- May 21, 2011
- Reaction score
Yeah mate, hard to believe, but those reside in my 2015 Traditional, replaced the useless Gibson '59s.
The second best surprise were the stock pups in my 1995 Orville. Mindblowing.
Last not least Bill Lawrence L500s from 1984
In 57 years fiddling with pickups, '58 PAFs, Shaws ...you name it, I had them. All I can say is there is always only ONE specific guitar that boosts or gets boosted by a particular pickup. You can only try and find the match. And it sure is no matter of price nor elaborate make.
Often enough I had to take an overwound coil, reduce the windings and, after several trial runs arrive at the tone I wanted. Ahhh, and matching the coils of two hambuckers for phase reverse is another story altogether...
I agree with the idea of ONE optimal set of pickups per guitar. That's my experience as well (and it was already my feeling in the early 80’s).
I don't see the origin of magnetic transducers as a criterium of choice. Made in China: why not? My friend luthier had a last series of guitars made in China under his name before to get retired and they were as good as their respect of the specs required.
1)Chinese pickups can be pretty bad too and typically, the only way to realize it is to discover the actual specs of a set already bought - specs being sometimes very far from those advertised: I've already got humbuckers meant to host A5 and whose mags were in fact the usual cheapo ceramic bars.
2)Humbly, respectfully, peacefully but firmly, I don't agree at all with a bunch of relatively recent and incredibly vocal posts, claiming that measured specs are the only things to trust.
A pickup can exhibit exactly the resistance and inductance of a P.A.F. and sound noticeably different - as well as pretty bad, because the sound of a pickup doesn't depend only on its resistance / inductance.
Granted,, it's possible to measure or calculate ALSO things like resonant peaks with their Q factor, stray capacitance, magnetic field... In fact, such things are done here with lab apparels for almost two decades and I've the related archived data at disposal, as well as the results of other tests (regarding ADSR and so on).
The problem IMHO is to MATCH not only some specs but the TONE of an existing pickup felt as gorgeous sounding - tone depending on the complex interaction between LRC and magnetic specs among others and this overall interaction isn't easy to reproduce.. It's absolutely possible IME to try honestly and carefully to copy a winding, a precise Gauss level, the details of a threaded baseplate, a set of machined keeper bars/ screw poles / slugs and... to end with something sonically different from the pickup modeled. That's where the experience of artisans counts and that’s why measured specs don't give the whole picture IMO/IME. At least if the tester swears by specs considered exclusively or separately instead of using his… ears too.
Incidentally, my favorite set of aftermarket pickups in a LP is a pair of P.A.F. replicas built partly with NOS materials. That’s how I’ve got this elusive tone in my number one LP personally. Most of my other aftermarket pickups (prestigious boutique models included) have been modified in some way in order to match the guitars hosting them.
FWIW - 2 cents of indifferent testimonial & opinion. YMMV.