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

Pickups with more dynamic range?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by MrGibbly, Dec 1, 2017.

  1. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Holic

    525
    Apr 19, 2014
    SATX
    First of all, I am pretty sure that question/statement can't be technically accurate since this isn't a microphone (it's a magnet), but I'm just not sure how to correctly ask this question. A little background... I have an American Deluxe Telecaster that plays like a dream and is very resonant/lively. The pickups are the factory original N3s and they are "fine". I mean that in the most sincere way...just like when your lady friend says "it's fine". ;)

    I've learned certain things about pickups that have helped me get what I'm looking for in other cases (e.g., P-90s, WRHBs). What am I looking for now? I'm hunting a set of Tele pickups that will be as dynamic as the ones in Dan's (from That Pedal Show) red Tele, for example. :) Something very responsive to right hand dynamics, tasty sounding from a whisper to a scream... Not really the volume knob thing.

    What am I really hearing? What are the attributes that contribute here? What would I be looking for in terms of technical specs?
     
    TEPR likes this.

  2. luckett

    luckett Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 14, 2011
    .
    There is an episode where they talk about their guitars. I don't remember if he says what pickups they are, but you could ask him on twitter or wherever.
     

  3. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 21, 2014
    Florida
    Sounds like Cavaliers, Keystones or possibly Porter 9t's, depending on the sound you're after...

    Those are all great pickups for those characteristics.
     
    songtalk and Nickadermis like this.

  4. JD0x0

    JD0x0 Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    27
    Feb 22, 2009
    New York
    IME, pickups will have their own compression like effect. Personally, I find PAF's to be fairly compressed sound/response compared to single coils, for example. It goes beyond output, as well, because you'd think a higher output pickup would have more dynamics, because it can put out a wider range of voltages, but that isn't always the case. Again, using the PAF vs a vintage style single coil as an example. Though, this doesn't necessarily mean more output means more compression, either. I have a few relatively high output pickups that retain more dynamics than certain lower output designs, it seems.
    Also, when Chris Klein wound my pickups, years ago, he mentioned the steel base plate, which we added to my pickups, 'increased compression'

    I just bought a set of Wilde alnico microcoils, and they are some of the most dynamic pickups I've come across.(Almost a little "too dynamic", it seems, at times)
    Stacked (noiseless) single coils also seem generally to have a bit less dynamics compared to many single coil designs, IMO.
     

  5. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Holic

    525
    Apr 19, 2014
    SATX
    I've watched that video and he indicates that he has the Don Mare Super Sport in the neck and the Fender Custom Shop 1963 that would've been original to that guitar in the bridge. What I'm really curious about is what are the particular attributes of these pickups (or, pots &caps) that contribute to what I'm perceiving as increased dynamic range?
     

  6. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    435
    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    Maybe you are looking for a true single coil (and don't forget the amp).
     

  7. El Tele Lobo

    El Tele Lobo Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 21, 2014
    Florida
    Forgot about Microcoils. Never tried them personally but I've heard great things about them.
     

  8. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Holic

    525
    Apr 19, 2014
    SATX
    I think this is "right". My Strat has true singles and it's closer, but it's not a Tele and the pups don't seem to be as dynamic. The amps I play most are an SFVR and a Boogie V:25.
     

  9. luckett

    luckett Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 14, 2011
    .
    It's probably more from a combination of playing really loud cranked amps with micing/production and Dan's fingers. I remember them talking about playing really loud and using multiple mics
     
    Chicago Matt likes this.

  10. LowCaster

    LowCaster Tele-Meister

    Age:
    45
    435
    Jan 24, 2011
    Paris, France
    I love my Keystones, clear, dynamic and balanced. But I think they are not screamers...
    Microcoils are on my shortlist of pickups to try.
    In a few days I'll try an esquire/broadcaster bridge pickup. Didn't order from Cavalier this time but from a french builder closer from me ( Hepcat ).
    You can try the Fender CS pickups too.
    All these options are quite reasonably priced.
     

