Planet Tone Pickups...?

Paranoia

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I've been thinking about maaaybe giving my 2012 Trad a pickup swap, so I've been googling around to see what's out there. One site that kept coming up was Planet Tone.

https://www.planettone.com/product/1957-classic-50s-humbucker/

Now, their 1957 humbucker sure sounds nice to me - to me, it's the best-sounding humbucker video I've listened to today (give that first video in the link above a look see - that's the sort of sound I've been looking for), and the price does look good - but I really can't find much info or reviews out there on them at all. Perhaps they've not been in operation very long.

In any case, I'm nothing if not thorough, and I love to get my hands on every video I can that uses what I'm looking at, and every opinion from people that have used them - particularly the negative opinions, believe it or not.

Has anyone had any experience with Planet Tone pickups before, and if so, what did you think of them? I believe before 2016 they were called Nico USA pickups, if that helps.
 
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LtKojak

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I don't know if you care, but by looking at the specs and the different pictures, they're made by off-the-shelf, asian-made parts.

With that kind of investment, you can get USA-made Seymour Duncan p'ups, and for less, you can buy any american-made p'up second-hand.
 

Bobby Mahogany

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As far as I'm concerned, the Seymour Duncan pickups have proven themselves for decades
and represent a very good value for the money.
The price ($59) of the pickup you're looking at makes me think that you want a "great deal".
If that is the case, the SD's are an even greater deal despite their slightly higher price.
Cheap (in both sense of the word) pickups are a loss of money.
I have used and recommended SD's pickups for more than twenty years.
If that matters.

Also, video samples of pickup tones are approximate at best.
Recording, compression, etc. affect the final mix.
And you can't be sure if that pickup is really what they would send you
or if it's just a bait!
:D

Good luck in your quest for tone!
:thumb:
 

Marco78

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Why buy this kind of pickups? I don't think they are better to stock (cheap) pickups installed on Epiphone, Ibanez and so on...
 

Paranoia

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Thanks for the words of wisdom y'all.

I'll be keeping my eyes out there for other PAFs on the lower end of the power scale. With that said, though, I very likely will keep the pickups I have - I do like them an awful lot. I just like to be aware of what's out there and, let's face it, fiddling with perfectly good things just for the sake of it.

A guitarist's curse for sure :p Hasn't stopped me looking at amps I'll never buy all weekend, let me tell you...
 

Alexneilgeddy

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I will be purchasing some of their pups in the near future and will post my thoughts.
 

bassmannlespaulman

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You shouldn't trust anything posing as a PAD clone that's wax potted. 60 bucks? It'll probably be just the same if not west than what you already got. If you're gonna go cheap with pickups. Get brandonwound pickups theyre less than 200 bucks and very good. No off the shelf crap
 

[email protected]

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I have swapped out almost every pups I have with Planet Tone pups. I haven’t had a single person hear any of my personal guitars or my MGW builds and not comment on how good they sound.

I’ll make a disclaimer... I am an Authorized Planet Tone Dealer/Guitar Builder, but I still have to pay for the pups I get though. I choose to be a dealer and if I wasn’t a dealer I’d still pay full price for them. They are that good. They do a thing that other pups don’t and the most noticeable virtue of all Planet Tone pups is Clarity. No matter how hot the pups are they still retain a noticeable clarity that other pups couldn’t even consider.

I’d be surprised if you didn’t like them. Check out my buddy Lucas Fowler on YT. He bought a set of Planet Tone pups from me and liked them so much he bought a second set and is planning on buying more. The proof is in the pudding!

I could address every misconception about Planet Tone pups in this thread but I’ll let the haters hate. I’ll be glad to answer any questions anyone may have about Planet Tone pups just let me know.

Planet Tone pups are Made in USA.

 

dongreywolf

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Planet Tone are handwound by a guy in Colorado. Haven't tried his HBs, but recently bought a P-90 from him, and it sounds fantastic. Put it in an LP Jr build I did and really like the sound. For the price I'll be trying some 'buckers in the near future...
 

lucasf89

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EDIT: That is me in the above posted video.

