WCR BetSet - very impressive!

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Leonc, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Well I just put a set of Wagner's new BetSet pickups in my joe shmo Les Paul std. These are some seriously cool pickups if you dig the old Dickey Betts sound. The bridge pickup is really snappy and twangy. The neck pickup is notably darker, very warm and not terribly twangy. Together, they really compliment eachother and you wind up with that really cool, funky sound.

    If you recall that sound Dickey got Live at the Filmore on his Stormy Monday solo, well...here it is! One of my very favorite Les Paul tones. I know lots of people prefer the Duane sound...but not me. This is the Les Paul sound I've always preferred. Not terribly far off from Bloomfield's sound either.

    I've only had them in the guitar since earlier today but so far...I'm very impressed! Just got to use it in a jam session and they really shined. Unfortunately, we weren't able to turn up at all but they were really great sounding clean. More news and clips to follow as I get more experience with them...
     
  2. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

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    Leon,

    How do they compare to some of Jim's other pickups?
     
  3. big mike

    big mike Moderator - EL34 Emeritas Staff Member

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    Oh crap. I'm with you Leon, I was always more into Dickey's tone.

    Shiznit....do I feel a change coming with thorn 140? Covered, with an out of phase neck installed reversed?

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm:confused:
     
  4. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    John - I'm not the most experienced guy. I've had Filmores in my LP for about a year and I just love them. Before that I had Darkbursts, but preferred the Flimores as they seemed a bit 'clearer' sounding. The BetSet seem to be a bit clearer sounding and lower output than the Filmores. The brdige is definitely lower output. IIRC, Jim said the output is closer to that of his single coils pickups, the SRs (which are on the hot side, for singles).

    Like I said above, the bridge pickup has some real twang going on. More than either the Filmore or Darkburst. Quite a bit more. The neck is more traditional sounding, It's similar to the Darkburst neck, from what I recall. Perhaps lower output? Dang...didn't measure them. Occured to me I should have measure them right as I soldered the last lead in place... :(
     
  5. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    Hey Leon
    I was waiting to hear how you liked those new pups.
    I was floored by how great the Fillmores sounded in your LP.
    As you know, I picked up set of Fillmore zebras and just dropped them into my new Epi Korina V reissue. What a difference!
    The guitar is now a screamer.
    Next I'm going to order up an RS Guitarworks Historic V
    upgrade kit and a tonepros bridge.

    Now I'm curious to hear what the difference between the Fillmores and the Betts set could be. The lead pup on the Fillmore is rippin. Jury's still out on the neck pup, but I'm interested in seeing what improvement the Tonepro and an RS kit might bring before I go further with swapping pups.
     
  6. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Supporting Member

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    Thanks sir! :AOK
     
  7. TaZMaNiO

    TaZMaNiO Senior Member

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    Wow, this is some great news!


    Big thanks for the review :JAM
     
  8. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Barry, I'm looking forward to your honest and objective opinion on the RS improvements too!

    Here are a few further thoughts on the BetSet. The neck pickup is always a bit louder (not necessarily hotter) on any guitar, simply because the strings vibrate more when they're a bit further from the bridge. As it turns out, the neck pickup in the BetSet is a teensy bit hotter than the bridge pickup too. This makes it most definitely louder. So you've got some fiddling to do with the pickup heights (well...you always do...but a bit more with these pups, IMHO). It will be difficult to get both pickups sounding nice, clear and clean and both pickups at EQUAL volume when the guitar is dimed.

    Now the other unusual thing is...the bridge pickup is quite twangy, like I was saying. If you're someone who wants the bridge to scream and tear yer face off...this probably ain't your set of pickups.

    But if you really dig Dickey's sound (it's MHO that you get this sound by combining the two pickups), it's hard to imagine getting any closer. I mean...the Wagman nailed it with these pups.

    Now I've just got stock pots in my Les Paul. You know how good that guitar sounds when you open it up. But I do lose a bit of highs when backing off. If it turns out that you really don't lose any highs when using the RS selected pots, then that would be a very simply solution for equaling out the pickup volumes: just turn the neck pickup down :)

    Now one last observation worth noting. I've got that Dearmond M77t guitar. I don't think you played it, but it's got a very VERY similar sound: darkish, loudish neck pickup with a very spunkity/twangy bridge pickup. You combine them together and it's like that Dickey sound on steroids.

    So I'm thinking that this (loud/dark + twangy/spunky) is really the formula of pickups that you need to get that "Dickey Betts" sound. If you want it, there's a bit of a trade off.

