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  1. #1

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    Dear All,

    I am at my wits end with the amplified tone of my Eastman AR803. I love the sound of my guitar acoustically, but when I plug in and dial it into performance volumes... YUCK!

    I currently have a Shadow AZ-49 pickup that is ring mounted. I usually play my guitar through a DV Mark Little Jazz.

    Here's the thing, I don't want to deal with anymore mud--I used to love darker sounding tones from my guitar--now I can't stand that darkness. I have decided 5 years ago that I want my guitar to retain it's natural brightness--everyone wants to tame the Eastman's tonal characteristics--I want to amplify them. At the same time, I'm not sure if I want to install a single coil or single coil-like pickup in my guitar because I'm afraid that the highs will be too brittle--does that make sense?

    Maybe I should get a low wind PAF? Maybe I should get a Benedetto B6.

    Here is a sample of my guitar--mostly acoustic (a smidge of amp):



    I play with a mixed set of round wounds: 14 17 26w 32 42 52 -- this string setup sounds really balanced for my guitar (I didn't think it would, but it does)

    This is the best I could get the guitar to sound amplified in a live setting:



    Disclaimer: I don't want to change my string type or gauge--I just want to find a pickup that works with my setup and brings out the brightness of my guitar (in a performance setting--not a bedroom session)

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated. I'll find a way to repay the favor. I'm really frustrated with this pickup situation

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  3. #2

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    A SD Antiquity, a humbucker sized p-90 or a humbucker sized Charlie Christian pickup would give a great sound like most of the players you might have listened to growing up but they also impart the distinctive sound of those pickups have.

    The Duncan Antiquity humbucker would sound much like most jazzers from the mid 60s era and onward, the CC pickup like an earlier era with a bit more clarity than PAF style humbucker and the p-90 is probably the most flexible with different sounds and instruments.
    This video goes through a lot of choices with hollow bodies:

    With CC pickups - Nice video

    Solid bodies mixed in but lots of pickups tested

    P90s without the hum
    My first choice after a CC pickup Charlie Christian for Humbucker Route: Lollar Pickups would be to get a Lollar humbucker-sized p90 wound like their 50s wind pickup. fralin will generally do this. I had a fralin humbucker sized p-90 and it was a bit underwhelming: Single Coil for Humbucker: Lollar Pickups
    Here are the 50s wind soapbar p90s with a thin bodied Casino

    But it sounds like you are looking for something to better create the acoustic sound you are hearing out of the instrument in the room. Nothing will do that as well as a microphone but that isn't so practical in many band environments.

    For that in a pickup people have been trying forever. I think Adrian Legg seems to have one of the most convincing acoustic sounds live without a mic but then he doesn't use an acoustic guitar any longer to produce it. Most people go for some type of piezo system but I tend to hate what they do to the attack but some are much more successful than others.

    Here are some approaches: The Ultimate Guide to Acoustic Guitar/Piezo Pickups for Stage and Studio
    Last edited by mateo2006; 06-30-2019 at 02:17 AM.

  4. #3

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    Depends on how much trouble you want to take and how much you want to move from the electric guitar realm you're in now over to the acoustic. I would start with a good EQ pedal. IMHO every rig should have one. Almost all amps fall down in this department. I use an Empress ParaEQ. There are other good ones out there. Next, you could try an amp made to replicate acoustic sounds. Schertler, Acus, Acoustic Image.. there are several out there. Next level involves soldering irons. - Swap to a Armstrong single coil handwound or a P90. More pickup noise. Crisper highs. Not harsh. Easy to live with. You may or may not like to end result but it will add in high's and, I think, in a good way. Finally you could add a K&K Definity using a stereo plug (cheap and relatively easy). Split out at the amp. Acoustic amp will work better. Definity takes lots of EQ but can sound OK. Most find microphones too much hassle.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  5. #4
    Dare I say the CC is closer to what I am hearing from my guitar acoustically... and the P92 sounds great as well.

    When I called Jason Lollar's shop, he recommended the El Rayo. The problem is, I've never heard the El Rayo in a hollow body. Most of Lollar's stuff on Youtube is recorded with Tele's, Strats, other Fenders, or Les Pauls. So I have no idea of what it will sound like in a carved top archtop.

