#1
Vintage Pickups vs. Vintage Output

It seems like there are many pickups that are described as being vintage, but don't always have vintage output. (This is along the same lines as a guitar being described as active, but really it just has an active preamp, but the actual pickups are passive.)

In general, is it not safe to assume that a pickup has vintage output if it's being described as vintage, since the actual output could be otherwise?

Examples:

The Bartolini Bartolini PBF-77D is described as having a "vintage humbucker tone", but the description also says "The PBF-77D has a high output and is great for distortion."

The Bartolini 1C is described as "treble quality of vintage humbuckers" yet does not specify what type of output it has. The tone description is "clear, clean tone that tends toward single coil." It would appear that this pickup has vintage output, however since the description doesn't say, so it's not clear exactly.

Any thoughts?
#2
Quote by bachfantasia
Vintage Pickups vs. Vintage Output

It seems like there are many pickups that are described as being vintage, but don't always have vintage output. (This is along the same lines as a guitar being described as active, but really it just has an active preamp, but the actual pickups are passive.)

In general, is it not safe to assume that a pickup has vintage output if it's being described as vintage, since the actual output could be otherwise?

Examples:

The Bartolini Bartolini PBF-77D is described as having a "vintage humbucker tone", but the description also says "The PBF-77D has a high output and is great for distortion."

The Bartolini 1C is described as "treble quality of vintage humbuckers" yet does not specify what type of output it has. The tone description is "clear, clean tone that tends toward single coil." It would appear that this pickup has vintage output, however since the description doesn't say, so it's not clear exactly.

Any thoughts?


My thoughts? Mostly marketing tripe that is distracting you from your best source of information about pickups... Your ears. Any guitar can select any level of gain by adjusting the volume control or adding a clean boost. Output levels of pickups are largely irrelevant except to match pickups on the same instrument for better balance.

Trust your ears and ignore all the techie mumbo-jumbo. It's mostly based on voodoo and alchemy.
"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
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Mar 10, 2015,
#3
I'd say in general if they say "vintage" there's a fair chance they're vintage output- but of course if other specs are available which will tell you for sure then it doesn't hurt to check them, just in case.

Bartolini is maybe the exception there. They're not that common for guitar, they tend to be more common on basses though, I think.

But yeah also watch out for the marketing spiel as well, as cajun says. some of it's helpful in getting closer to the tone you want, but some of it isn't.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#4
Everytime you see "vintage", marketing is involved.

Vintage ouput is a newly found way of saying low output p/up, and vintage tone means the sound resembles (at least is supposed to) the sound of old p/ups of the same type.

In good practice, vintage means nothing concrete.

Higher ouput p/ups may make your life easier if you want to overload an amp's front end and they'll give you a higher signal to noise ratio when the signal enters your amp, but it's nothing drastic if the p/ups are still passive.

Don't trust and disregard marketing ploys such as this one.
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.
#5
I think of "vintage" strictly in terms of passive resistance and Alnico magnet, in the range used by Seymour Duncan in their descriptions, roughly 7 to 8.5 K ohm. For tone I look at passive resistance, inductance, presence of covers, the tone chart and the sound bites. Forget the verbal hype.
#6
there is a difference between "vintage" voicing and "vintage" output. keep in mind that the output is based on an average usually. someone tested the output of say 6 or 7 original PAF pickups and came up with a number. that is then used for their pickup. also bear in mind that there was a fair amount of variances back in teh day as the pickups were more or less wound on simple machines so at times more or less wire was used. newer pickup makers know this and may go with a hotter or milder wind depending on the tone wanted for the final product. bottom line is that here really isn't a set spec for "vintage" pups just an estimation.
#7
The Dimarzio Super Distortion came out in '72. Is that somehow not a "vintage" pickup even though a '72 Telecaster is considered to be a vintage guitar?
#8
Quote by JELIFISH19
The Dimarzio Super Distortion came out in '72. Is that somehow not a "vintage" pickup even though a '72 Telecaster is considered to be a vintage guitar?


well it would be a vintage dimarzio pickup if you had an original. when most makers refer to vintage they mean either 50s or in some cases 60s. there are perhaps a few 70s spec pups that are also viewed that way.

humbuckers 9/10 are talking about Gibson PAF's (patent applied for) 50s

single coils (fender) are talking 50s spec and then 60s and perhaps even 70s as the specs did change a little for certain years

P-90s 50s

Filtertron (gretsch) 50s / early 60s

i'm sure there are others but these are the main ones that are copied
#9
Quote by JELIFISH19
The Dimarzio Super Distortion came out in '72. Is that somehow not a "vintage" pickup even though a '72 Telecaster is considered to be a vintage guitar?