  11. eallen

    eallen Tele-Meister

    Have installed every pup of the Wilde line & all are amazing. The Keystone clarity is unrivaled. The Alnico microcoils have amazing versitility especially with a 4 way on a tele in series position. Great dynamics.
     

  12. chris m.

    chris m. Friend of Leo's

    I think it's in the fingers, really. I've never noticed more or less compression with different pickups.
     
    songtalk likes this.

  13. NotAnotherHobby

    NotAnotherHobby Tele-Afflicted

    Oct 27, 2015
    Da' Magic Mittin'
    Actually, some microphones are magnets.

    I remember seeing one guy using speakers to record a bass drum.
     
    freddarl82 likes this.

  14. LowThudd

    LowThudd Tele-Afflicted

    Feb 11, 2014
    Sherman Oaks, Ca
    Funny, I was just listening to some Bill Lawrence Microcoils on Youtube. Man do they sound nice. So do keystones, but Microcoils are kind of the next level.



    Playing starts at about 1:43


     
    songtalk likes this.

  15. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Holic

    525
    Apr 19, 2014
    SATX
    I think you're absolutely right that the fingers have the most to do with it. However, I do perceive something that could be described as a different in "compression" between the Tex Specials in my Strat vs. the WRHBs in my Starcaster vs. the P-90s in my Casino vs. the N3s in my Tele vs. the 490s in my LP. Obviously, the EQ and output characteristics of all of these pickups is dramatically different (as is the tone wood! :p). A light touch seems better rewarded with the Strat with more of a perceived difference between a gentle finger and an aggressive rake with a pick.
     

  16. TEPR

    TEPR TDPRI Member

    35
    Mar 16, 2016
    LA
    Would love to hear any technical credence to Mick’s statement.

    Perhaps Mick just thinks Dans guitar has range because Mick himself is always so thin and quacky?

    There does seem to be a ton of graphs if you google for pickup frequency response. :)

    I’d be interested in buying Dans bridge pickup too.
     

  17. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Holic

    525
    Apr 19, 2014
    SATX
    Exactly what I’m looking for myself. :)
     
    TEPR likes this.

  18. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Tele-Afflicted

    Jun 2, 2014
    west coast
    Pickups don't really have dynamic range in the technical sense. That's a concept that applies to amplification, and pickups aren't amplifiers.

    If a pickup has a higher resonant peak though, you will perceive that it has a greater dynamic range, because you will hear louder transients (picking sounds) which delivers a bigger voltage spike when you hit the strings, and gives you the impression of added sensitivity. If you want more of that, you want "low output" pickups, and to avoid anything "hot" or "overwound".

    Since actual dynamic range is determined by the guitar amp, if you're trying to duplicate someone's sound, you'd also want to consider the kind of amp they're using and how hard they're pushing it.
     
    Chicago Matt, MrGibbly and TEPR like this.

  19. MrGibbly

    MrGibbly Tele-Holic

    525
    Apr 19, 2014
    SATX
    This is exactly the kind of information about pickups I was looking for, thank you!

    On the amp side of things, I definitely understand I won’t get this sound running through my Class 5 when it’s compressing. :) I tend to use my SF Vibrolux Reverb when I’m hunting more dynamics. There’s something about that clean power through punchy 10” speakers that can be absolutely fantastic.
     

  20. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Holic

    755
    Apr 20, 2014
    Ontario
    "dynamics" is a buzz word that has no technical meaning. In the guitar world, for practical purposes it usually reflects the creation and/or perception of the quality of note attacks (pick attacks). Indeed, it is a close interaction of pickup and amp that produces differences in it. Thus, improvements in "dynamics" are much easier (and cheaper) to achieve at the control knobs of the amp. Any significant "compression" (which, however, is a valid technical term that is fairly well defined) will negate or work against "dynamic-ness" since it will tend to mitigate the impact of the pick attacks.
     
    Chicago Matt likes this.

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