FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by tonejam, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. tonejam

    tonejam Tele-Meister

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    Recently, a lady brought a guitar to one of my gigs for me to have a look at. Turned out it was a late 1930's Rickenbacker lap steel, with the famous "horseshoe" pickup, just like on the original "Frying Pan" models.

    A friend of mine is a legendary lap and pedal steel player, he has played on thousands of recording sessions for the biggest names in country music here in Australia, and played with some of America's best players, so he knows what he's talking about.

    He described this pickup as "the best pickup ever made".

    It got me to thinking: since this is one of the FIRST EVER pickups made (circa 1930, I believe), has the art of pickup making actually gone BACKWARDS since then.

    Discuss (he said, jumping for cover....)
     
  2. CFFF

    CFFF Tele-Holic

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    This cannot be true because Rob DiStefano was not making pickups at that time. ;)
     
  3. drf64

    drf64 Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    So many possibilities:
    1. The legendary lap steel player is biased. So is everyone else who weighs in here. Why take one, although obviously accomplished, player's opinion? Don Mare likes Bardens. Rob DiStefano thinks they sound like crap. Who wins that one?
    2. The pickup is rare. Rare things may be valued for reasons other than function.
    3. in the 1930s pickups were designed for AC distribution of the time. Maybe what was merely a good pickup at the time at x-amps and y-volts is superior now that those numbers have changed with modern wiring?
    4. The pickups had less shielding.
    5. The pickups had more shielding.
    6. the pickup materials were superior to modern metals. I don't buy that.
    7. The magnets have weakened over time and have actually improved since they were not matched well to the coils to begin with.
    8. copper wire from the 1930s is superior to that of today.
     
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  4. wabashslim

    wabashslim Tele-Holic

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    Well, everything else has, why not pickups? Wherever there's money to be made, "art" goes right down the crapper. Apologies to all the pickup winders on this site who build fine products in limited numbers. But anyone can buy all the pickup-making supplies they need on Stewmac and no doubt there's some quite 'artless' devices floating around the ether nowadays. Anyone can follow the instructions to build a generic product...well, obviously not anyone.
     
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  5. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Poster Extraordinaire Vendor Member

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    the base formula for creating passive transducers (pickups) has been known for perhaps over a hundred years. it is far from rocket science. literally, almost anyone can make a good passive pickup with decent components, some crude tooling at the least, and some modicum of know-how. this process is both somewhat object and somewhat subjective.

    what is a "good pickup"? to you, the guitarist, it's one that makes your ears happy. this is full on subjectivity at play. always has been, always will be. 'nuff said.

    anything else is pure BS.
     
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  6. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Friend of Leo's

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    The confirmation biasing is better on vintage pickups.
     
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  7. TRexF16

    TRexF16 Friend of Leo's Vendor Member

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    Now THAT's funny. And I know funny.
    Well said, Sir.
     
  8. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    He knows what he's talking about if it pertains to what he does and has done, but as far as what sounds "the best"? That's always going to be subjective.

    It's sad that the vintage preference bias seems to afflict the pros even more than the average guy (Keith Richards, Joe-Bo, Eric Clapton), because they're the one who should be dispelling the myths, but a lot of pros seem to be given to bias and superstition. Take pro ball players, you think they would be all about the virtue of hard work and focus, and yet they tend to wear good luck charms, perform personal rituals and pray to the heavens before they walk out on the field.
     
  9. zeedoctour

    zeedoctour Tele-Meister

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    I would love to put that pickup into a heavily routed stratocaster. Like Ry Cooder did ... then find an amp that would do it proud. Ry Cooder has possibly the best guitar tone I have ever heard when he straps on a Coodercaster. Of course, you have to get the signal processing down right as well.
     
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