Tone Specific pickups

old wrench

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To each their own -

It is a little odd that when you click on Tone Specifics "specs" information - there are no specs, just endless superlatives.

My educated guess is it's just a low-wind humbucker neck paired with a decent single coil bridge pickup

Typical modern humbuckers are just wound too "hot" to work effectively as a Tele neck - that's why folks so often say they sound too "muddy"

A lower wind humbucker has much more sparkle and chime and string clarity then the hot variety

A Tele with a H neck and SC bridge - it is a great-sounding combination when it's done up right

The pickups I wind use all good quality parts too - they may not be "famous", but they sound good


edit:

There is art and science involved in winding a pickup - there is also art and science in advertising ;)
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Si G X

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"These things make a solid state amp sound like it has Tubes in it."
"it sounds like it was going through a top shelf tube compressor—only better"
"It sounds like the have Tubes in them...almost three dimensional."
"They have this dynamic thing going on kind of like a great tube amp"
"It's like plugging into a nice Studio Tube Compressor."
“You guys are Geniuses. I can’t put my guitar down...the response is very Tube like..very 3-D sounding."

............................. skeptical to say the least. :confused:
 

Andy B

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The longer I’m involved in this, the more appreciation I have for Larry DiMarzio and his pickup designs. I’ve never been a big fan of stock Tele pickups. Tried many different ones. Settled on Seymour Duncan’s Vintage Firebird as my preferred neck pickup. The bridge was always problematic until I tried a DiMarzio Chopper T. Have them in four different guitars. My wife’s number one Strat is fitted with DiMarzio Area pickups. Great sounding and totally silent!
For humbuckers I like and recommend DiMarzio Bluesbuckers. Different sounding in a very good way. I also like the Air Classics for a dark Les Paul.
And all these pickups are very reasonably priced.
Just saying.
 

Antigua Tele

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The longer I’m involved in this, the more appreciation I have for Larry DiMarzio and his pickup designs. I’ve never been a big fan of stock Tele pickups.

I don't think Larry DiMarzio every designed any pickups, I believe Steve Blucher has designed all of their pickups, based on the patents they've filed. Similar to how Jim Marshall never designed any Marshalls.
 

Antigua Tele

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Half the battle in achieving a "specific tone" is the amp pairing. I think most people would be better off buying a reasonably priced set of pickups, and saving that premium towards an amp. These pickups seem to be marketed for people who have money like that, or people who are suckers for marketing.

"Tone Specific amps" would make a lot of sense, actually, and that already sort of exists, because so many amps are associated with particular genres. A lot of modelers use genres as as stand-ins for amp names, like "70's rock" for a Plexi sound, "90's metal" for a Mesa Boogie high gain, etc.
 

Antigua Tele

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"These things make a solid state amp sound like it has Tubes in it."
"it sounds like it was going through a top shelf tube compressor—only better"
"It sounds like the have Tubes in them...almost three dimensional."
"They have this dynamic thing going on kind of like a great tube amp"
"It's like plugging into a nice Studio Tube Compressor."
“You guys are Geniuses. I can’t put my guitar down...the response is very Tube like..very 3-D sounding."

............................. skeptical to say the least. :confused:

It's illustrative. These are the blind spots of the modern money guitar hobbyist that are easy to exploit.

The reason I got into pickups is because Lace Sensors were like $100 per pickup way back when, but a Marshall head was over $1,000, so I bought a Blue Lace Sensor for the bridge hoping that would make me sound like a rock star for a lot less money. Tt turned out to be rewarding hearing the difference, but I didn't sound like a rock star. It wasn't until I bought a Marshall half stack about five years later that I realized for certain that it's all about the amp. Nowadays I think the hang-up is that people buy the right amp, but they can't turn them up loud enough, and wattage attenuation doesn't get you all the way there, either. But amp modelling has come a long way, and I think people are realizing they can replace an actual tube amp, but it also takes away the satisfaction of owning the real deal (hence why Fender has come up with the Tone Master, a modeling amp that looks the part, too, with a high price tag).

In theory, once someone replaces the pickups, they should say "all those adjectives were true, it really does sound three dimensional". I think most of us would agree that electric guitars sound beautiful, even cheap ones with bad pickups, so long as they're in tune, you pluck out some suspended open chord and it sounds really gratifying, like a wind chime. People say, all the time, that their cheap guitar defies the odds and sounds amazing. So you put some new pickups in the guitar, it still sounds beautiful, but through the power of suggesting, the beauty is now being attributed to the pickups rather than it being the nature of the guitar to sound that way. And if you don't agree that the pickups make the guitar sound more "tube like", well descriptions of sound is subjective any way, you could never have accused them of false advertising.
 
