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  1. #1

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    I recently purchased a used 2006 Trenier. I love the guitar, the build, craftsmanship, everything except the plugged in tone. The acoustic tone is warm, woody and wonderful. That is how I played it mostly, but I am thinking a pickup upgrade might help. This was custom built for a specific player, so I am assuming he requested this Seymour Duncan. Everything I find online about it suggests it is for 70's Led Zeppelin gain tones. Not exactly what I am going for.....

    Here's the NGD post for the guitar specs: 2006 Trenier Custom RW
    Here's the pickup in question: Seymour Duncan Whole Lotta™ Humbucker Pickup | Seymour Duncan

    I am pretty uneducated when it comes to pickups, magnets, winds, resistance measurements, etc. What are your guys thoughts on this pickup, and what could I gain from upgrades, like a Kent Armstrong, Lollar low wind Imperial, etc? Any specific upgrades to look at it?

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  3. #2

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    I think a Kent Armstrong PAF (the handmade one by Kent himself) will get you the tone you are after. Warmth with detail. Some call that pickup the gold standard for jazz guitar amplification. I would also consider a Gibson 57 classic which gives a very warm and creamy tone.

    The pickup in your guitar is "hot" meaning it is probably best suited for overdriven rock/blues tones.

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I think a Kent Armstrong PAF (the handmade one by Kent himself) will get you the tone you are after. Warmth with detail. Some call that pickup the gold standard for jazz guitar amplification. I would also consider a Gibson 57 classic which gives a very warm and creamy tone.

    The pickup in your guitar is "hot" meaning it is probably best suited for overdriven rock/blues tones.
    Warmth and detail is exactly what I want!! For reference I love Peter Bernstein's tone. I had not thought of 57 classics for this one. I have them in my 335 and do like them a lot in that

  5. #4

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    I think Stringswinger's recommendations are great. I'd add checking out something like the Lollar Imperial or SD '59. My Eastman had the 59s, and they sounded great.

  6. #5

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    I love the tone of the KA PAF in my Victor Baker (a lam-top 17" model) and my old Borys B120 had one too, perfect for that type of guitar/sound.
    You can't go wrong with that pickup but of course, there are other choices as described above.

  7. #6

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    With a spec of 8.2K, the SD "Whole Lotta" is not super hot...not that far off a Lollar Imperial. The KA is in fact fairly hot. I dunno...not sure if you're going to see huge tonal changes with another pickup; it could be setup/pot values/pick/other issues.

    You could also consider a Lollar Charlie Christian HB size which is probably "more different" than any of the other humbuckers. I really liked that in my 16" Andersen laminate.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by coolvinny
    With a spec of 8.2K, the SD "Whole Lotta" is not super hot...not that far off a Lollar Imperial. The KA is in fact fairly hot. I dunno...not sure if you're going to see huge tonal changes with another pickup; it could be setup/pot values/pick/other issues.
    Output alone does not tell the whole story. Magnet type, wire type and number of windings all contribute to the sound of a pickup. The KA PAF is designed for a warm, jazz guitar sound. The "whole lotta" is similar to a Fender Texas Special. It is designed to push the amplifier. While that is great for say, electric blues, it sure isn't what I would want in a jazz pickup. YMMV

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Output alone does not tell the whole story. Magnet type, wire type and number of windings all contribute to the sound of a pickup. The KA PAF is designed for a warm, jazz guitar sound. The "whole lotta" is similar to a Fender Texas Special. It is designed to push the amplifier. While that is great for say, electric blues, it sure isn't what I would want in a jazz pickup. YMMV
    So true ! I was really surprised when I first played my Super-400 with a vintage DeArmond 1100 installed - that pickup was louder than the humbuckers in my other guitars.... same story with the
    KA single coil floater on my Trenier Jazz Special : it's got more oompf than the PAF in my current Super-400CES ! Doesn't overdrive my amps though, thank you !

  10. #9

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    The "whole lotta" blurb says it is a recipe from when SD was working at the London Fender Soundhouse in the 70s. At that time, there were few if any " hot" pickups available to buy, just the standard Gibson T tops that came in 335s and LPs then. So, in 1975, in the UK, this pickup recipe might have seemed like a ( slightly) hotter pickup, but by today's standards it is simply upper average for a neck pup. If you read the specs, it should sound mid=scooped and slightly brighter, but not significantly so. I don't know where the idea comes from that this is going to overdrive an amp more easily; yes, the inductance number isn't shown, but one could reasonably surmise it will sound like a slightly overwound gibson T top. I'm guessing the "whole lotta" thing is just hype.
    Besides, wasn't that track done on a tele?

    The armstrong recommendation sounds a good idea. Classic 57s are a matter of taste IMO; I find them bass-heavy, but I understand others love them.
    I have had good luck with an Armstrong wound with heavier wire and an A3 magnet, for a rounder top end. Corksniffing, definitely...

  11. #10

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    I second the recommendation to try Gibson Classic 57s--hard to go wrong with this pickup. If you don't like it, easy to resell as well.

    For another alternative look at the Stewart Mac Golden Age Parsons Street HBs, available in Alnico 2 as well as 5. Supposed to be "closely" modelled on PAF pickups.

    https://www.stewmac.com/electronics/...umbuckers.html

  12. #11

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    I would just try this one first. Roll the volume knob down to six or seven, which will knock off some of the highs and warm things up a little bit, and twiddle the tone to taste. You might be pleasantly surprised.

  13. #12

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    Keep in mind that Bryant puts Lollar low wind Imperials in his Jazz Specials. You could always reach out to Bryant and get his opinion. Bryant's a great guy.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Aquisto Fan
    Keep in mind that Bryant puts Lollar low wind Imperials in his Jazz Specials. You could always reach out to Bryant and get his opinion. Bryant's a great guy.
    Yeah I probably should. I was wondering what was on the jazz specials!

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paulie2
    Yeah I probably should. I was wondering what was on the jazz specials!
    But Jazz Specials are laminated whereas yours is carved, and they will sound different through the amp. Low-wind pickups are brighter than higher-wind; I find that carved top guitars are usually brighter when amplified. You'll need to factor all this stuff into your decision.

    p.s. I have the KA 12-pole HB on my Jazz Special, but it's a floater. However I also have the same pickup on a carved top/lam back guitar I have and it sounds very good. Still, I feel differences between humbuckers are quite minor and that if you really want a different sound than something like a Lollar CC may be better.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by JSanta
    "I think Stringswinger's recommendations are great.."
    This is ALWAYS the case..

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Max405
    This is ALWAYS the case..
    +1

  18. #17

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    D'Marzio PAF 36th anniversary is another fine candidate for you to consider. It has a lovely sweet warm smooth character that works really well in a good set-in pickup archtop.

    What ever you choose let it up so it is close to the top away from the strings. That really enhances the sound of these low field pickups...

    The Loller CC humbucker sized pickup was the noisiest pickup I have ever used. If there was a 60 cycle hum in the county that thing would pick it up. If you insist on getting one get an Electro-Harmonix Hum Debugger...

  19. #18
    I dont know about how to best suggest for your application but for my new 335 I just ordered some Bobby Tyson Tone Lab pickups and am very,very excited about putting them in my 2018 made in Memphis Gibson335. I have only had this guitar about a month so that might tell you something about how good I think his PAF s are! They are most likely best for fusion style with a little grind on them when you dig in. Tyson has a website for people to check out his products.

  20. #19

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    Thanks everyone for the advice. Looking through all the recommendations now and will let you guys know where I end up. Also shot Bryant a note to get his take on it. Here’s some of the acoustic tone on the Trenier if anyone is interested