Thinking of buying Kinmans- need advice

hot_rats

Member
Messages
57
I am think of buying a set of Kinmans for my strat. I need some advice on them, though. And, as a lot of people in these boards seem to have them, there is no better place to ask about them.

I am thinking of getting either the Woodstock or the Traditional MKII set. The Woodstocks seem to be highly praised, while I don't have any information on the Traditionals.

Anyway, I like nice clean sounds. I use 0.12 gauge strings on my Strato (which is more on the bright side). Mostly jazz and fusion swearing out of it, but also some rock.

The Woodstocks- according to what is said in the Kinman website- seem to be overpowered to me, to break into overdrive too easily, and to be more suitable for heavy rock rather than jazz and related genres. Is that true and correct? How rich and versatile are the sounds of each of Kinman's sets?


Also, what about the Blues set?? The only opinion I have heard about it was not favourable.
 

haslar

Member
Messages
2,017
I used a set of Traditionals for years, and really loved them.
Absolutely awesome pickups, low output vintage-style.
Great cleans.
the Blues or Woodstock are wound a lot hotter and won't probably be as good for those Sultans of Swing sounds.
 

Macaroni

Member
Messages
4,348
I had a set of the Blues & Woodstocks and they're not wound hotter. They are pretty much vintage specs, the Woodstocks being late 60s specs and the Blues are 50s, but 'aged', meaning a bit softer, rounder, smoother, less output, vs the Woodstocks, which are brighter, clearer, edgier (not icepick), stronger.

So if your guitar is already bright, the Woodstocks might be too much, and the Blues might be just right - certainly smooth enough for jazz and easily good for Blues (obviously).

BTW, pickups don't break up, AFAIK - they might make your amp breakup sooner because they're pushing it harder.
 

clothwiring

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,866
Consider DiMarzio Areas? I had some Kinman Trads in a guitar, I like the Areas better. Just want to throw that out. Also would save you some cash.
 

zerocharisma

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
429
I don't have any experience with the Traditional MKII's but I would wholeheartedly recommend Kinman's stuff. Last summer I ordered a custom set with a Blues AVn-62 in the neck, Woodstock regular AVn-69 in the middle, and Woodstock Plus Hx-85 in the bridge. This combo can fetch me a wide array of sounds. The Blues pickup is my favorite and what I use most because it's soft, fat, round and warm and responds well either when playing clean or dirty. Depending on your attack it can be gentle or aggressive...it's very versatile.

In your case, I might lean towards the MKII's which I, too, have heard great things about. The cool thing is you can mix and match. But then again there are a lot of great pickups being made today that I have yet to try out--others might suit your needs. I'm sure more experienced TGPers will help you out. Good luck!
 

Macaroni

Member
Messages
4,348
I've got a set of Areas - 61 neck, 58 middle & 54 bridge. Excellent pickups. I wasn't able to directly A/B them with the Kinmans I had, but I liked the tones better - somewhere in between the Blues & Woodstocks. Definitely an alternate choice.

That being said, I just replaced the Areas (for sale now) with a set of 3 x L-250s (blades) from Bill Lawrence USA (not Willy Stitch) - yes, 3 of the same pickup for all 3 positions, and I absolutely love them. Not exactly vintage tones, but very sweet, rich, Strat tones, and totally quiet. I got them at NAMM for $28 each! You can get them online for around $45 each.
 

jmcerlain

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,391
Disclosure: I am a DiMarzio endorser. That being said, I really love the new Area pickups, they sound great. The areas are the latest generation of the noiseless and are the best so far. Check out Harry Jacobson's clips for some examples. Both he and I beta tested them for DiMarzio, honestly if I didn't like them I wouldn't use them. You can hear them on my myspace as well.
 

jamison162

Member
Messages
7,749
Don't waste your money on the Kinman's. I just got off the phone with Lyle at A Sharp and we briefly discussed the new D's which he also loves. He said he's installed 5 sets or so of the Kinman's and hasn't been impressed with them.
 

xroads

Member
Messages
2,464
I cannot compare different models - but I had a Blues set in one of my strats, and at some point i decided to replace them by standard SCs (good ones). After 2 weeks, I put the Kinmans back in. They don't have the presence of a real SC, but do have some boost in the lower mids that just matched this guitar perfectly (it's a fairly bright sounding strat). Especially for crunch and distorted sounds, and clean Jazz, it is spectacular.
 

