How about a strictly aesthetic question?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by bard2dbone, Dec 19, 2017.


  1. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    Hey guys -

    I long ago accepted that all of my artistic instincts live in my ears. So on matters of visual choices I'd always wisely pass the buck. For most of the time, that was to my wife, who was originally an art major, so she had good visual instincts. But she died a couple of years ago. So that choice is gone.

    The choice I'm asking for help on regards my NEW GUITAR!!!! I got a Gibson Tribute Les Paul gold top. It plays good enough. And it sounds... okay. I guess.

    But I'm already considering new pickups, now here's where you come in. I had assumed if I ever got a Les Paul, it would be a sunburst and be given zebra pickups, like on the Trad Pro. But on a gold top I'm not so sure.

    So the questions are as follows:

    Zebras or double cream coils for the pickups?

    And:

    For the control knobs, I'm stealing a trick from Joe Bonamassa and having two different pairs, so I can tell by touch whether it's the neck or bridge pickup I'm adjusting. But which knobs would look least weird next to each other on a gold top, and still feel different enough to make sense getting different ones for each pickup?
     
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  2. RodTruss

    RodTruss Member

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    For the pickups I vote for the Zebra.
    For the knobs I would put 2 top hat knobs and 2 speed knobs.

    Congrats on the new guitar!!
     
  3. ahhlou

    ahhlou Member

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    Having had a 57 gold top, my preference would be nickel covered PU's or double cream if you must have open coils.

    For knobs, keep them period correct or (my favorite) a set of top hats. After playing the guitar for a while, your fingers will know exactly what to do...
     
  4. KGWagner

    KGWagner Member

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    I'm with ahhlou. Nickel PU's or double cream, and period-correct top hats.

    Zebra coils are a compromise born of DiMarzio's hateful design patent on double creams. Every time I see 'em I get pissed off all over again.
     
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  5. Moby Dick

    Moby Dick Member

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    I vote either double cream or nickel plated covers.

    Zebra are fine but a little too common for me.
     
  6. bootsypratt

    bootsypratt Member

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    double cream pickups, 36th anniversary Dimarzio's
    Top hat knobs with pointers
     
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  7. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    Period correct is confusing. It was made this year. It's a 2017 Tribute Les Paul.
     
  8. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    My last humbuckers that I bought were Bare Knuckle Mules. They are apparently available in double cream. I guess since they're made in UK, they don't have to go along with DiMarzio's trademark. So I assume that holds for ANY foreign made pickups? Should I just shop for foreign made low output humbuckers?
     
  9. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    I am kinda partial to the black accent look myself. I recently tried the new DiMarzio '59's in my R9, and I would say are Larry's best attempt at a PAF. Duncan Antiquities are still my favorites, but the DiMarzios are pretty good.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. kimock

    kimock Member

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    Good suggestion.
     
  11. Mark Robinson

    Mark Robinson Member

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    I had open coil black pickups in my gold-top for many years. I changed to aged nickle Lollar Imperials, and I felt like the guitar really looked elegant after, as it should. The Les Paul is so classic in line, gorgeous. I too like the DiMarzios, and have a pair of Master PAF and Bluesbucker in my 25" scale Thorn #87. DiMarzio has got some very nice pickups and great pricing.

    I found the whole "nobody else can do double cream" patent, horsecrap from DiMarzio, to be unseemly and obnoxious, so I boycotted them for a long time. But then my ears told me, repeatedly, that I needed to re-evaluate. They make great pickups.
     
  12. Ayrton

    Ayrton Member

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    It is a trademark, not a patent, and it only applies to a picture of a humbucker with two cream-colored bobbins and hex head screws. Technically the trademark does not cover a traditional slug coil, but not that many people have actually read the filed documents. People can feel however they want, but it was a savvy business move on Larry's part. The anger people have should really be directed at the courts and the other manufacturers who either did nothing or very little to challenge the application. You also have to consider how many pickups are actually sold with double cream coils. They never were that popular, to begin with, and now with a new pickup winder on every street corner, challenging this in court is not a high priority for some. The tradmark application was either denied or never filed outside the US market, so that is why you can buy DC pickup overseas no problem. Ever notice how many non Fender stratheads or open book headstocks you see in Japan?

    For some more fun reading, look up DiMarzios trademark on "PAF" and WD's trademark on lipstick pickups.

    There is a current challenge to the DiMarzio trademark making its way through the courts if fellow nerds would like to read up.

    https://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=...&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=documentSearch

    http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/v?...ameop=&propname=&pop=&pn=&pop2=&pn2=&cop=&cn=

    http://ttabvue.uspto.gov/ttabvue/ttabvue-92064181-CAN-13.pdf

    Sorry I totally took this thread off track, but fascinating subject matter.
     
  13. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    aha!

    got a set in stock waiting for somebody to bite (in double cream of course, what other color would you want a dimarzio "PAF" type in?) but haven't heard them yet.

    how's the balance, and how's the clarity on the neck pickup? spec-wise the neck pickup shows as weirdly overwound at 8.2kΩ, barely less than the bridge at 8.5kΩ; assuming normal wire wound normally, i think most of us like our PAF neck pickups down in the mid to low 7ks to keep them from getting muddy and overpowering the bridge pickup.
     
  14. bard2dbone

    bard2dbone Member

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    I have seen several comments that the Jimmy Page Mod doesn't do so well with lower output humbuckers. What is a reasonable minimum for good results with that circuit? Basically, how hot do they need to be?

    My ears gravitate to the more traditional lower output PAFs. But it would be a shame if a great PAF pair like Bare Knuckle's Mules came off as weak or tinny when split/tapped. I am currently considering the slightly hotter Bare Knuckle Black Dog set in double cream, with 'radiators'.
     
  15. walterw

    walterw Gold Supporting Member

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    seems odd since low output pickups is entirely what the jimmy page guitar tone is all about. (of course AFAIK that "jimmy page switching mod" didn't actually make it onto any of the records...)

    it is true that vintage PAF-types split into single coil are pretty weak.
     
  16. 9fingers

    9fingers Supporting Member

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    This, exactly.
    With the knob placement on an LP you won't have any trouble navigating. R7s look plenty cool with nickel covers. Another vote for DiMarzio 36ths (which do split pretty well if you want that option).
     
  17. Mighty Melvin

    Mighty Melvin Member

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    You kiddin' me? Nickel.
     

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