School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by Bradley-Jazz » Fri May 08, 2020 2:34 pm

Another option, fairly moderately priced too, is a DiMarzio EJ Custom, allegedly wound to make Eric Johnson’s LP sound like a Gretsch. I put one in the neck of my LP Tribute to replace the 490R that was too muddy played clean (I kept the 498T in the bridge that I liked, like Larry). It didn’t sound like a Gretsch to me, but did sound clear and a bit chimey - a big improvement to my ears.
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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by Whiny Minotaur » Sat May 09, 2020 8:10 am

If you're looking for cheaper options I can vouch for the Seymour Duncan Antiquity humbuckers. I have them installed in my MuSGuar hybrid monstrosity and they sound really good. I play that guitar through the same rig as I do with my Jag and I never found the need to change any settings for my pedals/amp. Actually, I have to turn put the volume when I play my MuSGuar because they seem to have lower output than my Jag's Fender 65 pickups, curiously enough.

I hated every humbucker equipped guitar I played before because of the annoyingly in your face quality that they had, but it turns out I just hate high output humbuckers, and love vintage voiced PAFs. I also really like that they have a properly raunchy quality when driven, but they're never muddy unless I go balls out on the distortion knob, but even my single coil equipped guitars start to sound like mush at that point anyway.
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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by stevejamsecono » Sat May 09, 2020 8:56 am

Basically here to echo everyone else -- Low/vintage output is where the fun is at with Humbuckers. You start to realize that they aren't that removed from vintage-style single coils, just a bit fatter.
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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by s_mcsleazy » Sat May 09, 2020 10:05 am

yeah. i love humbuckers in the neck. a good, low output humbucker can really bring out the best in a single coil guitar.

the ones i usually try to go for are the 70's/early 80's dimarzio's. the ones that read around 7-8k. they tend to be a little microphonic but the best humbuckers usually are IMHO.

i only have 3 guitars with humbuckers in the bridge. a jagmaster with a univox ripper style pickup in the bridge. that is around 6.9k (nice), a vista jagmaster with the stock pickups (i dont remember what they were based on but they're quite low output) and a shortscale flying v with a dimarzio super distortion in the bridge.
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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by garyfanclub » Sun May 10, 2020 8:41 am

stevejamsecono wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 8:56 am
Basically here to echo everyone else -- Low/vintage output is where the fun is at with Humbuckers. You start to realize that they aren't that removed from vintage-style single coils, just a bit fatter.
This x 1000.

Some of my favorites are the old Guild HB-1's from the early 70s. Those are around 7K and very chimey, very similar to an old mini-humbucker in sound.

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by øøøøøøø » Sun May 10, 2020 2:56 pm

The Lollars are great.

As others have said, you'd most-likely be happy with a good vintage-output PAF-style... somewhere in the neighborhood of 7.5k resistance most times, with AlNiCo magnets of some variety.

It's good to be open-minded. Humbucker guitars were used for a certain kind of rock thing in an era, but that's no means all they can do (just as you can use a Tele to do other things than pretend to be Danny Gatton)

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by OffYourFace » Sun May 10, 2020 4:31 pm

Monty's pickups in the UK make great pickups and his PAFs get rave reviews. Also everything is 20% off. I ordered a set of his broadcaster pickups.
A good friend of mine who's a guitar tech in the UK recommended them to me and I trust his taste.

https://www.montysguitars.com/

In the USA, my good friend Chris aka Black Cat guitar makes really good Gibson pickups. His stuff is amazing. He's a big fan of the vintage low wind stuff. Real '59 PAFs sound like fat tele bridge pickups to me. I think both Chris and Monty try to capture that vibe.

https://www.blackcatguitar.com/

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by surfin_bird » Sun May 10, 2020 11:58 pm

I saw those Monty's being tested as the best vintage PAF's a few times. 20% is quite a lot.
I'll have a look at those, since shipping from the US is becoming an expensive hobby.
OffYourFace wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 4:31 pm
Monty's pickups in the UK make great pickups and his PAFs get rave reviews. Also everything is 20% off. I ordered a set of his broadcaster pickups.
A good friend of mine who's a guitar tech in the UK recommended them to me and I trust his taste.

https://www.montysguitars.com/

In the USA, my good friend Chris aka Black Cat guitar makes really good Gibson pickups. His stuff is amazing. He's a big fan of the vintage low wind stuff. Real '59 PAFs sound like fat tele bridge pickups to me. I think both Chris and Monty try to capture that vibe.

https://www.blackcatguitar.com/

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by surfin_bird » Mon May 11, 2020 12:00 am

The Dimarzio's you're referring too, are those the PAF ones or all the dimarzio's? I've wanted to try out a super distortion for the longest time. I think the only humbucker guitar that I tried out that sounded good to me was the Kurt Cobain Jaguar.
s_mcsleazy wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:05 am
yeah. i love humbuckers in the neck. a good, low output humbucker can really bring out the best in a single coil guitar.

the ones i usually try to go for are the 70's/early 80's dimarzio's. the ones that read around 7-8k. they tend to be a little microphonic but the best humbuckers usually are IMHO.

i only have 3 guitars with humbuckers in the bridge. a jagmaster with a univox ripper style pickup in the bridge. that is around 6.9k (nice), a vista jagmaster with the stock pickups (i dont remember what they were based on but they're quite low output) and a shortscale flying v with a dimarzio super distortion in the bridge.

