironstone.

If you do not find what you are looking for here in FAQs, or require further detail or clarification, please contact us via the dedicated Support Contact page, and be assured of our best efforts to resolve your queries.

Which is your best pickup / which is the best (Stratocaster) pickup for me?
The response to questions like these always begins by stating what a highly personal thing pickup tone and choice is. Since we all hear and appreciate guitar tones differently, it gets really hard constructing a definitive answer. So if someone says they like the Shadows or Gilmour tone for example, it really starts to narrow things down. 'Best pickup' can similarly only be defined in terms of what someone wants from their pickups tone. The person seeking a Shadows tone is looking for a very clean and 'twangy' result compared to someone wanting a dirtier classic rock tone. Consequently there is no such thing as the 'best' pickup, just the best for you. There is so much more to tone than just pickups of course, but a similar rule would apply for amplifiers, pedal and guitar gear in general.
So the simple answer to the questions above is what (who) do you want to end up sounding like - from that tonal palette the pickup choice can then be narrowed down. You can also check out the Stratocaster artist / pickup selection guide on this site.

What advice would you give for sourcing associated components; potentiometers, capacitors switches?
Probably the most frequently asked question! In terms of the actual values to use and their effects on tone, check out the support page on this site Guitar Potentiometers & Capacitors. That will give a good grounding into what values and styles of component to consider and why. Whilst Ironstone do not sell this kind of component individually, we are happy to recommend www.axesrus.com to UK customers. Ironstone have no business links to Axesrus, but you will find them a helpful and very well stocked source of all things guitar! 


Are the Ironstone pickups suitable for left hand and right hand players?
The Ironstone Stratocaster pickup construction is effectively 'symmetrical' with the exception of the more pronounced pole piece stagger on the Hybrid grade. That means that the Silver, Gold and Platinum's are completely interchangeable for right and left handed use. The hybrids are designed to have a modified tonal response, boosting the mids and highs due to the relatively raised D, G, B & (treble) E strings. So mounting them in a left hand guitar (assuming strung with bass E physically above Treble E) will not give the right tonal balance. Note that Hybrids could of course be mounted 'upside down' (i.e. connection cables exiting towards the neck), if the guitar woodwork allows it, to correctly align the poles to strings.
The humbuckers are capable of being used either way up, depending where a player wants the screw adjustment / fixed poles to be. 


Are the Ironstone middle pickups RWRP to give the classic 'in-between' switch positions?
Yes, all of the Ironstone Stratocaster pickup range feature RWRP (reverse wound, reverse (magnetic) pole) middle pickup construction. This means all four of the Stratocaster styles will give the classic noise cancelling quack tones in switch positions 2 and 4. It is for this reason that it is very important to install the pickups in their correct physical slot, as defined by the common colour coding. See also Stratocaster Common Technical Specifications and Guitar Pickups Explained.


I have just reconnected the scratchplate to my guitar, and there is a terrible background buzz / hum?
Probably the commonest (and luckily easiest to fix) problem upon reconnecting a scratchplate to the guitar is accidentally reversing the 2 wire connections at the jack socket. Assuming it is a standard 2 terminal mono jack socket, the end result in doing this is that all of the 'shielded' elements of the guitar electrics now become the 'live' side of the signal. So all background electrical noise is picked up and amplified, as is the electrical noise associated with touching any of the guitar / scratchplate metal work. It should be very apparent if this situation has happened! The simple solution is merely to swap over the connections at the guitar jack socket terminals and all of the previous hum and noise should have gone (assuming there are no other issues). With that completed, now you can connect the flying lead from the guitar's earth point (normally the volume potentiometer body) through to the tremolo claw in the rear body compartment (in a normal Stratocaster style body).