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what do you guys think of gfs pick ups?

Discussion in 'Luthier's Guitar & Bass Technical Discussion' started by chief ten beers, Nov 13, 2005.

  1. chief ten beers

    chief ten beers Member

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    I'm thinking about upgrading the pick ups on my start and tele and have been shopping around.I stumbled upon the guitarfetish website....can't beat those prices,but is it a case of you get what you pay for or are these the real deal.i'd appreciate any feedback from people who have bought them.thanks
     
  2. tomteriffic

    tomteriffic Member

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    I guess it depends on what you'd call the real deal ;)

    I had occasion to put some in a couple of Yamaha Pacificas recently. One was a Tele-type, the other a 12-string Strat-type. For cheapo guitars, there ain't a darn thing wrong with them that a decent set of pickups won't fix. In the Tele, I was after a Broadcaster-y bridge tone, a little more relaxed kind of high end, more aggressive mids and lows. I used GFS's somewhat overwound Tele pickup and it pretty much got me there. Not as good as the same model with a Duncan Broadcaster (which I had around for comparison), but pretty darn close, especially considering the price. It matched well with the Duncan '54 I wound up putting in the neck position.

    The other, a Strat-style 12'er, well, it's hard to say. I was after a stronger mids, higher output sort of thing, to somewhat emulate a toaster-top or P-90 kind of thing. I got their matched set of 'hot rails' thingys in white. The bridge pickup hole in the guard needed a little Dremel work to get it to fit but otherwise, no biggie. In the end, I got what I was after, a sort of 'Rick with some attitude' kind of thing, although a 12-string Strato-quack is kind of odd-sounding.

    How this relates to what you're doing is hard to say, but the pickups themselves aren't going to break any new ground in terms of construction techniques or anything, but they're fairly well described on the website. A couple of guys at the Hamer Fan Club site hipped me to GFS and were very pleased with some Strat pickups they got, if that's any help. I'm happy with the results and thrilled with the price.
     
  3. 1-Take-Wonder

    1-Take-Wonder Member

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    I'm still evaluating a set I put together for a parts tele. The bridge is hot, like 9.5k. It's supposedly blueprinted from a 62 tele. The neck is lower output and darker, more fifties, nocaster-ish i guess, although I've never played one myself.

    I've used it once live, as a stand-in slide player. I stayed on the bridge and it cut through the band well. I might equate this particular pickup to G&L's high-output MFDs which they put in the ASATs, only with a bit more "plink."

    I have an R&B-type jam tonight. I'll be working the Cropper licks to see how it translates. I have session work next week, so the microphones will be the best judge of what they're putting out. I'll try to lift some of the tracks and post them in the audio section of the site.

    In general, it's an inexpensive experiment. Considering I paid maybe $60 for the set, I'm pleased so far.
     
  4. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    I bought a Vintage '59 and a Crusader from them about a month ago. I put the Crusader in the bridge of my Carvin Bolt kit and the '59 in the bridge of my Ibanez Artcore TM71.

    The Crusader is very hot, as I expected, and sounds a lot like the Duncan Invader, also as expected. It has a little more upper mid 'bite' than the Invader, which is something I like. It can easily get a good metalish tone and it has kind of a P90-ish sound when split that sounds good for Black Crows kind of stuff.

    The Vintage '59 in the TM71 really helped the tone of this guitar. I bought it to match with a SD Seth Lover I already had that I was putting in neck. It gets a really nice spanky rockabilly tone and it matches up well with the Seth Lover. The SL sounds a little more complex but this might be due to the lack of potting on it vs the '59 being potted.

    I'm probably going to order some more of their pickups for a couple of project guitars I have around.

    I think what you'll find is that they're better than most stock pickups, particularly on imports, at least as good as the high production replacement pickup makers (Duncan, Dimarzio, etc.) and not quite as good as the high end boutique pickup makers (Fralin, Barden, etc). They also have their own personality which is they're typically wound hotter than average and have a more pronounced upper mid-range than what they emulate. Some people like this and some don't.
     
  5. 1-Take-Wonder

    1-Take-Wonder Member

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    Played my GFS-equipped tele at two rehearsal/jams now...

    The "Vintage Alnico 62" that I have in the bridge is still sounding pretty good. It has the brightness you want going on up high, and really delivers the piano-like "bong" on the lower strings.

    It also will push an amp into overdrive faster than most tele bridge pups. for reference, with my DRRI in channel one, first jack with volume at 5.5 treble at 5 and bass at 5, I could easily get large crunchy power chords chords. For this reason, I might suggest that someone who's looking for dead-on vintage tele tone should look elsewhere. That said, it sounds great with nice complex overtones.

    The jury is still out on the neck "Classic TC Alnico." On first pass it seems a bit dull and one dimensional. I'll compare to a friend who has Antiquities in his and post something new.

    Also agree with previous post on noise, look elsewhere if noiseless is your bag, but any classic tele sound is going to have a bit of hum. It has more character than G&L's MFD's in the ASAT with similar output, and maybe a bit more brightness/true tele vibe than the Texas Special for the bridge in a tele.
     
