Pickup manufacturers - Tell us everything!

Discussion in 'Just Pickups' started by variantboy, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. monkeybanana

    monkeybanana Tele-Holic

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    mmhmm
    They’re not identical. You can have thin flatwork at the edge of the magnets or thick and have the magnet protruding. Is your magnet fat or .187? Etc. I haven’t wound enough to know how much small dimension variations contribute to sound if doing apples to apples so you may have a point there but dimensions for sure matter on your resistance readings. A fatter coil will take more wire per turn. Anyway my point is that comparing DCR across different manufacturers may not be accurate. Tomorrow I’m going to wind a Tele neck pickup with 42 awg on a tall bobbin. If I wind it tight and get a lot of turns someone might think it’s a low 43.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  2. monkeybanana

    monkeybanana Tele-Holic

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    mmhmm
    We're also swamped with choices. I was looking at fuzz and overdrive pedals and my head was spinning. I'm not complaining though because there are a lot of good guitars being made.
     
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  3. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    rarely discussed, if ever - metered DCR will vary greatly with coil wire winding tension.

    the exact same number of turn counts in a pair of bobbins, where with one bobbin the coil wire tension was doubled, will produce a much higher DCR reading for the bobbin wound at that higher tension. the higher wind tension decreases the coil wire diameter, thus the higher resistance. but do they sound different? nope, not really. this is where duncan and most others employ the 10% DCR caveat.

    don't trust DCR readings as the be all, end all.
     
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  4. variantboy

    variantboy Tele-Meister

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    all the more reason to believe - if a maker is going to NOT report inductance (or the other significant specs on a pickup), then seriously what do we have to determine what we are getting from a pickup BEFORE we spend the money? really - how are we supposed to know what we're going to get ?

    this might make me think we need to know turn counts so we're not fooled by resistance values.

    i have heard dozens of pickup makers describe one of their overwound bridge pickups as "still retaining the high end sparkle".. and guess what - no it doesn't still retain it's high end sparkle. nope. it doesn't at all.

    and if we're left to just that nonsense.. how are we supposed to avoid wasting money?

    this makes me even stronger in my opinion that we need to know as much as we can.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2020
  5. monkeybanana

    monkeybanana Tele-Holic

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    I've stretched wire for sure. Around 8000 turns I've gotten numbers from 7.48 to 7.9k. I have also wound pickups so tight the bobbin would flare at the ends. Learning from that my last one with more turns (by a couple hundred) and without my monkey grip got me at 7.77k. See, all over the map.
     
  6. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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  7. Revv23

    Revv23 Friend of Leo's

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    I love TDPRI for being so level headed on this subject. Thinking about the flame war on TGP about why $300 a PUP was worth it for a because of XXX.

    Ultimately things are worth it if you are happy about the price you pay for what you got. There isn't really a ripoff.

    20 years later i realize i like the stock pickups in my mexi strat just as much as I like the $500 replacement set. They are both different, so you adjust your playing to the guitar.

    I've also had that "magic" moment with a guitar where your playing and the guitar just for some reason "FIT". It's priceless. When you have that moment you don't care about any of the details. But like drug addicts, we are always looking for the next new high. A long strange trip indeed.

    Fortunately we have more options than ever before. Who would have thought 20-30 years ago you could talk to the person making your pickup about exactly what you wanted, and get WHAT you want. Just amazing!
     
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  8. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    I've thought the same thing, or at least in terms of R, L, C and some coil dimensions and magnet type. The main reason I think they don't is that doing so would seriously reduce the mojo factor and it would be way easier to consider replacing a given artisanal pickup hand-wound by some nice lady for $$$$$ with some mass produced thing that was more or less the same, but $.

    Given that pickups are difficult to easily do A/B testing on, they also have a hysteresis effect of "I don't really want to swap that one out again".
     
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  9. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    The dimensions would have to vary widely (think Jazzmaster vs Strat) in order to get an appreciable difference, but the differences as they stand are too tiny to contribute to an audible difference. Whether the top of a pole piece is beveled or not is meaningless. A greater difference is made by differences in material, but there again, most replacement pickups of a given model of guitar are usually all made with the same metals, be it steel poles of AlNiCo.
     
  10. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    That's a good point about how the difficulty of swapping pickups can push a person to leave it the way it is, post pickup swap.

    One thing that crosses my mind, I'm certain it crosses the mind of others, it's satisfying to think that your guitar has premium parts in it. Even if a $30 Chinese set sound 100% as good or better, there's still the fact that it's a $30 no name Chinese pickup set in your baby, and I'm sure that's hard for a lot guitarists to get around. Likewise, I'm sure it's why some players embrace $500 pickup sets; because the idea alone that the pickups cost a lot of money is satisfying in itself, and they just need the thinnest of reasons to say it's justified. That's why that extremely shady "Virgil Arlo" scheme worked to the extent that it did.
     
