#1
Hello! So I had a few questions about the most extreme of passive production (meaning I can just walk into a shop or go to a website and grab, without ordering) pickups. What I mean by output is actually direct down - current resistance.

1. What is the highest output pickup of them all? As far as I can tell, it is the 27.5K Ohm Kent Armstrong Motherbucker.

2. What is the highest output P.A.F. - style full size humbucker? What I mean by P.A.F. is not the "traditional"/"vintage" sound, I mean it as a humbucker with one adjustable coil, with a nickel or chrome cover. This is actually a practical question, as I will install the answer into the bridge of my Les Paul if I like it. My search yielded the Suhr Aldrich as the result with 17.5K Ohms.

3. What is the lowest output true single coil (the kind you would find in a vintage Fender Texas Stratocaster)? This one is won by Wilkinson in my research, with 5.2K Ohms. However, there is some cheap Chinese pickup that claims to be 4.7 - 5K Ohms approximately:
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/3x-Single-Coil-Pickup-6-String-for-Fender-Strat-Stratocaster-white-Guitar-/141121113047?pt=AU_Instrument_Accessories&hash=item20db794bd7
I am quite suspicious to be honest. Maybe it was not wound enough, which also justifies the $13 pricetag?
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#2
this thread makes me die a little on the inside

dcr is not a good indicator of put

a paf means 42awg pe wire

vintage "texas" blues pikups were wound to around 8k

insead of focusing onspecs that you do not understand look at tone.
Not taking any online orders.
#3
Quote by CorduroyEW
a paf means 42awg pe wire
PAF means Patent Applied For.
Source - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAF_(pickup)

Why in the world would you want so high and so low output pickups, and why won't you want active pickups?
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#4
@Corduroy I just asked for the hell of it, outta curiosity. And I like extremes.

@Spambot active pickups do not have a D.C.I. Something about their ‘activeness' apparently stuffs the readings up. I heard somewhere that there are variable output actives too, so that is another thing. It is not that I do not like actives, it is that they do not really apply here. And hey, my P.A.F.s on my Lester are both 13K Ohm anyway, so yeah.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#5
Quote by 2Crosser
@Spambot active pickups do not have a D.C.I. Something about their ‘activeness' apparently stuffs the readings up.
DCI?
Digital Cinema Innovatives?
Drum Corps International?
Defence for Children International?
Decor Craft Inc.?
Quote by 2Crosser
I heard somewhere that there are variable output actives too, so that is another thing.
Well active pickups have preamps onboard, so depending on the preamp gain they can output a stronger or weaker signal, but you don't even measure their outputs in DC resistance anymore.

Active pickups work better if you want high output p/ups.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#6
D.C.I. - direct down - current resistance.

Anyway, are the ones I listed truly the extreme?
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#7
Frank Zappa said it best...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wDDoKpVd8s
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#8
^I would, but it is just past midnight for me ;(
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#9
spambot I meant to say has, not means. I am typing on my vita which goes auto correct crazy.
Not taking any online orders.
#10
Quote by 2Crosser
D.C.I. - direct down - current resistance.

Anyway, are the ones I listed truly the extreme?
DC resistance!
Alright.

Active pickups have a DC resistance, but you can't measure it from the output pins because there's the pre between them and the coil of the pickup.
Their output will be much higher than any passive pickup.

I don't think there really are extremes anyway.
I mean tomorrow someone could decide to manufacture a friggin high output pickup and we will never know of it.
If you want a high output pickup, get one, **** if it's the highest output pickup around.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#11
Why are you interested in this? Extreme output pickups are not useful in any meaningful context.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
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(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

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#12
DC resistance is only part of the equation, even when the same gauge wire is used. The magnet strength has just as much impact on output as number of turns of wire (what DC resistance is a guide to - IF they use the same gauge wire).
Better to tell us what amp you have and what you are trying to achieve. Then we have a chance of recommending the correct pup. Your selection criteria is currently faulty.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
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#13
Guys, thanks, but I know it is not practical. Hell, the three pickups I have listed are probably the three worst sounding pickups on the planet. Well, maybe not the Aldrich, I actually like the sound of it. But still, this is just pure curiosity.