    As a reference, I like the tone of the following guitarists:

    1. Graham Dechter--I know exactly what his guitar sounds like because I've heard it many a time in person

    2. Howard Alden's early stuff--I'm talking about that first record with George Van Eps. He's got this sparkel in his tone. I asked him about it, and he totally forgot about his Howard Roberts.

    3. Peter Bernstein on his Z--I know I'm not alone here.

    4. Grant Green, I love his tone as well Mateo!

    5. Kenny Burrell--hope he is doing okay. His tone floors me more than his melodic vocabulary--it's so present and has a hair of grit when he digs in that's absent these days.

    6. Johnny Smith

    7. Barry Greene--that's why I was thinking of the Benedetto B6.

    Adrian Legg is a monster, in the best possible way. The way he can manipulate his entire guitar--tuners included--is quite incredible.

    Thank you Mateo, that was really helpful. Spook, I think Gilad did something like that to his Victor Baker guitar--the first one. I just want to get a pickup and harness more of the brightness of my guitar without sounding tinny. The 14 up top helped my guitar speak better in the higher register. My guitar had a fake Kent stock, maybe I should look at the real thing? What about the B6?

    Are p90s essentially single coil? How does that effect the fullness of the top end of the guitar (playing on the b and high E beyond the meat of the guitar)?

    Okay, any other suggestions? I can give you all more samples of the guitar acoustically and electrically if that helps.

  6. #5

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    My first thought, although you've probably already tried this, is turning the volume and tone knobs up all the way and playing with the treble knob on your amp. The second would be looking at your choice of pick; a harder pick will typically yield a brighter tone. I carry several pics to gigs and will choose between them in an effort to add another bit of control over shaping of the tone. A third option would be taking the tone knob out of the circuit and going straight from the volume to the amp.

    In terms of pick up replacements, I have a Pete Biltoft CC humbucker-sized single coil pick up on my arch top which gets good clarity and the top notes are bright and clear without being harsh. If buzz is a problem, a lower wound humbucker may do the job such as a Gibson Classic 57, Dimarzio 36th Anniversary, Seymour Duncan "Jazz" are all pickups that tend to be a little brighter and clearer rather than warm and dark.
    Beauty is as close to terror as we can well endure. -Rainer Maria Rilke

  7. #6

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    Hmm.. most of the folks you list are running a humbucker straight into an amp. A very electric sound. And mostly dark.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  8. #7
    Yupe, did that Cunamara. It helped, but still--MUD

  9. #8

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    Peter Biltoft also makes many of his pickups set up for easy magnet swaps and this might allow one to fine tune the pickup to the instrument without wasting too much money going through different pickups.

    Learn from my pain...

  10. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410 View Post
    Hmm.. most of the folks you list are running a humbucker straight into an amp. A very electric sound. And mostly dark.
    I think I wasn't explaining this right. My guitar isn't a floater--I'm not going to try to make a ring mount sound like a floater. I mean, I could patch up the top with the same spruce and screw a floater onto the end of the fretboard.

    What I meant was, I want a pickup that retains the brightness of the guitar. I like the sound of my guitar, that tonal spectrum. I wanted to find something that approximates that spectrum. Bright and full, without going pure tin.

    Now, about those CCs and P90s... When I play loud, will they break up? I like that driving sound to a point, but I really like clarity.

    Oh, I play with a 2mm Jazz BC 80. Surprisingly, that pick brought more warmth to my guitar--acoustically.

  11. #10

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    I love Kenny Burrel's tone. And Wes. To get that tone I think I need something similar to an L5 into a Fender amp. And maybe one day I'll try a Campellone to that end. For now I have a lot of Benedetto based carved, solid wood archtops similar to your Eastman running a gamut of acoustic to electric. I have floaters, built in humbuckers, single coils, K&K Definity, Surnrise, and a Rhythm Chief 1100. I run them into a Fender Concert, Roland Blues Cube Artist, Acus 350, Schertler Jam 150, and a Henriksen. All of them sound good. Some of them sound great. However, to my humble ears, none of them have a basic tone all that much like Wes or Kenny.
    Hell is full of musical amateurs - George Bernard Shaw

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Are p90s essentially single coil? How does that effect the fullness of the top end of the guitar (playing on the b and high E beyond the meat of the guitar)?.
    They are absolutely single coils and so have trouble with 60 cycle hum but this is a bigger issue for playing distorted sounds.