  11. Revv23

    Revv23 Friend of Leo's

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    Absolutely right. 1st thing you think about when you buy an inexpensive guitar is... which pickups am I going to put in this? Before you have even played the thing!

    Stock pickup could be the best pickup ever made and you will never be able to hear it objectively.

    Tone is a funny mistress. If we play our rig in a different room it sounds completely different... Most of the stuff us tone junkies fiddle with is Pepsi Vs. Coke type stuff. You can taste a difference but can't tell which is which.
     
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  12. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    I've got a BYO Guitar Vortex bridge pickup in what's probably my nicest Tele (older 50's MIM). It sounds phenomenal, and is the best bridge pickup I've had in that guitar. But between knowing it's a $30 pickup, and seeing the strange (to my eyes) bobbin with just the ends beveled - I have to admit that I want to replace it for those two reasons.

    ...Actually, I'm sure I could get past the cost part of it, but the visual difference just makes my mind think it's cheap, probably simply because it doesn't look like a Fender fiber bobbin from the 50's.

    The same Tele has a Tonerider Vintage Plus Tele neck pickup, which is still on the cheap end of things, but since it looks like something Fender made back in the 50's (along with sounding really good), I don't really feel the urge to replace it.
     
  13. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    The unusual edge bevel was actually a luxury feature of world renown David Allen Pickups

    https://images.reverb.com/image/upl...90,w_620/v1408033994/fxaxpx8ozwjgti67ap20.jpg

    Why they have the peculiar characteristic in common with pickups from Hong Kong, who knows, right?!


    I hate to admit I feel the exact same way. That's why I was excited about the Mojotone Quiet Coils, they were supposed to look vintage correct, and the Tele version does, but the Strat version looks very much like plastic, and Mojotone seemed unapologetic about it when I asked if they could apply the superior facade work of the Tele version to their Strat version.

    I don't know why it's so important to me that my guitars look vintage correct, or stock, but for some reason it's very important. I've reversed a lot of mods over the years because they just made me uncomfortable with the guitar as time went on. The more expensive the guitar, the worse the feeling. But I love wiring mods, because if I can't see it, there's no problem.
     
  14. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Part of the problem with the cheap stock pickups is that they have no identity in the terms we think about pickups. I noticed that "TexMex" pickups were a popular stock set, even though they're just average stock pickups, I think the simple fact that they had a name made them more liked. If you buy an LCR meter and start documenting the inductance of pickups in your collection, they still have all the character they once possessed, but they all receive a real identity, one that is based on what they actually do, not a marketing creation that makes reference to an rock star who isn't even getting paid for the endorsement.

    Not only would it be nice if aftermarket pickups had inductance specs, but it would be nice if it was listed for the stock pickups of whole guitars. I think guitar buyers would be a lot happier in the long run, seeing specific attributes of the pickups and not just "vintage style single coil". They don't even realize what they're missing out on.
     
  15. 11 Gauge

    11 Gauge Doctor of Teleocity

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    For me, it's sort of important that most things from a given era of production all kind of match. In the case of a 50's-era Tele in particular, I just want the construction of everything on the guitar to look like that, and it's ultimately why I also stopped using Strat neck pickups in almost all of my Teles, too.

    Or if it's a Tele with a 50's neck, I have to use the 50's-style string tree.

    I know the modern 6 (cast) saddle bridges both intonate better and are more comfortable to play than the stamped steel bridges, but I just can't seem to mix-and-match a modern bridge with a vintage neck, especially if the neck has Kluson-type tuners.

    Agreed with wiring mods. I rewire my Strats to just be neck and bridge pickups with a 3-way switch, and separate tone controls for neck and bridge pickups. I'll typically put an Area '67 in for the neck, and an Injector at the bridge, and then go to the trouble to make sure all three pickup covers match. Since the DiMarzio noiseless types are taller, that means ordering both the tall DiMarzio covers as well as the shorter ones (for the stock, unused middle pickup), to get the right match between all three. It's almost amazing how much variation there is between different aged white Strat pickup covers, for instance.
     
  16. Antigua Tele

    Antigua Tele Friend of Leo's

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    Yeah this is a huge pita. A few years ago I cobbled together all of my off-white Strat pickup coves just to find a some that would match, and of the eight I had out, almost none of them where alike. Fender and other companies list to or three "aged white" "cream" and "parchment" but in truth there's probably over a dozen varieties out there. I should take a picture.
     
  17. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    1. playbility
    2. sound
    3. AESTHETICS
    4. cost

    yes, indeed - mind games are an absolutely important part of playing better! no question. proven!
     
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  18. J-fish

    J-fish Tele-Meister

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    Mind games are what make a player a musician.
     
