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  1. #1

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    Kent was kind enough to send me two pups, one being the standard floating paf and the other a mini humbucker that says "KAJ 5" on the back. Any of you have experience with these? Gotta make a decision soon! The mini-hum fits snugly on the neck whereas the regular size paf is way too big, though I'm sure I just must be looking at attaching it the wrong way...anyways, thanks for the input.

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  3. #2

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    No experience with the mini. Really like the sound of the full size and I'm willing to put up with some inconvenience to use one. Installing the full size floater on my Yunzhi required that I drill/tap the pickup then bolt it on to a pickguard. Getting it positioned properly is harder than it looks and I really wish Armstrong would make the tab longer to facilitate installation.


  4. #3

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    I have the full size KA on one of my archtops and it sound amazing, it sounds like the archtop's acoustic sound thru an amp.

  5. #4

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    here's what my Heritage Johnny Smith sounds like with the full size KA pup


  6. #5

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    Sorry, no experience with the KAJ 5 specifically. I do have lots with various mini-HB's vs. the 12-pole KA.

    The narrower string sample area of the mini-HB in all its forms makes a significant difference. In my opinion this difference is far more important than a bit more or less coil or magnet strength. The actual signal content is different vs. a minor "tone" difference that can be EQ'ed with a turn of a knob.

    A "fat" mini-HB (like the GFS FAt Jazz) will still sound like it is sampling a shorter length of the string.

    Best of luck with your choice. In my opinion, many wish that a given mini-HB was a bit fatter sounding, while most are quite pleased with the 12-pole PU for various stated reasons.

    Hey Spook, I attached a 12-pole maybe 2 months ago using only Gorilla "Impact Resistant CA" and no screws - so living on the edge. This stuff does eventually (like after a few days) get super-hard like any CA, and many epoxies. But it seems to hang in there with the relative movement of the ebony PG and the plastic tab - indeed too short a tab. Anyway, the Gorilla CA seems to hold far better than most epoxies and all CA I have tried for this sort of thing

    Blah, blah, blah,...

    Chris

  7. #6

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    Interesting about the Gorilla CA.. sure would make positioning the thing easier. Need to get some and play with it. I have some challenging fishing applications..

  8. #7

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    Man.. I so want a 15" Fender Twin. Bet that guitar sounds amazing with that pickup/amp/room.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    Man.. I so want a 15" Fender Twin. Bet that guitar sounds amazing with that pickup/amp/room.
    they're cheap, and everywhere. that one came local on Craigs, with NOS tubes and British Webers, reportedly heads above the stock speakers...$700.

    yep, she's my only keeper...the updates really brought her to life.

  10. #9

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    I feel the same way as Greg. I'd love to see that HJS in its full glory. I had one and sold it which now that I consider it was a stupid move. I wish I had it back now. The first thing I'd do with it is put on one of those full KA 'buckers. My local Heritage dealer sells a bunch of them.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    C'mon man...ya gotta post pics! it's not ev'day there's a HJS mentioned on these pages!!!
    OK, I can't find the camera, but my teenaged daughter has an iphone (I'm paying for), so here goes. A couple of comments: I've never seen another with the rose inlay on the pickguard as well as the headstock. Also, I just noticed that the right half of the back maple panel is darker than the left. THis was never true before, and I assume its a weather/humidity issue. In particular the flame is not as visible as usual. I'd appreciate any hints as to why it looks like that. Finally, the KA was the only floater I could find that matches the notch that Heritage cuts into their pickguard. I never liked the sound of the heritage pickups despite upgrading a few times. This was my go-to guitar for about 15 years, but I've since replaced her with a Tom Painter p15 that plays/sounds more like what I'm after, so this one has gotten neglected recently.

    Kent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-photo2-jpgKent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-photo1-jpgKent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-photo3-jpgKent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-photo4-jpgKent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-photo5-jpg

  12. #11

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    perfect floater for that HJS! she looks hot! thx 4 postin' pix!

    I've heard some odd things about HJS finishes. A forum member listed one for sale recently, and he speaks about how his rose finish has faded to the point it almost appears as a natural finish. Maybe Patrick can fill in some blanks here.