Nope. I'd say the Dimarzio SD is a most un-vintage sounding pickup. It was designed to create a new heavy sound to lead the next generation of stadium rock guitarists.
"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
#10
i don't trust words in a lot of advertisements. 'vintage' is one of those marketing words, like 'custom' or 'pro' or 'designed'

they make something seem to be of more value. for example, PRS has 'custom' 24, SE, and CU. total difference.

'vintage' is the same, it just makes people to dig deeper into their pockets because it sounds good, and a lot of guitar players (and musicians in general) are hardwired to think that 'vintage' is good. its not always the case.
WTLT 2014 GG&A

Quote by andersondb7
alright "king of the guitar forum"


Quote by trashedlostfdup
nope i am "GOD of the guitar forum" i think that fits me better.


Quote by andersondb7
youre just being a jerk man.



****** NEW NEW NEW!
2017-07-07 2017-07-07 Update and a Chat On Noise Constraints *** NEW FRIDAY 7/7
2017-04-13 RUN AWAY from COMPUTERS!!! TCE? RANT ALERT!!!
2017-03-02 - Guitar Philosophy 1001- Be Prepared For the Situation (Thursday 2017-03-02)
2017-02-21 How to Hot-Rod the Hell of your Stratocaster for $50! (Tuesday 2017-2-21)
Resentments and Rambling from a Guitar Junkie
---> http://trashedengineering.blogspot.com/
#11
Quote by Cajundaddy
Nope. I'd say the Dimarzio SD is a most un-vintage sounding pickup. It was designed to create a new heavy sound to lead the next generation of stadium rock guitarists.

A Fender Wide Range pickup from the same year would be considered vintage so why isn't a Super Distortion as well? I'm just pointing out the flaws in calling something vintage. Even vintage-voiced is flawed as well because what's really vintage-voiced? The Super Distortion came only 15 years after the first Gibson humbucker. The Wide Range pickup wasn't meant to give a "vintage" tone but we say it has that because it was from the 70s. But they were probably modern when they came out. Guitar were constantly changing from year to year so age is the only thing that makes it vintage.
#12
Quote by JELIFISH19
A Fender Wide Range pickup from the same year would be considered vintage so why isn't a Super Distortion as well? I'm just pointing out the flaws in calling something vintage. Even vintage-voiced is flawed as well because what's really vintage-voiced? The Super Distortion came only 15 years after the first Gibson humbucker. The Wide Range pickup wasn't meant to give a "vintage" tone but we say it has that because it was from the 70s. But they were probably modern when they came out. Guitar were constantly changing from year to year so age is the only thing that makes it vintage.


"Vintage pickup" is a vague marketing term that has no solid, concrete, testable meaning unless it actually came off a 50s-60s guitar. Ignore.
"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
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Mar 11, 2015,
#13
Quote by JELIFISH19
A Fender Wide Range pickup from the same year would be considered vintage so why isn't a Super Distortion as well? I'm just pointing out the flaws in calling something vintage. Even vintage-voiced is flawed as well because what's really vintage-voiced? The Super Distortion came only 15 years after the first Gibson humbucker. The Wide Range pickup wasn't meant to give a "vintage" tone but we say it has that because it was from the 70s. But they were probably modern when they came out. Guitar were constantly changing from year to year so age is the only thing that makes it vintage.


i think you are confusing vintage in that it's old vs "vintage" the marketing term. as i mentioned in my above answer when it comes to marketing for "vintage" pckups they are referring to an era which is almost always 50s to early 60s (with a few exceptions). you also have to keep in mind that there are few if any pickup makers producing a Fender Wide Range replacement. it is a flawed term for sure but you just kind of have to go with it.
#14


It seems like there are many pickups that are described as being vintage, but don't always have vintage output. (This is along the same lines as a guitar being described as active, but really it just has an active preamp, but the actual pickups are passive.)

In general, is it not safe to assume that a pickup has vintage output if it's being described as vintage, since the actual output could be otherwise?
It would appear that this pickup has vintage output, however since the description doesn't say, so it's not clear exactly.



Just as a frame of reference:
Don't dismiss passive pickups with an external preamp as non-actives. There are differences, of course, but they're less than you'd imagine. The actives you're referencing (EMG "actives" for example) simply have all or a portion of their preamp wired into the pickup housing. Others have external preamps, but they're no less effective as active pickups. All use external power (usually a 9V) to power the preamps built into the guitar. Often the preamp is external to allow a much wider range of options. Some active setups are full-on active (they won't run as passives, even if the pickups can also be used in passive mode in some other guitars), while some work in both a passive and an active mode (switchable).