    Now...as for your V...hate to say it...but I have a feeling this set of pickups would be even better than the Filmores if you were shooting for that V sound that you hear from Albert King... If you listen to his bridge pickup...it's real twangy. Much more so than a "normal" humbucker.

    I love a screaming pickup like the Filmore for covering harder edged stuff...e.g., Journey/Boston/some Zepp/some Duane, Humble Pie etc....but for blues, country, funk, and so on...man, I think I might prefer the BetSet. I'm definitely sticking with the Filmores in my next Thorn (which will replace my PRS CE24)...but I may leave these BetSet pups in my LP... Hard to lose either way though...
    :AOK
     
  9. HarryJ

    HarryJ Member

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    You may consider a 680 pF capacitor in parallel with a 220K resistor connected to the 2 used lugs on you volume pot. This works the best for me to compensate the loss of highs as you lower a volume pot. It's a very transparent combo.

    Also the Betts/Allman tone.

    Allman's tone always had that extra pushed amp, gain tone from his 50 watt and Betts, less so with his 100 watt Marshall 8X10. I felt their tones complimented each other very well.

    I would really like Allman's bridge tone and Bett's neck tone, but If I had to pick one, I'm with you guys and Betts... more guitar, less amp

    Harry Jacobson
    www.harryj.net
     
  10. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yup, Duane's sound was generally darker and had a lot more gain behind it. You could tell he was really pushing the amp harder. I've enjoyed both of their playing and tone...but for blues, country, country-rock, funk and r&b I tend to gravitate towards a cleaner sound. I love the pushed-Marshall-screamin-bridge-pup sound too :) ...but for other stuff.
     
  11. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    Well, for me- and for the kind of slide tone I gravitate towards, I tend to lean into the darker, gainier tone anyway. Thats part of why the Fuchs ODS works so well for me- its got that singing sustained gainy vocal thing down in spades. But to do that you've got to be pushing a lot of mids everywhere, dialing out the highs or its too cutting, and the lows or its too woofy.
    One thing I noticed with the korina V is that its very nasal. But that's the signature sound of the V anyway.
    Given the choice between dickeys tone or Duanes- no question where I'm headed- give me Duane, thanks. But the idea of a much brighter neck pup seems interesting simply because I hardly ever use them- they never seem to have enough bite or growl- just too much woof, if you know what I mean. So that concept got my attention.
    The only guitar I own that has a bright neck pup is that Goldtop that I have loaded with real 52 soapbars. Noisy, but-oh my!
    A friend of mine who also owns a V told me that he had the Fillmores installed, and changed to the Crossroads and that it opened up the guitar more. He also said the RS electronics helped. But he reminded me that regardless, the V is by nature, nasal. So you gotta just get into it, cause thats what they do.
     
  12. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yep, I agree about Vs having a nasal sound. It's quite cool in its own way. They often seem to have more personality than a lot of other HB guitars (IMHO).

    Barry, not sure if you're reffering to the BetSet here, because if you re-read what I was saying, it was that the neck pickup is rather dark, particularly when compared to the bridge. It's the bridge pickup in this BetSet that is very bright and twangy. Did I missunderstand you?
     
  13. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    No, my bad.:jo
    What I need is a neck pup that sounds like a bridge pup, but-different?
    LOL.
    Yup- the V is nasal. but not as annoying as Fran Dresher (The Nanny)
     
  14. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    hahhahah! Agreed: nasal guitars can be very wonderful things to listen...as opposed to nasal women. (But I loved her in Spinal Tap...so perfectly obnoxious.)
     
  15. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Yah, and I hear you on that neck pickup thing. Actually, I think the Filmore's neck pickup has got a pretty clear sound. Not bright...but clear. Really dig it.
     
  16. Frankenstrat2

    Frankenstrat2 Member

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    LOL
    Yeah Spinal Tap is perhaps the perfect Rock n Roll movie.
    Paul Schaeffer as the A& R guy...
    Neck Pickups- why cant they just be on the bridge- where they belong?
    LOL. Like my Junior. I dont need no stinkin neck pickup getting you all confused. Just play, sissy boy.
    But I agree- the neck pup of the Fillmore set is very sweet and round sounding, and mixed with the bridge on the V can actually tone down some of the Fran Dresher quality a teeny bit.
     
  17. Leonc

    Leonc Wild Gear Hearder Gold Supporting Member

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    Hey Barry, have you checked this out yet?

    Man...that's my kinda nasal. Thank you sir, may I have another?!!
     

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