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Better than Ellis?

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by stefanhotrod, May 26, 2019.

  1. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    What’s so unbelievable good about his pickups that ppl are paying astronomical prices for his stuff and are willing to wait 2 years?

    I‘ve found a pair of his Telly pkups preowned in germany:
    800€. EIGHTHUNDRED. EUROS.

    That is 869$!
    For a pair of used single coil pickups.
    That’s ridiculous.

    There are alternatives and I‘d like to introduce one of them:

    A pair of David Barfuss pkups is about 200€, and he‘s also a nice guy winding his pickups within a week or two even if you’ve got custom wishes. Also a one man show and he‘s also got a regular job. His pickups are fantastic, got a pair in my Thinline and they sound like vintage heaven. I don’t know any better sounding vintage single coil so far.



    I‘m sure if some VIP‘s would play his pickups or if Nacho Banos would put them inside his Tellys- no one would ask for Ellis pickups.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  2. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    I have no direct experience with Ellis pickups, so it could simply be that I am wrong. But I don't think I am.

    So: with passive single-coil (Tele) pickups, there are only so many things that go into the construction of a pickup: bobbin footprint, rod type and strength and diameter and length, wire gauge, and wire turns are the primary ones, I think. Despite all the fuss over some high-end pickups, it's very difficult for me to believe that any certain winder is making something that another winder could not make with the same materials and a moderate level of expertise. In other words, I don't think there's some "secret sauce" people put in there. So I have no idea why anyone would pay that much for Tele pickups. But in related news, I don't know why anyone would pay premium prices for a polo shirt from Ralph Lauren or certain shoes from Nike or certain gear from North Face (maybe in Germany the better examples are things like Adidas or Jack Wolfskin). These are status symbols; they don't cost more because they're somehow made better than everything else. Their branding is simply better than everyone else's.

    I'd like to try a set of Mr. Barfuss's pickups, if I ever find some over here. His last name doesn't hurt. I like it. I especially like the looks of his Esquire Vintage Tone bridge and his Blackguard '53 clone.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  3. kennl

    kennl Tele-Afflicted

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    In my various Tele parts casters, I have EMG, Duncan, DiMarzio, Kinman, and GFS.
    Each guitar sounds DIFFERENT from the others, but none does everything better than the rest.
    Bridge and saddle design and composition, fret profile, and neck construction and density have more effect on tone than pickups, in my experience.
     
  4. Guitarteach

    Guitarteach Doctor of Teleocity

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    I can make you a pair for $1200 and that is inclusive of a three year wait. That delay is better to brag about than two years.

    I also have the 25 year ‘special reserve’ pickups (POA). They gently mature in NOS cardboard boxes in my shed for a decade before being turned 45 degrees to earth’s magnetic field every five years to sweeten and balance the ferromagnetic structure.

    Fools and their money.
     
  5. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    The Blackguard 53 is a new pickup that I‘ve just ordered a few days ago since I‘m not too happy with the Klein Epic Broadcaster in my Esquire :rolleyes:
     
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  6. Greggorios

    Greggorios Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Thanks for the heads up on Mr. Barfuss. Look interesting. The clip sounds great.
     
  7. theprofessor

    theprofessor Poster Extraordinaire

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    I want to hit the "LIKE" button many times over, but it only allows one like per member.
     
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  8. ndcaster

    ndcaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    They're not buying pickups, they're buying a club membership.
     
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  9. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    how about Lawrence, Bootstrap and cavalier pickups?
    now Bill Lawrence is dead (RIP) the prices of his old pickups are skyhigh, and some off them you can buy new for half those prices.
    you don't have to pay so much to get a killer sound when those pickups are still made
     
  10. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    Yep, there are tons of superb pickups out there: Klein, Lollar, Kloppmann, Nick Silver, Fralin...to name just a few others. And I‘m sure the Ellis pkups are fantastic but I‘m not sure they‘re better in any way. And tbh there aren‘t so much sound examples of Ron Ellis pkups out there.
     
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  11. fender4life

    fender4life Friend of Leo's

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    Internet feeding frenzy. I'd love to see some blind tests among tone snobs. I have no doubt there would be a lot of embarrassment.
     