Mark Robinson

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9,295
I have an early set of Kinman AVN which were made prior to the various models he's making now so I'm not sure of the equivalent.

The pickups are in a Jeff Beck Strat, hanging tough in the swimming pool.

I swapped out the bridge pickup for the the much hotter SCN. I have no regrets at all. I get a lot of compliments on the sound of this particular instrument which has a very large neck with a rosewood fingerboard, so there's no shortage of high end.

No hum, no microphonic feedback, plenty of volume, plenty of highs, not ice pick like. I play this guitar more than any other.
 

GDking

Member
Messages
2,528
I have been torn between DiMarzio and Kinman on the noiseless issue for a while. Anyone else?

I was a big proponent of Kinman pickups then something went wrong with them and I was very unhappy with the end result of the whole deal.

They are good pickups, but the whole event disturbed me so much that I sold all the kinman pickups I had. I did not want to have to tell people who were asking me what I was using for pickups at shows what they were and send business that way.

I get compliments still nothing has changed there but the moral dilemma.
 

dangerine49

Member
Messages
618
I had two sets of Kinmans, one set was semi-custom for an ash CIJ Strat which I sold off a couple of years ago. I still have the other set of Trads in a MIM Strat. I love the tone of both sets. Very vintage Strat with beautiful clarity and articulation. I would get another set in a heartbeat. I've never played the Dimarzios, so I can't compare.
 

hot_rats

Member
Messages
57
I was a big proponent of Kinman pickups then something went wrong with them and I was very unhappy with the end result of the whole deal.

They are good pickups, but the whole event disturbed me so much that I sold all the kinman pickups I had. I did not want to have to tell people who were asking me what I was using for pickups at shows what they were and send business that way.

I get compliments still nothing has changed there but the moral dilemma.

Could you please clarify what kind of issue you had with them?
 

crosse79

Member
Messages
6,102
I have had 2 sets before. Woodstock Plus & Blues. Honestly nice pickups - but still a little bit more muffled sounding. It's there although I did not want to admit it at first. Once I changed to Lollars - there was no going back.
 

Boggs

Member
Messages
991
I will be going to Vintage Vibe's noiseless Strat pups in my next build. I have had extremely good luck with Pete Biltoft's creations to date.
 

stratrat2000

Member
Messages
289
I love the Kinmans. The Woodstock Regulars are my favourite set of pickups - noiseless or otherwise. They are hotter pickups, but still very much a single-coil type tone. They are warmer sounding, so they balance out well with a bright guitar (I favour ash bodies and maple or pao ferro fingerboards - and I also don't fit tone controls). Backed off lower, they get quite woody and smooth and are well capable of jazzier tones. I tend to use clean to gritty tones with Fender and Vox amps.

I have a set of Traditional Mark IIs in a Strat and they are excellent and sound like a vintage 50's type single-coil - in other words, a bit bright for me. They are not quite as bright as some vintage-style single-coils I have tried but on the other hand they are brighter than others. Not as punchy as my CS '69 set, but then, very few pickups are.

I'm going to try a set of the Blues next, If they are similar to the Trads with a bit more warmth, they should be more what I am looking for in the second Strat.

I think the real advantage of the Kinman pickups is the range of tones depending on how you tweak the heights. Spend some time with them and you can dial in some great tones.

My last order from Kinman (Woodstock neck and middle with a Tele Bridge) was a bit problematic - but that was entirely down to DHL losing them and Chris got another set out to me pronto.
 

changeling

Member
Messages
1,762
all my sc equipped guitars have kinmans of one type or another.

not just cause they are noiseless,which is obviously a huge factor
in what they do,but they are the most versatile single coil TYPE pickup
when used correctly;i.e, the pickup height screws are like tone controls.

i believe this paradigm shift away from the traditional model is what may
initially make some not realize just how good they can sound.
cheers,
r
 

drzprslpnut

Member
Messages
29
I got a set of Traditionals and I think they're great. They made my MIM Strat, which was a good guitar, into a fantastic one. I have Les Pauls and a PRS Artist and an American Strat which are all great in their own right and they all get playing time, but the MIM gets as much if not more than the others. I'm not afraid to gig with it and it has 7 different tones and the bottom tone is also a push-push switch that allows the neck and bridge pups to be blended together to get Tele sounds or anything in between. Oh yeah, did I mention that they're noiseless? Great product !
 




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