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> Pickup Modifications
Mertay
post Jun 12 2013, 08:47 PM
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Last month I spent a lot of time modifying my tonezone and air norton. I'm no expert but ready to help if anyone has questions plus always open for new modification ideas smile.gif


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pdf64
post Jun 13 2013, 11:52 PM
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I'm intrigued - what changes are you making?
Pete


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Mertay
post Jun 14 2013, 01:31 AM
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Well it took me sometime as I was new to it but after trying many things its finally done. Best is to experiment and the easyer ones are non-soldering;

The non-soldering option that first comes to my mind is turning around a humbucker if one coil is screw and other is flat. The flat one is more magnetic so turning it will have a minor but noticable effect, specially on harmonics. The change being good or bad really depends on the pickup. John petrucci used a flipped air-norton for a long time.

Slightly adjusting the height of screws adds detail to chords. I raised the screws that are under D and high E string since they are less magnetic. No dramatic effect, more like fine tune-ing.

If you want a tighter/more present sound, lower the pickup and raise all (or only bass side half) screws more than compared to fine tuning. It really makes a difference.

I heard some people swap screw poles with allen head ones for more power, I saw 1-2 like that on seymour duncan product range.

The most simple is pickup height but almost everyone doesn't record the differences for comparing. This is very important when judging what setting is better.

Later I'll write what I did to my pickups but here is a link I learned a lot from;

http://www.lonephantom.com/

Go to DIY section, its fun to read smile.gif

This post has been edited by Mertay: Jun 14 2013, 01:34 AM


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Gabriel Leopardi
post Jun 14 2013, 02:23 AM
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Hi mate, this is very interesting. I have never tried modifying pick ups but I'm very curious to know how audible are the differences when you do this type of modifications and what options we have. Thanks for that link, there is a lot of cool info there.


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Mertay
post Jun 14 2013, 01:00 PM
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QUOTE (Gabriel Leopardi @ Jun 14 2013, 01:23 AM) *
Hi mate, this is very interesting. I have never tried modifying pick ups but I'm very curious to know how audible are the differences when you do this type of modifications and what options we have. Thanks for that link, there is a lot of cool info there.


Hey gabriel smile.gif

Before doing the mod.s I had zero experience, to be honest the only thing I did was soldering guitar jack cables when needed biggrin.gif but I was never 100% happy with the guitars tone though I had it (and same pickups) since 1998.

Besides budget being a little concern (pickups are at least 2x expensive compared to USA where I live) I didn't want to mess with soldering as its more detailed than soldering a jack cable. So I first started with the above post, only did basic things to understand what change effects the pickups tone.

I first changed pickup heights cause its easy and recorded the results on computer. For example although I like shred, I ended-up lowering the bridge pickup as its tone seemed better to me that way. Its important to record cause not only then you can be more objective, if one source is louder than the other our brain usually fools us that the louder is always better. You can check-out what that is here;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour

So on computer you can equal the gain level of recordings to make the best judgement, this is also basicly how mastering engineers work when comparing mastered to unmastered mix.

But the changes really depend on the pickup, guitars wood and even the strings effect it thats why its always hard to compare pickups. I'll write later on the more detailed stuff I did soon (which I had to open or re-solder the pickup).

Also the seymour duncan blog+forum is a good source, they even make pickups today that was originally mod.s that their customers made;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ72VKJo9b4


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Mertay
post Jun 14 2013, 03:19 PM
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So after doing the basic things I wrote here, I felt the tone was more "adjusted" than "tweaked" to preference. Seemed I had to open the pickups and hear the mods I read in lonephantoms blog myself.

I'd like to say its actually not easy to destroy a pickup because its really simple smile.gif I didn't un-soldier the pickups when opening them, just placed a piece of paper on guitar so it wouldn't scratch it. I didn't remove the strings either.

The only thing one must worry about is being gentle when opening and specially when closing because its very crowded inside it. I didn't watch or read any source when doing this but there is info if you search for it (make search something like "disassembling guitar pickup...). Being gentle helps the pickup looking still like new after the mod.s.

Some people buy 5-10 dolar worth cheap or used pickups to practice opening or closing, but as said just be gentle otherwise its no big deal.


I started with the bridge (tonezone). First I did was the half-air mod and it was great, I got rid of the unwanted bassy sound and it really started to scream smile.gif

But I noticed one side of the magnet didn't look like the other, turns out dimarzio uses "aging" on alnico 5 magnets to sound like alnico 2. I flipped the magnet and it sounded even better, now it had the "stres?" I liked on high-output pickups and the extra sensitivity really helped playing comfort.

Finally I re-did the basic stuff again and really like the sound now smile.gif keep in mind I did a lot of experimenting and probably opened the pickup 6-7 times smile.gif could have done it in 2-3 but I got curious biggrin.gif

I didn't have much complaint on the neck pickup (air-norton) but after the experience I realized I wanted to turn its magnet. Its sounded better on distortion and the cleans were still how I liked. The only problem was it still had too much sub frequency going on.

I preferred the capacitor mod I read on lonephantoms blog because I wanted the change to be subtle. I bought a few capacitors (they are very cheap) and soldered it to someone else since it was basic I didn't pay much to him smile.gif here's a photo of the capacitor, sorry for the bad picture quality its the white square;

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-oCrBlj7Cih8/UYaX...00222222222.jpg

The 0.047uF capacitor sounded just fine so I didn't try the others. One thing that lonephantom doesn't mention is I could get the pickup really close to the strings without booming when picked hard smile.gif its a very simple but nice mod.

Forgot to mention; half-air mod only works if 2 coils are wound different. Dimarzio holds the patent for that so not many duncan's can benefit from it

This post has been edited by Mertay: Jun 14 2013, 05:09 PM


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