Boutiques dont impress

Niilopi

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Hey,

Ive been going crazy since i sold the original burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups from my -07 R9. First i got WIZZ Premium PAF, i didnt like them they werent very dynamic and the attack was awfully agressive for normal playing. I could never really get the neck pickup set up so that it could be used as it was way too bassy and muddy for me. I didnt really like the distortion sound on these either.

Next i got the Kloppmann HB59 which ive had now for a month. I love the dynamics its a very musical pickup and i love the drive they have pushing the notes forward on high volume. But i dont like the sound of the distortion, the bridge pickup seems very thin on my guitar and the neck pickup s lower strings are kind of loose and not defined. Today i played these side by side to my -76 custom with t-tops and the t-tops were more to my liking with great distortion sounds and clear notes.

These ofcourse differ on different instruments my les paul is a pretty bassy guitar on the low strings.

After playing with these high end boutiques.. in the back of my mind im missing the great distortion sound of the original burstbuckers and the simplicity of that sound. I know its missing a lot of this complex nice sounds that come out of these boutiques. But they do work really well and sound great with a band.

So i dont know if its the true PAF sound thats not to my liking? Has anyone had the same feelings? Could you recommend some higher end burstbucker type of pickups that would have some extra flavour on top or should i just order them back and put a stop to this madness.
 

dc007

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If you read through a lot of post here you will find lots of people who are perfectly content with their stock pickups. If your ear is telling you they are better than the boutique ones you bought then trust it and put them back in. Trust me you can spend a lot of money chasing better tone from your pickups. Perhaps if you still want to try some more of the 'boutique' type pups pick a winder and call them and tell them the tone you are looking for. Most of them will be glad to talk to you and make recommendations. I have bought pickups before that just did not work in my guitar so I know what your talking about.
What kind of music do you play? What is your amp of choice and do you use pedals? All that is good to know before recommending things for you to think about. A winder will ask you those same questions as well. Let us know!! I love telling folks what pickups they ought to buy about as much as buying them for myself. :D
 

Niilopi

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I play mostly blues and rock. I like a dynamic strong sounding guitar. Mostly playing with light crunch and for leads and some heavier songs some good driving sound is essential. My dream lead sounds would be not too distorted but still driving and huge. Allman brothers, Lynyrd skynyrd, blackfoot, even guns n roses at times. I like to have a fully usable neck pickup which is not over bassy but can be played the same way as a bridge pickup.

I think the most annoying thing that catches my ear with these boutiques ive played is the distortion type. T-Tops sound great when you hit a powerchord, burstbuckers sound great but these sound kinda hazy. Everything from clean to crunch is okay with these.
 

Duane_the_tub

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Do you still have the Wizz? I've found that swapping out the A4 mags he uses in those for an A5 in the bridge and A2 in the neck makes for a huge improvement. Makes them sound as close to actual PAFs as any boutique pickups I've tried.
 

Antigua

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Hey,

Ive been going crazy since i sold the original burstbucker 1 and 2 pickups from my -07 R9. First i got WIZZ Premium PAF, i didnt like them they werent very dynamic and the attack was awfully agressive for normal playing. I could never really get the neck pickup set up so that it could be used as it was way too bassy and muddy for me. I didnt really like the distortion sound on these either.

Next i got the Kloppmann HB59 which ive had now for a month. I love the dynamics its a very musical pickup and i love the drive they have pushing the notes forward on high volume. But i dont like the sound of the distortion, the bridge pickup seems very thin on my guitar and the neck pickup s lower strings are kind of loose and not defined. Today i played these side by side to my -76 custom with t-tops and the t-tops were more to my liking with great distortion sounds and clear notes.

These ofcourse differ on different instruments my les paul is a pretty bassy guitar on the low strings.

After playing with these high end boutiques.. in the back of my mind im missing the great distortion sound of the original burstbuckers and the simplicity of that sound. I know its missing a lot of this complex nice sounds that come out of these boutiques. But they do work really well and sound great with a band.

So i dont know if its the true PAF sound thats not to my liking? Has anyone had the same feelings? Could you recommend some higher end burstbucker type of pickups that would have some extra flavour on top or should i just order them back and put a stop to this madness.
I'd take note of the types of magnets and the DC resistance readings of the pickups you liked less, versus that Burstbuckers. The BB 1 and 2 definitely used AlNiCo 2, but I see conflicting values for their spec'd DC resistance.

