Best Blues-Buckers ?

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Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby rossfloss » Thu May 06, 2010 9:38 pm

What do you guys think the best humbuckers are for the blues?

Also, another question. Does anyone know what kind of humbuckers Robben Ford uses?
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby texas blues » Fri May 07, 2010 11:13 pm

Not sure what Robben Ford is using these days. I have heard alot of very good feedback about Throbak pup's. Specifically the SLE 101's. They're somewhat pricey but if you're like me and just can't be sassified.....but what do I know anyways...I have P90's in all my guitars.

Also, I wouldn't discount the regular Gibson pup's. Lot's of cats dig the BB1 & BB2's. Seymour Duncan '57 Classics as well as the Pearly Gates are also good although the Pearly can sound a bit on trebly side in some guitars.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby leftyguitarman » Sat May 08, 2010 11:06 pm

IMO, no pickup is the best for blues. The way you play has a lot more to do with blues than the pickups. I can play blues on any guitar, regardless of the pickups. But if you're looking for a good set of buckers, look no further than WB Pickups. By far the best sounding buckers I have ever heard. Unbelievable clarity and a very balanced tone. I prefer the VTPH set or the Habaneros.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby ricbleu » Sun May 09, 2010 12:30 am

I agree with lefty. Expressing the blues isn't about pickups. But to be fair, rossfloss might be referring to a certain tone associated with the blues via humbucker p/ups (but remember all the non-humbucker electric blues giants ie humbuckers are not the essential p/up for blues sound). The early PAF h/buckers used in Les Pauls throughout the blues boom in the late 60s were all relatively low output - 7.5k round about, not wax potted etc etc. I guess, ross, you'd have to identify the sound you really feel hits your blues-tone button, and track down the guitar model and its p/ups that created that sound. Good hunting.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby rustyslide » Tue May 11, 2010 4:32 pm

re: PAFs: There's no one PAF. They were all different and some of them are even purported to sound bad.

I like my humbuckers low output. I have a set wound by Jeff at HighOrder Pickups. Would heartily recommend him to anyone who's willing to wait a few months for their pickups to arrive.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby leftyguitarman » Tue May 11, 2010 5:13 pm

rustyslide wrote:re: PAFs: There's no one PAF. They were all different and some of them are even purported to sound bad.

I like my humbuckers low output.


+1. Every true PAF is different. They were all wound by hand on a fairly large scale so yeah they were all different. I've seen some PAFs online in the 6k rang and others in the 9k range. But I'm with Rusty. I like low output buckers as well. I had a set of Gibson 498R 500T pickups in my Epi Les Paul and they were easily the worst sound pickups I've come across. The bridge was somewhere around 13.7k and the neck was around 11k.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby rustyslide » Tue May 11, 2010 6:48 pm

Output is only proportional to DC resistance, which is that '11k' you're referring to (11kΩ in full). I had some fairly high-output humbuckers with low DC resistance - they just had powerful ceramic magnets instead of AlNiCo ones.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby ricbleu » Wed May 12, 2010 3:51 am

I realise that all the original "PAFs" were all different because as you say, they were hand wound, but my point was that they weren't high output. I'm with rusty & lefty, I like low output h/buckers as well because from what I understand, the higher the resistance (the hotter the p/up) the more treble frequencies you lose. I put a no-name 7.6k one in my lap steel, preferring it to another no-name 8.6k one and am really happy with the sound. If you want loud, just turn your amp up. I'd be interested to hear what some really low output ones sound like. Does anyone have a guitar with some in? And if I could risk a question which might be controversial.... do you think there is a tendency to be "over scientific/analytical" about gear nowadays? When I started playing in the 60s, you just picked up your axe and played, never knowing whether it had 2k or 200k p/ups, or bumblebee caps or linear or log pots. Now we HAVE to know and are constantly tweaking for "the right sound". But back in the days, I was fortunate to pick up a used Gibson SG Les Paul Custom (the rare ones before LP took his name off them and pleeeese don't tell me what it would be worth now) and a Harmony Meteor. And I just played them - the sound was what it was. I really do think that time with fingers on the fretboard is far more valuable than having your guitar on the bench seeking the perfect sound. I wonder how much time Robert Johnson spent setting up his guitar. I'm not knocking the quest for a "tone" but for the blues (especially) the heart is where the sound comes from.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby TheDude » Wed May 12, 2010 8:16 am

I agree tone is mostly in your fingers... And between your ears. Which explains why one day I'll sound fantastic and the next day I'll sound like crap with the exact same gear set-up.

