Pickups - Harmonically Complex/Rich - Singles and Hums

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Stratman76, Oct 22, 2008.

  1. Stratman76

    Stratman76 Member

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    The objective of this thread is to help identify pickups that are known to at least contribute to creating (or passing?) harmonically complex/rich tone, overtones, attack, decay... *insert flowery adjectives here*

    For reference, here is a define "Harmonically Complex" thread from Amps and Cabs-

    http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=230941

    I have played pure, boring, sterile pups and what I'm hoping to find is some life in the timbre.

    I hope you can refer to specific pups... Here are some of my suspects-

    Single Coils (and derivatives)
    Rocketfire - 60's (thanks Seegs!)
    Motor City - Dim Muk
    Lollar - Blondes
    WCR (although none are listed on website?)
    Don Mare (all of them?)
    Van Zandt - True Vintage
    Stephens Design (S.D.) - Red House
    Curtis Novak - STR-V
    Wolfetone - Cub
    J.M. Rolph - '62
    Copperhead - 1959
    Mooretone

    Humbuckers (and derivatives)
    WCR (but which ones?)
    Lollar - Imperials (especially low wind)
    Fralin - P92
    Motor City
    TV Jones - Powertrons

    Any disclosure you can offer here is greatly appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  2. Steve Dallas

    Steve Dallas Supporting Member

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    Amalfitano got my attention at the Arlington Guitar show last weekend. I have a set of his SC's and his HB's and love them.
     
  3. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    60's Guild HB-1 humbuckers - the "small" type from the Hoboken era. Have a pair on my '65 Starfire II and these low output buckers are so sweet and harmonically rich, it's crazy - and they really do buck the hum like champs. I think GFS tried to do something like them, but I'm not sure why no one else steps up to the plate and tries to faithfully recreate them.

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=starfire+jahnli&search_type=&aq=-1&oq=

    Both the Starfire XII and the II Special in the link above have these kinds of humbuckers. Probably the most famous pickups used on Guilds are the Hagstrom Bass pickups (recreated as the Dark Star, thank goodness) and the white Dearmonds (recreated to death, also a good thing) but the HB-1 gets no love, I'm sad.
     
  4. ronster

    ronster Member

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    harmonic design z90s (humbucker sized p90 flavor)
     
  5. Jahn

    Jahn Listens to Johnny Marr, plays like John Denver Supporting Member

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    I agree with this choice as far as modern alternatives go. Put one in a Gibson ES135 and that semihollow really came alive. Bucks hum, but you get that powerful P90 tone to go with it. Even the neck pickup alone was deep and clear. Here's a clip (i put a Bigsby on it too):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI8HwJcFaBY
     
  6. googoobaby

    googoobaby Member

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    Any of TV Jones Pickups - Classics and Magnatrons are also interesting
    Lollar Alnico 3 Tele neck is just wonderful. It's the only thing I miss about the Tele I sold.
     
  7. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    When it gets to nit picking, I think the whole signal chain has to come into question for optimal results, especially if you run into distortion.
    Furthermore, some pups seem to be better suited to high volume levels and others sound fuller and richer at home levels, but mush out on stage.
     
  8. Stratman76

    Stratman76 Member

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    Of course your entire signal chain plays the globally encompassing role in tone and the harmonically rendered interaction within elements would be impossible to isolate for every rig in existence. But that is interesting about pickup performance at varying volume levels. I thought of that only on an effect pedal level. Do you have any examples?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  9. Bonedance

    Bonedance Member

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    I've used many of the ones you referenced and have had great harmonically rich tones as a result......of course, ( as already stated ) there is more to factor in, but leaving that aside, I'll add Jon Moore for humbuckers and Zhangliqun for humbuckers and single coils.
     
  10. darth_vader

    darth_vader Member

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  11. sanhozay

    sanhozay klon free since 2009

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    EXCEPTIONAL:

    for singles
    Fralin Vintage Hots
    Lollar's collaborative Tele winds with GVCG

    for hummers
    Skatterbrane A2
     
  12. Tone_Terrific

    Tone_Terrific Member

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    I have a Stratoid equipped with bar magnet singles that sounds fat and warm, but still Stratty at lower levels, perhaps preferable at home, to my Powerhouse strat equipped with AM Std pups and midboost that retains cut and definition anywhere, maybe too much.

