Stephens Design pickups

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by michaelprice83, Aug 11, 2006.

  1. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    I popped my Stephen's Design "Mojo V" pickups in an EJ strat last night and was blown away. Completely destroyed my Callaham/Fralin pickups. Just so luscious and yummy. The Fralins are also great pickups, but man there is no way I'm gonna be able to go back now. I've got the pickups wired in with wire nuts so I can easily switch out a prewired pickguard. I will go back and forth a few times tonight between the different sets just to really get an accurate comparison and feel for the differences. I will post more details later. I do realize this is a slightly apples to oranges comparison as the Mojo V pickups aren't 100% vintage repro's like the Fralins, but I'm thinking Leo would approve of Dave's work.
     
  2. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    BTW, I put a huge tatoo on my EJ body last night by accidentally dropping my loaded pickguard (on its end) against the body from about 4-6 inches above the guitar. It produced two large gashes each about an inch long and all the way down to the wood. I had already had a terrible day at work and was running on little sleep so I was really spacey and clumsy. I'm starting to like the relic look, but man those first few dings on a pretty guitar are really traumatic!. It reminded me of being a kid and losing a tooth.
     
  3. FredW

    FredW Member

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    I am curious about Stephens humbuckers. Anyone try the Tone Kings?
     
  4. jetlag

    jetlag Member

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    Michael, sorry to hear about your mishap. Unfortunately, I know what that feels like. I'm a big fan of Dave's Mojo V strat pups too. I had a slightly different-than-stock front pup made and ultimately decided that that particular pup was a bit too squashed sounding for my rig (although really cool for some stuff). Dave sent me a '59 model front pup - and it's tremendous. He had concerns with it's output overpowering the others, but I really don't have any problems with it. Killer sounding set of pickups. To me, they kind of make the guitar sound like you have a gauge heavier strings on. Really cool, but still a "vintage" or classic strat sounding set. Glad you like yours too.
     
  5. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    Well, I only had a bout 30 minutes last night to play but I'm still nothing but smiles. I've never been happy with my tone before. I've always been kinda close and imagined the other 10-20%, but now I have the strat-sound-in-my-head coming out of my guitar and its really inspiring. Sounds like I'm playing 13's (which i'm certainly not) and everything is clear as a bell. Scary good pickups.....
     
  6. Texas_Blues

    Texas_Blues Member

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    What string gauges are you currently using?
     
  7. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    I'm using 10's, I usually use 11's but recently switched to 10's at the same time I put my pickups in because 11's on my EJ were extremely hard for big blues bends around the 4th through 7th frets. I didn't expect my guitar to sound way fatter with 10's/Stephens than it had previously with 11's/Fralins Fralins but it did. Fatter, bigger, more chime, more sparkle, better balance, less noise...... I have yet to try 11's with these pickups. I liked the Fralin pickups, especially the bridge with the baseplate, but unfortunately for my wallet, I'm gonna have to buy a few more sets of SD pickups.
     
  8. michaelprice83

    michaelprice83 Member

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    Also, I can't stress enough that while these are relatively fat sounding, they are ALSO more chimey and have more sparkle. I play mostly clean, and judge a good Strat pickup by how well it can do, say, clean Jimi Hendrix. These are absolutely knockout pickups for that sound.
     
  9. Crazyquilt

    Crazyquilt Guitar Dad Silver Supporting Member

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    I have one of Dave's single blade Tele pickups in the neck of my Trussart Steelcaster. I love that pickup! Big, fat, honkin' neck pickup goodness, yet still really clear and not muddy at all.

    The ones I'm curious about are his new Dirty Harry's, which are based on old DeArmonds, and the KayBar P-90 types. Also, the Little Charleys. He's just got some really unique stuff, and I dig that.
     
  10. jcshirke

    jcshirke Member

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    Guys,

    Finally...some people who own Dave's pickups. I've been scanning old threads looking for a few of you.

    I am about to order a custom set. Dave recommended a '59 in the neck for me, since he thought the Mojo Vs esp. can get a bit muddy (maybe you disagree though?). I'm going with a Mojo V in the middle, and I'm trying to decide between a regular Mojo, a Mojo V, or a slightly hotter Mojo V in the bridge. It's the bridge pickup esp. that is causing me difficulties. I just can't decide, basically. Any thoughts on how the Mojo V bridge pickup sounds stock? Is it too bright? Is the output ok, or do you wish it had more? etc. etc.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  11. Neer

    Neer Supporting Member

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    I had a set of his Platinum PAFs and they were the ****. Let me tell you, they completely nailed the tone and the craftsmanship was impeccable. Unfortunately, I sold the guitar with the pickups in it, but I wouldn't hesitate to buy another set for the right guitar.

