Firebird Creamery PUPs

For guitars of the straight waisted variety (or reverse offset).
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Monty1
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Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Monty1 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:02 pm

I've had my Gibson Firebird for about 3 years now, got it on a bit of a whim. I've always liked the style and came across one at one of the major UK shops that was massively discounted (previous years model) so I flashed the cash on a HP version which was almost 1/2 price, brand new and in perfect condition.

It feels great to play but the PUP's have been a bit love hate, descending towards hate recently for anything other than ultra clean, which is always a bit dirty. Yes, you've already guessed they're the ceramics. Soooo, been thinking about what I'd like and I'm pretty much set on low output vintage which is the other end of the output spectrum. I occasionally Google for options and the Creamery Firebirds with Alnico II's looks like what I'm after, at least on paper. I'd go unpotted, vintage wired. Here's the linky: https://www.creamery-pickups.co.uk/crea ... p-set.html I know there are many others that you'll suggest but I'd like to buy UK made stuff and this looks like it fits the bill. £140 for a set seems pretty reasonably priced so not a massive gamble. I'd like a really early vintage 'bird tone but can't find any reviews or clips on these, the new Epiphone Firebird IG has the kind of tone I'm after and if I could source the Epiphone Pups I'd probably be quite happy to give them a punt but they don't appear to sell them as spares.

Does anyone have any hands/ears on experience of the Creamery Firebird Alnico II's?

Thanks in advance

Monty
I like shiny new guitars but I'm intending to send them back to get them factory reliced in 30 years time

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by mbene085 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:44 pm

I'd get them potted, unless you only play clean at low volume.

I'm really not a believer that lightly potting a pickup "kills" tone. What kills tone is intense squealing whenever you trying to use an electric guitar at stage volume or with high gain.

My firebird pickups (from D'Urbano) had to be potted by request (the default was unpotted for vintage accuracy) and I have zero regrets. They sound great and I can use them in all the situations you want to use an electric guitar in.

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Monty1 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 3:41 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:44 pm
I'd get them potted, unless you only play clean at low volume.

I'm really not a believer that lightly potting a pickup "kills" tone. What kills tone is intense squealing whenever you trying to use an electric guitar at stage volume or with high gain.

My firebird pickups (from D'Urbano) had to be potted by request (the default was unpotted for vintage accuracy) and I have zero regrets. They sound great and I can use them in all the situations you want to use an electric guitar in.
Thanks for the reply.

I'm a bit on the fence regarding potting. I'm fairly sure the Gibson ceramics aren't potted (happy to be corrected on this) and although they're microphonic I'm not currently getting any problems at high gain.

I'm swayed by 'vintage correct' I guess
I like shiny new guitars but I'm intending to send them back to get them factory reliced in 30 years time

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by mbene085 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:33 pm

The ceramic Gibsons are held together pretty much entirely by wax. They're very heavily potted. There was a post on the "mylespaul" forum where someone dissected one and documented it.

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:43 pm

Firebird pickups are a situation in which being swayed by "vintage correct" is actually the correct decision, because they literally don't make 'em like they used to and seem to have forgotten what the Firebird is even supposed to be.

I went from the ceramics to some nice handwound Alnico 5s, but I probably would get Alnico 2s if I was doing it all over. Maybe I'll buy another Firebird.

I would get mine potted, and I probably did, but regardless you will love your Firebird a lot more with the new pickups.
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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Monty1 » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:45 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:43 pm
Firebird pickups are a situation in which being swayed by "vintage correct" is actually the correct decision, because they literally don't make 'em like they used to and seem to have forgotten what the Firebird is even supposed to be.
Yep, that's kinda the logic, I'd like to take it back to origins. Any hardship that comes with that is part of the deal I guess.

It's never going to be played at stage volumes as the chances of me being on a stage are very low so I can probably indulge myself in some nostalgia. Personally I don't see Firebirds as the right tool in high gain situations, tubes (and/or some light fuzz. I like fuzz) driving the tone is always very cool but it needs to be with a reasonably authentic 60's vibe to get what I'm looking for from my 'bird.
I like shiny new guitars but I'm intending to send them back to get them factory reliced in 30 years time

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:58 am

Well, I couldn't say what your specific needs are, of course, but a vintage type Firebird is a very versatile thing. I usually tell people to think of them more like Telecasters than anything else, and that's a pretty versatile guitar that has been credibly used in heavy metal for some time according to articles I've read.