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  12. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

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    Fender pickups sound fine to me. One of my guitars has GFS pickups, they were cheap and sound OK. I guess ballpark tone has always been good enough for me.
     
  13. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I managed to get a set of them (I was ‘allowed’ to join the queue!) in the dying days of the Hamel/Ellis pick up hype.

    Customers were posting how they heard angels sing when they installed them, so I was naturally excited.

    After a long wait and subsequent dispute which avoided BBB action by hours, mine arrived - in an old VCR box.

    The neck pick up was DOA but was fixed by a local pick up wizz (who confirmed no gold pixie dust fell from the pick up as he repaired it) and once installed, well, they were okay. I can only assume the angels were in short supply when mine were wound, and when I reported on this very forum that mine sounded ordinary, I was aggressively and viciously attacked (by the others who had fed the hype). Interesting that one of the attackers swears by another winder now - and the angels have moved States!

    I sold mine on eBay to a buyer in Japan who was more interested in the Hamel credentials (he had a Hamel Custom Shop as I recall) but I now regret not doing a sound clip to add to the - well, not many at all - on the internet.

    We’re all guilty of chasing the ultimate tone and my Peter Florence (RIP) pick ups remain my favourites next to the locally wound ones by the guy who fixed the Hamel.

    Mr. Ellis does have a good busines model though. Take 100+ orders with advance payment (in full) or circa $300 - $400 per set, bank the money, keep feeding the hype & sit on $30k of someone else’s money in your high interest account.

    Hmmmm, now where’s those books on ‘creating a hype’ and the ‘idiots guide to pick up winding’?

    :) Peter
     
  14. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    Very interesting, thanks. I‘ve suspected something like that!
     
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  15. AJ Love

    AJ Love Friend of Leo's

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    Ellis pickups are fantastic

    Hamel pickups are fantastic

    The lack of availability and high prices takes nothing away from the incredible craftsmanship it took to research, design & make them.

    "better" is in the ears of the beholder...
     
  16. MickM

    MickM Poster Extraordinaire Platinum Supporter

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    When you add all the effects that are present in the demo video you can make any pickup sound like any pickup. These processed audio/"video demos" are made for the ego of the guy in the vid.
     
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  17. beninma

    beninma Friend of Leo's

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    The video is just as ridiculous.. the player is a factor there, the amp is a factor, sounds like there is a clean boost or something on the amp, reverb, backing track(!), and a good player playing. There is no 60 cycle hum there either so maybe an effect or editing.

    All you can tell is the pickups are not bad.
     
  18. PeterUK

    PeterUK Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    So would it be the same with other brands of pick ups, say made by Ron Ellis? People who play them talk of ‘bell like tone’, ‘clarity, no muddiness’ and the one that’s stayed with me is ‘that magic click when you switch between pick ups’.

    A magic click! I didn’t know that was a thing until I read it (I have a transcript of that post I can share). A pick up winder has engineered in ‘that magic click’! Who knew?

    So no videos (they’re rubbish anyway - apparently), just word or mouth. But in the wide circle of Tele players I’ve never met or heard a Ron Ellis pick up. Maybe I’m unlucky.

    I recall bringing the subject up [of these mythical pick ups] with the late, great John Stannard over a beer after one of the London TDPRI jams. He smiled and said he was happy with his $100 Bill Lawrence pick ups, and when he played, angels did actually sing.

    We had another beer and the earth carried on turning. RIP John.

    :) Peter
     
  19. hopdybob

    hopdybob Tele-Afflicted

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    someone once said
    the most unhappy person is the one who thinks he does not have it all, and have the best

    but if he/she thinks he/she has it, they want to be acknowledged by others about it because it just can be that he/she made the wrong choice and not got the best.

    that is the trigger that a lot off company thrive on.
    is Microsoft better than Apple, the last is the most expensive and a lot off people buy it because of that and others say that it is better.

    be free and make your own choice on your own judgements
     
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  20. stefanhotrod

    stefanhotrod Tele-Holic

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    To me it‘s strange that there isn’t just one objective sound example out in the whole wide web. I know Julian Lage is playin‘ them in his Nachocaster and his sound is superb, but on the other hand it‘s a typical tele bridge tone you‘ll achieve from any good warm sounding bridge pickup. And we all know that the pickups are only 50% of a guitars tone:)
     
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