Alnico Staple Pickups sound like ....????

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by WahmBoomAh, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    Help please ... I know how a P90 sounds .. I know how a PAF sounds ...

    But how would a staple alnico sound in a small hollow body spruce jazz type box ....in relation to the P90 and PAF ???

    I`m looking for a ballpark comparison since we`d need the guitar in hand to be sure ...I`ve never played these pickups but they`re gassing on me .

    thanks
     
  2. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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  3. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    pumpin and bumpin....anyone ?
     
  4. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    Think of a P-90 with less bottom end (nice for limiting woofiness on archtop neck position ) and a sweeter top end. Not as raw as a P-90. Some similarities to the old Dearmond Dynasonics.
     
  5. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    thanks ... Although I thought the Dynasonic would have a "twangier" top end than a P90 ...which already can be quite smoky depending on the output .
     
  6. 57special

    57special Silver Supporting Member

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    Sweeter, maybe twangier, sure.
     
  7. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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  8. shally

    shally Member

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    yup.. the Staple has been a fixation of mine for some time.. you cant get one from Gibson by itself, but you can order it on some models.

    SD has one in their catalog, but i have never heard one... i had one "built " for me by Jon Moore at tonefordays pickups.. it wasnt exactly a Staple because he didnt have the square magnet pieces, but he made it as close to original specs as possible. i also had another one made by a different custom winder, but honestly i couldnt tell much difference between it and a stock P90's . and of course, Mr Thorn makes some lovely looking staples. i have never heard one of his, but they are premium in price.

    to me, it sounds "airier" than a P90.. definitely in the same family, however. not magical, per se, but definitely different.. and for certain, it would sound different in played in a solid body as opposed to an archtop

    and they are usually used in combination with regular p90's, in the neck position.. there is a small reference to them in Duchessoire's Book, the Classic Gibson Years...

    the only thing i can tell you is, dont sell your soul to own one.. but i know Jon would be able to wind one for you if you contacted him directly.. otherwise, buy one of the Duncan ones and you will have it..

    best of luck to you

    shally
     
  9. GuitarsFromMars

    GuitarsFromMars Member

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    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  10. WahmBoomAh

    WahmBoomAh World Crass Guitarist Silver Supporting Member

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    just wanted to post a PM to me from Shally ...class act with some helpful info that I though could help others ... thanks Shally......paul

    hi paul

    the history of the staple is such that it was always considered an imperfect pickup.. it was a transitional model and was rapidly eclipsed by the PAF.. as well as the modern P90. it was used by scottie moore, playing behind Elvis and by T Bone Walker in the ES5's he used. it also found it's way into Les Pauls, 350's, Super 400's and other high end guitars. but it was seldom used by itself, always being combined with P90's

    at it's best, it can give your archtop a nice honking, horn like sound.. or the classic T Bone sound. but it, like all single coils, is a problem near lights and electric currents, and it is noisy and can squeal.. the reasons it was replaced, to begin with.. it is also a very poor choice for any kind of loud use. best used in smaller settings, through smaller amps-- which can then be mic'ed if you need more power.

    it is also a complex pickup because the interior has little set screws to change the height adjustments.. so it is a pain to build. when jon made mine, he just used fixed magnets, and it worked fine.. he would be the guy i would choose, but you could not go wrong buying one of seymour duncan's Staples-- if they are still making them.


    so, other than the visual appeal of someone saying "what the heck is that ?" i dont know that there is a whole lot of benefit, or magic inthe Staple. i put one of them in a thinline tele shaped hollowbody, and i like the airiness and ability of the individual strings to ring out.. but i dont think it is as good as a fine low-wind PAF for that type of application.

    the other big advantage of the PAF is that it is mounted in a ring, so you have easy adjustments vertically. not so with the Staple i had made. it had to be mounted directly to the body. if you are putting it in an archtop, you will need them to make you some kind of mounting device, or make it dogeared.. either way, you have less adjustibility with the staple.. i guess that is where the adjustment screws of the staple were supposed to be of help.. but since mine didnt have it, i had just the one option, unless i wanted to shim it up or put a block under it to raise it.. again, you can see how much less flexibility you would have

    so, in the end, i think you would probably get a sound you are happier with with a premium low wind PAF copy, or perhaps with one of Lindy Fralin's custom wind P90's.. but you have to find you own road and your own sound

    just remember that they stopped making it very much after the PAF and P90 took over. that should tell you something. people just like the sound of them better. i also love the Charlie Christian pickup-- for solidbodies, and have put several of them. now those, i love. but i wouldnt want one in an archtop. too diificult to use except perhaps in a studio.

    pickup evolution is fascinating to me.. but it is a "darwinian" process. the better ones survive for a reason-- mostly because they are better. we tend to get fascinated by the unusual because we are all looking for our own signature sound.. and that is okay up to a point.. i love hound dog taylor, but i wouldnt want to sound like him. same with albert collins. but each of those older guys found their sound despite shortcomings of their equipment.
    i would love to sound like T bone.. but i cant match it, even with much of the same stuff because it came from his heart and his hands.

    good luck to you on your quest. curiosity is a wonderful thing. let me know if there is anything i can help you with

    shally
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2009
  11. shally

    shally Member

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    very interesting sound sample.. the SD staple sounds very similar to the Staple that jon moore wound for me.. especially at low volume settings, you DO get a lot of air between the notes.. so, i guess that is something that comes with the design.

    but most of these are used at much higher volumes, and in archtops where they seem to take on a honking like sound.. very typical of T Bone..

    different character when used at different volumes, in a different style guitar..

    fascinating stuff. thanks for sharing
     
  12. Hammertone

    Hammertone Member

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    I've always thought of it as an attempt to copy the Dearmond Dynasonic, perhaps because their are so similar in their construction.

    My take on the staple pickup is that it largely disappeared because it was much more expensive to build than a P-90, because of all of the small adjustable bits in it. Gibson could have developed a height adjustable ring for it or for their P-90 - they just never bothered to do so, keeping that innovation for their humbucking pickups. This made good business sense at the time - innovate on new product as opposed to improving old product, in order to support sales of new product.

    From a performance point of view, it's no less convenient to use a staple than a P-90. I have a Gibson R4BB with a staple pickup at the neck position, and have been able to compare it to another all-mahogany LP Custom with a P-90 in the neck position. This confirmed for me that it does provide better string-to-string articulation. I use it for clean and slightly overdriven sounds. Definitely not as "raw" as a P-90. Maybe "sweeter", definitely "airier, but not "twangier" IMO. Boy, these are subjective terms, but I do think it's a great pickup.

    I've also had the pleasure of playing a vintage L-5CES equipped with staples as well as a reissue ES-5 with staples. I was able to compare the RI ES-5 with a 1949 ES-5 equipped with three P-90's. Perhaps the 17" big box is a more dominating sound influencer, or maybe the P-90's on the '49 ES-5 were slightly weakened due to their age, but I found less of a difference between the P-90s and the staple pickups in the ES-5 guitars compared to the differences on the Les Paul Customs. Hope that helps. YMMV.
     
  13. Whiskey N Beans

    Whiskey N Beans Supporting Member

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    I wanted to revive this older thread to answer some questions I have about the Alnico/Staple pickup. Can anyone point to artists or songs not listed above that contain Gibson's Alnico V/Staple pickups. Also, given the above PAF comparisons, is there major ground to be covered that I am missing out on not having a humbucker equipped guitar?
     

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