Why do vintage pickups sound better?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Marquee Moon, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. memiller

    memiller Tele-Meister

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    No, because you won't be able to hear them over the wailing of Gibson and Fender Custom Shop executives.
     
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  2. 65 Champ Amp

    65 Champ Amp Tele-Afflicted

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    Aren't there young dentists?
     
  3. soulman969

    soulman969 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I was thinking back even farther to when 30 horsepower would have been a high performance engine. ;)

    It would be interesting to see what 100 octane would do in a Model A though. Mighta hit 70-75 mph. :lol:
     
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  4. DougM

    DougM Friend of Leo's

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    I don't know about pickups, but it's a known fact that one of the reasons that good old tubes are superior to even the best new ones is that the purity of the raw materials used back then was generally better.
     
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  5. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Tele-Afflicted

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    Haven't read throught the whole thread so this probably all has been said already...

    Some of the vintage magnets were different from modern formulations - I know Throbak has some magnets that were custom made, to match a chemical analysis of original PAF A4s.

    Same with the wire I think - modern winding wire isn't the same as the old, either because of safety regulations for the coating formulas or the purity of the copper itself.

    I'm sure others have pointed out that the wind of vintage pickups was highly variable because mostly they weren't wound to a specific turn count. Even modern computer-wound coils can vary a bit due to inconsistency in the thickness of wind wire; even so they're far more uniform than the pickups from the 50s.

    The steel components in humbuckers (screws, slugs, baseplates) are different now too.
     
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  6. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    there is no sound in magnets. their job has to do with magnetic strength (gauss rate). there are three general classes, or families, of magnets as they apply to passive pickups - alnicX, ceramic, neodymium. it's the weaker magnets that work best in vintage build pickups, what the resulting signal will be created, and that'd be alnico (a5, a2) and alnicu (a3) rod magnets. it's all about magnetic strength and a transduced signal as the magnetic field is interrupted by the ferrous strings excursions. this is both an amazing and marvelous thing. out of the air, music can be created. how wonderful for us.

    all that matters with awg insulated copper wire is the the diameter of the wire and its insulation thickness. what matters even more is how much, or little, winding tension is administered. increasing coil wire winding tension will decrease the wire diameter and increase the accumulated wire resistance. what may have started out as 42awg coil wire can become much closer to 43awg coil wire if the winding tension is high. this can also lead to variable coil wire diameters throughout the completed bobbin.

    a large part of how wire is distributed - laid on a bobbin - will attribute to how a pickup functions, sounds.
     
  7. Old Deaf Roadie

    Old Deaf Roadie Tele-Holic

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    In 30 years, that set of Pearly Gates on a lester will be vintage. Will it sound any different that future production guitars? Likely. Will it sound better? Can't say.
     
  8. nosuch

    nosuch Friend of Leo's

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    After I've been on stage between a 1957 Stratocaster and a 1958 Les Paul played through the correct vintage amps I doubt that vintage instruments (and the pickups in them) sound better than recent guitars, pickups and amps.
     
  9. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire

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    4B4EAA03-513A-4DE7-892F-20EC273E7323.jpeg
     
  10. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    Good point. It's lucky for us that it works so easily. We could just as easily been born into a world where it would take military grade laser-guided nanomolecular technology to re-tee-tee-da-deedle-deedle-dee.
     
  11. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Look at that another way and we might note that no tech has advanced far enough to do what an obsessed teen can accomplish with a guitar if he or she practices enough.

    You'd think Military tech would have managed to replace humans, given the loss of life and cost of medical care, but nope.
    Humans are yet to be surpassed by machines...

    It's funny, we read that a computer can make a thousand decisions in the time it takes us to make one. So why can't that computer play guitar with all the creativity, passion and nuance of a feeble inferior human?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
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  12. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    millenniums ago, who would have imagined 21st century technology?
     
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  13. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    Real time musical improv driven by autonomous AI already exists at a level comparable to what humans can produce. It could easily be ported to any instrument if desired.

     
  14. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Back in the day, you got what came on your guitar. There wasn't much of an after market so you either played what you had or got something else. Most of us old folks played what we had and wished for something else. Either way we have memories of the tones we had or wanted. We somehow don't give as much consideration to the amp or the talent of the player. But we have memories that we associate with what's good. I'll fast forward here, even though at my age it's more of a walk than a run. Don't like something? The aftermarket is HUGE. Even from the guitar manufacturers, except possibly PRS. You can get what's on the high end guitar for yours or shop the aftermarket. Are vintage pickups somehow better? To me they serve as a reference point. I replaced the pickups in my Tele and Strat because of noise, not tone. The N4 pickups in my Tele don't sound vintage but I love the way they sound for what I play. I didn't want tonal overlap between my Tele and Strat so I used VN pickups in that. Love 'em too. I saw no reason to replace the vintage sounding Filter-Trons in my Annie. They're unique. I'll say that. Same for the 490's in my SG. What sounds better is what you think sounds better. That said, there's one vintage pickup sound that can't be duplicated or surpassed, IMO. That's the original Fender Wide Range Humbucker. Is that an exception to the rule or does it prove it?
     
  15. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    How do you know any of those things affect the sound, let alone make for a better sound?
     
  16. telemnemonics

    telemnemonics Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Well comparable to what humans can produce, yeah it can be compared.

    I got through 11 of the 22 minutes before boredom drove me out to snowblow the driveway, but it is certainly interesting stuff, robots playing music, robots walking and climbing stairs, robots assembling machinery in factories.
    Really cute visuals too!

    I gotta say, the bot reminded me a little of Miles with McLaughlin playing fusion, but that may be because I've listened to so little fusion, more than because Shimon plays anything like Miles or John.
    Bot prob listens to more Zawinul than Davis.
    Fusion being generally more math and less soul, would be a good style for a bot to ape.
    Maybe I need to listen to more of Shimon's music before judging him/ her/ it as lesser than a good human musician?
     
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  17. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Music that is worth listening to communicates something, and robots don't have anything to say. Even when robotic music sounds good, it's the algorithm that sounds good, and a person wrote that algorithm. Music is just structured grunting, a language understood by the the limbic system. Computers / robots dont even have one of those.

    Although, I have to say, Jazz music could be 100% computer composed and I wouldn't know the difference. I'd argue that Jazz was an attempt to achieve robot like sterility before robots were an an invention.
     
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  18. luckett

    luckett Banned

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    You obviously have a very shallow understand of how AI works.
     
  19. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Please enlighten me.
     
  20. memiller

    memiller Tele-Meister

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    Modern AI relies on input. In this case that input is music translated into a machine-readable form. The underlying algorithm doesn't in any way determine what the ultimate output is, it only determines how that input is processed by the computer. The algorithm won't be telling the computer what notes to play... in fact, a properly constructed AI doesn't care what the input is. It will simply compare a number of defined factors in the input and create an output based on that information. It could be music, it could be an image, it could be words, it could be chess. The machine reads input, compares factors, and determines an appropriate output.

    Which is exactly the same way humans learn.

    Siri can find you the nearest Indian food place, provide reviews, and give you directions there.

    If you fail to find the connection, I think the AI has overrun you.
     
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