And as far as active pickups go, I like their tone more than passives. But the thing is, I am stingy, and I do not want my guitar to be ‘battery powered'. It is the last thing in my house that is not, for cry out loud!
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#14
FWIW, I think I make the highest output passive pickup on the market. It's hand wound to 24K with 44awg poly wire and uses neodymium magnets and has a steel spacer (instead of plastic or wood) to up inductance and give more power. The peak output is significantly higher than you would get from production active pickups like anything in the EMG product line, however, they don't compress your tone like an EMG does so the perceived output is actually similar to the higher power EMGs. All that said, you can't buy one because my wait list is too long and I'm not taking orders.
Not taking any online orders.
#15
Neodymium magnets in a guitar pickup?
How does that even sound?

Also, this one down here.
Quote by Cathbard
Better to tell us what amp you have and what you are trying to achieve. Then we have a chance of recommending the correct pup. Your selection criteria is currently faulty.
Name's Luca.

Quote by OliOsbourne
I don't know anything about this topic, but I just clicked on this thread because of your username :O
Quote by Cajundaddy
Clue: amplifiers amplify so don't turn it on if you need quiet.
Quote by chrismendiola
I guess spambots are now capable of reading minds.
#16
I actually make several neodymium humbucker pickups. They are like the hi fi comparing to AM radio. They are more responsive, tighter, bigger bass, more cutting treble, and a lot more output. The magnetic pull at the top of the pole is about the same as you would find on a fully charged alnico V strat pickup so they share a lot of strat like qualities and need to be adjusted to a similar height. That is speaking in very general terms of course, and that is also not meant to be a sales pitch. I like my AM radio guitar tone and my favorite pickups are PAF's and '62 style strat pickups. As guitarists we tend to like and even celibate the limitations of our equipment. Removing the limitations can be good for some, but it's not what most of us want. I believe that neodymium humbuckers, done correctly, remove limitations that we may or may not want depending on your style.
Not taking any online orders.
#17
Now that is an original idea, I hope they sell well! @Corduroy

Alright, so an actual pickup that I would want to use practically? Well, something like the bridge Suhr Aldrich. Please keep in mind that the neck P.A.F. in my Les Paul is already at 13K Ohms, so anything less will not cut it. Neither do I want an active. I would prefer regular production as I live in Australia and the ‘custom shop' pickups are hard to come by and cost a lot here. Anyway, now to the actual sound: the Lester's body is mahogany with a 3/4" maple cap. I would like a P.A.F. that has alright cleans, but excells at hi - gain/extreme distortion, like most of the heavier Ramstein stuff. If possible, the pickup would need accentuated dark, warm lows. I do not care too much for the mids and highs as it is for the bridge which is already quite trebly on Les Pauls, and the above paragraph of selection criteria should narrow the search down quite a bit.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#18
A PAF is incapable of being more than around 8.3K, Just saying. What you need is less to do with your pickups and more to do with your amp and FX.
Not taking any online orders.
#19
I really need to upgrade my amplifier sometime soon, but I want to improve my current sound, not change it. It is maybe 1/4 of what I would want it to eventually be like at the moment. My effects? Maybe I need to learn how to draw equalisation curves better. And for the P.A.F. thing, as I said, I just mean a full size humbucker with a nickel/chrome cover and one adjustable coil.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#20
You're going about it arse backwards. You buy pups to suit an amp, not an amp to suit your pups. The amp is the core of your sound, not your pickups. Buy pups to suit your current amp and they may not suit your new one. You've got your priorities all topsy turvy.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#21
But would not that mean that I would have to play my guitar through specific amps just to get the desired sound? That sounds pretty absurd, as good guitars should sound desirable through any good amp, in my opinion.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#22
You're totally missing the point. The amp is the main element. You buy the amp then go, "what I need now is less of this or more of that" then you choose the pickup to do that. The amp is the main contributing factor determining your tone and the pickups are fine tuning.
Upgrade your amp first.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#23
All right, fair enough. How big of a role do effects play, then? What exactly is it?

