Firebird Pickups by Creamery (UK) - 'Vintage' Style.

garybaldy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
1,199
Advice needed please.
I while back I bought a Tokai Firebird which already had Creamery pickups installed.
The guitar came with the original receipt for the pickups.
The guy who sold it to me had chosen AII for the neck and AV for the bridge. Both were potted and have vintage braided wire.
Neck is 6.1Kohms and bridge is 7.1Kohms.
There is a lot more treble than all my 'regular' HB equipped guitars.
Individually both pickups are really great with the right amp EQ but the problem is I can't get a single amp setting to suit the two. The neck is almost too 'flutey' and the bridge slices your head off.
I have the neck set really low and the bridge really high to get a decent volume balance.
Pickup technology is not a strong point for me but I think I would probably either have gone with the same magnet in each (not sure whether AII or AV) or AII in bridge and AV in neck.
Would swapping the pickups around be worth trying - ie a lower DCR in bridge pos.? (I know DCR doesn't tell you much).
What about a magnet swap? is it possible with a blade type pickup?
Not sure what pot. values are but what about a 300k for bridge and 500k for neck?
Any other options?
TIA
 

scovell001

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
224
Reaction score
120
theres almost too much to respond to there without actually ‘seeing’ the guitar & playing it - however as a quick initial trial I’d say try swapping the magnets around so a2 in the bridge a5 neck - then go from there
 

Marco78

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
757
Reaction score
61
IMHO the choise of alnico is wrong (for my tastes). Generally the A2 is warm while the A5 is more bright and I'll choose the A2 for the bridge and A5 for the neck to compensate the natural features of two positions.
 

garybaldy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
1,199
IMHO the choise of alnico is wrong (for my tastes). Generally the A2 is warm while the A5 is more bright and I'll choose the A2 for the bridge and A5 for the neck to compensate the natural features of two positions.
Thanks. That's my gut feel aswell. I'm thinking about contacting the winder to see if it's possible to do the swap (as the bar magnets are inside the coils and not underneath) and may be get him to do it. You would think, though, that he would have advised his customer if he thought the magnet choice was wrong.
 

tolm

Bigsby Junkie
Joined
Jul 20, 2008
Messages
4,063
Reaction score
2,974
Swapping the pickups round would be a relatively easy test. You may be able to balance the volumes by lowering the neck pickup but, even if you can’t, it would tell you whether the tone of each individually works for you.

I’ve had a few Firebirds - including one with Creamery pickups - and generally ran the stock 300k Gibson pots. I did switch one (with P90s) to a 500k neck vol pot to brighten the neck tone up with seemed to work well with the 300k pot for the bridge “fattening” that position a little.
 

garybaldy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
1,199
Swapping the pickups round would be a relatively easy test. You may be able to balance the volumes by lowering the neck pickup but, even if you can’t, it would tell you whether the tone of each individually works for you.

I’ve had a few Firebirds - including one with Creamery pickups - and generally ran the stock 300k Gibson pots. I did switch one (with P90s) to a 500k neck vol pot to brighten the neck tone up with seemed to work well with the 300k pot for the bridge “fattening” that position a little.
Thanks Tolm
Having had experience with Creamery do you think the original purchaser of my pickups made the wrong choice of having AII in the neck and AV in the bridge?
I agree that swapping the pickups around is the simplest first option. I could be wrong but I don't think a 1kohm difference in DCR would make so much of a difference in output that can't be remedied with height adjustment.
I haven't yet checked what sort of haress it has - orig or new, or pot values.
 

JohnnyN

Senior Member
Joined
May 15, 2010
Messages
4,974
Reaction score
13,944
I would try A3 in the neck and A2 in the bridge. If that didn't get me what I want, I'd write Jaime at The Creamery. Maybe he could do a rewind on one or both.
I wouldn't expect a rewind to be free of course, but magnets are cheap.
 

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
16,530
Reaction score
23,853
Some basic facts:

There's not just one design of "Firebird pickup." Even vintage ones were made in different ways (not like the different specs of PAF, but configured with entirely different types of parts and designs under the cover). Modern ones are even more divers.

Overall, what is generally accepted as "the sound" of Firebird pickups (a bit contradictory to what I just said above but not entirely), is mush brighter and punchier and thinner sounding than typical humbuckers, mini humbuckers, P-90s, and really most other pickup designs.

