Does RWRP middle pickup make a difference in tone on a Strat?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by blackba, Aug 10, 2010.

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Does RWRP middle pickup make a difference in tone on strat?

  1. No difference that can be noticed

  2. Small difference in positions 2 and 4

  3. Big difference in poisitions 2 and 4

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  1. blackba

    blackba Member

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    Looking at changing out my middle pickup (Suhr FL standard) for a RWRP, was going to go for the suhr backplate, but that is too much at this point. Just wondering if I am giving up anything other than hum, going to RWRP middle.

    I read a bunch of threads and opinions seem to vary alot, so I figured a poll might help.
     
  2. VaughnC

    VaughnC Supporting Member

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    To my ears, the reverse magnetic field of a RWRP middle Strat pickup adversely affects the tone of all positions even if the pickup isn't switched on (you can't turn off the magnetic field)...but "better" or "worse" tone would be very subjective. Another thing I've noticed is that, with a RWRP middle, there's more of a tone shift when going between 1, 3, or 5 to/from 2 or 4....that I don't hear as much with a non-RWRP middle. Also, 2 & 4 tend to sound thinner and quackier to me with a middle RWRP pickup....which could be a good or bad thing depending on the ears of the behearer.

    Tone is subjective though...imagine that ;).
     
  3. LReese

    LReese Member

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    I dont go as far as VaughanC, but I agree on the 2&4 positions.

    FWIW, the 2 and 4 positions on a standard non-rwrp Strat don't have enough treble, even when the tone is moved to the bridge pickup. I like using a 4 pole switch with standard polarity and disabling the tone in the 2 and 4 positions. Sits between the RWRP and non-RWRP middle to my ears and balances better with the 1,3 & 5 positions.
     
  4. fusionbear

    fusionbear Haxus Maximus Gold Supporting Member

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    Small difference. I'm happy either way, but love the silence with my BPSSC loaded Suhr Classic.
     
  5. Jaan

    Jaan Supporting Member

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    I don't care for RWRP; way better the standard way.
     
  6. blackba

    blackba Member

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    Thanks for the responses. Its interesting to see the poll, I expected a clear winner, not really seeing that. If a RWRP pickup adds treble in 2 and 4, not really sure I want that....
     
  7. buddastrat

    buddastrat Supporting Member

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    What Vaughan says. My exact experience.

    But it's funny because Lindy Fralin tells me there is no difference. Some makers claim there is more midrange across ALL the positions. I haven't tried every set in the world. I'd like to find a good set with a RWRP mid.
     
  8. Mike9

    Mike9 Gold Supporting Member

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    I prefer a straight set when I order them.

    FYI - RWRP is a rather recent thing and you can thank Seymour for that - it didn't come from Fender.
     
  9. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn Supporting Member

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    Well, I voted small difference, but I'm on the fence. I've done it both ways with same model pickups in different guitars and switching a rwrp for a different model straight wind in the same guitar. I'll put it this way, I don't think there's a big advantage to not using RWRP, but having the humbucking sounds can be useful if you use a lot of gain or play find yourself in a noisy environment. Here's my caveat, though. In position 2 and 4 with the pickups in parallel, they load each other down which is what leads to uneven volume, loss of sustain, perhaps even a part of the quack, etc. You can get a much stronger, sustain-ier, sound which balances better with the other positions if you add some resistance between the pickups. I use a 10k resistor in series with the middle pickup, but only on positions 2 & 4. With a 4 pole switch, it's fairly easy to do. The tonal difference between the rwrp and non rwrp pretty much shrinks away. I also find the 2 and 4's to be much more usable this way. So, I would say the best route is RWRP with the resistor.;)

    I don't think the magnetic fields have any effect. They all pull the strings, they only repel the opposing portion of the adjacent pickup, which I can't see having much impact on the string's vibration.
     
  10. cherrick

    cherrick Member

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    Nothing beats a blender pot/wiring schematic combined with a RWRP in the middle pickup slot.
     
  11. Blue4Now

    Blue4Now Member

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    I voted small difference becuase I definately hear a difference in 2 & 4 but not in 1,3,5 the small dif. is the price i am willing to pay for the silence if i need it,
     
  12. blackba

    blackba Member

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    Finally got to see for myself. Just replace my the standard wound Suhr FL middle pickup with the a Suhr FL RWRP middle. I do notice a difference. Positions 2 and 4 now seem to have less quack and are thicker. I don't really notice a difference in positions 1, 3, and 5.

