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Donlis Pickups... These guys are listening to our feedback.

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by awasson, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. LowThudd

    LowThudd Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Got it working. Unfortunately, the TBX I put in seems to have lost it's detent and Isn't working right, so I'll have to change that out. BUT, the pickup sounds pretty good. Nice bit more drive than the Squier 6.7k bridge pup it replaced(MUCH better sounding than the stock 17K Humbucker that came in this guitar), a bit brighter than I expected though. It'll work out. I just need to put in a master no-load tone with a .047 cap. I have a neck/bridge blender in it, and it melds pretty well with the neck pickup, but I may change that out at some point for a 7+k pup to match it well. Really nice QUACK in position two. Not so much in 4. So I am thinking a hotter neck pup may do that. All in all, not a bad pickup for $16.
     
    CFFF, awasson and ndcaster like this.

  2. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    53
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    The problem with the TBX and the detent is that if the knob doesn’t fit properly and you have to use some effort to push it on, you will push the case down and distort it where it makes contact with the part of the mechanism that makes it click. You can push it back and get the detent back. I did that with mine on the Telecaster. The knob I have works well with all of the other controls I have but not my TBX.
     

  3. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

    207
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berlin, Germany
    I've ordered a set of their A5 P94 version for a friend's hagström super swede two weeks ago. I'll review them when installed.

    I also ordered their mini HB and a firebird - both 6.5k & A5.
    I wanted to try them in the neck position of my Tele. So far the mini hum arrived (took roughly 5 weeks), still waiting for the firebird pickup which I've ordered 4 weeks after the mini hum. I'll review those two as well. Whenever they arrive. So I keep on telling myself "patience, patience..."
     
    awasson likes this.

  4. Michael A.

    Michael A. Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    773
    Jan 12, 2013
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I look forward to reading your reviews!
     
    parademe likes this.

  5. LowThudd

    LowThudd Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Yea, I had this problem with this TBX a while ago, I got it working previously, but the detent was GONE, or nearly gone, but the pots were working. It has just become too unstable I think and needs to be replaced.

    And yes, the trouble started by trying to put a tight knob on it in the first place.

    I'm done fiddling with this one for now. The TBX in my tele works great. I'm just going to run a no-load 500k pot I have laying around with a .047 cap. Should work OK, as I still have a 250k vol.
     

  6. screefer

    screefer Tele-Meister Silver Supporter

    126
    Feb 28, 2016
    kildonan
    Could you provide a link to the firebird and mini?
    Thanks
     

  7. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

    207
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berlin, Germany
    I keep getting redirected to the German homepage - maybe it helps anyway.

    https://de.aliexpress.com/store/pro...84.html?spm=a2g0x.12010615.0.0.53f50d8erNELg5

    https://de.aliexpress.com/store/pro...70.html?spm=a2g0x.12010615.0.0.7f0cb0a4UIPuXf

    Its DM51 (firebird) and DM 52 (mini). I didn't open up the mini hum for checking construction (gonna resell it) but planning on checking if the firebird is build like it's ought to be - two bar magnets.
    The mini humbucker looks very well built though, decent wax potting and all). Let me know if you want pictures.
     
    screefer and CFFF like this.

  8. LowThudd

    LowThudd Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Update.

    Finally got it wired back up with a 250k tone pot .047 cap. And then decided that it must be out of phase. Swapped the wires, black to the switch yellow to ground and it sounds much better. I assumed that yellow must be hot, but not on this pup.

    Has this been anyone else experience with Donlis?
     

  9. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    53
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    Which pickups? My Single coil strat pickups have red, white & yellow for hot and black for ground. The single coil tele pickups I ordered are still in transit.
     

  10. LowThudd

    LowThudd Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Alnico 5 9K HOT pickup. I only bought the bridge.

    Definitely was out of phase with the other (squier)pickups, and now sounds much darker and less Ice Pick. Perhaps they goofed on this one?

    Don't know, but Black is definitely the hot lead on mine.

    Edit: Strat bridge 9k Alnico 5
     

  11. archetype

    archetype More tone than talent Ad Free + Supporter

    733
    Jun 4, 2005
    Williamsville NY
    I too would be interested in knowing if the "Firebird" pickup is actually constructed like, and sounds like, a Firebird pickup or if it's just a mini without pole screws.
     
    bender66 likes this.

  12. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    53
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    More than likely the pickup wind, magnet polarity and/or both are opposite the neck. I've seen this with aftermarket mixed with OEM or two different aftermarkets in the same guitar (DiMarzio + Seymour Duncan). The cure is reversing polarity as you've done.
     

  13. Telesphere

    Telesphere Tele-Meister

    282
    Oct 11, 2005
    The Telesphere
    A little trivial observation from reading these threads - with the similar threads feature, it's clear that for pickups, we're well served by both Donlis and Don Mare!

    With that, I'm off to listen to Don Rich!
     

  14. LowThudd

    LowThudd Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca

    Yep, only it was really nasally the other way also. I've been playing with the pup height, and will continue to. But I am thinking this pickup just may not be for me.