    The CC pickups are also single coils and are susceptible to the same.

    Biltofts CC pickups are like later era CCs in that they use the same kind of wire as p90s but don't sound exactly like p90s. Lollars use the big 38 gauge magnetic wire and sound different. They are very loud and resist breaking up a bit more. The Brit company that makes the exact replica CC pickups will cost you two arms and a leg. They sound great on videos but even Slaman guitars says the difference is not great between lollars and the Brit CCs.

    Generally speaking, P90s tend to me a bit more mid focused.

    The CCs sound a bit closer to a humbucker.

    Burrell used CCs for many of his classic early recordings and later used p90s and then most latter era stuff is PAF output range humbuckers. (Gibson would probably use Gibson Classic 57s in a guitar made to recreate latter era Burrell sounds.)
    I'd rather have the mellower Antiquity or Seth Lovers
    Sending out an SOS to all pickup experts out there!-kenny-burrell-photo-2-jpg
    Grant Green used p90s for many of his classic early recordings but also had guitars with CC pickups and later humbuckers.
    Sending out an SOS to all pickup experts out there!-grant-green-cigarette-big-jpg
    Just as important for that "Midnight Blue" or "Idle Moments" sound would be the Rudy Van Gelder's house amp, a late 50s (probably 1959) Tweed Deluxe.

    I am not sure that this is a sound one would always want ... but what a great sound!

    I have a Kemper and so can change up my sound profiles pretty easily but I can't see how I can resist eventually getting a reproduction of a fender tweed from this era.
    Sending out an SOS to all pickup experts out there!-images-jpg
    Last edited by mateo2006; 06-30-2019 at 03:15 AM.

  13. #12
    I don't want to sound like a Gibson, I'm not playing a Gibson. Actually, I didn't like playing the vintage Gibsons I tried at Norm's before I left for greener pastures. The tops were too thick, I love feeling the guitar vibrate after each note--it's a sensory thing for me. And I like the sound of thin tops better as well. If I had the money, bought my forever home, and put my kid(s) through college--wait, one isn't enough --and still had money left over to be comfortable--I'd buy a Benedetto or another thin top arch top.

    That said... I feel like I didn't know what I was doing when I bought my Shadow AZ 49. Crazy thing is, are they even making them anymore? The pickup doesn't fit the guitar's true voice. But, then again, I didn't think the knock off Kent did either--maybe I was wrong?

    I want to do it right this time, but it's a tricky mod to get right--heck, I've modded the rest of my guitar so much that all that's left is the wood itself. New tuners, new bridge, new electronics (I gutted everything inside and started anew), new jumbo frets, new nut... I might be missing something. But the guitar, at least acoustically, sounds like me (if I was a guitar, that is).

    I feel like all that character is lost when I plug in and play through an amp, especially when I turn the volume up louder. I know that Eastmans can sound really pretty plugged in, I just haven't gotten there yet with mine

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I don't want to sound like a Gibson, I'm not playing a Gibson. If I had the money, bought my forever home, and put my kid(s) through college--wait, one isn't enough --and still had money left over to be comfortable--I'd buy a Benedetto or another thin top arch top.
    Benedetto makes pickups too. But I think most them are based on the PAF style humbucker .

    A lot of jazzers like humbuckers with A2 or A3 magnets for the neck position. Quite a few are made with them. (Classic 57s, Seth Lovers, Antiquity) I think Fralin has some that use A3s

    Fralin Pickups: Learn All About Alnico Magnets and Tone



  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    What I meant was, I want a pickup that retains the brightness of the guitar. I like the sound of my guitar, that tonal spectrum. I wanted to find something that approximates that spectrum. Bright and full, without going pure tin ... I like that driving sound to a point, but I really like clarity.
    Burstbuckers?

  16. #15

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    FWIW, I believe that the Shadow AZ 49 is actually a single coil pickup.

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    FWIW, I believe that the Shadow AZ 49 is actually a single coil pickup.
    I took one apart, and it appeared to be a centre-pointed humbucker: ie two coils either side of a central bar magnet. So yes, in effect it sounds like a single coil, since there is no phase cancellation in the coils and the sound will come from directly above that magnet. It is also low output, and ( to my ears anyway) very bright and thin.

