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> Hyper Gain/pickup Disguise?
Todd Simpson
post Jan 17 2014, 09:07 PM
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Check out this vid. It's a demo for several different duncan pickups that all sound quite similar partially due to the amount of gain involved. Each of these pickups has a somewhat distinct character, each has different mags/winds etc. But if you throw enough gain/distortion at it, pickups can start to sound a lot alike. This is important to keep in mind if you just spent a couple/few hundred bucks on a new set. If you bury it under gain, the character of the pickup can get lost. This can be a good thing if you are using really cheap pickups though smile.gif On my Ibanez guitars, I'm using stock pickups. They are NOT pricey/high end pups. But with enough gain, they sound fine smile.gif

QUESTION: What did you notice after your last pickup upgrade?





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Mertay
post Jan 17 2014, 09:31 PM
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I agree cheap pickups sound best on high gain smile.gif another thing is since ceramic magnets are preferred as they are cheap and have a really good attack too.

I remember when I upgraded my guitar the new one came with dimarzio air-norton and tonezone. They sounded great on cleans (specially the AN) but on the same setup I felt like I had to pick harder and use my left hand more careful (scale stuff or tapping) to play the same things with my ex-guitar...that day I learned what "attack" ment smile.gif no matter how much I drove the sound was there but I couldn't get the fretboard sensitivity I had before.

I actually still use those pickups but turned the magnet upside down as one side on them are aged, plus I modified the AN to a normal norton which some-what sound like today petrucci sound with a litte more complexity on the mid.s. Since the magnet power is stronger, the attack I need is finally there smile.gif

This post has been edited by Mertay: Jan 17 2014, 09:32 PM


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Darius Wave
post Jan 18 2014, 02:57 PM
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Many years I was going for as high as possible pickup output but it has changed a few years back. I'm now even considering SD SH2 for bridge. It's on alnico V magnet. Seems like those days I like when to gain level makes amp harder to play...it's usually related to better dynamics response. Also...Alnico gives more organic sound wchich suits my mid-gain tones better these days.


but when I had my "heavy playing" period I was always going for ceramic, high output pickups.


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klasaine
post Jan 18 2014, 04:59 PM
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All the Duncans tested are high-output bridge pkups.
If you threw a normal/vintage/lower output humbucker into the mix you would hear some more recognizable differences ... even with that much amp gain. Also the character of the guitar as well as your technique will translate better with 'normal' output pickups.

Generally speaking (and from a lot of experience) the better made pkups (Duncan, DiMarzio and various boutique brands) will 'clean up' better when you pull your guitars volume down. If you want cleaner tone quickly that doesn't sound anemic then vintage output is for you.

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 18 2014, 05:01 PM


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 18 2014, 07:46 PM
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I've switched to using ALNICO mags in my guitars in recent years. I started getting away from ceramic mags and sold all my guitars with EMG 81 pups in the bridge. I really prefer alnico now and my fav magnets are the ALNICO 8. If you like alnico 5, try a pup with alnico 8. Great tone that doesn't get fizzy or dark.

The seymour duncan alternative 8 is the first duncan pickup with an alnico 8 mag to see production. I've got one in my gunslinger and love it smile.gif

Todd


QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jan 18 2014, 08:57 AM) *
Many years I was going for as high as possible pickup output but it has changed a few years back. I'm now even considering SD SH2 for bridge. It's on alnico V magnet. Seems like those days I like when to gain level makes amp harder to play...it's usually related to better dynamics response. Also...Alnico gives more organic sound wchich suits my mid-gain tones better these days.


but when I had my "heavy playing" period I was always going for ceramic, high output pickups.


Yup. These pickups are really quite similar despite the branding and duncan attempting to pitch them each as unique. They mostly sound like high output ceramic pickups. I really did expect more tonal variation even at high gain settings. The Bareknuckle high output pickups for example, can sound quite different under high gain. But then again they are boutique pickups.

I've got one set of boutique pickups from HOMEWRECKER pickups and they are ALNICO 8 magnets and I love em. They are what got me started looking for alnico and especially alnico 8 based pickups.

Todd


QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 18 2014, 10:59 AM) *
All the Duncans tested are high-output bridge pkups.
If you threw a normal/vintage/lower output humbucker into the mix you would hear some more recognizable differences ... even with that much amp gain. Also the character of the guitar as well as your technique will translate better with 'normal' output pickups.

Generally speaking (and from a lot of experience) the better made pkups (Duncan, DiMarzio and various boutique brands) will 'clean up' better when you pull your guitars volume down. If you want cleaner tone quickly that doesn't sound anemic then vintage output is for you.