Vintage pickups have a specific sound and most have output references, but you can develop that vintage balance of sound in a number of ways. Fact is, DC impedance never tells you the whole story about a pickup, and you'll usually want to know a lot more than that, to include magnet strength (henries), wire gauge, number of winds and so on.

I usually look at the impedance and make assumptions about the pickup, but I learned my lesson on a couple of pickups, including the Suhr Aldrich. As you may be aware, you'll find you have a different pickup on your hands if you swap magnets.

I can't speak for Bartolinis (I have several sets in guitars, including some of their '70's actives, which are outstanding and not at all designed for hi-gain metal use), but marketing wonks frequently try to cover as much ground as possible typifying pickups as good for everything. You really don't know until you've had some experience with them...
Last edited by dspellman at Mar 11, 2015,
#15
I agree that vintage is a word used for nothing else but marketing. Just because something is old doesn't make it vintage in quality. It's may suck and just be old. The amount of winds on a pickup bobbin in the 50's was often a relative number and the winds were not that consistent as to where they landed on the bobbin as they turned so each pickup potentially could be great or not so great. I have seen the pickup winder Les Paul was given by Gibson in the 50's to make his own pickups and it isn't very impressive. If Gibson was using these to make pickups in the 50's I can see how easy it would be to have two totally mismatched pickups. Of course that is part of the charm of old Gibson guitars. Depending on how fast you ran the winder and how much tension you kept on the spool as it was feeding into the bobbin each pickup was potentially unique. I would think that todays pickups are much more consistent and reliable.

My favorite marketing term is "limited". Only made for a limited time. Only made in limited quantities etc. You could say that about every product ever made. Nothing is sold forever. Everything is made in limited quantity. Limited to the time we decide to stop making it.
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Mar 12, 2015,
#16
Thanks for the input everyone. In general it seems that actual vintage output, is synonymous with just low output. It's curious as to why the latter term is not used more often instead of vintage. It seems like the popular opinion on this thread is the reason why. Because of bad marketing.

Since now a days a vintage type pickup (a pickup that looks like it's from the 50s, 60s) could actually have high output, I think the term vintage output can be misleading, likewise the term describing the pickup as a whole is somewhat misleading. Seems like the term to describe the output should just be low output, if it actually does have low output and the term to describe it's other qualities if they are similar to actual old pickups should be "retro", not vintage. I think vintage should be reserved for actual pickups that are old from the 50s and 60s.
#17
I don't think that's correct at all. The term "vintage output" isn't confusing. It means low output. "Vintage tone" is a can of worms and it can be very confusing and misleading, but output? No. It's very straightforward and most people with the first clue about pickups will understand what the term means. It makes way more sense than a lot of other terms in the guitar business.

What the pickup looks like is irrelevant and I'm not sure why you're bringing it into the conversation at all. A basic humbucker is not a "vintage type pickup" just because it looks the same as a PAF from five feet away. Standard pickup design has changed very little in 60 years and it would be pointless to try to narrow down pickups according to traits like "looks like it's from the 50s" because that just means it's a regular looking humbucker.

"Low output" isn't good for the marketing people because it makes it sound like it's just a weak pickup. So they use "vintage output" which is perfectly serviceable for anyone with even a basic understanding of pickups.
#18
Quote by Roc8995
I don't think that's correct at all. The term "vintage output" isn't confusing. It means low output. "Vintage tone" is a can of worms and it can be very confusing and misleading, but output? No. It's very straightforward and most people with the first clue about pickups will understand what the term means. It makes way more sense than a lot of other terms in the guitar business.

What the pickup looks like is irrelevant and I'm not sure why you're bringing it into the conversation at all. A basic humbucker is not a "vintage type pickup" just because it looks the same as a PAF from five feet away. Standard pickup design has changed very little in 60 years and it would be pointless to try to narrow down pickups according to traits like "looks like it's from the 50s" because that just means it's a regular looking humbucker.

