Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

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Barnacle Bob
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Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Barnacle Bob » Sat Nov 01, 2014 2:23 pm

Instead of writing very short books here, I've been reading other people's elsewhere. I've found a few jems. Here's one:

If you're pickup science consists of measuring coil resistance with a voltmeter, or something less, and if you've noticed that pickups make a big difference, this will help you avoid semi-random testing at $100/pup-pop:

http://buildyourguitar.com/resources/lemme/

The paper is old, but he's still making the resonant filters:

http://www.gitarrenelektronik.de

You can do it yourself too. If you want to get fancy, and you grok filters a bit, you can design your own state-variable filters:

http://www.analog.com/static/imported-f ... MT-223.pdf

Or just follow lemme's advice, and add capacitance to shift the pickup's resonance.

http://www.buildyourguitar.com/resource ... /table.htm

Party on.

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Jessy » Mon Nov 03, 2014 10:39 am

Great tone, to me, means getting the resonant frequency above 20kHz. Do you know how to do that with a SNR equivalent to or better than an average humbucker?

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Barnacle Bob » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:52 pm

Yeah.

Cycfi.com. The Neo pickups are flat 20-20, but hold out for the Sidewinders. They're just around the corner.

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Jessy » Tue Nov 04, 2014 7:41 am

Thanks! Finally, somebody is doing it right! I've been on the lookout for active neodymium pickups like that, for the past decade. I'd love to see Carvin license those, and market them as Kiesel pickups, so that Carvin actually has a unique product to offer, but as long as somebody with marketing money does, I'll be happy, and buying. I don't want to see this product go nowhere, like Q-tuners did. These sound considerably better.

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Barnacle Bob » Wed Nov 05, 2014 12:32 am

Yeah. Joel is pretty far out there, with big ambitions, but he's making very good progress. Did you see the bamboo-necked hollow carbon fiber bodied guitar, and his pickup test jig with the calibrated plucker? And the sustainer drivers? I'm pretty sure the guy can code too. His dreams are not my dreams, but we share common problems. If you email him on the site, you can get in on the discussions and get access to his Facebook page, which is followed by other wizards.

I joined Facebook to follow along, and now Facebook wants me to befriend half the Philippines.

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Re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Coda » Wed Nov 05, 2014 4:33 am

Barnacle Bob wrote:If you're pickup science consists of measuring coil resistance with a voltmeter, or something less, and if you've noticed that pickups make a big difference, this will help you avoid semi-random testing at $100/pup-pop:

http://buildyourguitar.com/resources/lemme/


Thanks for posting these resources Barnacle Bob. The article above was somewhat above my head (or perhaps more accurately beyond my capability to stay focussed) but I forced myself through most of it, and it was a refreshing view on something I've come to take for granted - namely how a pickup turns motion into sound. My biggest takeaway was the idea of swapping out the tone control to one that switches between a wide range of different capacitors to vary the tone, rather than relying on a single capacitor that's adjusted with a pot. On the surface, it sounds like this mod would unlock a world of different tones/responses for any guitar, without swapping pickups. I'm curious if anyone has done this, and what their impressions are...
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Re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Jessy » Wed Nov 05, 2014 5:50 am

Coda wrote:My biggest takeaway was the idea of swapping out the tone control to one that switches between a wide range of different capacitors to vary the tone, rather than relying on a single capacitor that's adjusted with a pot. On the surface, it sounds like this mod would unlock a world of different tones/responses for any guitar, without swapping pickups. I'm curious if anyone has done this, and what their impressions are...

Joel talks about doing this with Match EQ on the link in my last post. The same thing is done with microphones in this Tonebenders podcast. If it's not the pickup itself, then there's no point in putting a filter inside your guitar; this software is easy to use, and isn't limited to being used on a single instrument. If you're not already equipped for this stuff, you can get an old iPad mini for <$300.

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Barnacle Bob » Sun Nov 09, 2014 3:01 am

Coda wrote:
I'm curious if anyone has done this, and what their impressions are...


Lemme, the author of the article, sells switches:

http://www.gitarrenelektronik.de/produk ... e-gitarren

Google translates it pretty well.