  18. #17

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    Dare I suggest it: an Empress ParaEq or a Tech 21 NYC Q/Strip? A good buffer between your guitar and the amp helps heaps, if you do not want an EQ pedal. But everybody needs an EQ pedal, in my revised world order. The Empress and Tech 21 are naturally buffered so you don't need a separate one. The Tech 21 Q/Strip opened up my ears.

    The Atilla Zoller Shadow AZ49 is a nice pickup. Are you running a coily cable?

    Harmonic Designs has the Z90 that Rob Mackillop demos here:



    Too dark still?
    Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)

  19. #18

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    If you like Graham Dechter's tone, John Carruthers made that floating pickup for him. $550 plus installation. I am sure he can make one for your ringmount. You have to send your guitar to John Carruthers.
    Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)

  20. #19

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    Mad suggestion time: a contact microphone like the AKG411 or Schertler Dyn G blended in the mix with the AZ49?
    Great Deals with Great Folks: max52 (Guild-Benedetto Artist Award); prickards (Ribbecke GC Halfling); Cincy2 (Comins Concert)

  21. #20

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    I don't think there is a magnetic pickup that will give you that nice bright acoustic sound.

    I use a condenser mike clipped to the tailpiece aimed at the top just behind the bridge.

  22. #21

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    I thought your soundcloud clip sounded fine, it was clear and no ‘mud’ to me.

    I know almost nothing about pickups, so can’t help there!

  23. #22

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    I like the P-90 suggestions, and Porter makes a humbucker sized one.

    Some of these small pickup shops are quite willing to talk with you about what you're looking for; I'd call Porter or Amalfitano, etc. and chat with them.

    This being said, and I know the OP said this was a deal-breaker: heavy strings + heavy pick = "darker" sound, yet he's looking for "bright." Probably the EQ suggestions are a better place to start than the pickup ...?

  24. #23

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    The stock pots used by Eastman are possibly more at fault here; are they OEM and do you know the values? If you’re using a AZ pickup and getting mud on a guitar with an acoustic sound that you’re happy with, I just can’t imagine that a pickup swap is going to make you happy. I recommend looking into upgrading the tone pot before anything else.
    Ignorance is agony.



  25. #24
    I’m with whisky.

    I was thinking of a treble bleed on the vol pot if you’re a volume rider like me, or even going to a 1Meg vol pot to attenuate that smoothness.

    Possibly playing with cap values on the tone pot if you’re a tone rider like me as well.

    It’s the cheapest thing I can think of, but it’s going to be a pain in the butt getting in there to play with all of it.

  26. #25

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    I actually found that soundclip to be pretty bright, especially for a set-in humbucker. I don't think a pickup swap is going to get you what you're looking for. The simplest way to get a more acoustic is with an acoustic simulator effect blended in with the pickup sound.

    You could install some sort of mic or under-saddle transducer that you can blend with the mag pickup, but that can be very complicated.

    John

  27. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Greentone View Post
    FWIW, I believe that the Shadow AZ 49 is actually a single coil pickup.
    I might sound daft, but I was looking for information on that on the internet and couldn't find it. I was worried about getting a thinner sound than my Shadow, now I feel better about getting a single coil. Thanks Greentone!

  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by whiskey02 View Post
    The stock pots used by Eastman are possibly more at fault here; are they OEM and do you know the values? If you’re using a AZ pickup and getting mud on a guitar with an acoustic sound that you’re happy with, I just can’t imagine that a pickup swap is going to make you happy. I recommend looking into upgrading the tone pot before anything else.
    I changed the pots a while back because my tech in NYC said the same thing about the stock ones. I don't remember if I put in 300K or 500K, I think it was 300K. Now, I hear they make 1 meg... should I get that instead?

  29. #28

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    I had Peter Biltoft (Vintage Vibe Pickups) make me a CC Humbucking floater for my Elferink Tonemaster archtop. I think the regular Humbucking CC version mentioned above would sound more like your looking for.
    I'm using Barney Kessel's tone as a reference point.

