Pickup suggestions please

cooljuk

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Honestly, I don't really know and it doesn't matter to me. I'm not looking for as close to PAF specs as possible, I'm hoping to find a big fat full humbucker that can give me rich saturated Marshall type tones for southern rock, 80's stuff and some clean tones. Initially I thought of a hotter pickup as a way to help me get a little compression and that saturated tone but I'm realizing that may not be what I'm looking for. I may need to get the sweetness and tone from something lower and then find a way to boost

If I understood how the wire gauge, bobbin size, coil patter and offset all affected the overall tone better I could answer your question better and probably help narrow down my choices as well. If you have the time, and feel so inclined to help me understand it all I'd appreciate it.
My question was really rhetorical, to get the gears turning. The point behind it that one could build hundreds of humbuckers that have a DCR reading of 10-12k that all sound different. Even quite significantly different. Quiet and dark, loud and bright, loud and dark, quiet and bright, midrange heavy, scooped, stiff feeling, soft feeling, etc. DCR is not only a terribly way to judge the sound of a pickup, it can be flat out misleading. That part, I've answered with some examples right here on MLP: The Misleading Nature of DCR Regarding Guitar Pickups

To explain how all of those factors may or may not relate to the sound of a pickup, I'd have to write a second book. Some were addressed in my first, such as the topic linked above.

I think the Super D!istortions in the 1970's, with their higher output and (unrelated) high DCR readings started this idea that higher DCR = more output. Combine that with the fact that a multimeter is the only tool most musicians have to measure anything at all quantifiable about a guitar pickup and I'm pretty sure that's where this whole mess started, that still persists to today, of DCR being falsely equated to output.

The fact is, a PAF doesn't necessarily have any less turns of wire on the coils than a Super D!stortion. ...and turns of wire are the only factor of a given coil (not a "pickup", just a "coil") that alter the output level. That probably confuses many but the turn counts on Super D!stortions and PAFs can be the same and the coils can have the same output. The reason Super D!stortions have a higher output is only because of the ceramic magnets they use. The reason the Super D!stortions have a higher DCR is only because they use thinner wire. If one were to swap the magnets between a PAF and a Super D!stortion, the PAF would end up having much higher output.

Then, there's the crowd that will say, "Ya, but with the same wire gauge" or "Ya, but with the same type of pickup, the DCR can be used to know a little about the sound." ...and they are also incorrect and should re-read the above linked thread with examples of the same pickup and the same wire gauge having opposite DCR : turn count ratios than expected by that theory.


Ok, that's the make you think answer. If you read it, nice! You're ahead of the game, now. The don't think too hard answer is, I have two recommendations: If you want crisp, jangly treble with scooped midrange, consider T-Tops. If you want more of a thick, vocal midrange sound, with a softer treble and a bit of give to the feel, consider a warm A2 PAF-stye pickup. Neither of those have a great deal of actual output, but the A5 T-Top will have a little more. If you're playing through a Kemper, you can turn the gain up more than you really can on the actual amps, though.
 

nac

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My question was really rhetorical, to get the gears turning. The point behind it that one could build hundreds of humbuckers that have a DCR reading of 10-12k that all sound different. Even quite significantly different. Quiet and dark, loud and bright, loud and dark, quiet and bright, midrange heavy, scooped, stiff feeling, soft feeling, etc. DCR is not only a terribly way to judge the sound of a pickup, it can be flat out misleading. That part, I've answered with some examples right here on MLP: The Misleading Nature of DCR Regarding Guitar Pickups

To explain how all of those factors may or may not relate to the sound of a pickup, I'd have to write a second book. Some were addressed in my first, such as the topic linked above.

I think the Super D!istortions in the 1970's, with their higher output and (unrelated) high DCR readings started this idea that higher DCR = more output. Combine that with the fact that a multimeter is the only tool most musicians have to measure anything at all quantifiable about a guitar pickup and I'm pretty sure that's where this whole mess started, that still persists to today, of DCR being falsely equated to output.

The fact is, a PAF doesn't necessarily have any less turns of wire on the coils than a Super D!stortion. ...and turns of wire are the only factor of a given coil (not a "pickup", just a "coil") that alter the output level. That probably confuses many but the turn counts on Super D!stortions and PAFs can be the same and the coils can have the same output. The reason Super D!stortions have a higher output is only because of the ceramic magnets they use. The reason the Super D!stortions have a higher DCR is only because they use thinner wire. If one were to swap the magnets between a PAF and a Super D!stortion, the PAF would end up having much higher output.

Then, there's the crowd that will say, "Ya, but with the same wire gauge" or "Ya, but with the same type of pickup, the DCR can be used to know a little about the sound." ...and they are also incorrect and should re-read the above linked thread with examples of the same pickup and the same wire gauge having opposite DCR : turn count ratios than expected by that theory.