Depending on the actual magnets and their charge level, you'll probably find that A2 has much less treble than A5. In that way you might like swapping the two pickups, making the neck brighter and the bridge warmer. However, that is JUST the magnets' EQ and assume both are fully charged. An A2 will also have much less output than an A5 and. We can only guess on how the pickups' coils are wound in each pickup, since DCR doesn't mean anything if they coils are wound with different patterns, tensions, wires, offsets, etc.


With that out of the way - try it. That's the only way you're going to know about your specific pickups, especially in your guitar/rig. At least you'll know for sure at the end of the day.
 

bassmannlespaulman

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
840
Reaction score
488
A firebird is brighter guitar period. It sounds like a black guard telecaster with abit more muscle. I'm sorry but that's how they historically sound. It might just not be your taste regardless of what you change unless you just get the ceramic 12k or 14k pickups that come with them. Then they'll sound more humbucker and nothing like a real firebird. But it's up to you.
 

garybaldy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
1,199
A firebird is brighter guitar period. It sounds like a black guard telecaster with abit more muscle. I'm sorry but that's how they historically sound. It might just not be your taste regardless of what you change unless you just get the ceramic 12k or 14k pickups that come with them. Then they'll sound more humbucker and nothing like a real firebird. But it's up to you.
Thanks for your reply.
There is no need for you to apologise for the inherent sound of a firebird. I am fully aware of that sound and my intention was never to make it something it's not. It's the sound I want.
The point of my thread, which has been grasped by the other posters here, is to ask for advice in respect of the extreme tonal differences when switching from pickup to pickup with one consistent amp setting. eg if it means making the neck pickup more trebley ( by means of a different magnet, pot or wind for instance) to match the bridge better then so be it. I respectfully suggest you read the OP thanks.:)
 

ARandall

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2012
Messages
14,822
Reaction score
11,212
The problem with a firebird pickup is that a mag swap could well be impossible. Like a fender pickup, the magnet forms the core of the winding (assuming these are done that way). Looking at images of vintage 'bird pickups I would be thinking a mag removal may well break windings even if you got the right short (and probably narrow) dimension....like if you try and move the poles in a vintage constructed strat pickup
 

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
16,530
Reaction score
23,853
There were various different internal designs. I wouldn't recommend attempting a home magnet swap on any of the vintage ones. The thing is, I haven't seen any other reproductions that are actually correct to any of the original designs, so who knows what's under the covers of any given "replica" Firebird pickup today. Not to say they don't exist - perhaps they do? I've seen a number of them that claim to be Firebird pickups that are actually just mini humbuckers without pole screws, though. One could use a more typical humbucker magnet in something like that and do a swap.

Having the parts made to make correct vintage Firebird pickups is an investment with little chance of a reasonably fast return, as there just aren't that many people after a higher-priced vintage-correct Firebird pickup replica. They are a bit of a niche thing, IME. I headily ever use them. Personally, I like the sounds of the various vintage Firebird pickups (and guitars) but I think many want more of a mini-humbucker (or even warmer) sound out of them and just like the look. :dunno:









 

tolm

Bigsby Junkie
Joined
Jul 20, 2008
Messages
4,063
Reaction score
2,974
Thanks Tolm
Having had experience with Creamery do you think the original purchaser of my pickups made the wrong choice of having AII in the neck and AV in the bridge?
If I recall correctly I went for AII in all three. Firebird pickups are pretty bright anyway so I wanted to avoid the bridge, in particular, being overly harsh.

I currently have an Epiphone Joe Bonamassa FB1 which (supposedly!) has an accurate replica pickup in it. It sounds great but it did have a quite shrill “overtone” so I switched the bridge from the cheap zinc (?) lightning-bar to a one piece nickel plated bell-brass ABM replacement and that helped fatten the tone up. Still debating having a pair of BKP P90s fitted, though.
 
Last edited:

garybaldy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
1,199
If I recall correctly I went for AII in all three. Firebird pickups are pretty bright anyway so I wanted to avoid the bridge, in particular, being overly harsh.

