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Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Tele-phone man, May 13, 2013.
Question, how do the aluminum body telecaster guys get away with this?
It wasn't clear that you were talking about a different guitar. Sorry about that.
Still have your Nighthawk?
I've had mine for close to two years and I can tell you that, as far as I'm concerned, the stock pickups are pretty crappy. They sound good at first but, over time, they really don't have any real character. The middle pickup is the exception but, after changing out the bridge & neck pickups I found that it just didn't play well with the other two. It has a very high output and possibly could be ceramic so its no surprise. I replaced the neck pickup with a single coil made for a mini-hum mount made by Jerry Sentell. The bridge pickup is a Buff Beauty Strat pickup made by Rose pickups with a base plate added to it.
As far as all this business of whether a metal mounting or an aluminum pick guard has an adverse effect on the performance of a pickup I defer to Mr. Lawrence. All I'll say on this matter is I've never had any negative experience with any guitar or bass using metal pickup rings or an aluminum pick guard. On the contrary. The last Strat I owned had a gold anodized pick guard and it actually improved the sound to my ears. One of the negative things I find with Strats is that their pickups are floating on a sheet of plastic. Now, to others, that obviously doesn't matter but, to my ears, it sucks the sound from the guitar - that and the stupid whammy bar that no one ever uses.
That said . . . YMMV.
Thank you for this!
It has been so long since I used any foil shielded cabling that I completely forgot about being told of aluminum's hum rejection properties over copper.
Going to try Bills experiment later tonight
YMMV...Apparently so. This thread started with my personal experience, and believe me, it caught me by surprise. I didn't see it coming, but the results were so dramatic and immediate that I had to reverse it and bring it up in this forum.
Pickups mounted to a plastic pickguard sucks the sound from the guitar? Nobody uses the whammy bar? Really? Are you serious?
From what has been written here and in the Area T thread, is it safe to think that any non ferrous, and non aluminum containing alloys should be neutral or nearly so?
I'm not sure. This thread started with my experience with a brass pickup ring. I thought brass would have no effect, but I was very, very wrong. Read the opening post for details. What I DO know, from my own direct experience, is that certain pickups are FAR more vulnerable to the effects of nearby metal than other pickups, and that although brass is better than ferrous steel (at least as far as the Wilde L280 is concerned), it is still worse than stainless steel.
I suspect that some traditional single-coil Tele bridge pickups actually benefit from being mounted in a stamped-steel (i.e. ferrous) bridge. This was part of the original tone recipe for a Tele. Many players consider a ferrous bridge imperative for that tone. I only ran into trouble because I am using a non-traditional pickup that has different requirements.
Good info here. I thought I'd add my experience. I have several GFS PAF types I like a lot. The VEH is a really nice sounding bridge pickup in my XV-585 with my low capacitance cable. Some have the "German Silver" plates. The D180 has brass. It has it's own "thing" that works well in my big semi-hollow. I also use the GFS Aluminum pickguard shields with my Wilde NF series and MicroCoils. If anything, it softens the upper-mids just a tad.
There was a thread on the topic of cover/ring/pickguard material influence on a pickup's tone somewhere bouts.
The "German Silver" plates and covers don't mess with the pickup's magnetic eddy currents like chrome plated or bare brass,copper,aluminum and metal does. I have a chrome plated cover on a GFS Minibird pickup and found out the plating is over copper when GFS's site stated that the covers were German Silver. So don't buy into all the claims of all the manufacturers out there. Stewmac covers I can definitely say are good.
That being said, those metals can influence for good or bad depending on the pickups themselves.
That's really messed up, if true. I'd hope it was an honest mistake. I was looking at their site and I see that they're only offering gold Mini Birds at the present. Most guitarists aren't going to be able to tell if a pickup maker lies about the use of nickel silver, and the revenues are too small for there to be any meaningful recourse, so trust between guitarists and pickup makers is very important.
True and the pickup ended up being 2 steel rail poles with a ceramic magnet underneath between the rails with a brass bottom plate.
That's going to change though. I have cut a steel insert plate to go under the coils with wood spacers like the original Firebird and the rail poles and magnet are coming out to be replaced with 2 ALNICO 2 magnet poles like the original Firebird.
I'm going to try out the cover first, then get the real nickle silver covers from Stewmac. I will say that this pickup would probably sound good in it's GFS factory spec in a different guitar, but it's performance in my avatar guitar wasn't good. The GFS A5 Fat Mini in the bridge is a great sounding pickup and if I had ordered one of those for the neck originally, I probably would've been satisfied.
GFS is now offering plastic mounting plates that definitely won't alter your pickup's tone. There may or may not be a specific reason for that. Don't know about their quality.
Two steel rails would dramatically increase the inductance, output and eddy current damping, while reducing the flux density at the top. I don't think the people who make these cost cutting decisions even realize how drastically different the pickup becomes as a result. They probably test out a prototype, figure it sounds good enough to their ear. The same probably hold true for all the ceramic / steel Strat pickups they've been putting on imports for decades. They actually could make them sound more like AlNiCo equivalents, if they knew or cared about it in the first place.
Right. Remember all those old 60's - 70's Japanese guitars with various types of metal pickguards, pickup covers and base plates? Most of them sounded awful. Pull those pickups out and put them in a guitar without all the metal and surprise, now they sound awesome.
Nobody wanted a GoldFoil back in the day til one was put into a Strat. And other pickups had the covers removed and used on Lapsteels or other guitars and became loved after all the past loathing.