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Old March 9th, 2013, 07:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Charlie Christian pickups

I have been interested in CC pickups since my youth, but I have never played with one. How would you describe their sound? How do they sound in a solid body compared to a 335 or L-5 type of body? How are they with OD? How are they with Dumble-type or Trainwreck-type amps, for those who know these amps. I am sure other pickups might sound much better than these in certain situations. But I am just trying to get a sense of your experiences with them.

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Old March 10th, 2013, 11:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Clear, warm, a little hot (they're higher output than normal tele pkups) and they can be noisy (because they're hot single coils).
I have one in a Tele and LOVE it! Mine responds nicely to medium drive - pedals and amps. I actually did play it through a Ceriatone (OTS?) a couple of times. Sounded good to me.

This is (pretty rough, lol!) cell phone vid and I'm using both pkups but you can get the idea. Light gain into a SF princeton. 'Solo' starts at 1:00



Here it is clean, solo ...



Can't find anything with just the CC driven hard.
It'll sound different in a hollowbody v. solidbody the way any other pkup will.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 12:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Dang nice, Ken. Both the pickup, but especially the solo. It was clean-ish, but had the sustain and response of OD. The 6ths were cool, something that I have been working on for a long time. The openness allows them to fit right in without mud or conflict. I really, really liked how you would change up the subdivision pulses of the faster lines. Boneyguy (is this the Glenn that others have been talking about on the other forum) posted something of his a few months ago where he just killed switching between 8th triplets and regular 16ths.

I am definitely going to get one of those pickups. CC Riders? I looks like routing must be necessary.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 01:07 PM   #4 (permalink)
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One more question. How does it sound with the bridge pickup? Right now, I use a blend pot for my two Don Mare's, which I am completely sold on.

Why stop with only one more question? This is for you, but also anyone else. I have a 5-position switch that accesses 4 different treble bleed caps that I soldered to a small piece of breadboard. It works really well. Does anyone have any experience with using a treble bleed with a CC pickup? Think my little mod would sound good with the CC? Is the louder volume compared to regular Tele pups a big difference, or slight. My Don Mare's are quite a bit hotter than the original pups I had in my Korean Tele.
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Old March 10th, 2013, 09:54 PM   #5 (permalink)
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As long as your bridge p'up is a little hotter it match beautifully with a CC.
Your Don Mare will be a good match.
My Vintage Vibe CC has A2 mags (he offers it with A2, A3 or A5).

And yes 'Glenn' is boneyguy.
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Old March 12th, 2013, 08:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Not sure if you're looking to match with an existing pickup that you want to keep, or are open to replacing the bridge pickup, but Lollar makes a Tele bridge pickup specifically to match his CC. (I haven't heard it myself.)

http://www.lollarguitars.com/mm5/mer...istian-pickups

I have Lollar's HB sized CC in a semi. I mostly use it in the mid position along with a Lollar HB sized P90. I do like it a lot. That guitar is my no 1. Depending on the amp and settings, the CC can be warm and smooth, but also nicely aggressive with that rough and ready 50s blues type of breakup - small amps trying to be heard above a drummer. I wouldn't use it with high gain. I wouldn't use it for rock or blues rock. Great for jump blues as you'd expect. And yes quite a lot of noise, as with any fat single coil.
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Old March 14th, 2013, 03:31 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kiwi blue View Post
Not sure if you're looking to match with an existing pickup that you want to keep, or are open to replacing the bridge pickup, but Lollar makes a Tele bridge pickup specifically to match his CC. (I haven't heard it myself.)

http://www.lollarguitars.com/mm5/mer...istian-pickups

I have Lollar's HB sized CC in a semi. I mostly use it in the mid position along with a Lollar HB sized P90. I do like it a lot. That guitar is my no 1. Depending on the amp and settings, the CC can be warm and smooth, but also nicely aggressive with that rough and ready 50s blues type of breakup - small amps trying to be heard above a drummer. I wouldn't use it with high gain. I wouldn't use it for rock or blues rock. Great for jump blues as you'd expect. And yes quite a lot of noise, as with any fat single coil.
This is good info. I'm glad to hear that Lollar makes a matching bridge pup for a Tele. I would probably start off by keeping my Don Mare, then try the Lollar bridge pup if I need to.