Hey fellas,
I joined this forum just so I could say:
Seriously, these are great pickups. I'm as snobby about pickups as the next guy and these really do sound fantastic. I've used Duncans, Dimarzios, Lollars, Fralins, you name it. Those are all great pickups, but there is something unique and special about the set that I put in my Greco EG-800, the Full Throttle bridge and 78' Pasadena neck. Very clear but still muscular and fat. Its hard to describe but I can feel it when I play that guitar. I like them so much I bought a set of Blues Heritage humbuckers for my Les Paul Traditional. I'm not a dealer or endorsed by Planet Tone, I just think he makes great stuff. I'd be happy to answer any questions I can about my experience with them, or if you guys would like to hear more of a certain style or tone, let me know and I'll make another YouTube video.

Cheers!
 

Antigua

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You can garner some info about a humbucker if you can see the base plage, but Planet Tone only shows the tops of their humbuckers. Fortunately I found a listing that shows a base plate:

upload_2018-11-14_0-57-29.png


The silver color suggests it's probably nickel silver, but the cover may or may not be. The holes under the slugs as well as the two conductor cables holes at either corner suggests it's fabricated over seas. Quality-wise it's likely similar to BYO or Tone Emporium . Here is a Chinese pickup costing only ~$10 USD that shows the same details. They might work very well, the Chinese manufactures are figuring out slowly but surely that adhering more closely to vintage specs is important.

Some of Planet Tone's pickups look more blatantly imported, for example these clearly have brass base plates, and the hardware appears to have been made with loose tolerances. They're probably the same as these.

 
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jmm

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Hi Gang!

My name is Jose Mellado and I personally hand make each Planet Tone pickup. I see that there may be some confusion about our parts and why they are so affordable.

First off, we use only premium parts...100% nickel baseplates and covers, maple spacers, vintage plain enamel 60s wire and vintage 50s heavy formvar. We use Gavitt wire...the same that Fender and Gibson use in their custom shop and just about everything we get is sourced from America or the same factories that Gibson and Fender use. We have painstakingly done whatever it takes to get the best parts at the best prices. In addition, unlike other manufacturers we only use Alnico magnets. Never cheap ceramic stuff.

So why are the prices so cheap? First we don't have an army of workers so our overhead is low, second we buy in huge volumes unlike most boutique winders so we can compete with companies like DiMarzio and Duncan. In fact, our goal was to make our prices the same that the pickups were in the 1980s... We simply pass the savings on to you.

While people want to believe we are re branding Asian pickups, nothing could be further from the truth. We welcome anyone to come to our shop in Commerce City and see us make the pickups...each one by hand.

While its easy to say they are cheap, they are not. They are affordable and I simply do not charge a lot for my labor. My full-time job is a Pastor for a church. This is my side job so I don't charge a salary to my church.

In the end, we hope you would give our pickups a try. We are an honest and small company who just wants to give back to musicians.

Much blessings,

Jose
Planet Tone
 

Antigua

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Hi Gang!
First off, we use only premium parts...100% nickel baseplates and covers, maple spacers, vintage plain enamel 60s wire and vintage 50s heavy formvar.
Thanks for confirming, you should mention this on you product pages. People will assume that you use the cheaper metals if you do not specificy. The machine markings suggest the hardware is imported overseas, which makes one less likely to assume you use the best materials.

We use Gavitt wire...the same that Fender and Gibson use in their custom shop and just about everything we get is sourced from America or the same factories that Gibson and Fender use. We have painstakingly done whatever it takes to get the best parts at the best prices. In addition, unlike other manufacturers we only use Alnico magnets. Never cheap ceramic stuff.
Ceramic can yield good results too, but I understand why you would want to avoid the negative connotation that has come to be associated with them.

While people want to believe we are re branding Asian pickups, nothing could be further from the truth. We welcome anyone to come to our shop in Commerce City and see us make the pickups...each one by hand.
As with listing the premium metals you use, if you were to pots pictures and/or videos of your shop, or your production, that would leave very little doubt as to where they're manufactured.

