Has anybody ever? Decided to leave the original Ceramic PU in a Project Guitar!!

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by Platefire, Sep 1, 2016.

  1. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Over the years of buying and modding electrics, I have had instances were replacing the original Ceramics with Alnico's actually negatively effected the original good vibe. My latest project guitar is like that-----the original ceramics really sound good and at this point I'm really hesitant to change them out.

    Just wondering if anyone else runs in to this? From what I've seen, most project builders change the original ceramics without ever giving them a real chance. Platefire
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  2. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

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    Howdy Platefire,
    I have actually done the opposite. I put in a set of
    David Allen pups in a beautiful Jay Turser strat and as
    I wasn't at all disappointed with the DAllens, i thought the
    Turser pups weren't that bad to begin with.

    As you know, there's no comparison to the workmanship of
    DAllens vs. Tuser pups. But I now have this hankering to find out if
    the original pups would sound decent in another guitar?
    It never ends does it?
     
  3. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    What do you mean project guitar? A kit? Doesn't the answer to this question depend on which kit?
     
  4. jvin248

    jvin248 Doctor of Teleocity

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    My most frequently played Tele has a set of MIM ceramic pickups that I bought off a guy that had auto-changed the pickups 'for better ones' at the shop when he bought the guitar before even bringing it home. My bullet Strat has neck and middle ceramic pickups that beat out many expensive choices. I have found some prominent branded aftermarket pickups are nearly always way too muddy (can be fixed though). So yes, some ceramic pickups can sound great with careful selection or lucky chance of the rest of the electronics.

    Many swap the pickups without changing/evaluating the other control components. Those pots and caps can push around the resonant frequency of the pickups and either douse them or give them that magical presence - and this happens with both 'cheap' and 'dearly expensive boutique' pickups. Pots have tolerance variation of 20% and caps tend to have 10% to 20% tolerance variation around the target value they are designed at. Because of the variations I know go into building a pickup, they can have quite a range too but I have never seen a published variation such as "8k +/-10% ohm" on a pickup. Match all that variation up in a good way or a bad way and you get completely different sounding guitars.
     
  5. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    What I mean by project guitar is you buy a guitar with the intention of upgrading and changing it. I'm personally always looking for a good deal on one with great potential with a little help. I enjoy that! Last project gutiars I purchased were $20, $40 & $40--deals I couldn't walk away from.

    Well I have to admit, almost all of my guitars have Alnico's in them. Years ago I bought a 1987 MIK Bullet with the tele like headstock from a friend who wanted to get a real strat for himself. The Bullet played and sounded great and I used it for years and took it everywhere. I Latter rewired it with USA wiring and installed AS pickups. It just wasn't the same or as good
    with the supposed upgrade. I did make attempts to put it back like it was but was never the same. So based on that experience I am not as trigger happy to swap things out. The project guitar I'm messing with now is a 1998 Affinity Squire "Strat" with the double bar ceramics. Has a classic strat tone which is my favoite sound for strats. So I'm resisting the urge to do the normal thing simply because I been having a ball playing this guitar. Platefire
     
  6. Tatercaster

    Tatercaster Friend of Leo's

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    I put a Duncan Designed rail bucker in my Rogue strat. Big mistake! I put the original pickups back in.
     
  7. BBill64

    BBill64 Tele-Afflicted

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    I'm yet to get a guitar that I feel needs a sonic upgrade. My MIM 60s tele is close, but it is * f i n e * so far, so I just haven't bothered.
     
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  8. Zepfan

    Zepfan Doctor of Teleocity Gold Supporter

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    I became a believer in wood making a difference when I started switching pickups around into different bodies.

    I had a Behringer with a Aspen body that had ceramic mag pups that was lifeless. I removed those pups and put in some old Dimarzio Alinco mag pups and that guitar sounded fantastic, same pups went into a Basswood body and were only good and passable. Those pups are going back into the Aspen body soon.

    The original Behringer ceramic pups went into a Oak body/Maple neck build and sounded fantastic and remain in that guitar. That guitar previously had Alinco2 mag pups that were muddy for the neck and overly bright for the neck. Those A2 pups were put in a Poplar body with great tone results.

    All the bodies had the same scale, same brand and gauge strings, same type and value electronics and same type hardware. All guitars had Maple necks with Rosewood fretboards.

    Sometimes we are too quick to change pups when a change of electronics is needed or adjustment of pup height is needed, so tackle that first if you haven't already.
     
  9. tery

    tery Doctor of Teleocity

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    IMO the stock ceramic pickups are great
    Fender spends millions on research & development to make their guitars sound good and sell .
     
  10. dp38

    dp38 TDPRI Member

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    My latest tele is an 86 MIJ TL62B, everything stock. I'm quite happy with the sound of the stock pickups, which are probably ceramic ( no time to pull them out and check yet). Playing this guitar actually made me rethink what I wanted my standard MIM to sound like and I bought new pickups to replace the MIM ceramics. Sometimes you think you are happy with a certain sound until you listen to something new.
     