"Low output" isn't good for the marketing people because it makes it sound like it's just a weak pickup. So they use "vintage output" which is perfectly serviceable for anyone with even a basic understanding of pickups.


i agree with what you are saying but there is a flaw or two. yes, if you "know" that vintage output means that the pickup has similar specs to original 50s/60s pickups then all is good. if not then threre could be some confusion.

i do agree that many terms used are derived from current "guitar" vernacular so there is an implied bit of knowledge that is presumed to be known. that is marketing 101 and of course a big part of effective communication. the assumption is that joe noob isn't worried about what pickups (in this case) are in his guitar but joe experienced probably does. since "vintage" is a currently used buzz word then that is what marketing folks use. they could just as easily used "original spec" or other terms that might be more accurate but don' have the same zing.
#19
I'm with colin. Marketing is 95% BS (IMO ) but that doesn't mean everything ever mentioned in ad copy is pointless. Some of it is useful- you don't just have to close your eyes and throw darts at the seymour duncan catalogue.

He also makes a good point about the "low output" thing. A lot of players (incorrectly) think that high output pickups are good and low output ones bad, so calling a pickup "low output" will probably adversely affect sales.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#20
Quote by Dave_Mc
I'm with colin. Marketing is 95% BS (IMO ) but that doesn't mean everything ever mentioned in ad copy is pointless. Some of it is useful- you don't just have to close your eyes and throw darts at the seymour duncan catalogue.

He also makes a good point about the "low output" thing. A lot of players (incorrectly) think that high output pickups are good and low output ones bad, so calling a pickup "low output" will probably adversely affect sales.


low output pickups are bad.
Prs se Holcomb is the answer
#21
Quote by monwobobbo
i agree with what you are saying but there is a flaw or two. yes, if you "know" that vintage output means that the pickup has similar specs to original 50s/60s pickups then all is good. if not then threre could be some confusion.

Yes, but that's not exactly the hardest thing to learn, is it? It's not immediately obvious but it is also not confusing - a single sentence clears up any confusion.

Learning a few terms like "humbucker" and "vintage output" isn't too much to expect. Five minutes reading about pickup basics could teach anyone what all of these terms mean. It's not hard. I don't see a benefit in changing our language to accommodate people who have put zero time into educating themselves. There are plenty of basic guides to pickups that would teach you all of this in five minutes.

The whole point of using names and terms is to signify a larger idea - we can't, by nature, include the idea itself in the name.
#22
Quote by AcousticMirror
low output pickups are bad.


hahaha

i like both. and the ones in between depends on what i'm after.


but yeah most of the time high output's where it's at. for bridge anyway
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#23
Quote by Roc8995
Yes, but that's not exactly the hardest thing to learn, is it? It's not immediately obvious but it is also not confusing - a single sentence clears up any confusion.

Learning a few terms like "humbucker" and "vintage output" isn't too much to expect. Five minutes reading about pickup basics could teach anyone what all of these terms mean. It's not hard. I don't see a benefit in changing our language to accommodate people who have put zero time into educating themselves. There are plenty of basic guides to pickups that would teach you all of this in five minutes.

The whole point of using names and terms is to signify a larger idea - we can't, by nature, include the idea itself in the name.


don't get me wrong i agree with you. sadly many don't take any time to learn diddly. 5 minutes reading noob posts here tells you that.
#24
Quote by Dave_Mc
hahaha

i like both. and the ones in between depends on what i'm after.


but yeah most of the time high output's where it's at. for bridge anyway


if i smoke a joint with my PAF will they become "high output"
#25
Quote by monwobobbo
don't get me wrong i agree with you. sadly many don't take any time to learn diddly. 5 minutes reading noob posts here tells you that.

That wasn't me disagreeing with you. Just typing out thoughts.

As usual, it might be helpful to include more information on stickies and FAQ posts, etc, but they take a lot of time to put together and it seems like they don't get used anyway.
#26
Quote by Roc8995
That wasn't me disagreeing with you. Just typing out thoughts.

As usual, it might be helpful to include more information on stickies and FAQ posts, etc, but they take a lot of time to put together and it seems like they don't get used anyway.


all good, i love a interesting discussion. some take the time to read the stickies but obviously many don't. internet age has made the attention span really short i think. took one of those personality profile tests and it told me (already knew) that i love research. unfortunately it seems that most folks don't.
#27
Quote by monwobobbo
if i smoke a joint with my PAF will they become "high output"


LOL

Quote by Roc8995
That wasn't me disagreeing with you. Just typing out thoughts.

As usual, it might be helpful to include more information on stickies and FAQ posts, etc, but they take a lot of time to put together and it seems like they don't get used anyway.


someday i'll try to get round to thinking about maybe considering writing some more

at this rate chinese democracy will take less time (either the album or actual chinese democracy, I wouldn't bet on either )
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#28
i think a vintage pickup can mean many things, but yes vintage output seems to be synonymous with low output, if you already know this and it's understood what it's referring to.

would be interesting to do a case study on this.