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Re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby rlindsey0 » Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:52 am

Coda wrote:
Barnacle Bob wrote:If you're pickup science consists of measuring coil resistance with a voltmeter, or something less, and if you've noticed that pickups make a big difference, this will help you avoid semi-random testing at $100/pup-pop:

http://buildyourguitar.com/resources/lemme/


Thanks for posting these resources Barnacle Bob. The article above was somewhat above my head (or perhaps more accurately beyond my capability to stay focussed) but I forced myself through most of it, and it was a refreshing view on something I've come to take for granted - namely how a pickup turns motion into sound. My biggest takeaway was the idea of swapping out the tone control to one that switches between a wide range of different capacitors to vary the tone, rather than relying on a single capacitor that's adjusted with a pot. On the surface, it sounds like this mod would unlock a world of different tones/responses for any guitar, without swapping pickups. I'm curious if anyone has done this, and what their impressions are...


Oh yeah, that's been done, though I don't personally know anybody who's tried it:

http://www.stellartone.com/

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Barnacle Bob » Mon Nov 17, 2014 12:38 pm

A ToneStyler may not move the resonance as well. The response plots don't show it, but he may simply have graphed the response of the switch alone. Here's an available solution from the author of the article (coincidence? I think not...):

http://www.gitarrenelektronik.de/produk ... e-gitarren

Google will translate. Right-click on nothing and choose "Translate to English".

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby wb » Thu Nov 27, 2014 12:33 pm

There's allot more than just pick ups my friend! after 25+yrs of playing and more than three quarters of it is playing live. I went through a season in my guitar playing where I went through $3000 worth of swapping pick ups!I found out by accident that even the air temperature change in the venue where you play will change your sound as well as being next to a 5 string bass player with 2 410 cabs pumping. Even drummers with different size toms and cymbals will change your sound. Its all frequency's trying to blend together. my final conclusion as far as pick ups,I stick to the Vintage wound humbuckers and single coils. check out the dimarzio vintage wound humbuckers and single coil wounds. it also depends on your style band that your playing with as well. For the things that i do on live basis,I have a warmoth boat neck maple,maple finger board and an alder body,loaded with Dimarzio DP 151 PAF pro on the bridge and area 58's neck/middle,500k cts pot for volume,american standard tremolo(also will change sound cause its not a string thru) AFTER EVERY REHEARSAL AND GIGS,I CHECK MY AMP EQ AND VOLUMES BECAUSE OF THE MOLECULAR STRUCTURES IN THE AIR, THEY ARE NEVER THE SAME AND SO WHEN I CHECK MY EQ'S ON THE AMP,THEY ARE NEVER THE SAME FROM THE LAST GIG OR REHEARSAL. SOMETIMES SMALL CHANGES,SOMETIMES DRASTIC CHANGES....ALOT OF TIMES SOUND GUYS ARE JUST AS FRUSTRATED BECAUSE LAST WEEKS EQ WAS GREAT BUT THIS WEEK ENDS SETTINGS ARE JUST HORRIBLE OR DRASTIC CHANGES. we live in an imperfect world your not gonna find that tone! what you'll find is your own signature tone that no one has, equipments and gear are just tools to amplify/bring forth who you really are...gonna stop here cause I'll keep going......

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby spudmunkey » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:02 pm

I never thought about other magnetic fields, but temperature is actually a really good point. As metal heats up, it expands and changed impedance, right? Even just a couple of degrees could change such a long, thin wire (think about home thermostats with a metal coil, etc)

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby danz261 » Sat Nov 29, 2014 6:28 pm

WB is on point. I've also been playing live for many years and it's all about the frequencies blending, room dynamics/architechture, the atmospheric conditions...ambient temp, humidity...blah, blah, blah. Thanks WB for bringing up those very important points :applause:

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Barnacle Bob » Mon Dec 01, 2014 1:57 am

I could see weather hitting you right in the speaker surrounds.

The thing that amazes me is that you don't have to change anything at all to change your sound, or at least your perception of it. Just take a nap.

If it weren't for the fact that some things are more likely to get you there than others, it would all be futile.

