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  1. #1

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    I am posting here seeking advice on replacing pickups in my AS73. Years ago I put GFS Vintage 59s in the guitar. The treble pickup sounds great with lots of chime and a sweet "ping" to the attack. The neck pickup is sweet and deep sounding but lacks high end chime. This is fine for solo practice but not very good when competing with a band. I need to replace the neck pickup... I think.

    I was rummeging through gear yesterday and found a SD Jazz neck pickup, a SD Alnico II neck pickup and a set of StewMac Golden Age Alnico 2 pickups. I figured one of these pickups could do the trick and fix the guitar. I tried the Jazz in a previous guitar (not a 335) and found in clear but a bit sterile. I had a Les Paul with Alnico 2s and liked it. Never tried the StewMacs....

    Any suggestions as to what may work as a replacement in the neck position. I do like a bit of compression and squishiness in the attack so maybe the Alnico 2 is best?

    Also, I figure the pots in the AS73 are rather meh.. so could a pot change fix the installed GFS pickup? Maybe it is not being used to its potential. It is very musical sounding but just a bit dull in the high end....



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  3. #2

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    The Stew-Macs aim at the PAF aesthetic, so if you like the sound of the ES 335 from the early 60s you're probably like those pick ups in that guitar. The AlNiCo II is more PAF-ish than the Jazz is; the Jazz tends to be a rather bright and, as you noted, sterile sounding pick up. It's an odd name choice. I've never played that pickup through distortion; I wonder if that would work fairly well compared to trying to play it clean.

    As for the potentiometers, if they are not noisy when you rotate them and a multimeter finds that they're close enough to spec, they're probably fine and don't really need to be replaced. I'd expect them to have a 6 mm shaft rather than a quarter inch shaft if you do replace them.

    I've liked the Ibanez AS series guitars that I've played. Good necks, comfortable body shape, good sound. I think I prefer the ones with mahogany necks to the ones with maple necks- they seem a little warmer and more resonant.
    Last edited by Cunamara; 05-18-2019 at 10:00 PM.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  4. #3

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    I had an uncovered SD "jazz" pup in the neck position of my Epi Sheraton that the PO had installed in it. Rather than replace it, the folks on the SD site recommended putting an A2 or A3 magnet in it and adding a cover. They opined that a "Jazz" with an A2 is / or becomes an alnico 2 pro humbucker. I wound up installing the A3 first and left it in.

    These simple mods took enough of the shrill bite off the "jazz" which originally made it unusable for me. A fairly easy mod if the pup is already in the git.

    In your case, since you already have the alnico 2 and StewMac pups, why not start with either of them?


  5. #4

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    Thanks for your replies. I am going to try the StewMacs and see how that goes. If I don't like the StewMac in the neck position I will try the Alnico 2.

  6. #5

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    I usually do all my own work, so rebuilding my Sebring (Samick) L5 I wanted to wind the pickups myself. I have wound single coils and wanted to do double so I needed to get parts from Stew Mac. When I had all the bobbins, magnets, etc in my Stew Mac 'shopping basket' I realized that the components were the same as they have in the Golden Age pickups. I saw that for the price of the complete pickups, they practically wind and assemble them for you for free.
    Attached Images Attached Images Ibanez AS73 - SD Jazz, SD Alnico 2 or StewMac Golden Age Alnico 5s?-sebring-l5-1-jpg Ibanez AS73 - SD Jazz, SD Alnico 2 or StewMac Golden Age Alnico 5s?-screen-shot-2019-03-03-10-11-49-pm-jpg 

  7. #6

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  8. #7

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    I put a pair of Stew Mac "Vintage Vibe" humbuckers in my '97 Epiphone Sheraton II. Great sounding pickups at an incredibly affordable price.

  9. #8

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    Thanks for the further feedback. That Samick sounds great. You are channeling a classic Wes sound.

    I bought the StewMacs after reading many good reviews about them. I then hesitated to drop them in because the GFS sounded pretty good. Played a few gigs with them and thought they don't cut it in a band situation. I suspect the StewMacs will have no problem in that regard.

  10. #9

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    Just got my guitar back from the shop. The StewMacs sound fantastic! Clear and warm and no "pudginess" in the mid-range.

    Thanks to all that chimed in. Your advice is appreciated.

  11. #10

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    I recently put a Stewmac Golden Age PAF in the neck of an EPI (non-premium) ES-175 and like it a helluva lot. Especially for the price.

  12. #11

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    I have a Stew-Mac GA pickup in the neck position of my jazz Tele- good sounding pickup.

    People attribute a lot of mystical mumbo-jumbo to guitar pick ups that is a load of hooey. These things are governed by the laws of physics. Bill Lawrence used to do a pretty good job of demystifying that stuff on his website. Also, it seems like an awful lot of the better known pickup winders in the world today got their start working for/learning from Bill Lawrence.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  13. #12

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    I put StewMac Golden Age pups in an AS 73 I had and it sounded fantastic with them.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post

    People attribute a lot of mystical mumbo-jumbo to guitar pick ups that is a load of hooey. These things are governed by the laws of physics.
    Agreed. Just the other day I was researching pickups and came across "ThroBak" PAF style humbuckers that list for $526/pair. This seems exorbitant to me. Disregarding the Stew Mac pickups for a moment, there are any number of excellent pickups from manufacturers like Seymour Duncan, Bartolini (my personal favorite) et. al. that sell for around $200/pair and perform beautifully. What is that extra $300 for?