Boutique pickups: What does a $250+ set have that a $150 - $200 set doesn't?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by gregggyf, Oct 6, 2010.

  1. gregggyf

    gregggyf Senior Member

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    Hello All,

    I am sorry for repeating a question that has probably been raised in the past.

    Basically I was just wondering, what is extra or special about $300 boutique pickups in comparison to those of a lesser price.

    Please list all possible answers/thoughts/comments.

    Thank you very much.

    Greg
     
  2. FennRx

    FennRx Senior Member

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    sort like a $5600 MSRP Historic LP vs a$2600 USA LP...

    i paid about $300 for my WCR pickups and they have been worth it to me. Everything the Burstbucker 1/2can do, my WCRs do a lot better. The neck cleans up better, isn't muddy, etc. and the neck has a tighter and fatter low end vs the BBs' tendency to get "farty." All the while the bridge retains the PAF midrange honk that I love and just the right amount of top end to cut through without being an icepick.

    Basically i am willing to pay more to get the sound i am chasing.
     
  3. b-squared

    b-squared Banned

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    Anything hand-crafted is going to cost more. While there's nothing wrong with a factory machine-wound pickup, I've discovered (like a lot of folks here) that hand-crafted pickups tend to have more of the 'magic' that made the old LPs sound so good back in the day.

    While the flavors are all a bit different (and good), the taste is a bit sweeter and more refined, if you get my meaning. :D

    The old adage 'You get what you pay for' applies in this case, IMHO.

    BB
     
  4. BrianGT

    BrianGT Senior Member

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    +1

    Once you get in to buying pickups from well respected winders it's really just a different flavour of "great".......like having 3 identical steaks cooked by 3 different top Chef's.....you would appeciate them all but might just prefer one Chef over the other in the way he flavours the steak...or pickup!!

    It just boils down to personal taste at the top level.
     
  5. shan564

    shan564 Senior Member

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    I always wondered why the big guys don't have their own boutique pickups. Why does Joe Satriani use stock DiMarzios when he has the world at his disposal? Is it just because of the DiMarzio contract?
    Even before they get famous enough to have their own "signature" products, it seems like a lot of famous guitarists just use stock Gibson models. Why isn't every big-name guitarist banging on Tom Holmes' door to get a pickup wound by his super-magic fingers?
     
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  6. L60N

    L60N Senior Member

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    Attention to detail. :thumb:
     
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  7. Jakeislove

    Jakeislove Senior Member

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    At that level, equipment matters a whole lot less.:)
     
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  8. Indyclone

    Indyclone Senior Member

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    It could be that you don't hear about it since the boutique guys are a whole lot less likely to pay for an endorsement...

    Maybe some Duncan and DiMarizio pickups for their artists aren't the same as what they mass produce for the rest of us?

    I really don't know... just throwing this out there to see if it sticks. :)
     
  9. Bandols

    Bandols Senior Member

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    I imagine that when slash gets his pickups from seymour they were handled and wound by hand by a top worker. I doubt slash goes into his local guitar store and picks up the ones off the shelf
     
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  10. LtKojak

    LtKojak Senior Member

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    If you can't hear the difference, so you don't need them.

    HTH,
     
  11. gtr-tek

    gtr-tek Fumble Fingers Premium Member

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    Sometimes it's just marketing hype. Other times it's many hours and $ in research and parts development. You have to read between the lines and get valid reviews and sound clips to decide. Holmes and Stephens fall into the latter category. They most likely aren't going to give away their pups to make endorsements as they are not volume producers. Not saying that couldn't happen... :hmm:
     
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  12. Mouse

    Mouse Senior Member

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    $150-200 set have nothing bad to it that extra 100$ can't cure :D

    Seriously, "Talking about art/sound is like dancing about architecture."
     
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  13. gtr-tek

    gtr-tek Fumble Fingers Premium Member

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    Also remember, what sounds good in one guitar may sound like crap in another, or what one person likes another thinks it sucks... Just sayin'... :dude:

    Other factors come into play as to how the guitar is wired, what wire and components are used, etc. :cool:
     
  14. vmjoe

    vmjoe Senior Member

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    I think you would be suprised at the number of well known musicians who do use these winders, but because they are bound to endorsements from big name companies they can't state where their gear actually comes from.
     
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  15. rick13

    rick13 Senior Member

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    $300 is often well worth the extra craftsmanship, quality of covers ,fit, etc.
    If you hold up a really nice $300 set next to a $150 set.....you can see the difference in craftsmanship. Many times you can even hear the difference. You also need to install the $300 set correctly , or it will sound like a $75 set.
    Now $600 for a set.....that's a different beast.
    Rick
     
  16. River

    River Senior Member

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    Right. I was going to abbreviate it: TLC.

    I guess I just did.
     
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  17. BigJim

    BigJim Senior Member

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    Some say research, others say materials, some have majical widing techniques. Call it what you want, but I've had a few of the lower end PAF types and they sounded great.
     
  18. Mouse

    Mouse Senior Member

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    also consider that people use instruments for different artistic ends.
    When artist comes to me and he know what he wants I would suggest what to do to meet his goals on particular guitar, that is challenging but a lot easier to do than meet the guy who don't know what he want or don't know what he want to acomplish in compare to his previous pickups but he wants everything to be better :D
     
  19. 180gROC

    180gROC Senior Member

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    In my experience, which is vast on some scales and insignificant on others:

    Difference between $250 set of hand wound and $150 set of machine wound = quite noticeable

    Difference between $250 hand wound and $600 hand wound (same winder, same recipe, NOS wire) = not as noticeable.

    And yet in my brief experiences selling pickups, people bought the hell out of the $600 pickups with few questions about actual discernible/measurable differences. The assurance of magic was enough to open the wallet that much wider.
     
  20. kevinT

    kevinT Premium Member

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    It boils down to our own recipes and parts that we use. The goal is to be different and sound different than the big guys and even amongst ourselves.
     

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