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    If you like Graham Dechter's tone, John Carruthers made that floating pickup for him. $550 plus installation. I am sure he can make one for your ringmount. You have to send your guitar to John Carruthers.
    Jabber, I know. When I brought my guitar into Carruther's shop for a fret job when I lived in LA--at Graham's recommendation--He wouldn't back down about me buying his pickup. When he told me the price, I felt a little... light headed. $550 for one pickup is a little pricey for something that might not be my solve. The pup sounds great on Graham's guitar, but he has a floater--and an Anderson guitar.

    I did spend a little over $400 on my custom bone/ebony bridge... this was before I was married and had a kiddo. If I spent that type of money on a small guitar part and my wife found out... eek. I think that's a month's worth of couch sleeping for me

    I'll ask Graham if his pup is single coil or humbucker style the next time I talk to him.

    I'm in a good place with all this, right? I mean, I really love my guitar's acoustic sound--that's a good base, from what I've heard. I just don't like what the Shadow does to my guitar. My best amplified tone was only achieved with a boost pedal. Before that, this is how my tone was for a while--with the same pup:



    My guitar is the "more amplified" sounding guitar.

    I do like the idea of a CC--just from a "cool" perspective. I love Charlie Christian's playing, as well as Barney Kessel's early stuff, and Jimmy Raney's guitar from the late 40s and 50s (the one he used for his Paris and Three Attitudes sessions).

    I feel like I'm all types turned around right now. I started with a Lollar Imperial Low Wind as my swap choice, now it might be either a Lollar CC or another boutique CC. Those CC's from the UK sound REALLY good, but I dunno if they make them in a humbucker ring mount housing. I dunno if I'm ready to drill and route more into the top if I'm not sure if it will take well with my guitar, you know?

  31. #30

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    If $550 is “a little pricey” for one pickup....I’m going to have to go all acoustic! As I have posted before, a pickup is not new technology and consists of mainly some plastic bobbins with fine wire wrapped around it and a little magnet. If I was selling them for $1100 a pair, jeez, I guess I would suggest you buy them from me also. There’s just absolutely no justification for that cost.
    Last edited by whiskey02; 06-30-2019 at 11:17 PM.
    Ignorance is agony.



  32. #31

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    Cut your caps off of your tone pots. That's what they do when you hear the term "wide-open pick up" it is a pick up without any caps in the circuit. Some pickups sound really good without caps some don't.

    And I've seen quite a few Jazz boxes with just a volume knob too...

  33. #32

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Those CC's from the UK sound REALLY good, but I dunno if they make them in a humbucker ring mount housing. I dunno if I'm ready to drill and route more into the top if I'm not sure if it will take well with my guitar, you know?
    That’s a radical mod to a carved archtop, especially since you don’t know if you’ll like the result. I’d shop for another guitar before considering a mod like that.

  34. #33

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    I feel like I'm all types turned around right now. I started with a Lollar Imperial Low Wind as my swap choice, now it might be either a Lollar CC or another boutique CC. Those CC's from the UK sound REALLY good, but I dunno if they make them in a humbucker ring mount housing. I dunno if I'm ready to drill and route more into the top if I'm not sure if it will take well with my guitar, you know?
    CC Pickups - Pickups
    Charlie Christian Pickups: Handmade in USA | Lollar Pickups
    They do sound REALLY good. But how much better?



    Slaman, who makes guitars I would like to own, says he couldn't tell the difference in blind test. And the Lollars are quite a bit cheaper. (Although not cheap by any means.)

    Playing $500 for a single pickup? You could buy vintage PAFs for that. What materials or labour going into a new pickup could possibly justify that? The Lollars already have an unconventional bobbin (which for a manufacturer mean they cannot be used for other pickups) unusually thick 38 gauge wire which is used for no other pickup and an unusual footprint which calls for the installer to make an unusual route in a solid body and an usual mount in a hollow body. For these reasons, I was willing to pay a bit more. ...And I have to say I was never as happy with a pickup as I have been with my CCs. But I think they already at the limit of justifiable exprense... for me. Others' mileage may vary.

    On another subject, one problem with quick recordings of pickups on youtube is that many times we are hearing things from the camera microphone and an amp which is not very loud. So we end up hearing the 'highs' coming through from the acoustic sound of the instrument layered in with the amplified sound.

