Hot Mini Humbuckers - thick or always thin?

sizzlemeister

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437
I have a set of no-name humbuckers. Alnico, nickel base, non-adjustable pole-pieces. I wax-potted them and threw them in one of my LPs and they're awesome for what I'm doing now. High-output, I think the neck measures around 15k if memory serves. Lots of harmonic content, sustain.

I have a LP with P90 routes and the P90s for high gain are, obviously, too noisy. So, I've been looking at mini-hums. I like the nickel cover look with cream rings for this particular LP.

Presently I have a GFS P90-shaped humbucker, the hot-designated one, in the bridge. Which I like, although it isn't quite the big sound of the previously mentioned no-name full-sized humbucker. It measures at 12.5k.

I know resistance the measurements aren't tell-tale, which has led to my questions.

Can nickel-covered mini-humbuckers get at least in the territory of the GFS P90 humbucker I mentioned, you think? For aesthetics, I would settle for the equivalent sound and output.

However, what I'm really hoping for is a little more output from something if I'm going to spend the time and money pursuing this.

I don't care if they're ceramic, although I do like the complexity of alnico 5's. The hottest I've seen advertised, other than custom winds, which I would prefer not to go with if possible, is the
"Fat Mini OVERWOUND". Or their "crunchy" ceramic, but I've read people don't like that as much.

Looking for input from y'all. Is there a thick sounding, mini humbucker with a nickel cover?
 

AdmiralB

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Messages
3,060
The thickest minis I know of are the Firebird pickup set that Gibson uses in the USA guitars. They're about as hot, in terms of output, as a good PAF, and they're as thick as minis probably can be. And if you lower them (lower than you'd normally run a pickup), they do a good vintage tone too. They only come in chrome covers but it's not terribly difficult to change them.

DiMarzio made a 'Hot' mini, too, and they'll still do them custom-order. I've used those, and they're also quite good. Not as thick or hot as the Gibsons, but close, and perhaps a bit more articulate. They come only with nickel covers, but they're closed, so they look like Firebird pickups too.

If you're looking for the LPD-style with exposed poles, the only ones I've found 'off the shelf' so to speak, are Lindy Fralin's set. He winds the neck to about 6K, which is stock Gibson (Gibson didn't make dedicated bridge/neck versions); the bridge is 10K, almost certainly smaller wire. It's hotter than the standard, for sure, but I still wouldn't call it 'thick'. Still very bright. I have a set in an R6, playing at making it an LPD. It's sort of the yin to a regular R6's yang, I guess.
 
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minorseventh

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1,032
The stock minis on my Gibson SG 70s tribute are THICK. I believe theyre alnico with a blade under the cover... same type I had on a Firebird a couple years ago and I remembered those as being pretty fat and meaty as well.
 

sizzlemeister

Member
Messages
437
@AdmiralB

Thanks. I'm not stuck on the PAF cover look, so the Dimarzios are a good suggestion. Which ties to my response below to minorseventh.

I think of minis as middy but not thin. Thickest I had was I thing an overwound GFS...

Thanks. Would that be the alnico set I mentioned or the ceramics?

The stock minis on my Gibson SG 70s tribute are THICK. I believe theyre alnico with a blade under the cover... same type I had on a Firebird a couple years ago and I remembered those as being pretty fat and meaty as well.

Thanks. I've read this about the newer Gibson Firebirds. I forgot to mention that I'm okay with blades and the Firebird look.

Speaking about blades, the only blade pickup I recall having was on a Gibson Marauder ages ago. Strictly talking theoretical and not from what I recall (which is nothing), blades seem like they would pick up more of a signal than poles. Is that true in reality? Looking at Firebird construction vs. PAF pole-piece construction, I imagine the magnetic field is larger.

If that is correct, perhaps I should look closer at Firebird pickups if I'm after the "thickest" tone in that size pickup...yes? No?
 

zeffbeff

Member
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2,336
I've been around the block with mini-hums. It's best to enjoy them for what they are: brighter, focused, tighter humbuckers.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
19,316
I put in a set of Dimarzio DLX mini humbuckers in my Les Paul Special and absolutely love them. Direct drop in replacement for P90s.
Without seeing them you would never guess they are mini-humubuckers. They are some of the best PUs i've ever heard of any type.
Neck is clear and flutey. Bridge is crunchy with lots of bite.

I used to avoid buying guitars with P90s because of the lack of PU choices but now I would actually prefer guitars with P90s knowing that I can drop a set of these in it.

LPJD2-s.jpg
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
Those aren't minis...those are about 90% of the size of a normal humbucker, they're just a little bit narrower.

If the OP is open to humbuckers-in-P90 format, then this gets easier. DiMarzio has four or five versions of this, from 'vintage' output to Super Distortion/Tone Zone.
 

HoboMan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
19,316
Those aren't minis...those are about 90% of the size of a normal humbucker, they're just a little bit narrower.

If the OP is open to humbuckers-in-P90 format, then this gets easier. DiMarzio has four or five versions of this, from 'vintage' output to Super Distortion/Tone Zone.

You're right, they aren't minis but I believe the fit in a mini humbucker route.
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
You're right, they aren't minis but I believe the fit in a mini humbucker route.

They'll fit in a P90 rout. They won't fit in a rout designed for minis, like a Firebird. But the OP has P90 routs, so he's good for these if they seem like a good choice.
 

sizzlemeister

Member
Messages
437
Sorry, I must not have been clear. I have the GFS version of the DLX in the bridge already. The sound is good, maybe 80% of what I'm after. I'm not a fan of the aesthetics, although I'm willing to stick with them if there isn't a better mini-hum alternative.
 

gtrgene

Member
Messages
720
Lollar makes some great mini's. I have a set in my Sadowsky semi hollow and they're like a slightly brighter paf. It's really nice because you don't get the muddy sound down low that you get sometimes with humbuckers. More detail to the note yet still passable as a full size humbucker. Fatntastic pickup.
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
Sorry, I must not have been clear. I have the GFS version of the DLX in the bridge already. The sound is good, maybe 80% of what I'm after. I'm not a fan of the aesthetics, although I'm willing to stick with them if there isn't a better mini-hum alternative.

Yeah, I read you. But those aren't mini-humbuckers, and you were pretty explicit about looking for those. Semantic assumptions on my part, perhaps.
 

Bossanova

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,735
The stock minis in my firebird measure 16 and 25k (!) at the neck and bridge. I love them and you can find them easily as many people swap them out for lower wind alnico 5 from fralin, lollar or klein, which all sound like heaven but they're a different thing altogether at about 6k neck and 7k bridge

No affiliation:
Gibson Firebird Mini Humbuckers 2015
https://reverb.com/item/3399692-gibson-firebird-mini-humbuckers-2015
 

AdmiralB

Member
Messages
3,060
The stock minis in my firebird measure 16 and 25k (!) at the neck and bridge.

But they're wound with really fine wire, 44 and 45 respectively IIRC.

So comparing to something with 42, like a PAF or a Strat pickup, those are equivalent in terms of total amount of wire to about 10K and 13K, respectively. Hot, but not crazy.

A JB is also about 16K, but it's 44. So that's - again - about 10K, comparing to a PAF in a like-for-like manner. IOW, the neck Gibson mini has the same size - and about the same amount - of wire as a JB. Which is not to imply it sounds anything like one; the ceramic magnets increase the field strength and reduce the inductance, combining with the narrow aperture to tend toward a brighter, more focused sound.
 
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