I currently have an Epiphone Joe Bonamassa FB1 which (supposedly!) has an accurate replica pickup in it. It sounds great but it did have a quite shrill “overtone” so I switched the bridge from the cheap zinc (?) lightning-bar to a one piece nickel plated bell-brass ABM replacement and that helped fatten the tone up. Still debating having a pair of BKP P90s fitted, though.
Thanks Tolm
Going with an AII in the bridge as well as the neck sounds like a great idea.
People are saying that a magnet swap on a firebird pup is pretty tricky so I really need to contact Jamie at Creamery to see if his pups are 'authentic' and ask him if he could do it for me. Not being an expert though I'm still wondering whether getting the right amount of top end on an AII neck with the amp EQ, may still be too much when using an AII bridge. OTOH with an AV neck, the amp treble could be reduced and thus help reduced treble on an AII bridge - I think!
When I get a minute I'll do the bridge and neck pup swap first and try it at a gig.
 

garybaldy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
1,199
There were various different internal designs. I wouldn't recommend attempting a home magnet swap on any of the vintage ones. The thing is, I haven't seen any other reproductions that are actually correct to any of the original designs, so who knows what's under the covers of any given "replica" Firebird pickup today. Not to say they don't exist - perhaps they do? I've seen a number of them that claim to be Firebird pickups that are actually just mini humbuckers without pole screws, though. One could use a more typical humbucker magnet in something like that and do a swap.

Having the parts made to make correct vintage Firebird pickups is an investment with little chance of a reasonably fast return, as there just aren't that many people after a higher-priced vintage-correct Firebird pickup replica. They are a bit of a niche thing, IME. I headily ever use them. Personally, I like the sounds of the various vintage Firebird pickups (and guitars) but I think many want more of a mini-humbucker (or even warmer) sound out of them and just like the look. :dunno:










So some original firebird pickup bobbins are upright as in a conventional H/B and some are on their side?
Thanks
 

cooljuk

Transducer Producer
Joined
Mar 11, 2009
Messages
16,530
Reaction score
23,853
So some original firebird pickup bobbins are upright as in a conventional H/B and some are on their side?
Thanks
Yes, that is correct. There are several original options for the magnets and coils in these and even more in the aftermarket, today.

Sorry I missed your reply/question earlier. You're always welcome to reach out directly to me (2O2) 246-O147 or info@re-wind.net
 

garybaldy

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
1,199
Yes, that is correct. There are several original options for the magnets and coils in these and even more in the aftermarket, today.

Sorry I missed your reply/question earlier. You're always welcome to reach out directly to me (2O2) 246-O147 or info@re-wind.net
Thank you
 

Bradley505

Junior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2018
Messages
8
Reaction score
20
I've bought Creamery pickups once, filtertrons for a Cabronita build, and found Jaime to be really approachable and helpful (although usually very busy). I'll certainly consider him again when I need more.

I'd suggest it might be worth getting his opinion on how easy and worthwhile it would be to rework them with new magnets.
 

crave1

Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
36
Reaction score
31
Advice needed please.
I while back I bought a Tokai Firebird which already had Creamery pickups installed.
The guitar came with the original receipt for the pickups.
The guy who sold it to me had chosen AII for the neck and AV for the bridge. Both were potted and have vintage braided wire.
Neck is 6.1Kohms and bridge is 7.1Kohms.
There is a lot more treble than all my 'regular' HB equipped guitars.
Individually both pickups are really great with the right amp EQ but the problem is I can't get a single amp setting to suit the two. The neck is almost too 'flutey' and the bridge slices your head off.
I have the neck set really low and the bridge really high to get a decent volume balance.
Pickup technology is not a strong point for me but I think I would probably either have gone with the same magnet in each (not sure whether AII or AV) or AII in bridge and AV in neck.
Would swapping the pickups around be worth trying - ie a lower DCR in bridge pos.? (I know DCR doesn't tell you much).
What about a magnet swap? is it possible with a blade type pickup?
Not sure what pot. values are but what about a 300k for bridge and 500k for neck?
Any other options?
TIA
I commissioned Jaime at Creamery to put together a calibrated vintage set for my F'bird 7. The tweak was "unpotted, A4 magnets and 4 core wiring"

Couldn't have made a better choice. The flat eq influence from the A4 magnets takes out all the excess bass and treble and gives a great balanced attack - like the proverbial fat tele pickup.

I'm happy!!
 

copperheadroad

Senior Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2010
Messages
1,358
Reaction score
557
When I first started winding Firebird pickups ,it took a couple of years or R & D to tame the treble & fatten up the tone to sound like my mid 1960's original set i have ( this is different than you average PAF) . I am pleased with how they sound in comparison with the old set
 


Latest Threads



Top