    This is fine if, like with the OP, they want you to hear the sound of the acoustic instrument. But if you want to hear the sound of the pickups as they will be amplified, they are adding highs and upper level harmonics that the audience or the recording is not going to hear. You aren't just hearing the pickups. Most jazz players also probably play with reasonably low volumes at home and so become used to hearing this mixture of acoustic and amplified signal and may be surprised when their sound in 'duller' and 'less lively' on recordings or in live performance. We should remember to put on the headphones or listen back to recordings to hear what our sound is actually going to sound like "in performance" than to dial in a sound we love in our bedroom and expect it to translate. ...Or add a microphone.

    Just a thought.

  35. #34
    Okay, whew--the twists and turns in this pending pickup replacement!

    This thread has been EXTREMELY helpful, by the way.

    Okay, last two pickup questions.

    For those of you that have a CC type pickup:

    1. Have you ever tried it with round wounds? That's what I play and I'm curious how the pup speaks with that type of string.

    2. Could someone post a clip of how a CC type pickup sounds at performance tempo. Mateo brings up a HUGE point. Most of the pickup demos are done at bedroom volumes, where you hear the pup and acoustic sound mix (more acoustic in most cases). But my issue is my tone when I have to dial in a volume loud enough to play with a group--that's louder than duo playing or solo practicing.

    Here's another recent clip of Graham, very topical--if you follow the movie news:



    I'll see if I can get him to do something for JGF...

  36. #35

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    Can't post any video clips,but I use roundwounds 12 -52 And CC Humbucking floater on my Elferink Tonemaster archtop.

    Another consideration is the actual tone of your guitar. I use to own some different Eastmans, and found them to be stronger in bass and treble response. Rather than say Gibson Johnny Smith or L-5 which had thicker tops and backs.These have more complex midrange as well.

    Possibly the addition of a piezo pickup to blend in with your existing humbucker might do the trick. Also as suggested some sort of EQ device or Baggs Para DI along with your setup.

  37. #36

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    Stewmac Golden Age pickups are nice, the multimeter says there just fine. And they are not an under wind and they're not an over wind just the right wind. You might be pleasantly surprised.
    Last edited by geogio; 06-30-2019 at 07:16 PM.

  38. #37
    Jads, BB, et al

    I appreciate all the suggestions on capturing my guitar's acoustic tone, but most of my playing out is at jam sessions. If I had to blend a piezo or transducer of some sort with my existing pickup through two amps at a jam... not good. Also, I can't physically carry all that extra equipment.

    I might check out these CC type pups in a humbucker housing. I might look at the Stewmac as well.

    From what I've heard, traditional PAFs are deeper and warmer--but they have a "wooly" quality. Single coils seem to have more clarity and top end, but they can get thin really fast (if you don't find the right one). Is that basic assessment in the ballpark?

  39. #38
    Geogio,

    These:

    Golden Age Parsons Street Humbuckers | stewmac.com

    I like that I could choose the magnet. I would probably go with a Alnico 5 as well. Got any good sound samples with an archtop?

  40. #39
    I really like the Pete Biltoft CC's--they have a sparkle and they sound just warm enough to add depth to the note. However, how are these mounted in--that doesn't look like the traditional triangular screw mount on the sound board. It looks like a P90 dog ear thing, or are those screws from a previous pickup? If this is a humbucker housing pup--I think I've found my new pup!


  41. #40

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    Fred Archtop really puts those pickups to awfully good use too!

    I think you should really give Pete a call to ask about mounting options.

    I then came across this article:

    Charlie’s Gear | Gypsy Jazz UK

    It states:

    “ There were 3 different varieties of Charlie Christian pickup produced by Gibson, and all 3 are distinguished by the polepiece:

    Retro Source


    1. The 1st of these was produced from 1936 until mid-1938 and had a plain blade polepiece. The coil was wound to about 2.4 k? resistance using AWG 38 enamelled wire.
    2. The 2nd type was introduced on ES-150s built from mid-1938 onward, and featured a polepiece that had a notch cut out below the 2nd (B) string. This modification was made to lower the volume of the B string, which sounded significantly louder than the other strings. At this time the coil was wound with a finer wire (AWG 42) resulting in more turns and an approximately 5.2 k? resistance, which gave the pickup a higher output.
    3. The 3rd pickup was available on the Gibson ES-250, which was available beginning in 1939. The blade on this pickup had 5 notches, each located between the strings. This pickup also had a more compact internal design. It featured a cobalt steel slug that was small enough to sit directly under the pickup.