    BTW, that Starr is a classic, and that copy of The Jazz Piano Book, by author Mark Levine, yes, I'd recognize it anywhere, even from a partial pic, the same author of the famed The Jazz Theory Book that many members here are likely aware of, is the REAL DEAL! I began with that book over 20 years ago...highly recm'd for anyone ready to tackle the ivories. hey, if I can try to double, so can U!
    Last edited by 2bornot2bop; 01-26-2013 at 09:39 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    perfect floater for that HJS! she looks hot! thx 4 postin' pix!

    I've heard some odd things about HJS finishes. A forum member listed one for sale recently, and he speaks about how his rose finish has faded to the point it almost appears as a natural finish. Maybe Patrick can fill in some blanks here.

    BTW, that Starr is a classic, and that copy of The Jazz Piano Book, by author Mark Levine, yes, I'd recognize it anywhere, even from a partial pic, the same author of the famed The Jazz Theory Book that many members here are likely aware of, is the REAL DEAL! I began with that book over 20 years ago...highly recm'd for anyone ready to tackle the ivories. hey, if I can try to double, so can U!
    Pkirk, That's my Smith that 2Bop is referring to. The finish is stated to be a natural on my label but I've never seen natural age like mine. That's why I thought it might have been a faded Rose.I had owned a rose when they first came out and wondered then how it would age. I'll attach a couple of photos. As for your rose inlay,yours was the first I saw when I saw one of your videos. But I have seen at least one more. It was on a friend of Chet Atkins' Smith. He had ordered it that way on an ebony guard and a full depth body. PS I like Armstrong
    Attached Images Attached Images Kent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-0276-jpg Kent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-blond_back-jpg 

  14. #13

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    awright, now this thread is rollin' in it....HJS' all around!...gotta luv it!!!!!

  15. #14

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    Yeah, I live in Indiana: Starr is the piano company from Richmond Indiana that was forward thinking enough to record Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll, on their Gennett record label in the bad old days. The levine book is there for when I occasionally turn to the piano when arranging or composing stuff. But I can't play the piano in any real sense, I just step on the sustain pedal and play dense voicings: no stretching needed!

  16. #15

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    why doesn't anyone kent bare knuck etc make a jazz
    full size humbucker you can mount to the sides of the fb
    (like a jonhny smith type mount)

    whats the depth of the kent floating full size 12 pole hb
    do you mind measuring for me ?

  17. #16

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    i have a kent armstrong floater, but the plain, flat, "ebony" kind, not the kind with the pole pieces. which is great, because i hate the look of 12 pole pieces, but i kinda wish i could adjust the volume on the skinny strings, so i guess the joke is on me. funny to note that on mine (which i assume is an older one) doesn't have a tab (or tabs) like most do. it has two legs at the top which go directly into the bottom of the fretboard. not a great design, but its already there.

    and although minis are super, super badass (though i've only played the set in kind and not the floating version) they are not at all the same thing and i'd suggest going the big boy version. as stated earlier, it more or less sounds exactly like its acoustic voice. i even prefer it to piezo'ed flattop acoustics.

  18. #17

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    Rough measure for depth of the Kent Armstrong 12 pole floater: 13/32", 10.3mm

  19. #18

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    Here is a closeup of my KA 12 Pole Floater (a.k.a. PAF) on my Golden Eagle. It's a little hard to see, but I have a piece of felt on the back of it, which touches the top and raises the pickup off the top by about 3/32". That brings the top of the pickup to almost the same height as the fingerboard. You can see that with the strings fretted, there is still clearance. This pickup fit well without modifying the pickguard (other than removing the Little pieces of wood that held the Heritage pickup in place). It sounds terrific. I have all of the different versions of KA floaters on various guitars (PAF, Smooth Top, JS, and Single Coil) and this is definitely my favorite.
    Keith

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu
    why doesn't anyone kent bare knuck etc make a jazz
    full size humbucker you can mount to the sides of the fb
    (like a jonhny smith type mount)

    whats the depth of the kent floating full size 12 pole hb
    do you mind measuring for me ?

    archtop dot com sells a lot of KA pups and I've seen the style you mention on their website.

  21. #20

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    @ Archtop Guy. I've seen the Rose finish but I've never seen one age like that. I definitely like the color yours turned out to be. To my eye, that's what a natural finish should look like and no lighter than that.

