#1
So... I have a breedlove electric prototype. And I love it! I'm really bummed that they got out of the market. But, anyway, it's sort of an sg body type, bit thicker, and it's chambered for more balanced tone between the strings. The only thing I don't know for sure, is wood composition. Any way, I was really curious about the pickups that it had, so I took them out, and was kind of disappointed to find a cheap-o set of wilkinson paf style humbuckers. I'm a little ashamed to say, that I wasn't interested in swapping the pickups until I discovered that you can get these for about $40 for a set on eBay and about $75 a set from other retailers. But, alas, here I am.

I'm a little worried that the amazing sound it already has is mostly due to the quality of the instrument and that it's being held back by the pickups.

I play mostly as a hobby, but I also play at church now and then. I am looking for pickups that have really nice almost sparkling cleans, but that can also get really dirty really well.
I found a manufacturer in England 'the creamery' which makes a standard humbucker sized wide-range copy, which interests me. I've also been considering a set of pearly gates, which would not have as much sparkle with the cleans. I'm open to pretty much any suggestions. I would like to keep the set under $250.

I am also open to combination suggestions ie hb sized p90s/hb etc.

Thanks in advance.
#2
Seymour Duncan P-Rails

http://www.seymourduncan.com/products/electric/humbucker/medium-output/prails_shpr1/

also: those sparkling cleans will come way more from your amp than the pickups--for the most part
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#3
I'm ordering from the Creamery for a custom project, myself- a hot HB and P90 for a pseudo-Tele. I've corresponded with them over my needs for the project, and I don't think they'd disappoint you.

Also- like the P-Rail idea- lots of flexibility! My favorite SD pickup is the '59, though. Great rock pickup.

Others to check out:

Lollar
Railhammer
Vintage Vibe
Tesla
Lace
Rio Grande
Bareknuckle

My Lace Alumitones are the cleanest pickups I've ever heard, but when it gets to dirty time, they don't go as far as others. I don't think they'd do metal, but they could do rock. However, they have others in that line, like the Deathbucker, which get dirtier.

I have Teslas installed in a custom that is almost completed. I heard them first in a Malden Subhuman. They do clean up nicely, and handle dirt well.

I've tried the Railhammers in some of Reverend latest guitars, and they're another one I like. The HyperVintage are the most mainstream, with the Chisel and the Anvil being progressively hotter.

I'll be ordering a Vintage Vibe HB & P90 to swap out in a Dean EVO. Like those available from The Creamery, these will essentially be custom wound. The ones I'm getting will be very clean- I'm almost taking the guitar into "jazz solidbody" territory.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 17, 2013,
#5
I have 2 other electrics that I use pretty frequently. A prs custom 24, and a prs soap-bar McCarty. I'm liking what I'm reading on the p-rails...

I am still insanely interested in the creamery baby 71's.

Bareknuckle has come up several times in my searches, but, I have no idea which ones would best suit my needs.

I have no experience with custom pickups to date. The only pickup that i've mentioned that i have first hand experience with is the pearly gates.

I find that the cleans on the custom 24 are only decent in positions 9 and 7... Otherwise, I find them to be fairly sterile. The dirt on the custom 24 is amazing in position 6 and 10. 7 is kind of useless IMO.

On the McCarty, I love pretty much everything from cleans to dirt in all three positions. So, I think I like the p-rails option due to the p-90 sound options, with the added versatility... But, idk... Tough call. I'll have to spend some time on YouTube checking stuff out.
#6
First, wp dannyalcatraz on ordering some Creamery pickups. The P-90 I've got from him is the loveliest pickup I've ever had the pleasure of using.
Screw Bare Knuckle if you can order from The Creamery or any other custom pickup maker like that. Why pay over-the-odds for what is now a production pickup, when there are proper custom companies who will wind you anything you want for two thirds the price, or even less in some cases?

Anyway, as someone who happens to have a set of P-Rails in this room and has used them in other guitars many times in the past, I would say the four core modes compare thusly:

Series humbucker is like a SD '59 with about 50% more output. Because the coils are so uneven, you get a lot more clarity and a more balanced tone than most overly-thick, high-output humbuckers. It's a great pickup for any classic rock to standard metal. Wouldn't use it for the extremes; jazz and death metal aren't really its thing.

P-90 is probably the best sound of the bunch. It's basically the same wind as used in the SD Phat Cat but with an A5 magnet instead of A2, so you get a bit more treble, tighter wound strings and more output (about as much as a hot PAF humbucker). My P-Rails stay on this selection about 75% of the time (I then switch to series humbucker as a kind of built-in 'lead boost'). The P-90 sound is great for blues, classic rock and some punk/alternative styles, so long as you aren't cranking the gain too far, of course.

Rail is a bit useless by itself, though two P-Rails both using the rail coil can sound okay. The two together do a good job of simulating the 2/4 positions on a Strat or middle position on a Tele, depending on whether the rail coils are both towards the middle, both towards the neck/bridge or both towards the outside. I use this mode with a clean sound and some chorus, it's a great 80s alternative/pop sound (e.g. The Cure or Prince). As it is a rail it is smoother than a Strat or Tele single coil, but brighter than a normal split humbucker would be. Just don't use them on their own, they sound good together but as just a bridge or neck pickup they are very weak and sound like cheap Squier pickups.

Parallel humbucker is more or less like the P-90 sound, just hum-cancelling and with a slight drop in output and treble. I can't remember the last time I had a use for this sound.
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#7
Thanks!
Really, I think I could sum up my desire with the following criteria:
-brilliant
-fat
-transparent
-crisp
-creamy
-articulate
-with high output, but not too high...
#8
Why pay over-the-odds for what is now a production pickup, when there are proper custom companies who will wind you anything you want for two thirds the price, or even less in some cases?


Because I'm a Steve Stevens fanboi who really wants to have some Rebel Yells with the ray gun etched cover.

I may even buy a second Dean Cadillac to put them in.

First, wp dannyalcatraz on ordering some Creamery pickups. The P-90 I've got from him is the loveliest pickup I've ever had the pleasure of using.


If y get the chance, check out the Vintage Vibes. Quite sweet.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at May 17, 2013,
#9
Thanks for the descriptions and the inputs. Any others? I'm not making any purchases anytime soon. I don't buy things on whims any more. I do, probably too much, research now. Let me know.
#10
I really like the PJ marx pickups endorsed by the two guitarists from night ranger.

They were going for 20 bucks in the late 1980s and now command some pretty high prices.........but you might get lucky.