Pickups for rock machine

KellySA

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Hi All, I need some advice. I have kept an eye on bareknuckle for years and am familiar with their range but never played one and have no experience with anything hotter than a vintage low output pickup (Tele singles and filtertron style) but thats about to change.

I am building a singlecut multiscale (25"to25.5") guitar, Alder and walnut body with maple-wenge laminated bolt-on neck. This guitar will be my rock guitar (think 90-2000s punk up to hard rock). I initially thought of a Supermassive P90 but I need something fender/wide spaced. Bareknuckle suggested a Black Dog Humbucker. I like the sound of the Polymaths(contemporary output) and Peacemakers(vintage hot) but dont know how their dynamics and playing feel is, I want to be able to dig in and go from slightly polite cleanish tone to rude overdrive. My other option is to go for more familiar territory and get a Lindy Fralin P90 (noiseless), it is the simplest and safest option. I'm open to any manufacturer and other ideas.

This will be a bridge only, so, those with experience in these pickups, what would you suggest if you can only have a bridge pickup and why?
 

Hodgo88

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I think your amp will have more to say about how you can saturate the gain with the vol pot more than your pickups. I've only played the Black Dogs and can attest that through a Catalinbread RAH and a Fender Pro Amp that you can get everywhere from clean to crunch. Really great pickups.

While Bareknuckle seems to have nailed their advertising copy as they have become synonymous with heavier sounds, I set up all of my guitars to do exactly what you're saying - clean to dirty based on dynamics - and I can do that with a Tele, a Les Paul, a Strat, or anything else. The biggest deciding factor for me is that the P90 will have more treble bite and therefore more sparkle; once you go to a humbucker you will inherently lose some of those high frequencies.
 

tlsmack

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For a one pickup guitar, don't be afraid to go with a hot pickup. A Duncan Quarter pounder or Lil 59 are both good choices. Also look at some rail style humbuckers. The Dimarzio Chopper T. I have a cheap hot rail style pickup that turns down to very clean, bright tones, then screams when cranked up. The higher output choices can have less treble then you are use too. But I just run my amp's treble eq at 3 to 4 o'clock instead of the usual 12 to 1 to compensate.
 

Peegoo

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@Hodgo88 ^^^Smart assessment right there^^^

It's always better to go with a lower-powered pickup because you can always boost the signal with a pedal or a master-vol amp. This approach gives you a far wider tonal palette available from the guitar.

If you install so-called "hotter" pickups, you cannot go backwards from dirty to clean. Yeah, you can roll of the guitar's volume control, but the tone will have less balls. You lose a component in the sound.

Remember that the pickups in Jimmy Page's Tele and Joe Strummer's Tele were stock units from the Fender factory. Everything you read about these iconic Telecasters states, "hand wound pickups," but back in the 50s, 60s and most of the 70s all pickups were hand wound.

Try not to get sucked into the hype.
 

1stpitch

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My go-to pickup for a rock machine is Tonerider Rocksong humbuckers. They are fairly hot, but not super hot. They do have a Fender-spaced version.

I've got a Gibson Burstbucker 2/3 set that is good for rock as well. But not quite as hot as the Rocksongs.
 

Beebe

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I think you are on the right track with something in the P90 output range and something hum canceling.

You might think Tom DeLong's signature strat has a crazy high output because he uses an Invader pickup. While the Invader bridge has a north of 16k resistance, he uses the Invader neck model in the bridge position of his one pickup guitar. It has a 7.5 khom resistance.

A lot of 90's - 2000's stuff used pretty hot pickups though, so I would lean towards the hotter end of p90 or Hot PAF territory. Maybe around 10 - 11 kohms.

I think many of the Les Paul's from this era came with pickups wound to around 13k.

You probably want Alnico 5 magnets to maintain the brightness as you go up in winds.
 

9fears08

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I love P90s and recently found a great noiseless one..it’s an Artec Hot Rail Blade!?!? Honestly, I bought it simply to rock up my classic style partscaster and unexpectedly it did exactly what my Squier Custom II Vintage Modified did but without the noise. There’s a video Phil McKnight did with one of those guitars you can quickly change pickups with where he appears to come to the same conclusion. Sadly I’m struggling to find it now. But also, stick that pickup in parallel and it’s a really good single coil style sound with a lot of punch. Not classic at all..but I love it!!!! P.S. Please don’t hate me if you buy it and hate it!!! I am but a man..
 