  19. variantboy

    variantboy Tele-Meister

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    i don't think any reasonable person is asking a pickup maker to guarantee (nor could we likely agree on how to accurately 'measure and validate' such a guarantee) of what the final tone will be in everyone's guitar who buys their pickups. so i must say i kinda question the usefulness of the continuous reiterations of the fact that such a thing can't be done.

    what we're asking is to know what specifications CAN be revealed to us about the construction of a pickup that will give us AS MUCH OF A CLUE AS POSSIBLE as to what we can expect - and that it not be limited to adjectives alone - as finally in this thread people are acknowledging the fact that adjectives in and of themselves do not suffice - and are sometimes wildly subjective/relative, if not patently false.

    The selection of which specs to provide the customer can be informed by the 60 some-odd years of history of the construction of the telecaster pickup since 1950-whatever.. do we really think any one company has some unique angle on this trade?

    Be not afraid, pickup makers - an uneducated buyer can still buy without understanding and you can still get a hold of his/her dollars for his/her lack of understanding... and have them keep coming back to buy more pickups when the first set they bought was not what they wanted...

    .. but in the world i'm pushing for, those who have some understanding can actually utilize it to be happier with outcomes - and you can help them be happier with your product, and they might return for more product out of satisfaction rather than dissatisfaction.

    But i digress..

    Let me ask -

    if a pickup maker with any semblance of conscience can provide variations of their pickups in their sales offerings, with descriptions in their marketing material of one being "brighter" than another, or one being "fatter" than another, and so on - doesn't it seem logical to assume that the pickup maker in question has a set of specifications which they believe they can manipulate to realize such predictions with some reliability?

    Either that, or they are completely across the board lying to their prospective customers. I'm cynical - but i'm not THAT cynical. i have a hard time believing that the sum total of all of them are that dishonest. Feel free to call me naive... but I believe that pickup makers would not go through all that trouble making these painstaking objects just to go out and fleece people.

    So - with that considered.. it rings a little disingenuous to offer variations of your product line with predictions about what they will sound like, and then tell the buying public "you'll never really be able to predict what it will sound like, and even if you could, we'll never help you do so".

    Honestly - i don't think pickup makers really believe that "you can never tell". I think history has provided enough evidence that certain configurations yield typical results for ANY guitar and ANY player. Yes - Robben Ford will always sound like Robben Ford. But will Robben Ford on a humbucker neck pickup wound to 20k sound the same as Robben Ford on a strat pickup wound to 5.6k? And will he be as inspired in his playing in both scenarios? (Robben.. if you're out there googling yourself... you're welcome :))

    The answer is No. No he won't... and we all know it. Now that's an extreme example.. but you know someone with an ear like that - and a sensitive touch like that - who chooses to go back to the same guitar over and over again does it for a reason - and it's in the details... aesthetic, physical comfort.. and hopefully most importantly.. sound - and reaction to his/her own playing style - and context in his/her rig of amp and effects. i think those little details for a player is what feeds his/her "inspiration loop"... and for those of you who propose that *real* players don't obsess over tone - i beg to differ. just like other humans.. some do... some don't.

    So I'll beg again that we dispense with these - "you can never know".. and "tone is all in the fingers" .. or.. "don't ask me to tell you what's in this pickup" stuff. I mean... it's a free country - you can say/type whatever you want here of course, but I'm just saying I don't think it's that useful. I guess I'm asking for pickup makers to be better providers by helping to educate your customer - and be more likely to make him or her happy.

    So - with regard to details..

    Yes - for the 4,327th time, we all know that DC resistance is not the only indicator... and we know that thinner wire yields higher resistance than thicker wire, given the same length of wire... and we know that bobbin height figures in there...and magnet type. Sheesh - i think if you're still reading this thread - you've already heard these things beaten into your skull so many times, it should be second nature.

    and so if all of those aspects matter... and any subset of them without the remaining is not useful enough for us to make an educated guess at what they will sound like (before laying out money and time/installation)..

    well, then PLEASE TELL US ALL OF THEM.

    FOR THAT WE WILL CHOOSE YOUR COMPANY OVER YOUR COMPETITION.

    at least i will.

    Ok enough of my ranting..

    What i come away from acknowledging that the stretching of wire makes it thinner and therefore can inflate d.c. resistance values without affecting tone.. then it seems to me that we need to definitely add "turn count" to the list of **need-to-knows**. I think even us dumb guitar players could commit to some memory/understanding what a high vs. low turn count is for a given type/gauge of wire.

    anyone with me??
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  20. Rob DiStefano

    Rob DiStefano Doctor of Teleocity Vendor Member

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    what you are missing is that there are far more external variations that will affect "tone" than there are internal component variations, no matter what the DCR, henry, gauss, inductance, etc, values are known. all you are doing is making pickup selection far more complicated, and probably misleading, than it needs to be. really. you are doing what the bean counters did 50 years ago by touting DCR. pickup selection is not rocket science, nor should it be. it's not that big a deal, honest.

    PM me your phone number and a date/time to call if you want to talk pickup design and construction, and perhaps you'll have a better understanding concerning your issue with pickup "specifications".
     
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