Anyway, you might be pleasantly surprised. If you can imagine using a Fender guitar for your sound, a Firebird would be an alternative choice.

That being said, though, high gain is kind of what those ceramic pickups are designed for. I didn't like them compared to the idea of a versatile vintage type pickup, but they weren't unusable and did have some strengths. I usually thought that they were more one trick ponies rather than bad pickups.
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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Monty1 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 11:02 am

Larry Mal wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:58 am
Well, I couldn't say what your specific needs are, of course, but a vintage type Firebird is a very versatile thing. I usually tell people to think of them more like Telecasters than anything else, and that's a pretty versatile guitar that has been credibly used in heavy metal for some time according to articles I've read.

Anyway, you might be pleasantly surprised. If you can imagine using a Fender guitar for your sound, a Firebird would be an alternative choice.

That being said, though, high gain is kind of what those ceramic pickups are designed for. I didn't like them compared to the idea of a versatile vintage type pickup, but they weren't unusable and did have some strengths. I usually thought that they were more one trick ponies rather than bad pickups.
Yes, agree with you Larry.

At the time I got it the ability to run a load of gain was interesting but as my playing has progressed I'm finding my personal tone is easier to find with low output that's driven fairly hard in a vintage way. Yep, there's a few heavier bands that seem to like the high outputs (here's one from Kiev https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXfCc6fPD4E which also sounds cool on my JM in drop C :) ) but currently I'm somewhere else with the Firebird. The attributes of a Firebird are still really appealing, I love the aesthetics, the fact it's a bit bonkers, you don't see them every day of the week - no one ever said 'jeez, not another bloody Firebird' and the fact it's just a neck with wings glued on makes it a keeper but I just can't get the tone to the place I want it to be and the high PUP output is the problem methinks.

I've got a lovely channel on my Mesa just waiting for a vintage Firebird.

On paper the Creamery PUP's look like an affordable solution that will get me close to what's in my head, fingers are the last part of the equation (if anyone knows where I can get better fingers please let me know, cash waiting). If they don't do the business it's only 140 British quids spent and 4 solder joints to address, which isn't the end of the world.

So, anyone got experience of them or am I gonna be a pathfinder?
I like shiny new guitars but I'm intending to send them back to get them factory reliced in 30 years time

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:11 pm

Sorry on that- I got my pickups from other than the Creamery. You might have to be the trailblazer here.
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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Monty1 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:27 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:11 pm
Sorry on that- I got my pickups from other than the Creamery. You might have to be the trailblazer here.
Fear not, I shall ponder a while yet then leap into the unknown. I might phone them first though about the potting :)
I like shiny new guitars but I'm intending to send them back to get them factory reliced in 30 years time

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by FrankRay » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:46 pm

I've just got my second firebird, and I was wondering whilst we're on the topic what would happen if I changed the mini humbuckers for P90s, and turn the V into a I basically.
Personally I love the pickups my 2002 non reverse came with. Not particularly heavy, but massive sustain.
I might lack subtlety in my approach, mind.

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by FrankRay » Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:48 pm

There needs to be a bit more firebird love on here, I think.
Congrats on getting one btw. Mine turns heads- and often gets offers- wherever I go.

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:25 pm

FrankRay wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:46 pm
I've just got my second firebird, and I was wondering whilst we're on the topic what would happen if I changed the mini humbuckers for P90s, and turn the V into a I basically.
Well... the P90s will sound very good in there! I have a non-reverse with three P90s. I don't play it at all as much as I should.
Last edited by Larry Mal on Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Monty1 » Fri Feb 14, 2020 1:47 pm

FrankRay wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:48 pm
There needs to be a bit more firebird love on here, I think.
Congrats on getting one btw. Mine turns heads- and often gets offers- wherever I go.
That's one of the things that drew me to Firebirds, you just don't see them out and about. There's a certain something about them
I like shiny new guitars but I'm intending to send them back to get them factory reliced in 30 years time

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Re: Firebird Creamery PUPs

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Feb 14, 2020 2:15 pm

Me too, it took me a long time to realize that there was quite a bit more to them than what I had always assumed. I didn't know that they were so close to the Fender sound while retaining a lot of the stuff that I love about Gibsons. I didn't know that they were built to be very versatile guitars that could shine in any setting.

And I had no idea that they were so acoustically lively... I remember taking the first strum of my first 'Bird and being surprised at how loud it was unplugged.
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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