Your description of rough and ready sounds really appealing (it's funny the terms we use to describe sound, but this is really evocative). When you say you wouldn't use it for high gain or for rock or blues rock, what aspect of the sound and behavior are you thinking about?

I am starting to drool.
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Old March 14th, 2013, 09:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Everyone always says, "I wouldn't use my CC with a lot of gain". Probably more due to the noise factor - same as p90s. Yeah, I wouldn't use 'metal' style distortion but the standard TS type of gain is great IMO. The thing is, they're hot pickups and will overdrive the input of a lower wattage amp (or OD pedal) pretty hard - and beautifully! You don't need a lot of extra gain with CCs. And yes they are 'ragged' and rough when pushing.
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Old March 14th, 2013, 10:36 PM   #9 (permalink)
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OK, I just did a very rough demo of my CC neck pkup with a lot of gain from a Menatone Howie pedal into a GT Solo 45 amp (EL34s but still very Fenderesque as amps go).

https://soundcloud.com/klasaine/cc-d...t-of-overdrive

The lead guitar is up high in the mix so you can hear all the nuances of pick and fingers with the pkup and the drive ... as well as some sloppy over-playing - sorry. I tried to play hard, light, w/fingers, double stops, bends, high, low, etc. *I also switch to both pkups at about 3:09. I think it shows that the CC can handle a decent amount of gain. The volume I'm playing at is what I'd call quieter club level (trio level?) but definitely too loud for inside your house at night say. The 'buzz' you hear is with the gain pedal on. Recorder is a handheld Tascam DR-07.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 12:09 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Oh, yeah! That's beyond what I was hoping for. That's exactly the kind of high gain stuff that I'm interested in. The high notes sing and sound pure, with a sustain that changes tone over time, especially by the way you control the finger pressure, placement within the fret, and, of course, the timing of the bends with a vibrato on the top that kind of swells up and becomes deeper and a little faster. I hang around singers on my floor in the music building and hear the best ones easing into a vibrato. It seems to take as much work for them to learn how to do that as it does for guitar players. I remember a Guitar Player interview with Stephen Stills around 1970 in which he talked about having difficulty with doing a bend and putting a vibrato on the top. It was uncharacteristically (I gather) generous of him to be open about a shortcoming like that.

Anyway, what I like about your gain is that it doesn't buzz, especially as you get higher in pitch. There was one moment when you kind of bottomed out on the 5th and 6ths strings in 2-3rd position that was very buzzy. I cued into that because that is my bete noir. I should, and will, actually, start a thread on what to do in order to get a good, singing OD sustain in the high notes, but a cleaner, less buzzy sound in the low register. That is a tough nut to crack. Thinking back on this sound, I wonder if this problem of having a good, singing sound up high produced by gain but a buzzy sound down low is something that is strongly associated with master volume and/or OD pedals even the Dumble kind. I have used a Zendrive and Fuchs Valvejob that produces exactly this overall effect. In contrast, I don't recall getting the low register buzz ever when I was playing with a cranked amp loud. It seems that sound didn't enter my vocabulary until I got a Mesa/Boogie in the late 70s. That was when I think I first experienced an almost Keith Emerson sawtooth wave steady-state synthesized tone in the low end. Hmm. I'll try to work on this theory a litte and start a separate thread for it.

Back to your clip, I liked the clarity that emerged when you picked a little less softly, and especially when you used the fingers of the right hand. Even on chords and dyads, the individual notes came through with great distinctiveness and clarity.

But enough about you. Back to me. The Quinn SDO that I have been using for nearly a year has the following functions: volume (master volume turns down the amount of volume, while volume can push into OD territory, like other MV amps), pre-amp boost from a knob/switch, pre-amp boost from a footswitch, OD from a footswitch, OD trim pot, OD amount, OD level, fx loop. I can turn any of the knobs up or down for more or less OD of the quality that each stage produces, as well as switch the switches on or off. Every one of these actions adds or subtracts a unique aspect of OD to the final product. Oh, yeah, the guitar. My Epi Dot with a varitone, coil splitters, and volume/tone bypass, pickup selector, and pup volume controls all go into the mix. I wish I could say that I have solved the problem of the high singing quality of OD while maintaining a solid, nonbuzzy low end, but I have generally a lot more control as time goes on. I keep a log, where I write down the settings and write a couple of descriptive sentences.