    The sound this pickup produced is clear – thanks to the narrow string-sensing blade – and powerful because of the relatively high resistance of the coil. Uneven magnetic flux within the steel magnets could cause some distortion in the signal. Electromagnetic hum was also a big problem with these pickups because of their large surface area and utter lack of shielding.”

    According to this article, the 38 gauge wire was only used until mid-1938 when they switched over to 42 gauge wire. This would indicate that Biltoft’s and Lollar’s are equally correct takes on Charlie Christian era CC pickups in terms of wire (and equally different from the original design in terms of deciding to look for alternates to cumbersome cobalt magnets).

  42. #41

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    The Vintage Vibe CCRider pickups are mounted just like a humbucker, screws into a bracket under the pickup.

    If you have 300k pots, they're fine for single-coils but not so great for humbuckers, which need 500k to allow sufficient treble to come through. If you have a humbucker-size pickup in the guitar now, Biltoff makes a humbucker-sized single coil which sounds very good. I have one in an old Epi and it's a great pickup. All the Vintage Vibe pickups come with two different magnet sets, which are easily changed, and you can buy others for very little money. He will supply ceramic or any of the alnico alloys, your choice. And a lot less than $500.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by Irez87 View Post
    Geogio,

    These:

    Golden Age Parsons Street Humbuckers | stewmac.com

    I like that I could choose the magnet. I would probably go with a Alnico 5 as well. Got any good sound samples with an archtop?
    I think Johnny Smith used A5 magnets. Ceramics are very even, A2 is smoother than A5 and A7 has a bit more bite.

    As an example of A5, an A5 precision bass pickup is has more growl then A2 or a ceramic. That's why A5 magnets in Precision basses might be suited to certain types of Rock.

    As for jazz guitars again, Johnny Smith used play A5 in his winds. If you listen to Johnny Smith, there are times in his approach that he does get a little growly or snazzy sounding but he could also bring it down to a creamy smooth level, so fingers play have a lot to do with tone as well. It's very squishy science when it comes to electric circuits in guitars.

    That said... the amount of windings, the type of pots, caps and even wire also plays a part.

    The originator of the thread is talking extremes when maybe he should look at the rest of the circuit before he starts swapping pickups out, I recently did that with a Carvin Holdsworth fat boy and I gutted it with the exception of the H22 pickups and put CTS pots and switch master switches along with a switchmaster Jack. And it sounds better but the pickups are over winds so I'm not going to get any smoother but it does sound much better than it did with the stock pieces swapped and the roll off on Vol and tone is much better. If I want smooth with that Holdsworth and its new configuration, I have to go to fingertips for tone changes but these CTS Pots allow that tone to be much smoother than it was previously.

    So you can't expect to drastically change your sound if you only play a certain way, that's why I do not recommend just changing out pickups first.

    I think you need to look at the rest of the circuit and then start looking at things like types of magnets and the amount of winds. I think the golden age in an A5 is probably very acceptable and a very 50s amount of clarity is what Stewart-Macdonald was going for in that design.

    I'm getting a bit wordy here, but 7 to 9 Ohms on the pickups for jazz and maybe a smooth sounding clear can be achieved , I think I have read that some Lollars are wound to 6.5 ohm but I'm not sure, I think Tim Lerch explains some of that in his videos he's a Lollar user and CC user as well.

  44. #43

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    My experience with CC pickups comes from fairly extensive time "behind the wheel" of a '37 Gibson ES150, a '38 Gibson ES150, and a '38 Recording King M5 with the CC from a M4.

    These were the three finest sounding electric jazz guitars that I have played. The tones of Charlie Christian, Barney Kessel, and early Jimmy Raney were right there.

    As important, no other guitar /pickup has the dynamic range of a CC equipped archtop.

  45. #44

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    But those were the original deal!

    No need to age those pickup magnets!

  46. #45

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    Speaking from electronics only. Pickup impedance should be measured at 400 hz. Impedance bridge, Not DC with a ordinary ohm meter.