    I am kind of mixed so far on the change. I do miss the quack I was getting in positions 2 and 4, but I also like the added thickness.

    Replacing just the middle pickup was cheaper than going with the suhr backplate and I still can go back to the standard wound middle pickup if needed. I was in a really noisey environment with just my strat recently and the guitar was almost unusable, I had to stand in a certain position to keep the noise down. They since fixed the wiring problem, but I would rather not run into that again.
     
  13. LReese

    LReese Member

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    My experience is that the combo positions gets slightly brighter relative to the single pickup positions. Enough so that it annoys me. YMMV

    It sounds like to me that you want to play with your pickup heights a little - You should be getting plenty of quack. Start at 1/8" on the neck PU on both sides, maybe 9/64's on the middle and a little closer on the bridge PU.
     
  14. sabby

    sabby Member

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    I hear a small difference, but only in the 2 and 4 positions. I compensate with a no-load pot that seems to restore any lost liveliness with a RWRP middle. (I tend to like the tone pot around 7 in positions 1, 3, and 5.) There may be a bit of EQ shift, but for me it's not too big a deal.
     
  15. marsos52

    marsos52 Member

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    i notice a difference on 2 and 4 positions..i like the middle pup to be non rwrp..
    also 60 cycle hum seems less obvious..probably its not..i hate going from hum cancelling to the 60 cycle hum..rather just have the hum thru all positions

    but with non-rwrp 2-4 postitions seems stronger and closer balanced with 1,3,5
     
  16. blackba

    blackba Member

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    I put the RWRP middle at the same height as the old one (well as close as I could with calipers). The new RWRP middle was not as hot as the old one, so I adjusted it up just a bit. I am around teh 1/8" height on the middle and neck (I last night in mm, so I had to convert).

    Its interesting that most people fine the RWRP middle makes positions 2 and 4 thinner and brighter, yet I am finding it makes it thicker and provides more mids. hmmm......
     
  17. sabby

    sabby Member

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    I agree. A RWRP middle pup makes things a tad less lively: a touch less top end and a tad less bottom end, or a smidgen more mids and a hint of volume loss. I think that some express this as thinning, though, as you suggest, that term seems to imply the opposite. It's just like "quack." If you concentrate on the mid content of positions 2 and 4, a RWRP middle gives you more. If you concentrate on the brilliance of 2 and 4, a RWRP middle gives you less.


    Like I said above, a no load pot seems to restore things, more or less.
     
  18. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    I hear a small difference, but the difference is small enough that I don't care either way. My AMS strat quack just fine with a RWRP set in it
     
  19. buddastrat

    buddastrat Supporting Member

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    I think you have that backwards. You get more mids or thicker sound, without the RWRP. It's more even/full as you switch through all the positions without it. With a RWRP, the mids gets sucked out more and it always reminds me of the typical 80's strat tone when everyone was recording direct to board. It has that real thin, sharpness. It's the way it's turned out for me everytime I've compared. Plus RWRP can take away some volume from the neck/bridge pickups. You need to compare a same set and get a middle in both RWRP and non RWRP, wound as close as possible. I did this with some Fender 69 pickups. I never like the sound of RWRP. But this is with vintage output type. Maybe some kind of hotter singles will give different results. BTW, here's what Bareknuckle pickups says from their site. "A stock middle coil will have more mid range on the in between positions of the 5 way selector and not be hum canceling.You'll also notice marginally more volume across the whole set of 3 coils."
     
  20. Boris Bubbanov

    Boris Bubbanov Member

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    What the RWRP middle pickup does (same thing on a 2 pup Tele with a RWRP neck pickup) is, it gets guys switching to the noise canceling positions more often (to escape the noise if just between solos) and THIS changes their style of play a lot more than this other hocus pocus. Maybe this tone thing exists, maybe it doesn't but it is buried under an avalanche of other consequences that make counting the angels irrelevant and of little interest to me. Given the GIANT impact noise canceling opportunities on a single coil guitar present. I mean, give me a roll cage, helmet, nomex and a lot of other safety features and it may spoil some of the "fun" but I promise you I can lay those laps down faster and with less soiling of pants. Same thing with guitars. Turn it up, beat on it, play it like you mean it and if the 60 cycle noise is too prevalent, "hit the paracute" and escape and go right on playing.
     

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