Like most guitar players, I don't really get off on twiddling knobs. It has always been my practice, for good or ill, to just dive right in as soon as I get an interesting sound. It is so easy for me to get diverted from my quest in solving the register problem. But along the way, I have learned how to control the touch sensitivity and timing aspects of tone and OD. Notice that I have taken the OD pedals out of the equation. I have used the Zendrive a lot over the years, but with the Quinn, the pedal seems to really add a lot of thick, creaminess that I don't care for at all, at least insofar as the result is very gainy and syupy. The Zendrive (and Fuchs, which are very close to my ears) work really well with non Dumble type amps, especially Fenders and a Trainwreck clone.

Back to the CC. I loved the sound of that pup played loudly like that. I was worried that it would be a death metal kind of overkill, but not even close. As I said, it produced a very vocal, yet intense and searing kind of sound. I have already email Kokotele to see if he would be interested in installing a Lollar CC neck pup. A CC bridge is an option, but I'm not sure that I would benefit that much from it. One factor is that I use a blend pot in my Tele.

Ken, thanks for doing this. I also liked the musical approach that you were using, which was the best of both worlds, the singing, bending, OD, and the articulated passagework that blows off the accumulated energy produced by the more fragmented, rhythmic ideas. Now it is all up to Kokotele. Am I applying too much pressure to get him to do this for me? Well, excuuuuse me:)
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Old March 15th, 2013, 02:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry F View Post
There was one moment when you kind of bottomed out on the 5th and 6ths strings in 2-3rd position that was very buzzy. I cued into that because that is my bete noir.
Yes, and I don't like it either. I too feel it's an inherent problem with MV amps when the power amp section isn't at least 60% open. And also can be an issue with ODs when the gain is set high.
I probably could have dialed the buzz back from the pedal but I wanted no mistaking that I was playing with a lot of gain.
That particular 'Howie' is a two channel affair - one feeds the other and I had them both 'ON'.
The CC will sort of bottom out in the lowest regs of the guitar. It's not a snappy Fender pkup and even with A2 mags it's 'hot'.
What you heard was low Bb, Ab, G and F on strings 5 and 6 respectively. Also, keep in mind that my A and E strings are .38 and .50 nickel (GHS burnished nickel .11 gauge set) and I use an extra heavy (1.5) tortex or nylon pick. All this will impart a darker (and personally I also hear 'bigger/fatter') tone. When I switch to both pkups at 3:09 I 'think' the buzz diminishes and the low end gets tighter in general.
*I noticed a lot of great lead players will flip the pkup selec switch to the middle or bridge when they're down low and do the opposite above the 12th or 15th fret. Jeff Beck was the first cat I saw/heard do that. I employ it constantly.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 02:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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That's a great observation about Beck and others. I have had OK success by muting with my palm slightly. Of course, that gives a much different sound altogether. Plus my technique isn't all that great, but I'll have to start working on that, to see how seamless I could make it. I really did appreciate that you used an overtly gainy sound, as that is what I wanted to hear.

I haven't heard of that pedal, but you can bet I'll give it a listen.
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Old March 15th, 2013, 02:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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This is a question I've had as well. You know John Lennon's modified LP jr.? That had a CC in the neck, but I have NO IDEA what settings he was using on the recordings where it's used, or really which it was used on. I know it was on late Beatles stuff and early Plastic Ono Band (both of which I absolutely love, but much of which I know was also done on a more-or-less stock Casino).
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Old March 15th, 2013, 02:48 AM   #14 (permalink)
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My model is the 3rd one down. I don't know if they're even made anymore - ?
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_kw=M...Howie+Pedal%2C
Mine can definitely get into 'fuzz' territory.
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