  22. #21

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    Thank you HFC, I've had and have a lot of blondes. And this one is just "different" I can't explain it. But it's different in a great way. On the pickup subject.. Bill Lawrence used to make a wonderful thin humbucker size pickup that mounted like a Smith. Less than 7/8" thick. No poles pieces though.

  23. #22

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    Correction,the Lawrence is 3/8"s thin. It's the age,eyes are going.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    archtop dot com sells a lot of KA pups and I've seen the style you mention on their website.
    nope can't see any full size hb with jonny smith fb type mount there

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    No experience with the mini. Really like the sound of the full size and I'm willing to put up with some inconvenience to use one. Installing the full size floater on my Yunzhi required that I drill/tap the pickup then bolt it on to a pickguard. Getting it positioned properly is harder than it looks and I really wish Armstrong would make the tab longer to facilitate installation.

    Hi Spook,

    Do you have any photo of the reverse side of the finger rest?

    I just ordered a KA Handwound PAF from eBay and i am a bit puzzled about the attachment to the finger rest.
    Actually, good i found this post because searching the web for explicit pictures or explanations didn't yield much.

    May i ask where you bought it from ?

    I bought it on eBay from "mydaughtersmusic", seems like an official KA outlet and maybe you bought from there too ?

    OK, so one has to drill the PU's tab and bolt it, i see the screw, but how about the other screws ?
    The original Yunzhi pick guard has no screws apparently.

    Thanks in advance.

    ... and yes, after a roundish logo on a combed hair headstock, a KA black PAF, my future archtop is seriously beginning to look like one of yours, sorry, haha ! It actually is a compliment, no ?

  26. #25

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    drilling seems a bit risky.
    if you break the tab you are screwed.

  27. #26

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    To somewhat answer the OP's question (not suggesting that anyone else didn't, but just that I didn't read anything else), the mini HB by KA does sound thinner than a full size HB, including a floating PAF. With the mini I find that I have to have the volume knob all the way open to be happy with the sound...when it's all the way open it's hard to tell the difference.

    BUT note that I'm only talking about mounted (built-in) pickups, not floaters. Still I am comparing KA HB to KA mini so that should help you somewhat.

    However, end of the day....your pickup has to fit! So that will drive your decision, won't it?

  28. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    awright, now this thread is rollin' in it....HJS' all around!...gotta luv it!!!!!
    Well I'm late jumping in here, but I might as well add mine.


    Kent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-zbackcasef2-jpg
    Attached Images Attached Images Kent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-1fronfull-jpg Kent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-8fronhead-jpg 
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 02-27-2014 at 01:47 PM.

  29. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Sound
    Well I'm late jumping in here, but I might as well add mine.


    Kent Armstrong Floating PAF Humbucker vs. Mini-hum-zbackcasef2-jpg
    What's this?! I didn't know you had it in ya man. That shade appears as a Heritage...autumn sunburst for those unfamiliar with Heritage shades. When did you get the HJS? Nice score there WS. I dig that shade on HJS' more so than the Rose Naturals typical of the HJS...it's fairly rare. Recently, an 18" HJS, no that wasn't a typo, appeared for sale at the HOC. It was more like a Super Eagle in JS trimmings. If that 18" had your finish I'd have been all over it...but it was a Rose that's faded to blonde as every HJS rose I've seen has done...bummer.

  30. #29

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    Somebody say THAT headstock is ugly. C'mon, I dare ya.

    Damn, that's a lovely guitar.

  31. #30

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2bornot2bop
    What's this?! I didn't know you had it in ya man. That shade appears as a Heritage...autumn sunburst for those unfamiliar with Heritage shades. When did you get the HJS? Nice score there WS. I dig that shade on HJS' more so than the Rose Naturals typical of the HJS...it's fairly rare. Recently, an 18" HJS, no that wasn't a typo, appeared for sale at the HOC. It was more like a Super Eagle in JS trimmings. If that 18" had your finish I'd have been all over it...but it was a Rose that's faded to blonde as every HJS rose I've seen has done...bummer.
    Actually I sold it recently. It was (is) a FABULOUS guitar. Probably the nicest archtop I have ever owned. Superb neck profile. Superb tone. Superb action. But my right arm just cannot deal with 17" archtops anymore. It killed me to let this go. (Re the finish, I've always been partial to bursts over nat's.)

    It actually went through two buyers - the first guy returned it to me because he felt it wasn't "mint" enough. Fool.

    WS