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fleezinator

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When I was new to teles just a few years ago and looking to build my own, I stumbled on this Tone Specific video comparing their offerings. I was blown away... by the price! and by Jay Leonard J's killer chops! I'd gladly pay to be able to play like that dude. The pickups, not so much.

 

jdl57

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I have no experience with Tone Specific. I do own a pair of Ron Ellis pickups. This is a discussion about "overpriced" pickups. Ninety nine percent of the people here, will tell me that they can't possibly be worth the money. I had built a partscaster and was rolling through pickups trying to find something I liked. On a whim, I had emailed Ron Ellis, figuring he would not get back to me. I first tried Lace Sensor bridge combined with a Lace Alumitone neck that I already owned and liked. I didn't care for that combination at all. Another neck pickup I owned and liked was a Lollar Charlie Christian, humbucker sized, and I had just found and ordered a used Lollar B.S. Tele bridge at about half price, when I got a reply from his son, Alan. Since I had their attention, I decided to order a set when I could. I knew if I didn't think they were worth the money, I could sell them on Reverb for a profit. They cost $678 delivered. So the question is: are they really expensive if I can resell them easily for $800?

So, I put them in my guitar. IMG_4088 2.jpg The neck pickup didn't work hidden under the pickguard like the CC did, so I had to make a hole for it. They took about two months to come and they have been in the guitar since early March. They are staying in this guitar. I love them. I have not heard/played every pickup made, but these are best I have experienced.

If you are one of the people who think a pickup is just magnets surrounded by wire, then feel free to buy the cheapest Guitar Fetish pickups. If pickups weren't different from one another, we wouldn't be having this conversation. I have watched the Tone Specific videos, and certainly considered them, but you cannot get a good idea of how they really sound on a YouTube video. I can recommend Ron Ellis pickups.

This is kind of long but it explains why Ron Ellis pickups cost so much. In a few words, he tests everything that goes into each pickup, in a materials lab.
 

gwjensen

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"These things make a solid state amp sound like it has Tubes in it."
"it sounds like it was going through a top shelf tube compressor—only better"
"It sounds like the have Tubes in them...almost three dimensional."
"They have this dynamic thing going on kind of like a great tube amp"
"It's like plugging into a nice Studio Tube Compressor."
“You guys are Geniuses. I can’t put my guitar down...the response is very Tube like..very 3-D sounding."

............................. skeptical to say the least. :confused:
I don't think I've ever seen testimonials in other company sites conflating tubes with pickups like this...
 

nickmsmith

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Nah, you can buy 6 or more great Tele sets, for that price. Honestly, there are great sounding sets for well less than 100 bucks.
 

Andy B

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I don't think Larry DiMarzio every designed any pickups, I believe Steve Blucher has designed all of their pickups, based on the patents they've filed. Similar to how Jim Marshall never designed any Marshalls.
Steve Boucher is a treasure. A pleasure to work with and an incredible source of info.
 

telemnemonics

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I don't think I've ever seen testimonials in other company sites conflating tubes with pickups like this...
Its a crafty way of ensuring only fools wishing to part with their money ASAP will buy from them.
Anyone with any sense who reads pickup hyper claims their puckups make tube tone is going to pass on the purchase.
Charlatans are smart to avoid smart customers who might expose them.

Of course here the buyer who gets good pickups only gets conned on the pricing. Its not like the pickups dont work.

To be fair to some buyers who may not actually fit the cliche, one may not have read the website claims that are obvious lies, some of us have enough money to drop a grand out of curiosity.
The ridiculous claims and prices and fake hype about them becoming hard to find OOP rare collectors pickups gauned them lots if press.

That and just as many of us paid over inflated prices for chinese and russian tubes after Matthews announced NO MORE TOOOOOOBS!,
many bought the rare desirable Virgil Arlo cures for their embarassing bad tone when it looked like old Verge wiuld wind no more.

Fun with snake oil sales!
 

telemnemonics

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Nah, you can buy 6 or more great Tele sets, for that price. Honestly, there are great sounding sets for well less than 100 bucks.
For Telecasters I've found a little known company called Fender has been secretly making really good Tele puckups for more than 70 years. You just need to know a member of the illuminati to get them.
 

old wrench

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I'm probably in the minority, but I believe there is a certain limit, or only so much that you can do with wire and magnets

I came up in the era when the magic was in the hands and fingers - not the pickups ;)

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