Ok, that's the make you think answer. If you read it, nice! You're ahead of the game, now. The don't think too hard answer is, I have two recommendations: If you want crisp, jangly treble with scooped midrange, consider T-Tops. If you want more of a thick, vocal midrange sound, with a softer treble and a bit of give to the feel, consider a warm A2 PAF-stye pickup. Neither of those have a great deal of actual output, but the A5 T-Top will have a little more. If you're playing through a Kemper, you can turn the gain up more than you really can on the actual amps, though.
Wow that was awesome. Thank you for taking the time to type that out. I really appreciate it, sincerely. I also read your linked post about DCR, very interesting.

I think that the A2 characteristics you describe are what I'm looking for. If I may, I have one more question for you - today I've run across a few interesting pickups that use A4 magnets. How would you compare them to A2?

Thanks again, I really appreciate this.
 

AJK1

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That is very interesting. Thanks for the tip!
I have installed them in a friends guitar and they truly sound great
They really do what they say they’ll do and that is nail that southern 70’s arena rock/punk thing
I really like them and am thinking of putting a bridge one in my No 2 LP
They are warm and fat with great clarity and good power
Very A4 sounding pickups
 
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LP1865

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I think that the A2 characteristics you describe are what I'm looking for. If I may, I have one more question for you - today I've run across a few interesting pickups that use A4 magnets. How would you compare them to A2?
A4 tends to have a very flat eq, and that brings out the lower mids. Also from what I have heard, it sounds very compressed too.
A2 will sound less compressed, and very open, not focused. It has a very sweet treble, lots of mids and a little less output.
 

cooljuk

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Wow that was awesome. Thank you for taking the time to type that out. I really appreciate it, sincerely. I also read your linked post about DCR, very interesting.

I think that the A2 characteristics you describe are what I'm looking for. If I may, I have one more question for you - today I've run across a few interesting pickups that use A4 magnets. How would you compare them to A2?

Thanks again, I really appreciate this.
Well, I'm afraid I don't have an easy answer to that either. Just another like the first... "Which A2 compared to which A4, charged to what amount, and in which pickup?"

I stock three different A2 types and two different A4 types, because they all sound different enough that I can't cover all the ground I want, otherwise. When you factor in that all of those magnets will sound different (in EQ, dynamics, and level) depending on how strong they are charged, you get a ton of possibilities. Add in that some pickups are very sensitive to magnet changes and others tend to sound like themselves with most magnets, and that some pickups don't get along with all magnet types, and you're down another long rabbit hole.

In the same pickup, my A2 types usually have less treble, a softer feel, and more midrange than my A4 types, but that's not always the case and certainly doesn't always apply to others' magnets and pickups.
 

nac

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Well, I'm afraid I don't have an easy answer to that either. Just another like the first... "Which A2 compared to which A4, charged to what amount, and in which pickup?"

I stock three different A2 types and two different A4 types, because they all sound different enough that I can't cover all the ground I want, otherwise. When you factor in that all of those magnets will sound different (in EQ, dynamics, and level) depending on how strong they are charged, you get a ton of possibilities. Add in that some pickups are very sensitive to magnet changes and others tend to sound like themselves with most magnets, and that some pickups don't get along with all magnet types, and you're down another long rabbit hole.

In the same pickup, my A2 types usually have less treble, a softer feel, and more midrange than my A4 types, but that's not always the case and certainly doesn't always apply to others' magnets and pickups.
Ok I just listed to a couple of clips from your site and I'm torn between the PAF-1 A4's or A5's. Then there are the Creme Brulee which also sounded amazing. I think I need to define exactly what I'm looking for and then order one of those three. Tonight I'm leaning towards the PAF-1 A4's.

I guess the obvious answer would be to just buy more guitars AND pickups, right? :)
 

cooljuk

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Ok I just listed to a couple of clips from your site and I'm torn between the PAF-1 A4's or A5's. Then there are the Creme Brulee which also sounded amazing. I think I need to define exactly what I'm looking for and then order one of those three. Tonight I'm leaning towards the PAF-1 A4's.

I guess the obvious answer would be to just buy more guitars AND pickups, right? :)

I was trying to give general info and recommendations that would apply to most humbuckers. Not so much mine, specifically. If you want to talk about mine, that's absolutely fine of course, but you should call me and we can go over that offline. I don't want to spam up the thread talking business.

...but ya, more guitars is rarely considered a problem by anyone here. :thumb:
 

jbash

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Ok I just listed to a couple of clips from your site and I'm torn between the PAF-1 A4's or A5's. Then there are the Creme Brulee which also sounded amazing. I think I need to define exactly what I'm looking for and then order one of those three. Tonight I'm leaning towards the PAF-1 A4's.

I guess the obvious answer would be to just buy more guitars AND pickups, right? :)
You cannot go wrong with James' ( @cooljuk ) work

Here's some pron

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bullnose

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Somebody already mentioned the SD Whole Lotta Humbucker. That's one of my favorites along with the Jim Wagner Godwood for that sound. You should also check out Vineham pickups - the 60/70s and whiskey sour are good candidates.
 


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