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Darius Wave
post Jan 18 2014, 07:49 PM
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Very good add Ken. Though of the same but the the appreciation for low output pickups comes with the moment when You start to appreciate the power of guitar volume control smile.gif))

But one thing...for the middle-gain players still more modern than vintage those vintage output pickups (at least part of them) has some issues as well. for example not waxed coil likes to give the feedback with much lower gain and volume than the modern "tight and waxed" pickup. This is why it's my limit. I like low - midddle output but not necessary the absolutely vintage pickups.


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klasaine
post Jan 18 2014, 11:22 PM
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Yes, feedback can definitely be an issue but you can - and many companies do - wax pot normal (or vintage) output humbuckers - dip the bobbins and windings in wax http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Electronic...indyfralin.html In fact that was an old 'trick' for rock guys who preferred to play semi-hollow body guitars in the late 60s and 70s until manufacturers (including Gibson) started to offer wax potted pickups. Fender did this early on with Tele pkups. Wax potting will slightly dull the tone but you can also take the covers off for a tiny bit more high-end (as well as a tiny bit more output).

*Tip ... if you can find a Duncan JB full sized humbucker from the mid to late 80s it'll have Alnico magnets (A5, I think?). They use ceramic mags now in the JBs. The JB with alnico is superior IMO. High output but it definitely has more 'life' in it and is more versatile than the current version (IMO).

This post has been edited by klasaine: Jan 19 2014, 03:30 AM


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Cosmin Lupu
post Jan 20 2014, 09:22 AM
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Good point here Todd - things can get very similar in this case. There are some folks that can get the best out of cheap pickups too, because they know how to play and use the right dynamics, pulling out the best possible from any axe. I have a friend like that - you can give him almost any guitar and he can adapt instantaneously and make it sound REALLY good, regardless of how cheap or expensive it is..


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Darius Wave
post Jan 20 2014, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE (klasaine @ Jan 18 2014, 11:22 PM) *
Yes, feedback can definitely be an issue but you can - and many companies do - wax pot normal (or vintage) output humbuckers - dip the bobbins and windings in wax http://www.stewmac.com/freeinfo/Electronic...indyfralin.html In fact that was an old 'trick' for rock guys who preferred to play semi-hollow body guitars in the late 60s and 70s until manufacturers (including Gibson) started to offer wax potted pickups. Fender did this early on with Tele pkups. Wax potting will slightly dull the tone but you can also take the covers off for a tiny bit more high-end (as well as a tiny bit more output).

*Tip ... if you can find a Duncan JB full sized humbucker from the mid to late 80s it'll have Alnico magnets (A5, I think?). They use ceramic mags now in the JBs. The JB with alnico is superior IMO. High output but it definitely has more 'life' in it and is more versatile than the current version (IMO).



I agree can. Lately I do enjoy Alnico 5 in bridge position and I think of replacing the JB with SH2. I have nice comparison. I have two Mayo's Setius 6 in my reach - both from the same production date / series and woods. Mine is with Ceramic pickups right now bu the second one has DiMarzio DP155 with Alnico magnet and it has so much juice..tasty mids and dynamics response that I just want to make same with mine.


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Todd Simpson
post Jan 24 2014, 08:15 AM
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I agree all the way. I'm a HUGE fan of ALNICO PICKUPS and particularly ALNICO 8. As I posted previously, I bought the ALTERNATIVE 8 duncan which is the first alnico 8 duncan produced for the open market. They did do a couple of prototypes for their forum users.

Even high gain pup builders are starting to move toward alnico. The HOMEWRECKER custom pickup I have for example is a high output bridge @ 16k with ALNICO 8 mangers. They just seem to have more life to them than the ceramic and they don't get as fizzy or as dark. But all of this of course comes down to the player. Some folks are way happy with their ceramic high gain pups and get great sound from them. I used to have EMG ceramics in several guitars and was happy as a clam for years with them. Only recently did I make the switch to alnico.

Todd



QUOTE (Darius Wave @ Jan 20 2014, 05:23 AM) *
I agree can. Lately I do enjoy Alnico 5 in bridge position and I think of replacing the JB with SH2. I have nice comparison. I have two Mayo's Setius 6 in my reach - both from the same production date / series and woods. Mine is with Ceramic pickups right now bu the second one has DiMarzio DP155 with Alnico magnet and it has so much juice..tasty mids and dynamics response that I just want to make same with mine.


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Mertay
post Apr 5 2014, 07:30 PM
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Very easy and an inexpensive mod. Actually if I remember right, the magnets on the neck and bridge (specific to these pickups) are swapped so there no need to buy magnets for this mod.



This post has been edited by Mertay: Apr 5 2014, 07:31 PM


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