I see that the "Wizz Premium Clone PAF Pickup Set" uses cast AlNiCo 4, 7.7k for the neck, 8.3k for the bridge. Kloppmann apparently doesn't disclose any technical details.

Be sure to try adjust the pickup heights if you had overlooked doing that. A few mm difference is almost like installing a whole new pickup.
 

Redfish

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I've never found a better bridge pickup than a WCR Godwood. It does it all for me with every LP I've used them in. I have yet to find the perfect neck pickup and I've tried at least a dozen boutique brands over the years. If the high notes sing and get that flutey nasal quality most of us love then the low notes are boomy and lack articulation when using gain. If I find one with clear low notes with gain the top end is sterile sounding. And if someone suggests lowering the neck pickup and raising the polepieces I swear I will hammer an icepick into my skull and end it all.
 
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dc007

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If you really love the T-tops there are several winders that do their rendition of it. Two of the more affordable are Sheptone and Brandonwound and there are others. T-tops are a little mid-scooped to my ears. Would be a more modern tone for my complete lack of a better word. Don't get me wrong there is a BUNCH of music recorded in the classic rock heyday with those pups. Might be worth considering. As noted above pups with an A5 mag will be a little less mid range heavy.
 

dc007

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I've never found a better bridge pickup than a WCR Godwood. It does it all for me with every LP I've used them in. I have yet to find the perfect neck pickup and I've tried at least a dozen boutique brands over the years. If the high notes sing and get that flutey nasal quality most of us love then the low notes are boomy and lack articulation when using gain. If I find one with clear low notes with gain the top end is sterile sounding. And if someone suggests lowering the neck pickup and raising the polepieces I swear I will hammer an icepick into my skull and end it all.
I have a Godwood in the bridge of one my Les Pauls and I love it as well. A great sounding pup. It is fat and juicy in the bridge position and really works well but I don't think it sounds anywheres close to a T-Top. Of course that is just my opinion, we all hear things the way we hear them. On your neck pickup dilemma. I got a tip a good while back that has served me well. I set my amp up volume wise so that the lead volume on the neck pickup is cutting through the mix when the guitar volume is on say 6-7...no higher than 8. Keeps it a lot less muddy. That may work for you or it may not but it might be worth a try.
 

bulletproof

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BBD

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Be sure to try adjust the pickup heights if you had overlooked doing that. A few mm difference is almost like installing a whole new pickup.
THIS ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

I simply cannot overemphasise how important pickup height is. So many players have the neck and bridge up too high then dislike the flubby neck and screechy, nasty bridge tones... Get the pups down, away from the strings, and a whole new world of tone opens up.
 

bulletproof

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Be sure to try adjust the pickup heights if you had overlooked doing that. A few mm difference is almost like installing a whole new pickup.
THIS ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

I simply cannot overemphasise how important pickup height is. So many players have the neck and bridge up too high then dislike the flubby neck and screechy, nasty bridge tones... Get the pups down, away from the strings, and a whole new world of tone opens up.
+1.....
 

cooljuk

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Are you setting your bridge pickup and rig up to each other, then trying to get the neck pickup to balance with them? ....because that won't work out well in most cases. Set your neck pickup and rig up to each other first, then balance the bridge to it.

Also, probably 1 out of 10 Les Pauls tends to have a very naturally dark sounding neck position. About 1 our of 30 Les Pauls has this REAL bad. Most people sell/trade out of those guitars but they can be worked with and, when you do get a guitar like that dialed in with a set of pickups and electronics made to address that very issue, you can get some of the most amazing and complex sounds out of it because of the two different pickup styles.

I bring up that second point because you mention that the same pickups respond differently in different guitars and you're trying some rather bright pickups and still taking about lacking definition and clarity and getting darker or muddy sounds on the lower notes of the neck pickup. To me, when I have conversations about these issues and play these guitars every day, those things you are saying are clues. Big clues. Do YOU have one of these Les Pauls with a naturally dark neck position? Does the same pickup in the neck position of your Les Paul sound darker than in the neck position of other guitars through the same rig? It's easy and free to find out and it sounds like maybe you already have.
 


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