Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups
Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups

An Impolite Comparison Between GFS and Fender

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Burn Yesterday, Dec 7, 2017.

  1. Burn Yesterday

    Burn Yesterday Tele-Meister

    Oct 5, 2012
    Durham, NC, USA
  2. Steve Holt

    Steve Holt Tele-Holic

    May 29, 2016
    There are tons of pickup makers out there making "vintage" pickups claiming they'll sound like old fender pickups. Will they? Who knows.

    Pickups are not all that complicated. Some magnets and copper wire wrapped around a bunch of times. The trick is how many times it gets wrapped. There are other factors that people debate about like what the magnets are composed of and their strength (gauss right?) And I'm sure it's all important for the elusive tone, but GFS is hardly the only company out there doing this.

    As far as these particular pickups go, even if I tried them out I wouldn't have any vintage Fenders to compare them to ;)
    rghill, nojazzhere and 3-Chord-Genius like this.
  3. ebb soul

    ebb soul Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 7, 2016
    Smyrna georgia
    Funny how 'vintage' as in 'like original', has come to mean 'custom', or 'special'.
    Nothing really special about vintage, imo, save price.
    6BQ5 and Antigua Tele like this.
  4. Octorfunk

    Octorfunk Tele-Meister

    Jan 20, 2014
    No personal experience, but there's no secret magic rocket science with pickups. Like others have said, wire wrapped around magnets, not much secrecy that older pickups can claim to have. I'm sure there are people who will go on and on about how wire used to made different, or that magnets "just aren't made like they used to be."

    And really, most components on an electric guitar are that way. Volume pots are very simple, uncomplicated implements that are not shrouded in secrecy. All the wiring is the same way.

    Electric guitars are so extremely simple, so few components, and they have been so for over 60 years.

    That's not to say that a cheap $89 guitar is going to feel or play the same as a really nice vintage Tele, but now we're talking setup and overall construction (once again, nothing magical here either).
  5. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    GFS reads these forums, they know what buzz words to use to impress non technical guitarists.

    This bridge pickup is nowhere near as vintage correct as the Fender OV Tele bridge. I see what appears to be a solid brass base plate with two screws and an embossed GFS logo, with a ground connection that is clamped between the bobbin and base plate. The improper metals can affect the transfer function of the pickup.

    " The Alnico V slugs are hand-magnetized, to as accurately as possible match the exact gauss of the vintage sets we used as inspiration." I simply don't believe this is true. I don't believe they do any such thing.

    "These are a bit warmer and rounder than our less expensive units- more of a "Feel" thing, and they give you the classic snappy Tele sound with all of the vnitage(sic) feel-" they're just stroking us off at this point. They're not alone though, most pickup sellers make these sorts of empty, ambiguous statements about their product.
  6. tfarny

    tfarny Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    There are lots and lots of nice pickups around. Some "vintage" pickups sounded awful, because back in the good ole days quality control / consistency was nowhere near what it is today. GFS in general makes a fine sounding pickup.
  7. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    They look a good price and they're probably a step up from say MIM or Asian ceramic mag pickups. The wire does matter, the lesser winds but thinner gauge in the trad neck pickup does create higher DCr which affects it's frequency response. As do Alnico 3 magnets, with a lower gauss.

    Old pickups were all over the place - wound by hand for starters. Magnetising pickups, zap them for longer or shorter times, different strength. All alnico is pretty much sand cast at least in rods. It's very tough material, hard to machine and heat can destroy it's crystalline structure which loses its magnicity, if that's a word.

    So depending on how OCD the winders and year they could be anywhere from 5-7 kohms. Old magnets do lose their strength - it's been often surmised that is a factor in their 'magic'. When people have tried to replicate it, they've often failed.

    Try them. At the price, who knows.
    nojazzhere likes this.
  8. Jupiter

    Jupiter Telefied Ad Free Member

    Jun 22, 2010
    Osaka, Japan
    You got yer magnet type and gauss strength; you got yer wire gauge, composition and insulation type/thickness; you got yer wind tension and count; you got yer wind scattering; you got yer bobbin width/length/height and material; you got yer baseplate/cover material; you got yer leads.

    All of these variables cause differences in sound, many of which are only discernible to bats and dolphins.