  6. Lex Luthier

    Lex Luthier Member

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    I pickup up a set of Retrotrons for a funky hollowbody Framus guitar that is laying around, once I make a pickguard for it I'll give them a whirl.
     
  7. AndyZ

    AndyZ Member

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    I've got 2 Dream 180's in a Tele partscaster and a recently put a Liverpool (filtertron type) and Fat Alnico neck in a Squire 51. rewired it differently than stock, have a rosewood neck on it now and it screams! Great pups for the money!
     
  8. omensixaxe

    omensixaxe Member

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    not trying to sell anything, but being from richmond, go lindy fralin. they could be somewhat pricey...but i believe its worth it.
     
  9. 1-Take-Wonder

    1-Take-Wonder Member

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    I've been gigging this for a while now. If you like tele brightness but have been frustrated by relatively low output levels this is a cool pickup. If you want pristine loud tele clean, its not gonna happen. I can get some cool twangy rock things happening with this, but it doesn't translate outright country too well.

    It also doesn't seem to like preamp gain much. So, pushing power tubes on a non-master into thick overdrive while keeping some tele tone is this things gig.

    I'll stick by "improvement over many stock tele pups"..I haven't compared to anything but my ASAT which is also a high output beast, I do prefer it to what I remember of Fenders Texas tele pickup, I'm guessing the tone would be lacking compared to Fralins, Antiquities, etc...
     
  10. JohnK24

    JohnK24 Supporting Member

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    I had a set of the "boutique vintage stagger" strat pups ($60/set) in my Jimmie Vaughan sign. strat for a while. They were nice for the price, good low output tones, chime and piano like wound strings, and the rwrp middle pup was a nice touch. I'd call them a less expensive alternative to Fender's 57/62 pups. They didn't knock me out with vibe, no "3D" tones, exceptional clarity, just pleasant. Oh, I did have to get a second set mailed to me to replace defective pups...two of the first set had broken coil wires at the eyelets and the covers were VERY tight...almost felt like I was going to snap the bobbin or cover as I forced it one.

    hth,

    J
     
  11. 1-Take-Wonder

    1-Take-Wonder Member

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    oh yeah...the alnico 62 was advertised as 9kish output. Mine was 10kish on my multi-meter??? quality control?? How are they winding these things???
    Fender had similar variances so I'm not going to ding him too hard for that.

    I also have the Texas hot set in a project Strat. I had to drill out the holes for the screws that were sent with the pickups to fit. Again, not a huge problem, just another little issue to be dealt with.

    You can't be too picky at this price point IMO. I would look for the auctions on E-bay though as the prices can be lower than the going rate through Buy It Now, or directly from GFS. I saved $20 through the auction.
     
  12. John E

    John E Member

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    Try removing the tone control from the neck pickup. I have the same one, matched to the GFS 50's tele bridge pup. This brightens it up just enough and gives it more output to match the bridge better... also you can use the tone control to set the sweet spot for the Bridge pup.

    I also threw a set of the GFS Liverpools into my Ibanez Hollowbody... I like the tele pups alot, especially the bridge... but I LOVE these Liverpools... they are OUTSTANDING. Great chime and clarity, great bass response and still warm and compress nicely when you hit em hard. They drive my 18 watter nicely, I haven't been this happy with my live rig in a while... and they cost me $58 BUCKS! Great for clean with edge for rhythm, and they like all my pedals for gainier stuff.
     
  13. 1-Take-Wonder

    1-Take-Wonder Member

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    I'm using the .047 cap which I think is the more modern set up. Should I try a different value there before dumping the tone altogether from the neck?
     
  14. John E

    John E Member

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    The .047 is probably the only way to go if you like to roll off tone on the neck pup. I play on the neck pickup probably 85% of the time and I never use the tone control, and I like the extra volume and brightness you get from totally removing it. I can roll back just enough tone by using the volume control. Tough call if you like rolling back the tone on a neck pup for a jazz tone etc... hey give it a shot and see how you like it, you can always wire it back in. Once I started removing the tone control on my tele's neck pups, I never even consider wiring in the tone control anymore, I love them without it.
     
  15. bgmacaw

    bgmacaw Member

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    Is this the same as what Guitar Fetish is calling their Repro 1960's Hot Alnico Tele Bridge on their web site now?

    I've been debating between either their 60's Hot or their 50's Vintage Tele bridge pickups. It's to go in a faux-Esquire project guitar so it will be wide open with no tone control in the way on one switch setting, basic Tele on another, and bassy on the third. Any thoughts on how this would sound?
     
  16. 1-Take-Wonder

    1-Take-Wonder Member

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    the same...in terms of which pickup, when Jay says "overwound" on this one, he means it. If you're going for "correct" Esquire sound, I'd try the 50's or splurge on one of Duncan's pickups, He's the Esquire guru...

    If you want an Esquire that really overdrives an amp, the 60s version might work. Again, its a cheap experiment so you're not out much cash if you don't like it.
     

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