While its easy to say they are cheap, they are not. They are affordable and I simply do not charge a lot for my labor. My full-time job is a Pastor for a church. This is my side job so I don't charge a salary to my church.
I also think this would be worthwhile to mention on your website's "About Us" page.
 

jmm

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Hi!

Those are absolutely wonderful suggestions and appreciate honesty. Thanks for taking the time to respond. We will do our best to incorporate more info about our building process, what type of materials and our philosophy on keeping costs low - as you have suggested.

We have realized we can't make everyone happy and our product will not be for everyone. Some feel the need to use a particular company or spend a certain amount just to satisfy their own interests. In addition, people will always speculate as to the source of materials and the processes used by any vendor. We were once told everything by Seymour is made overseas...this is simply not true. I've met Seymour multiple times and have learned so much from him, Lindy and Abigail. They have my highest respect. So you can't always believe what people say...only the facts. Nickel is nickel. And plain enamel can only be found by certain manufacturers and costs a lot to make...and we use it when others don't. For instance, a pickup could cost $300 have all the components necessary to make a great pickup but the manufacturer uses cheap American magnet wire instead of plain enamel...who is the wiser?

We feel the results - and the warranty - of our pickups truly speak for themselves. Time after time - according to our customers including some of the best musicians today, not us, they prefer the clarity and warmth of ours to others they have tried in the past and that includes the best in the business.

We think discussions like this can be helpful to educate people. You bring up great points and do it with professionalism. Thank you for that!

Thank you again and kindest regards!

Cheers!!!

Jose
Planet Tone
 
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Antigua

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Hi!

Those are absolutely wonderful suggestions and appreciate honesty. Thanks for taking the time to respond. We will do our best to incorporate more info about our building process, what type of materials and our philosophy on keeping costs low - as you have suggested.

We have realized we can't make everyone happy and our product will not be for everyone. Some feel the need to use a particular company or spend a certain amount just to satisfy their own interests. In addition, people will always speculate as to the source of materials and the processes used by any vendor. We were once told everything by Seymour is made overseas...this is simply not true. I've met Seymour multiple times and have learned so much from him, Lindy and Abigail. They have my highest respect. So you can't always believe what people say...only the facts. Nickel is nickel. And plain enamel can only be found by certain manufacturers and costs a lot to make...and we use it when others don't. For instance, a pickup could cost $300 have all the components necessary to make a great pickup but the manufacturer uses cheap American magnet wire instead of plain enamel...who is the wiser?

We feel the results - and the warranty - of our pickups truly speak for themselves. Time after time - according to our customers including some of the best musicians today, not us, they prefer the clarity and warmth of ours to others they have tried in the past and that includes the best in the business.

We think discussions like this can be helpful to educate people. You bring up great points and do it with professionalism. Thank you for that!

Thank you again and kindest regards!

Cheers!!!

Jose
Planet Tone

Seymour Duncan posted a video tour of their factory

I hope you might see value in doing the same, if only to silence any speculation about the origin of your products.

I believe that the pickups coming out of China and Korea are just as good as Seymour Duncan pickups, so long as the correct materials are used (avoiding eddy current, excessive capacitance, excessive string pull) and are wound to desirable levels of inductance for the intended use of the pickup, clean or overdriven. I wouldn't think less of your product if it were made in China, considering the rather low price point, the publishing of specs on your website, and your forthrightness with customers.
 

jmm

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We slowly post videos and pics on our facebook page here and there - so people have seen our shop and many, who are local, have visited and seen their pickups made before their very eyes. Someday, we might have a factory...who knows...right now....I'm content with making pickups in my in home shop. :) Keeps the prices low and we can avoid all the expense large manufacturers have.

I really love those videos made by Seymour and Abigail....if one pays close attention, a person can learn volumes. :)

Thank you again!

Jose
Planet Tone
 


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