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by s_mcsleazy » Mon May 11, 2020 12:10 am

surfin_bird wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 12:00 am
The Dimarzio's you're referring too, are those the PAF ones or all the dimarzio's? I've wanted to try out a super distortion for the longest time. I think the only humbucker guitar that I tried out that sounded good to me was the Kurt Cobain Jaguar.
s_mcsleazy wrote:
Sat May 09, 2020 10:05 am
yeah. i love humbuckers in the neck. a good, low output humbucker can really bring out the best in a single coil guitar.

the ones i usually try to go for are the 70's/early 80's dimarzio's. the ones that read around 7-8k. they tend to be a little microphonic but the best humbuckers usually are IMHO.

i only have 3 guitars with humbuckers in the bridge. a jagmaster with a univox ripper style pickup in the bridge. that is around 6.9k (nice), a vista jagmaster with the stock pickups (i dont remember what they were based on but they're quite low output) and a shortscale flying v with a dimarzio super distortion in the bridge.
well the ones i was talking about were the uncovered kind that were common in lawsuit ibanez guitars.

as for the super distortion, by modern standards, they're a bit funny. at the time, they must have felt like all wind no magnet. nowadays just a regular epiphone pickup would probably be louder due to improvements in magnets. but they tend to have this real........ girth to them. especially in the neck. i know everyone uses them in the bridge but they were always too........ 90's skate punk for me.
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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by jvin248 » Mon May 11, 2020 5:04 am

.

Here are some notes to add:

-Pickup height and screw pole height can be very important. I'll lower humbuckers flush to the pickguard/trim ring and raise screw poles 1/8th inch. Neck pickup I'll use a Strat Stagger pattern and bridge level to each other. First step is adjust pickup heights and lower is better nearly all the time.

-Pots and caps can make nearly any humbucker too bright ice-picky or too dark and muddy. Swap pots 'n caps before ever swapping pickups. Many Gibson guitars have had 300kohm volume pots in them to darken the output as some players like 'warm' sounding guitars as they think it's a sign of 'quality' while others feel it's just plain too muddy.

-Too muddy pickups can be brightened a lot with a series cap on the hot lead (typically at the switch is easiest to solder in). This cuts the internal capacitance of the pickup due to winding. Many boutique pickups are chosen by players because hand winding reduces the pickup capacitance and thus are brighter and less muddy. Or you can use a cheap muddy pickup and put a series cap on it (try a couple of different values but start with 0.047uF).

-Coil splitting gives you single coil options. If you have lowered the humbucker and raised the screw poles then split to the side with the screw poles your volume drop between switching will be lessened.

-P90s have more tone spectrum than humbuckers, because they were the benchmark that humbuckers needed to match while being forced to give up some things to achieve the noise reductions. A P90 bridge pickup is in many ways is similar to a Tele bridge pickup with a steel base plate -- they were contemporary competitors of each other after all so both companies were peering over their shoulders at what the other was doing and trying to fight for market share.

-Series switching single coils can give you a humbucker option. A Tele with a 4-way switch, A Strat with an Armstrong Blender, a Jaguar with a 4-way switch. Pots 'n caps matter for this too, and 250k volume pots on singles sound best but are a little darker for humbucking. Something like a blender mod allows you to go between the extremes and find a better match. I have a Teisco Tulip with JM style pickups that are wired to on/off switches that when both pickups are on they go in series (non-humbucking) for a massive JM tone -- which surprised me when first playing the 5.5lb guitar.

-The pickup+pots+caps give you the tone. Ignore the wood. You can swap pickups plus controls (but start with swapping controls).

.

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by Larry Mal » Mon May 11, 2020 5:54 am

Certainly good information there, thanks.
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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by ElephantDNA » Mon May 11, 2020 8:40 am

somanytoys wrote:
Thu May 07, 2020 1:52 pm
I didn’t hear about that, damn. I am living under a rock.

I liked Paul Rodgers, more in Free than in Bad Company, and loved him with The Firm. It doesn’t help that they jackhammered Bad Company to death on the rock stations over the decades.

I kind of winced when I heard he’d be singing a show with Queen, but it turned out much better than I thought it would.

We’ve been losing some good musicians lately.
There is a killer youtube channel with a bunch of live stuff by FREE. Definitely one of the more underrated bands of that era.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs1lMn ... lSGSaeod2g

Also I love humbuckers. I tend to go for a very thick tone with a lot of sustain, so I find they work for me a lot of the time. Can be too mid-heavy for sure though.

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by surfin_bird » Thu May 14, 2020 3:58 pm

Thanks for the tons of information, this is all super useful for me now and in the future.
One more question - maybe it's like opening a can of worms - pickup covers?
I'm talking to Monty's and asked if I can have covers added at a later point (it's 70 GBP more for pickups with the gold worn covers, I know fancy schmency but that is the theme of the original guitar and I don't want to start replacing the rest of the hardware)

What struck me was the following:

We always recommend the PAFs with covers as the added metal really increases the 3D bloom on the notes.

Coming from just single coils I don't really have to option to rock without covers, all the guitars I had came without covers and online it sounds like people are more on camp no cover for a better sound. So I'm surprised to see the advice to get pickups with covers. Any opinions on this? Is this snake oil or should I just stop whining and follow their advice to get some covers with the result that I end up with one of the best PAF's you can buy?

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Re: School me on humbuckers for my first "gibson" style guitar.

Post by Larry Mal » Thu May 14, 2020 5:12 pm

The covers will cut down on noise, but will remove some high end from the pickups.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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