    Connecting the pickup across a volume pot of the same value will give the most efficient power transfer but will reduce the voltage by half. That may reduce the frequency response. Rule of thumb: volume pot 10 times the AC impedance will change the frequency response the least.

    There is more to this but I think I have given a simplified explanation.

    So why not run a clip on mike to a second channel of the amp or a small mixer? It might give you the extra snap your looking for without guitar surgery.

  47. #46

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    This Thread is also talking about Kent Armstrong and different winds that people associate with a jazz sound ... that big box Jazz sound of the sixties.

    Perchance you're going for a Wes Montgomery sound... then you're talking about jazz box Gibson's with P.A.F.'s - using the wind that Gibson used, and of course the magnet material, Caps, the wiring, and the materials thereof down to the wire, down to the coating on the wire if you really want to get into the weeds., here's the link:

    KA handwound PAF/Benedetto A6/Lollar Imperial

  48. #47

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    Here's another thought , back in the early days when guitarists were playing what was known as "Orchestra guitar", guitarists had acoustic archtops and they went out and they bought these pickguards that had a pickup installed and they replace the acoustic archtop pickguards with these wired pickguards and that's what they used. Even the cord jack came off of the pickguard, nothing was messed with as far as keeping the guitar and its original configuration except for the change out of the pickguard.

  49. #48

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    I would try changing pots before changing the pickup. It is a much cheaper way of finding out you may not like something. You could try a 1meg pot - I had them in my 70s telecaster when I first got it, but I quickly changed them out because it was far too bright for me. You could try a 500K pot as well - which, to be honest, is what I would try before a 1meg.
    Another option to consider is getting a treble boost foot pedal. Again it is much less invasive than replacing a pickup. And you could probably try it in the shop before you do anything to the guitar itself.

  50. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by dazzaman View Post
    I would try changing pots before changing the pickup. It is a much cheaper way of finding out you may not like something. You could try a 1meg pot - I had them in my 70s telecaster when I first got it, but I quickly changed them out because it was far too bright for me. You could try a 500K pot as well - which, to be honest, is what I would try before a 1meg.
    Another option to consider is getting a treble boost foot pedal. Again it is much less invasive than replacing a pickup. And you could probably try it in the shop before you do anything to the guitar itself.

    I'm glad this thread is still going. I thought about it, and I think I have 500k pots--I definitely replaced the stock pots. I also replaced the wiring--all paper vintage pots...that was 6 years ago.

    I didn't know about 1meg pots until I started looking around on Jason Lollar's website. It's definitely an option.

    Running more pedals into the mix... I'm not a fan. Before my friend gave me him old boost pedal, I wasn't using any pedals at all. It's not that I hate pedals--I could see the benefit of nice reverb pedal to mitigate the crappy verb on my solid state DV.

    I could also try a treble bleed.

    Here's a point that a drummer made on JazzGuitarToday:

    "The thing is, tone doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Once you rub your frequencies up against the bass, and the piano, and the bass drum, and the ride cymbal (mmm, a metal thing we like to hit!), not to mention the room itself, it all changes. And I’ve seen so many guitarists fail to compensate for whatever is harshing their tone, which can turn the stage into a low-mid soup that resembles the din of a big box store on Black Friday. Or they spend the whole gig turning knobs and clicking pedals until they can’t concentrate on even the simplest of tasks, like ordering a drink that will surely help them relax a little bit and remember they’re here to play music. My sonic nightmare (which occurs all too often) is when a guitarist, an amplified bass, and a keyboard all occupy the same small space. That’s a lot of amplification pumping out the same frequencies."

    --Justin Varnes Jazz Guitar Today

    That's exactly what I'm talking about. I couldn't care less about how the pickup sounds at bedroom volumes because I don't play amplified all that much at home (I can't--what with my baby daughter and all). So I'm looking to address my tone when playing at performance volumes (about 1 o'clock on my amp--a little past midway). Right now I play full open, with very little bass or mids--it still sounds muddy.

  51. #50
    I know you had said that you “usually” play through a DVLJ.

    I’ve got a DVLJ myself and love the heck out of it, but that’s because I find it to give me a dark tone out of the box which I love for electric jazz.

    Do you get the same results from other amps like Fenders and such?