    I should add that I currently play 3 Fender guitars with pickups by OC Duff and a Fred Stuart Blackguard bridge. They are wonderful, as well.
     
  12. jcshirke

    jcshirke Member

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    "Front" is the neck pickup? Or is it the bridge?

    I've been talking to Dave about the Mojo Vs, and he also recommended the '59 neck pickup to me as a replacement. Just wanted to see if that's what you did, or whether your problem was with the bridge pickup.

    What pickup is in the bridge position, and how do you like it?

    Jeff
     
  13. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels Silver Supporting Member

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    I just ordered a pair of his Dirty Harry pickups for a custom guitar that's in the works. They're a tribute to the vibe of old DeArmond units, and Dave is milling me covers with gold foil inserts like on old Harmony guitars. It's great to see someone building pickups other than the usual Fender and Gibson derivatives!
     
  14. marsos52

    marsos52 Member

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    i have a set of dave stephens pups i my ron kirn tele they are broadcaster based
    and they are the perfect tele pup for me just love them i have fralins in another
    tele and they are great to but dave really has something special

    marc
     
  15. jetlag

    jetlag Member

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    I agree with going with a '59 in front and mojo V in the middle. I have a mojo V in the lead or bridge position and like it alot - don't plan to change it out. The bridge pickup keeps up with the others fine output-wise. It's a pretty traditional/vintage sound but maintains that mojo V fattness w/o xtra mids of "overwound" pickups. So if you are looking for a bump in mids, I'd get the stock mojo or ask Dave how much more (over stock) he can wind the mojo V bridge. I say that because it's my understanding that the mojo V bridge, while low DCR, is about all the wire he can fit on the bobbin and still get a cover over it. Maybe my set was unique or things have changed, so ask him about it.
     
  16. jcshirke

    jcshirke Member

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    Is the Mojo V bridge in any way too trebly or shrill for your tastes? I don't really need/want a bump in mids--at least I don't think.

    I'm thinking the Mojo V bridge will be fine. Dave just told me to consider the regular Mojo in that position if i wanted a darker pickup that wasn't shrill. But I can't imagine the Mojo V bridge *is* shrill to begin with--but he had me a little concerned, I guess.

    Any last thoughts on that bridge pup before I order?

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  17. jetlag

    jetlag Member

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    I don't find the mojo V bridge shrill at all. It's just a real traditional strat voicing (eq-wise). So if you don't want the mid bump (with associated treble roll off), then I think you'll like the mojo V bridge. Again I think Dave wound mine about as high in windings/DCR as can fit under a cover. It was still a low DCR, ~ 5.9K IIRC. One thing to keep in mind, I use the "Jimmie Vaughan" wiring and put the bridge pup on on a tone pot and run the middle w/o tone control. I find that this works pefectly with this pup set - it loads the bridge just enough. There is a clip on his website of me playing a blues shuffle "lumpty lump" type of tune - most of it is the middle pup but there are parts where I click over to the lead pup. It's the "Karl Angerer with Lee McBee ' Doin' Alright' clip. You can check that out and see what you think. '59 maple board strat, reverb unit, tweed bandmater and a tweed deluxe. Sorry the clip is so big, I honestly thought Dave would edit it down before he posted it up on his site. Okay, I listened to it, here's the pickup rundown - the entire tune is on the middle pup until 8:43 then the remainder of the tune is the bridge pickup. Maybe that'll help you decide. And again, sorry the clip is so damn long.
     
  18. jcshirke

    jcshirke Member

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    Holy crap, that's you, Karl? I've listened to that clip a half dozen times or so. I *love* that tone as well as your playing. That's the whole reason I thought I'd go with the Mojo Vs in the first place. :) Dave told me that most of that solo was done on the middle pickup--which, again, is why I decided to go with the Mojo Vs. Anyway, I think your tone is amazing. I have some similar amps (a couple Louis Electrics), so I think I can get very similar tones driving those amps hard.

    I'm having a '63 NOS Strat built right now, so these pickups will go in it. It'll be alder with a maple/rosewood neck. Most likely the rosewood board will tame some of the high end as is, so I probably should get some brighter (as opposed to the regular Mojos darker) bridge pickups anyway.

    Will let you know how it works out. Again, thanks a lot for making that clip. It's really awesome. I'd love to hear more of your playing--esp. with that setup and those pickups.

    Jeff
     
  19. jetlag

    jetlag Member

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    Thanks for the kind words Jeff. That was 2-3 years ago but I could probably dig up another clip if you want. The difficultly is remembering what I used back then on a given date - I move gear around alot. Maybe PM me an email address or something.
     
  20. jcshirke

    jcshirke Member

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    Have any of you guys tried Dave's humbuckers?
     

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