  11. TheChaosPath

    TheChaosPath TDPRI Member

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    If it sounds good, it is good
     
  12. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Well in the Affinity Strat I'm now playing around with when I first got it somebody previously had done wiring mods. Neck pup wasn't even connected to tone pot, a treble bleed cap/resistor had been installed. I rewired it for first tone neck, second tone bridge and I left the treble bleed circuit on the vol pot
    just to try it.

    I couldn't take it, the treble bleed operation interfered with my normal operation with messed up taper and thinned out too much when vol was turned down.

    I clipped the treble bleed out and then the whole sound just opened up. The ax has a good classic strat tone. The cap in there is .033. Don't know if that's stock or not but I like it in between .022 and .047 Platefire
     
  13. rigatele

    rigatele Tele-Afflicted

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    From a technical standpoint, the coil characteristics have a lot more influence on the sound than the magnet type does. Steel poles are different than Alnico magnets in magnetic and eddy current losses. But the difference is relatively minor. They are used in 99.9% of humbuckers and nobody complains.

    It's partly a psychological thing. We tend to think that something more expensive must be better.
     
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  14. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's

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    Has anybody ever? Decided to leave the original Ceramic PU in a Project Guitar!!

    No I have never?
    Decided to leave the original Ceramic PU in a Project Guitar!!

    Do you think I should!!?
     
  15. muchxs

    muchxs Doctor of Teleocity

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    My favorite pickups are the "cheap junk" set found in early '90s Korean Squier Strats. They're fairly hot 'n' nasty. That is to say they were hot 'n' nasty before I played the frets off my last three cheapo Korean Squiers. Two of them are almost back in one piece. I have to sets of hot 'n' nasty Korean pickups so I have almost achieved status quo...

    My current Number One is a fifty buck Ibanez Gio. That's right, it cost me fifty bucks shipped from the Charlotte Salvation Army. I haven't tinkered with it. The stock bridge humbucker is fine while the stock neck PU is a little dark. Hassle is the whole guitar cost me less than the price of a boo- teek pickup.

    My philosophy is this: I'm primarily an amp builder. If I can get some cheap POS to sound great through one of my amps I can be fairly sure something with Lollars or Harmonic Designs is going to sound fabulous.

    Further:

    If I'm whacking my amp with some Corpse Grinder metalhead nuclear death hot humbucker and it still stays clean at high volume... well, I can be sure it's going to stay clean with anything else.

    Further:

    If I can play a cheap guitar and sound good doing it I may have finally arrived at the level I hoped I'd reach.

    "I don't always drink beer..."

    No, wait.

    I don't play a whole lot but I like what I play.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
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  16. Phelonious Ponk

    Phelonious Ponk Tele-Afflicted

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    My favorite pickups - G&L's MFDs, are ceramic.

    P
     
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  17. FrontPU

    FrontPU Tele-Holic

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    Harmonic Design seems to prefer ceramic and I love their S90.

    (Edit)
    They offer some really nice PUs with alnico (like Z-90) as well, so maybe I'm wrong.
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2016
  18. 3-Chord-Genius

    3-Chord-Genius Poster Extraordinaire

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    I've always removed ceramics and replaced with alnico.... BUT only because online guitar nerds in forums say we should, not because it had anything to do with tone. Honestly I think most guitar amp mods are done for this reason.
     
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  19. Platefire

    Platefire Friend of Leo's

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    Well thanks yall, I was wondering how some other pickers really regarded ceramics. I'm not smart enough to know why it should be such a difference between magnets in a pickup circuit. I love Alnicos but I think some ceramics have their own special characteristics that can sound kind of special that has to be judged on individual merit. Guess what, if it sounds good---good, if it don't it don't---your ears is the final judge.

    I'm like muchxs, I'm also a tube amp builder and have some great amps to run my guitars through, so there is no shortness on that end.

    The main way I judge a guitar is based on great playing experiences playing live with my band. If I don't have good playing experiences under those circumstances, and I tweak the guitar and it don't get any better, it becomes irreverent pretty quick.

    On the other hand if I'm having great playing experiences with existing pickups and electronics I become very hesitant to change anything--who want to throw a monkey wrench in the spokes? I'm an old school guy "If it's not broke, don't fix it"

    To xaFinity--if you don't even want to hear those ceramics---don't haft to:>) I'm always curious and want to give them a shot! Platefire
     
  20. Obsessed

    Obsessed Telefied Silver Supporter

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    I've changed to Alnicos on other guitars, but I really like my MIM FSR tele stock ceramics for rock 'n roll and blues stuff. I've kept my stock ceramics in my old MIM strat too.
     
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