KellySA

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I think your amp will have more to say about how you can saturate the gain with the vol pot more than your pickups. I've only played the Black Dogs and can attest that through a Catalinbread RAH and a Fender Pro Amp that you can get everywhere from clean to crunch. Really great pickups.

While Bareknuckle seems to have nailed their advertising copy as they have become synonymous with heavier sounds, I set up all of my guitars to do exactly what you're saying - clean to dirty based on dynamics - and I can do that with a Tele, a Les Paul, a Strat, or anything else. The biggest deciding factor for me is that the P90 will have more treble bite and therefore more sparkle; once you go to a humbucker you will inherently lose some of those high frequencies.

Thank you, I am leaning to P90 for just this reason. My current guitars are also set up to have that touch sensitivity and I would rather play expressively with my hands than fiddling to much with amp settings. That said, the guitar must just be able to do a good screamin rude tone. I always regret not buying that P90 equipped Gibson when I had the chance.
 

KellySA

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I love P90s and recently found a great noiseless one..it’s an Artec Hot Rail Blade!?!? Honestly, I bought it simply to rock up my classic style partscaster and unexpectedly it did exactly what my Squier Custom II Vintage Modified did but without the noise. There’s a video Phil McKnight did with one of those guitars you can quickly change pickups with where he appears to come to the same conclusion. Sadly I’m struggling to find it now. But also, stick that pickup in parallel and it’s a really good single coil style sound with a lot of punch. Not classic at all..but I love it!!!! P.S. Please don’t hate me if you buy it and hate it!!! I am but a man..
I'll take a look at it, thanks. The Fralins and Mojotone noiseless also receive alot of praise but I through this one it the mix as well and check it out.
 

KellySA

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I think you are on the right track with something in the P90 output range and something hum canceling.

You might think Tom DeLong's signature strat has a crazy high output because he uses an Invader pickup. While the Invader bridge has a north of 16k resistance, he uses the Invader neck model in the bridge position of his one pickup guitar. It has a 7.5 khom resistance.

A lot of 90's - 2000's stuff used pretty hot pickups though, so I would lean towards the hotter end of p90 or Hot PAF territory. Maybe around 10 - 11 kohms.

I think many of the Les Paul's from this era came with pickups wound to around 13k.

You probably want Alnico 5 magnets to maintain the brightness as you go up in winds.
Thanks, was also leaning to the Alnico 5s, seems its better to steer clear of 14k upwards. Seems the 9-11k range is where the rock but still dynamic lies
 

Hodgo88

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If you're open to it, and you want a little more definition than a normal HB without going to a pure single coil, I'd like to suggest you check out Filtertrons, specifically a TV Jones Powertron or Powertron Plus.

I wasn't hip to Filtertrons for a long time and would extoll the virtues of the Firebird pickup, which to me was the better version of the minihumbucker design. Unfortunately it doesn't fit in normal HB cavities. That's where the Filtertrons comes in. The TV Jones comes in a HB size, or you can squeeze a Gretsch pickup into an adapter ring that doesn't look dumb like single coil adapters always do.
 

KellySA

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If you're open to it, and you want a little more definition than a normal HB without going to a pure single coil, I'd like to suggest you check out Filtertrons, specifically a TV Jones Powertron or Powertron Plus.

I wasn't hip to Filtertrons for a long time and would extoll the virtues of the Firebird pickup, which to me was the better version of the minihumbucker design. Unfortunately it doesn't fit in normal HB cavities. That's where the Filtertrons comes in. The TV Jones comes in a HB size, or you can squeeze a Gretsch pickup into an adapter ring that doesn't look dumb like single coil adapters always do.
Thanks for the suggestion. The one guitar I've built for myself is a Tele shape with Creamery Phat Cats which is a bladed filtertron in humbucker size. They are basically fatter than regular filtertrons but I think a little less output than the powertrons. Great pickups
 

cyclopean

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@Hodgo88 ^^^Smart assessment right there^^^

It's always better to go with a lower-powered pickup because you can always boost the signal with a pedal or a master-vol amp. This approach gives you a far wider tonal palette available from the guitar.