    Between one's rig, volume levels, desired tone and the gazillion replacement pups available these days, it it quite the feat to find perfection. Pretty good is easy.
     
  13. stevel

    stevel Member

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    I have to pop in here and say that even my "name brand" pickups go from sterile to alive, boring to exciting, mushy to articulate by doing one thing - turning those little screws that adjust the height!

    Peace,
    Steve
     
  14. Robertito

    Robertito Member

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    I associate SD Antiquity humbuckers with a complex, harmonically rich type of sound. I suspect that the lack of wax potting may contribute, at least in a small way.
     
  15. Stratman76

    Stratman76 Member

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    Thanks for your posts! The [FONT=&quot]Zhangliqun pickups look like a tremendous value.
    [/FONT]
     
  16. Stratman76

    Stratman76 Member

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    I'm adding-

    BG Pickups BG Bucker (looks to be a great value at $90 each)
    Wolfetone Marshallhead (in Alnico 2 form)
    Jon Moore's Tres Hombres

    to the humbucker suspect list.
     
  17. dazco

    dazco Member

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    Not sure i agree with this, or even that pickups themselves contribute to complexity. I think it's more a matter of the right frequency curve/output for a given guitar's unique resonance. In other words, in one guitar cheao stock pickup might help bring them out more than a van zandt for example. I've used a few of those listed and the WCR for example was so sterile in the strat i put it in i would have easily replaced it with the stock MIM 60's. And van zandts are good, but again i've put them in strats that had little complexity in the tone and no pickup including the VZ would bring it out. Anyways, it's been my experience that the pickups themselves have little to do with harmonic complexity. To me it seems the guitar and pickups only need be reaonable quality with no outstanding flaws, and at that point the amp is where it happens. I build my own amps and design the preamps especially to bring out harmonic content. And i've found small changes that are just right can bring it from rather dead to so complex it's shocking. No pickup will change even a fraction of that...it's where the harmonics happen. they're in the guitar, yes, but the point is that IMO a pickup only needs to deliver reasonably accurate tone for a killer amp to make amazing harmonic content. I've chased this for years and in bulding amps i have at times has such incredible complexity at times i felt it was actually too much ! But the trick is finding a design that not only delivers that, but does it at all levels of distortion and while retaining great cleans too. Oops, sorrt to get a bit off track, but in any case my point is i feel the pickup is more of a way to get the kind of output and frequemcy curve you like or that matches the guitar's curve well. The CAN accentuate harmonics if you look at it from the point of view that a good pickup will allow that while a really lousy one won't. But the point is an good pickup should allow full harmonic complexity assuming it's matched well to the particular piece of wood and the amp is killing.
     
  18. Sean French

    Sean French Supporting Member

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    Wolfetone.:dude
    For P90's and Humbuckers Wolfe is amoung the best.:AOK
     
  19. mad dog

    mad dog Silver Supporting Member

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    A couple from Dearmond land. Their Goldtone humbuckers were designed to cover the HB-1 Guild HB tones. I have two goldtone equipped DAs. An M-72, in which they sound fine, and an S-73, all mahogany, SG or Guild S100 equivalent, in which they sound exceptional. If you like post PAF Gibson humbuckers, up to and including T-tops, you'll like these.

    The other is the Dearmond 2k, looks like dynasonics but don't sound much that way. A fair amount of P90 vibe in here. I've had them in semihollows, not impressed, and in a solid body M-75T, very impressed. A different type of single coil sound, not quite like anything else I've heard.
     
  20. Stratman76

    Stratman76 Member

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    I appreciate this post. I believe there is some merit to the connection between a guitars' resonant frequency and the frequency response of a given pickup. But this is directly from Don Mare's website...

    [FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva]These DON MARE pickups all have, great organics
    -
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
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    [FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva] player's touch -
    they're attack sensitive[/FONT]
    [/FONT]
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    [FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva] and have very rich harmonics
    - [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
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    [FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva]perfect volume and note bloom - they breathe -
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva]they feel alive.

    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva]Hmmm... [/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][/FONT][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva][FONT=verdana,geneva]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
    [/FONT]
     

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