- Mar 11, 2009
- Reaction score
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 PickupsHonestly, 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.
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.