As for humbuckers I got some made in Korea Wilkinson premium series PAFs in my Vintage Lemondrop LP that are supposedly part-for-part and wire-for-wire copies of the original PAFs. The neck pickup's put in backwards, so you get that sweet honking Peter Green sound in the middle position. I really, really love the tone of those pups in that guitar. I would rate them higher than my mate's Gibson Classic 57s. And definitely higher than some Seymour Duncan's I've played.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby ricochet » Wed May 12, 2010 2:18 pm

DC resistance is a lousy standin for inductance, which is the usually unspecified value that actually affects output as well as frequency response. Coils with the same number of turns around the same iron core will have different DC resistances if made of different wire gauges, but will have the same inductance. Coils with the same number of turns, but different size or material cores, will have different inductances. DC resistance tells you mighty little about how a pickup will sound.

IMO, pickup makers don't generally give us good info on inductance, distributed capacitance, resonant frequency and Q because you can look at those figures and directly compare pickups apples to apples and KNOW exactly what you're getting. They'd rather maintain an aura of mysticism, that there's some special "mojo" to what's really a very simple, totally generic electromagnetic device.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby rustyslide » Wed May 12, 2010 4:29 pm

ricbleu wrote: I like low output h/buckers as well because from what I understand, the higher the resistance (the hotter the p/up) the more treble frequencies you lose.


The mid frequencies are also boosted.


ricbleu wrote:I wonder how much time Robert Johnson spent setting up his guitar.


Having a guitar that plays well for you is a pretty worthwhile goal.


TheDude wrote:The neck pickup's put in backwards, so you get that sweet honking Peter Green sound in the middle position. I really, really love the tone of those pups in that guitar.


Turning the neck pickup around is only a cosmetic change - to get the Peter Green sound, the pickups have to be out of phase with each other in the middle position. One can do this by flipping the magnet (north-south to south-north) or by flipping the hot & ground wires (there are some things you have to do with braided single conductor wire to prevent shorts & RF hum if you do this at the pot end). Your Lemondrop will have one of these things done to one its pickups (neck, probably).

ricochet wrote:They'd rather maintain an aura of mysticism, that there's some special "mojo" to what's really a very simple, totally generic electromagnetic device.


Well, and it's also their secret sauce, and that information being public would make it easier to clone their products.

Seymour Duncan at least provides a rough (three-band) response curve for their pickups.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby ricochet » Wed May 12, 2010 5:57 pm

Secret sauce = duck diarrhea. If the numbers are all equal, so is the sound. We're just talking about solenoids and magnets.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby rustyslide » Wed May 12, 2010 7:06 pm

ricochet wrote:Secret sauce = duck diarrhea. If the numbers are all equal, so is the sound. We're just talking about solenoids and magnets.


Secret duck-diarrhea? My point was that if one winder was known for a great pickup and all the numbers were known, then someone else would have an easier time copying it.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby rossfloss » Wed May 12, 2010 8:38 pm

Thanks for the recommendations guys! I really should have known better. I've always been a strat player and I've always preferred low output single coils so it would make sense that low output humbuckers is probably where I am going to end up. I just recently bought a 96' Gibson Les Paul Studio (the glossed archtop version) and the pickups seem a bit too gainy when I use any EL84 or EL34 equipped amp. However I like the pickups quite a bit when playing through 6V6 or 6L6 equipped amps.
I am probably not going to rush into anything right now mainly because I prefer 6L6's over any other tube and I intend on getting a 65 Twin Reverb here in the near future. Nevertheless as I play the Gibson long enough I will further understand the tonal characteristics and I might then look into some new humbuckers.
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Re: Best Blues-Buckers ?

Postby rossfloss » Wed May 12, 2010 9:03 pm

TheDude wrote:I agree tone is mostly in your fingers... And between your ears. Which explains why one day I'll sound fantastic and the next day I'll sound like crap with the exact same gear set-up.

As for humbuckers I got some made in Korea Wilkinson premium series PAFs in my Vintage Lemondrop LP that are supposedly part-for-part and wire-for-wire copies of the original PAFs. The neck pickup's put in backwards, so you get that sweet honking Peter Green sound in the middle position. I really, really love the tone of those pups in that guitar. I would rate them higher than my mate's Gibson Classic 57s. And definitely higher than some Seymour Duncan's I've played.



Is there any link you can post that will demonstrate the "Peter Green" sound you're talking about? I've never heard of doing that but it sounds like an interesting idea.
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