If you install so-called "hotter" pickups, you cannot go backwards from dirty to clean. Yeah, you can roll of the guitar's volume control, but the tone will have less balls. You lose a component in the sound.

Remember that the pickups in Jimmy Page's Tele and Joe Strummer's Tele were stock units from the Fender factory. Everything you read about these iconic Telecasters states, "hand wound pickups," but back in the 50s, 60s and most of the 70s all pickups were hand wound.

Try not to get sucked into the hype.
Yeah, but neither of those two guitarists played music that’s all that heavy.
 

tlsmack

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I am a big believer in budget friendly pickups. Back in the day when people plugged straight into an amp, I think pickup selection was much more crucial. Count how many knobs your signal oath runs past before hitting the power section these days. So many tone shaping options today that the pickup can be tuned to your taste in most cases.
 

Happy Enchilada

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Jason Lollar builds some awesome P90s.
They also make F-spaced (F for Fender) models.
I put one of their "standard wind" P90s in my Hamer Junior and it turned into a snarling beast.
I'm currently building an Agile LP style, and it's getting Lollar P90s.
Their product is first-rate.
Their customer service is over the moon.
End of day, what else do you need?
 

Raising Arizona

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Chopper T bridge and twang king for neck…

If you’re building a “punk” guitar (hate the term punk), then it’s gotta be a Jazzmaster…. Right!?!

If you want single pickups, the above is the best imo… I put a splitter on my chopper… amazing
 

Jack Clayton

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I agree with those who are saying that vintage specs with lower wind counts and less output are generally better pickups for clean, or dirty playing. That said, if barenuckle is the brand you've got your sights set on, I've heard The Mule is a fantastic vintage style humbucker. Might be the ticket.
 

Timbresmith1

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Hi All, I need some advice. I have kept an eye on bareknuckle for years and am familiar with their range but never played one and have no experience with anything hotter than a vintage low output pickup (Tele singles and filtertron style) but thats about to change.

I am building a singlecut multiscale (25"to25.5") guitar, Alder and walnut body with maple-wenge laminated bolt-on neck. This guitar will be my rock guitar (think 90-2000s punk up to hard rock). I initially thought of a Supermassive P90 but I need something fender/wide spaced. Bareknuckle suggested a Black Dog Humbucker. I like the sound of the Polymaths(contemporary output) and Peacemakers(vintage hot) but dont know how their dynamics and playing feel is, I want to be able to dig in and go from slightly polite cleanish tone to rude overdrive. My other option is to go for more familiar territory and get a Lindy Fralin P90 (noiseless), it is the simplest and safest option. I'm open to any manufacturer and other ideas.

This will be a bridge only, so, those with experience in these pickups, what would you suggest if you can only have a bridge pickup and why?
I love the Bareknuckle p’ups.
Also Arcane or Throbak if budget allows.
 

Muckman

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Hi All, I need some advice. I have kept an eye on bareknuckle for years and am familiar with their range but never played one and have no experience with anything hotter than a vintage low output pickup (Tele singles and filtertron style) but thats about to change.

I am building a singlecut multiscale (25"to25.5") guitar, Alder and walnut body with maple-wenge laminated bolt-on neck. This guitar will be my rock guitar (think 90-2000s punk up to hard rock). I initially thought of a Supermassive P90 but I need something fender/wide spaced. Bareknuckle suggested a Black Dog Humbucker. I like the sound of the Polymaths(contemporary output) and Peacemakers(vintage hot) but dont know how their dynamics and playing feel is, I want to be able to dig in and go from slightly polite cleanish tone to rude overdrive. My other option is to go for more familiar territory and get a Lindy Fralin P90 (noiseless), it is the simplest and safest option. I'm open to any manufacturer and other ideas.

This will be a bridge only, so, those with experience in these pickups, what would you suggest if you can only have a bridge pickup and why?
Cavalier does tapped or even double tapped bridge pickups. An overwound tele bridge and a p90 are pretty similar in tone. You could give yourself a lot of flexibility with a three way switch - vintage twang/Broadcaster/P90 and still have your boule and tone knobs for tweaking.
 

Festofish

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I’ve had great sounds out of the PAF anniversary and PAF Master by Dimarzio. I’ve got the JB/Jazz in my PT. Not a fan of the Jazz but the JB is awesome. Epiphone Alnico Pro 2s are awesome and cheap I’m guessing.
 
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