    Regarding the GFS pickups, I'm guessing that the most significant specs that they don't replicate are the scatter-winding (compared to hand-winding) and the composition of the wire (prolly less copper in it).
    jvin248, Piggy Stu and Steve Holt like this.
  9. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Friend of Leo's

    Apr 3, 2015
    Winchester, VA
    I doubt GFS or anybody else would have a problem replicating a product that was originally built by whoever at the Fender factory wasn't pushing a broom at the moment.
  10. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Holic

    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    GFS is telling a lot of things to sell their products, but I can see that they are working hard to produce interesting guitar parts, not only cheap, but original and clever too. So I think they deserve something credit, and I'll buy something from them one day.

    Now, this pickup looks quite good, and it's not expensive for sure, but look at the Dimarzio Twang King, made in the USA by a reputable pickup maker, and not really expensive either . Not to mention the Wilde Keystone, or Cavallier. If you want a vintage spec or quality pickup, there are a few other options.
    emisilly, Sollipsist and drlucky like this.
  11. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    The thinner wire adds a tiny amount of series resistance and lowers the resonance a little bit. It's barely noticeable.

    Using AlNiCo 3 is the same as if you use AlNiCo 2 and lower the pickups very slightly, because the permeability is almost exactly the same, but the residual flux is slightly less. There are other differences, but they don't apply.

    A scientific article was just posted about this , they found no significant electrical differences when the AlNiCo was charged, uncharged, or weakened. That leaves the physical aspect, which is the same as raising or lowering pickups, because in the end it comes down to how much flux is where and when.

    There's a meme that goes around saying "everything effects the tone", but the truth is some things just don't, while others effect the tone in the same way as something else.
    awasson and LowThudd like this.
  12. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    Aren't they rebranded Artecs? I'm not sure what GFS does versus what Artec does.

    I think those go for around $60, compared to $30 for the GFS. But BYO is offering a more "vintage correct" bridge and a Tele neck with a nickel silver cover for $60 for the whole set BYO is basically selling what you'd get from David Allen at a fraction of a fraction of the cost, so even if GFS is cheap, there still seems to be a middle man market in there none the less.
    awasson and LowThudd like this.
  13. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    Well I see a couple large screws holding the base plate in place. The broom pushers adhered the base plates with wax.
    LowThudd likes this.
  14. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    I'd go further and say it's very rare that any pickup ever sounds bad. Some guys are disappointed that the sound they're hearing doesn't satisfy them for some vague, who knows what reason, and they decide the pickup must bad. One persons bad pickup is another person's great pickup.

    But the expensive boutiques have a huge advantage: the benefit of the doubt. Suppose you don't like the sound, if it's a "cheap Chinese" GFS, people are more likely to blame the pickup, because it's cheap, and Chinese, but if it's an expensive pickup wound domestically, by a guy who gets praised heap upon them in Internet forums from this coast to that coast, then it can't be the pickups fault! Heavens no! You might not have liked the sound, but it was wound by a renowned professional, you'll learn to like the sound.
    Rowdyman, medblues, jvin248 and 7 others like this.
  15. brbadg

    brbadg Tele-Afflicted

    Mar 11, 2008
  16. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    That's because there is no answer, or it's very subjective.

    My 'vintage correct' is your doggie doo-doo-doo-doo'.
  17. tele12

    tele12 Friend of Leo's

    Dec 2, 2006
    The GFS costs $30 a pickup. Fender Original Vintage Tele pickups costs $80 for the set on EBay. IMO buying a knockoff instead of the genuine Fender is not even worth considering for $20 savings.
  18. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

    GFS products tend to be more sizzle than steak.
    My 2 cents.
    Teleterr likes this.
  19. jaybones

    jaybones Friend of Leo's

    No idea about these, but have heard their foil pups are pretty close to the originals.

    And hand magnetized slugs. How's that work? Someone rubs it against a piece of lamb's wool a certain number of times, during a full moon sprinkling unicorn urine and virgin's blood at intervals?

    Or loading the slugs into a machine then throwing a switch. Taking them out by hand when the timer says to?

    Like this diamond ring commercial, touting hand set diamonds. Aren't they all hand set, or is there a CNC robot programed to set diamonds?
    nojazzhere and aerhed like this.
  20. LowThudd

    LowThudd Friend of Leo's

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2017
    awasson likes this.
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