EDIT: I mean, I can tell that the exact same setup sounds differently when you have no effects, or a flanger or phaser or both, but what I mean is, do I have to match the type of effect with the guitar and/or amplifier? That sounds way too specific. I would need thousands upon thousands, if that was the case.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
Last edited by 2Crosser at May 20, 2014,
#24
Depends on what you are playing. In my newest band I only use one overdrive pedal. In my other band, I use a small rack. It just depends on what you are playing.
But again, it's a matter of priorities. First sort out your base tone - and that is amp followed by guitar/pups. Once you've nailed that down, then think about effects. Your choice of effects will (should) be in accordance with what you need to compliment your base tone. ie. if you have a toppy sound (like a HRD) you will pick a different, say, overdrive or chorus to you would if you have a dark amp (like an AD30). That sort of thing.
If you approach it in the right order you won't have to exchange gear; you are more likely to get it right first time.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#25
I mainly use a fuzz octave effect. What kind of that pedal would I need for an AC30C with drive at just a little bit more than 3/4, say? Theoretically speaking, if I had a ‘chimey' neck pickup.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#26
Depends on what you are trying to achieve.
But to demonstrate what I mean; with an AC30 I would be more likely to go for a Timmy than a tubescreamer when it came to overdrive pedals because tubescreamers lack bass. Cut the bass too much on an AC30 and they sound like an ice pick chipping away at a glacier. But you may want an icepick for your particular music. There are no actual rules, it's all case by case, factor by factor.
But still, I stand by that the order of purchase should be amp > pickups > effects.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#27
Effects fall into two categories for me. There are core tone shaping effects, like EQ and overdrive. Then there's all the other fun modulation effects, which run in parallel to the amp IMO, because they're so far removed from your core tone that they can't really be placed in the order of tonal importance.

I personally like to try to find pickups that I like the "feel" of, or has a general EQ that works for me with a particular amp I have or like. Then if there are EQ issues, that's what an EQ pedal is for, and can fine tune what you need.


Pretty much agree with Cath though, your amp is by far the most important aspect of creating your tone. And it should be the cornerstone, because it's the most expensive piece. From a price aspect alone, it just makes logical sense to base everything else around the amp, rather than the other way around.

I've been where you are, I completely understand how tempting and alluring pickups are. Because they are so cheap compared to anything else. But Cath is 100% right, it's the opposite way of going about it.
Spin 'round carousel when your horse isn't screwed in.

My band:
Fractured Instinct
(For fans of Death/Groove/Prog Metal)

Ibanez RGA42E
Ibanez S420
LTD H-301
Ibanez RG520
Peavey Predator USA
Douglas Grendel 725
Line 6 Pod HD500X
#28
Well I guess I stuck to acoustic only for too long, you know? I was recommended AGAINST an E.Q. pedal, by the way. Anyway, I am more into multi - effects than I am into pedalboards. I know, “the more effects you cramp into one box, the lower quality each effect." But seriously, unless we are talking entry - level M.F.X.Ps (which are light and portable due to size and battery power), I would rather haul 400 digital effects in a floorboard POD rather than 8 analog effects, and both would weigh around the same and be worth around $1000.
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.
#29
That depends on what effects you need. If you just need an overdrive and a wah you'd be out of your mind to buy a MFX of any type.
Gilchrist custom
Yamaha SBG500
Telecasters
Randall RM100 & RM20
Marshall JTM45 clone
Marshall JCM900 4102 (modded)
Marshall 18W clone
Fender 5F1 Champ clone
Atomic Amplifire
Marshall 1960A
Boss GT-100


Cathbard Amplification
My band
#30
True that, but how about modelling two amps on - board and mixing it with the actual amplifier's tone, and for each of the three, having both distortion and overdrive? Add a flanger, a booster and a fuzz octave, and you have the need for an M.F.X.P. (by the way, this is pretty much what I do).
The above post is in terms of 'YMMV' and 'IMO', etc...

Quote by Offworld92
This debate is exhausting to read.
The guitar world is drowned in fairy dust.
We need to start at the very beginning. What is tone.