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Thread: Hello from Arizona

  1. #1

    Question Hello from Arizona

    I built my first kit in the past couple months. It's an SG style made of mahogany. I used a Wudtone kit to finish it to a nice red (carmine gypsy). I like the guitar, and now I'm starting to learn to play ( I never played before.) I'm also working slowly through doing the setup. I am currently filing down the nut, very slowly, because I realized it was a bit high, which made it harder to play especially at the first fret. The first fret tended to be a bit sharp, too. I decided to try the forum to see what else I can learn. One thing I'm curious about is the quality of the humbucker pickups. Any idea what they are made of or how they compare to other ones? Since I've never played a guitar before, I have no idea. I think my new guitar sounds pretty good.

  2. #2
    GAStronomist Simon Barden's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome.

    The stock kit pickups will normally have ceramic magnets, which give a high output, but they normally don't sound particularly detailed. Fine if you are doing mainly high-gain rock, but not so good for subtle weeping blues or clean country etc. There are now quite a few UK or US 'designed', but Chinese-made, pickups that sound a lot better IMO but without breaking the bank. The Toneriders (that PBG sell) and Iron Gear are two such brands.

  3. #3
    GAStronomist stan's Avatar
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    Welcome post pics of your efforts!

  4. #4
    Member
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    Nice. I'm in Arizona too!

  5. #5

    More on Humbuckers

    Quote Originally Posted by Simon Barden View Post
    Hi and welcome.

    The stock kit pickups will normally have ceramic magnets, which give a high output, but they normally don't sound particularly detailed. Fine if you are doing mainly high-gain rock, but not so good for subtle weeping blues or clean country etc. There are now quite a few UK or US 'designed', but Chinese-made, pickups that sound a lot better IMO but without breaking the bank. The Toneriders (that PBG sell) and Iron Gear are two such brands.
    Thanks for the info. I sort of suspected they might be ceramic, but I will need to play a lot better to really be in a position to better evaluate new pickups, I guess. But I'm starting to plan! Good to know of cheaper options.

  6. #6
    Overlord of Music Andy40's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum azroger
    Build #1 - ST-1 - Completed
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    Build #6 - STA-1HT | Completed
    Build #7 - ST1JR - Completed
    Current Build #8 - JBA-4
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    Current Build #10 - PRS-1H
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  7. #7
    Overlord of Music Andy40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by azroger View Post
    One thing I'm curious about is the quality of the humbucker pickups. Any idea what they are made of or how they compare to other ones?
    I agree with Simon.

    The Chinese humbuckers are built with much much cheaper parts, the spacer between the bobbins and the baseplate is just plastic, they use machine wound poly wire and try to make up with it by charging ceramic magnets at a higher gauss, all metal used in the pickups are "Chinese pot metal". Oh and they are are not wax potted but there is some parrafin wax dropped on the bobbin before They solder the cover on. This recipe gives you pick ups that work, sure they will do their job, will they sound kick ass? not to me.

    Toneriders are a great example of spending a few extra pennies and getting great pick-ups for your $$. Since you are in the US, I would use Mojotone Humbuckers. Sometimes Mojo will do free ground shipping in the US.
    Here are some of the differences between the stock pickups and Tone riders or Mojotone:-
    - All metal parts are made of Nickel silver
    - the wire is usually plain enamel
    - the bobbins are made from Butyrate
    - there is a maple spacer and a keeper bar
    - the Magnet will be Alnico type magnet
    - they are usually wax potted properly in 80% paraffin wax and 20% bees wax.

    The main difference to me, is the scope and amount of harmonic frequencies the pick up obtains from string oscillation, which in turn means the more tones I can play with using these pickups.
    Build #1 - ST-1 - Completed
    Build #2 - LP-1SS - Completed
    Build #3 - TLA-1R - Completed
    Build #4 - SGD-612 - Completed
    Build #5 - ES-1G - Completed
    Build #6 - STA-1HT | Completed
    Build #7 - ST1JR - Completed
    Current Build #8 - JBA-4
    Build #9 - Semi-scratch build Tele x 2 - Completed
    Current Build #10 - PRS-1H
    Current Build #11 - AGJR-1 - Completed
    Current Build #12 - ATL-1SB
    Current Build #13 - GST-1
    Current Build #14 - FBM-1

  8. Liked by: OliSam

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Andy40 View Post
    I agree with Simon.

    The Chinese humbuckers are built with much much cheaper parts, the spacer between the bobbins and the baseplate is just plastic, they use machine wound poly wire and try to make up with it by charging ceramic magnets at a higher gauss, all metal used in the pickups are "Chinese pot metal". Oh and they are are not wax potted but there is some parrafin wax dropped on the bobbin before They solder the cover on. This recipe gives you pick ups that work, sure they will do their job, will they sound kick ass? not to me.

    Toneriders are a great example of spending a few extra pennies and getting great pick-ups for your $$. Since you are in the US, I would use Mojotone Humbuckers. Sometimes Mojo will do free ground shipping in the US.
    Here are some of the differences between the stock pickups and Tone riders or Mojotone:-
    - All metal parts are made of Nickel silver
    - the wire is usually plain enamel
    - the bobbins are made from Butyrate
    - there is a maple spacer and a keeper bar
    - the Magnet will be Alnico type magnet
    - they are usually wax potted properly in 80% paraffin wax and 20% bees wax.

    The main difference to me, is the scope and amount of harmonic frequencies the pick up obtains from string oscillation, which in turn means the more tones I can play with using these pickups.
    Thanks so much for all the info. I've done a lot of work with audio electronics and have a background in science, so I'm curious about every nerdy detail. This will help me make decisions when time to upgrade comes!

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by stan View Post
    Welcome post pics of your efforts!
    I don't have a lot of pictures yet, but here's one: Click image for larger version. 

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    I've heard that an amp makes a big difference in the final sound of a guitar, but my amp is homemade and still a work in progress. It's made from 2 inexpensive stereo tube amplifier printed circuit boards from China (AliExpress) and output transformers from Edcor. I use a 12 V power pack for main power, use a little buck supply from China to drop the filament voltage to 6 V, and a small power inverter module to create the 270 V plate voltage. It's all mounted on a couple different chassis, and will eventually be sandwiched between the two 6.5" speakers in their own boxes shown here. Looks like junk, but it sounds pretty good. About 9 watts power.Click image for larger version. 

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  11. Liked by: OliSam

  12. #10
    Overlord of Music Andy40's Avatar
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    Dang! very cool mate. I was going to say if you were playing direct into a computer then the pickups don't matter that much as the modelling software takes over but since you have the real deal, yes, yes it will make a big difference.
    Build #1 - ST-1 - Completed
    Build #2 - LP-1SS - Completed
    Build #3 - TLA-1R - Completed
    Build #4 - SGD-612 - Completed
    Build #5 - ES-1G - Completed
    Build #6 - STA-1HT | Completed
    Build #7 - ST1JR - Completed
    Current Build #8 - JBA-4
    Build #9 - Semi-scratch build Tele x 2 - Completed
    Current Build #10 - PRS-1H
    Current Build #11 - AGJR-1 - Completed
    Current Build #12 - ATL-1SB
    Current Build #13 - GST-1
    Current Build #14 - FBM-1

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