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby Craigvin » Wed Dec 03, 2014 11:22 am

Great thread guys!

Just wanted to kick in from the engineering standpoint.

Yes, the temp, humidity, size, shape of room, how absorbent the people are to sound, all affect the sound. But at the pick-up, the temp and humidity shouldn't have a huge affect [other than to the wood's resonance]. And it seems that stray magnetic fields that the pick-up is in would only add a bit of noise, -- not change the tone.

So while wb's post is excellent and accurate to what I've found first hand with PA's, understanding what affect what and where is important to solving the problems heard.

The fastest way I've found to correct the PA for room and 'atmospheric' changes/issues is to use 1/3 oct eq that also has broadband 'tilt' control. It's basically low and hi filters that boost or cut starting at 1kHz, mellower slope than shelf control. The graphic part of the eq is to fix the room before anyone's there. After the room fills, the highs and lows get 'tilted' to balance the sound. Unfortunately this feature is only found on an EQ that is not longer made, the ART 231.

But WB, what I getting from your post is, don't search for your perfect tone, search for your own unique tone or tones. Right?

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby wb » Wed Dec 10, 2014 9:08 pm

Correct Craigvin!
These are my typical gears for most of my gigs...
Warmoth Body/neck
Dimarzio DP 151 PAF Pro Bridge
Dimarzio Area 58 neck/middle
Carvin SX300 2x12
Eminence Legend 1218 speakers
Boss TU-10 clip on tuner
NO PEDALS!

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby dach » Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:17 am

Just wondering if slight changes in line voltage could cause these changes also. Not every outlet provides exactly 125VAC all day everyday. :think:

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby wb » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:06 am

Correct dach! get a simple overdrive/distortion pedal and put a fresh Duracell 9v,then
after playing for 15 min replace it with lets say, 7.5v dying battery but leave the settings the same and you'll be surprise :lol: I believe pedal powers are now coming with extra channel outlets that are purposely done that way, cause some people luv that sound it creates when the battery is dying.
Eddy Van Halen's Marshall half stack in the early club years was constantly on voltage variac at around 88 volt AC not on purpose! its because he's amp kept blowing up at the normal 120VAC. But the sound he was getting was unique and awesome! just listen to the first two Van Halen albums and those were the results of an imperfect amp.. In todays term that sound is called the Brownsound 8)
I'm an Electronic Technician and I've purposely done an experiment on a PC board at work on a preamp card where the recommended voltage of a preamp PC was 12VDC,I purposely attenuated the power supply down to where I could see saturation on an in coming signal. The pc board still works but is now saturating(distortion) due to an incorrect voltage below the requirement specs .Hope that clears up for you...
These are my typical gears for most of my gigs...

Warmoth Body/neck

Dimarzio DP 151 PAF Pro Bridge

Dimarzio Area 58 neck/middle

Carvin SX300 2x12

Eminence Legend 1218 speakers

Boss TU-10 clip on tuner

NO PEDALS!

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby dach » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:16 am

I have the variable output on my power brick but didn't know why it was included. I've never tried it, so I'll have to see how that sounds next time me and my buddies get together. Thanks.

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re: Tired of swapping pickups in search of great tone?

Postby wb » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:25 am

Hey Dach! I also wanna add a few, don't worry about some slight voltage changes in the wall socket. Those are normal shifting changes that for the most part work to the guitarist advantage. WHAT YOU NEVER WANT TO DO IS CUT THE THIRD PRONG ON A AC POWER CORD,THAT IS YOUR GROUND CONNECTION! YOU WILL GET ALLOT OF UNWANTED BUZZ AND HUMS AND POSSIBLE DEATH BY ELECTROCUTION!!! I have been shocked 2x with 400 VAC at 3Amps, even with safety precaution applied at a professional level, accidents do happen due to the nature of my profession..
These are my typical gears for most of my gigs...

Warmoth Body/neck

Dimarzio DP 151 PAF Pro Bridge

Dimarzio Area 58 neck/middle

Carvin SX300 2x12

Eminence Legend 1218 speakers

Boss TU-10 clip on tuner

NO PEDALS!


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