    It does have an interesting sound to it. Very clear and bell like. It is just too dissimilar to the other two strat pickups for it to work out. Seems to lack some midrange as well.

    Maybe that is just the nature of over wound pups like this one and the settings on the amp I'm using. Not saying it is a bad one for $16.

    I have a set of slightly less overwound alnico 5 coming from Musiclilly on eBay. I'm gonna keep this pup in the guitar until I get them .
     

  15. bender66

    bender66 Friend of Leo's

    Jan 18, 2010
    on my bike
    Count me in on wanting to know. Pics please! My guess is it's just 2 different covers on the same pickup.

    I ordered these A5's from bezdez. Cut one open to this. I see no magnet underneath connecting the 2 "slugs" in the bobbins. I can't imagine them building a Fbird style pickup for this price, although I think the price was a mistake. After I bought them they went up to a whopping $34.
    [​IMG]
     

  16. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Age:
    53
    Nov 18, 2010
    Vancouver
    I think the bridge pickup on my Strat set is 6k so that one you’ve got is a full third higher in resistance so it should be significantly different.

    I found that even at 6k they seemed to be a pretty hot set. Initially I had mine set too close to the strings and the guitar was too responsive; so much so, that playing Rythm just over saturated the signal and it got loud and you lost clarity. To figure it out, I lowered the pickups almost flush and over time raised them until I found the sweet spot, just before it got over sensitive.
     
    LowThudd likes this.

  17. LowThudd

    LowThudd Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Yep. I do it the other way though. I raise them till they are around two nickles from the strings and lower them until I find the sweet spot. As Bill Lawrence suggests.

    I think I got them leveled out pretty good now. I may end up putting the Musiclilly pups in an Affinity I have lying around.
     
    awasson likes this.

  18. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

    207
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berlin, Germany
    Alright then. The Firebird pickup arrived yesterday. Spent some time with it after installing it in the neck position of my Tele, 500k vol./250k tone pot, Fender CS Texas Special bridge pickup (10k output). So here comes a review of the Donlis mini hum & that Firebird pu.

    (mind you, this is very subjective. And spending quite some time here on TDPRI made me use buzzwords that some will act allergic upon...)

    First off - the quality of both pickups as far as I can see it (didn't look inside yet) is great. Leads are long enough, ends dipped in solder so they don't fray. The boutique-like remains of wax on the undersides for extra mojo. Perfect fitting screws and threads. Nothing that upsets you if you're used to Seymour Duncans or DiMarzios. I'd say same level of quality. Only thing that annoyed me: the FB is 1 mm wider (longer? meaning the neck/bridge-axis) - so I had to file down the pickguard I got for this testing. No biggie.

    Sound-wise they are impressing but similar. I tried a handwound P90 and a SD 59 humbucker in the same guitar, also countless tele neck pickups from boutique to schlock (doesn't mean I'm an expert, just tried a lot of pickups).
    Overall they both are close to a full size humbucker in terms of dynamics and "bloomy-ness". They are really touch-responsive with that bucker compression. They are, of course, clearer and brighter/less low-end than the full size.
    The mini had a nice and soft attack to it, a bit of a hazy "wooly"-ness to the strings. The FB was a bit more detailed and articulate. The mini had less low-end to it than a full size hb, but in a good way (i.e. no mud). The FB was similar.
    Both seemed to be louder on the unwound strings, might be my setup though.
    They were not as bright as the bridge pickup or a single coil in general, but a good match regarding volume for the 10k bridge pu.

    So, conclusion: overall nice pickups, I'd say state of the art: nothing special, nothing to frown upon. Solid, good sounding pickups.
    They are quite similar in dynamics and (humbucker-)character. The FB is a tad brighter but still delivers a fatter or "rounder" sound than a single. Especially up the 10th fret - that bell like tone. The differences were as I expected them to be and as people here on TDPRI described them before me (look up "fb vs. mini").

    I hope that was helpful. I'll post pictures when I'll take the FB out of that Tele again. Sometimes next week.
     
    CFFF, Felino, LowThudd and 3 others like this.

  19. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

    207
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berlin, Germany
    Lil' spoiler: nope. The FB sports a mini hum baseplate with the six holes in it. You can see the bar magnet through those holes. Still leaves the option of rod/bar combo... we'll see. And also, like posted above, they do sound as different as you would expect comparing a mini to a FB.
     
    Felino and bender66 like this.

  20. parademe

    parademe Tele-Meister

    207
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berlin, Germany
    Mini humbucker under the hood:

    I was not able to open up the cover - whatever they soldered it with to the back plate, my soldering iron doesn't get hot enough to melt it.

    Still you could see through the gaps between the plate and the cover how the magnets are arranged:
    - one screw coil
    - one bar coil ("magnet 2" in the pic)
    - another bar on the bottom between the two coils ("magnet 1")
    So it seems to be a classic Gibson mini Hum design.

    You can't really see it, but that's the best shot I could get:

    Mini HB II.JPG
     
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