Will a "low output" humbucker always be brighter?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Rushhead, May 24, 2020.

  1. Rushhead

    Rushhead Member

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    I am playing blues through to hard rock music through an older Friedman head. I have a mid 2000's R7 with stock burstbucker pickups that sounds good to me. It's not perfect, but what I like about it compared to my other guitars is how I can get a sound that combines "openness"/definition with punch and fullness.

    Although I like the sound of the R7, guitars with bolt-on necks are more "home" for me. Over the years I have mainly used higher output pickups in those guitars (EBMM Axis stock pickups, Super Distortion, JB to name a few). They have worked fine more me, but lately I have been finding myself looking for more of the openness of my R7.

    I have a Baja tele and I really like the bridge pickup on that. It actually comes closer to what I'm looking for in terms of punch and openness than anything else I own, but not quite full enough.

    After doing a bunch of reading online, it seemed like switching to a more vintage output humbucker would be the ticket. I recently acquired a Suhr classic model (alder, maple, rosewood) with a Thornbucker in the bridge but found it lacking in output. So I switched to a Bare Knuckle VHII and found it to be really piercing on the treble side. However, I also find the stock V70s excessively bright, so maybe it's a bright guitar??? I haven't tried any other Suhrs so have nothing to compare to.

    Anyhow, I'm not sure where to go next. Based on what I've researched, I feel like I "should" be wanting a lower output humbucker, but the ones I've tried have been lacking. While they have both had the openness I've been looking for, they have been lacking in other key areas. Too thin, and in the case of the VHII, too bright. Again, I do kind of wonder if this might be a brighter sounding guitar overall given that I also find the V70s too bright. My tele isn't even close to as bright. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.
     
  2. David Garner

    David Garner Gold Supporting Member

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    No. It depends on a lot of factors including the particular guitar. I have two Les Pauls. The one with the JB in the bridge is significantly brighter than the one with the unpotted Custom Shop Pearly Gates.
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
  3. GenoVox

    GenoVox Member

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    Yeah, not necessarily... for instance, a SD Seth Lover is relatively low output and considered “clear-sounding” - but I definitely wouldn’t consider it bright. In fact, they’re quite sweet, smooth and even...

    Now a Lollar Imperial or Duncan Jazz? Those are pretty bright...
     
  4. shane8

    shane8 Member

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    no

    as they ^ say it depends on many factors
     
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  5. Guitarworks

    Guitarworks Member

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    Low output = less magnet wire around the bobbin = more treble

    High output = more magnet wire around the bobbin = less treble.

    This law of pickup winding is a constant.

    I will not concede that every pickup with only a certain number of turns around each bobbin of 42 AWG magnet wire will always yield a sound with more treble, because some of what you hear in terms of the EQ curve is affected by the magnet type and the flux of that magnet.

    But...you will ALWAYS get more treble when using less magnet wire and decreasing the output.
     
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  6. TL;DR

    TL;DR Member

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    Assuming the same type of magnet
     
  7. soulman969

    soulman969 Member

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    Good point here and multiple factors come into play. Is what you're wanting more treble or simply more clarity or transparency without reduced output?

    Magnet type, number of winds of wire, wire gauge, electronics, and even the metal covers used on many humbuckers have their own impact. Removing those or replacing them with non-ferrous covers like plastic or silver nickel can also make a huge difference as far as increasing treble output.
     
  8. gunslinger

    gunslinger Member

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    High resistance (as from more wire turns) can impede trebles. And vice versa.
     
  9. Humble Texan Fan

    Humble Texan Fan Member

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    The Steve Morse neck pickup is a great example that impedance vs output is not quite given. It is 21k yet puts out a mere 250, compared to the bridge version which puts out 450 whilst being shy of 10k.
     
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  10. BADHAK

    BADHAK Member

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    There's too many variables but FWIW my SG with low output 57 Classics is darker than my LP Standard with higher output BB Pros, and LP Special with higher output Pearly Gates.
     
  11. singularity6

    singularity6 Member

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    Perhaps you could swap out the treble bleed cap on the tone pot?
     
  12. K-Line

    K-Line Vendor

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    A2 magnets tend to round off the highs more than A5,A8 or ceramic. It is a formula. But yes, less resistance equates to more treble generally speaking. I wind my PAFs in one version at 7.2 and 7.6 for the bridge with Alnico 2. They are bright like the real 59 PAFs I have played.
     
  13. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    Yes it will usually be brighter unless you compare it to one with a cover. Can you tweak your tone controls on the amp to work?

    And in regards to a Tele, they are not bright unless the bridge pickup is under wound. They have a high inductance (bass) because of the coil size, baseplate, mounted in a steel bridge and the neck pickup has a cover. Reading your posts you want an SSH+ maybe with a cover and two ML single coils. You should also probably have us go over the wiring. Also maybe remove the treble bleed if it has something to do with the volume pot taper.

    the V70's is a bright pickup by design for that era. Think Blackmore.

    Since you purchased the guitar with a pickup swap already installed maybe you should have us look at it. Start a ticket form the website.

     
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
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  14. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    What are those numbers?
    How are they measured?
    Also remember impedance does not equal DC resistance.
     
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  15. EndGame00

    EndGame00 Member

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    I would assume the SSV Bridge would be slightly louder than the Thornbucker?
     
  16. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    No, slightly more Edgy, the Alnico 4 have a nice sweetness
     
  17. guitarnerdswe

    guitarnerdswe Member

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    I haven't tried the regular Thornbucker bridge, but Thornbucker + is slightly lower output than the SSV it replaced. Very, very slightly.
     
  18. Husky

    Husky Gold Supporting Member

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    Technically a hair hotter. Might be a height thing or frequency perception
     
  19. guitarnerdswe

    guitarnerdswe Member

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    Probably frequency perception due to the smoother highs. I have to have it slighter higher to get the same amount of breakup. I think like 1/64-2/64 closer when I measured.
     

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