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Wilkinson pickups You Rikee?

#1 User is offline   Starpeve 

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 06:39 PM

Hi guys.
Just wondering if anyone out there has tried any of the Wilkinson pickups. I stuck a set of the zebras in my Dot Studio and I really like 'em. Even more so when I started fiddling with their
heights relative to the strings and each other.pretty cheap too. I know that they're licensed and made in Asia somewhere but I'm pretty happy with them. Now as a little experiment I've just
bought an 8.5 ish k P-90 to swap around with them in various possies to explore that range of possibilities.I.ve already fixed a few pots/switches since I bought it but this time I'm thinking of re-looming it with better quality wiring. I'm quite interested in the Tonestyler pot but after reading some posts I may have a go at building a slackers version of one out of curiousity.I'm thinking
6 stages- any suggestions about the selection of cap values I should use for a decent graduation( I'm no electronics whizz by any stretch!)

By the way I'm a newbie- sorry if I've overlapped subjects here but I was on a roll...
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And many assorted bits of iOS stuff
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Now I've got a frankenthingy too!
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#2 User is offline   mahoganydc 

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 10:26 AM

I once had a pine Jaguar-style beater with Wilkinson humbuckers. Good tone, crappy feel from that guitar, which told me the pickups were actually alright. Being a mass manufacturer at the economy level, I'm guessing you won't get the same attention to detail/QC as you would with DiMarzio or Seymour Duncan or the boutique market. However, there really aren't that many duds (would Italia guitars use them if there were?) and Wilkinsons are still good for knowing what kind of sound you want - low output PAF? high output shredder? bright and twangy single coil? nasty P90? etc.

Based on my experience with Wilkinson, I like them.

#3 User is offline   Bluemans335 

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 01:25 PM

There's a thriving market here in the states for used PU's. High-quality American-made brands can usually be found for around half-price used. At that point the difference in cost between a used Seymour Duncan and a new Asian-made is minimal, so there's no point in getting an Asian one. You get a lot better PU with a Duncan, Dimarzio, Gibson, etc. Better definition, articulation, clarity, and depth. The most important thing you can do to improve the tone of a guitar is to upgrade the PU's, it does more than replacing all the hardware and electronics put together. Replacing low-cost Asians with other low-cost Asians isn't really an upgrade.

#4 User is offline   BaZie 

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 01:47 AM

Some people say many pickups are manufactured in Korea. So, the point is not where it is manufactured, but who designed it. Sometimes guitarists do not need perfect pickups, but just want to have a better tone. In this case, cheap replacement pickups may often be good enough.
BTW. I have browsed few ebay auctions and I must say that many factory new Wilkinson and similar brand pickups are cheaper than half the price of used Gibson or Seymour Duncan.
BaZie

Ibanez RG270 BK '2002 (Entwistle Nemesis AFG neck and bridge, XS62 middle)
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Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue TB (Entwistle HV-M neck, Epiphone NSX middle, Seymour Duncan SH-4 Slant bridge, custom-modified switching)
Epiphone Explorer Pro TV Silver (Entwistle Nemesis neck, Gibson Dirty Fingers bridge)
Kramer Assault 220 FR AW (Giovanni GCH-2 neck, GCH-2 bridge with Alnico 8)
Hamer Standard XT Series BK (Entwistle HV-58+ neck, HV-58+ bridge with Alnico 8)

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#5 User is offline   Bluemans335 

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:16 AM

View PostBaZie, on 28 August 2013 - 01:47 AM, said:

Some people say many pickups are manufactured in Korea. So, the point is not where it is manufactured, but who designed it. Sometimes guitarists do not need perfect pickups, but just want to have a better tone. In this case, cheap replacement pickups may often be good enough.
BTW. I have browsed few ebay auctions and I must say that many factory new Wilkinson and similar brand pickups are cheaper than half the price of used Gibson or Seymour Duncan.


The playing field isn't always perfectly leveled between used American-made and new Asian-made, but it's usually close enough that it makes sense to spend a few more dollars and get a much better PU for the money. When it comes down to $30 for a new Asian GFS vs $35 for for a used American Seymour Duncan, it's foolish to try to save $5. For a cheap guitar played thru a cheap amp, an Asian replacement PU may well be 'good enough' especially if a lot of distortion and overdrive is used. But when you're playing cleaner thru a better amp, there is a noticeable difference.

The thing is, it doesn't matter who 'designed' a PU. They're mostly very similar in design; only so many ways you can do it. The heart of a PU is in the pattern and tension of the windings through those thousands of turns, and that's an art, not a science. There's much more to it than wrapping wire around a coil. Winding secrets take years, even decades, for a good PU winder to learn, and they're closely guarded and not shared. That's why expensive PU's sound the way they do.

#6 User is offline   BaZie 

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 05:48 AM

View PostBluemans335, on 28 August 2013 - 05:16 AM, said:

When it comes down to $30 for a new Asian GFS vs $35 for for a used American Seymour Duncan, it's foolish to try to save $5.


That's true, but I find it hard to find used SD for as cheap as 35 USD. Maybe it takes more time.

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That's why expensive PU's sound the way they do.


But sometimes I get an impression that part of their price is paid for their brand ;)
BaZie

Ibanez RG270 BK '2002 (Entwistle Nemesis AFG neck and bridge, XS62 middle)
Epiphone Les Paul Studio EB (Entwistle HV58-ZB neck and bridge, Seymour Duncan Triple Shots)
Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue TB (Entwistle HV-M neck, Epiphone NSX middle, Seymour Duncan SH-4 Slant bridge, custom-modified switching)
Epiphone Explorer Pro TV Silver (Entwistle Nemesis neck, Gibson Dirty Fingers bridge)
Kramer Assault 220 FR AW (Giovanni GCH-2 neck, GCH-2 bridge with Alnico 8)
Hamer Standard XT Series BK (Entwistle HV-58+ neck, HV-58+ bridge with Alnico 8)

Digitech RP300
Laney HCM15R

#7 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 08:53 AM

View PostBaZie, on 28 August 2013 - 01:47 AM, said:

Some people say many pickups are manufactured in Korea. So, the point is not where it is manufactured, but who designed it. Sometimes guitarists do not need perfect pickups, but just want to have a better tone. In this case, cheap replacement pickups may often be good enough.
BTW. I have browsed few ebay auctions and I must say that many factory new Wilkinson and similar brand pickups are cheaper than half the price of used Gibson or Seymour Duncan.

Next to design comes how and of which materials they are made regardless of where. Making pickups is a not that easy if a quality product with consistent quality is the goal. Remember the tolerances of the PAFs made in the late 1950s which led to their numerous variations offered nowadays.

It should be mentioned that poor pickups still are the most significant - not necessarily most important - shortcomings of cheap guitars, despite of personal taste or preferences which may cause people to replace pickups of fine make in more expensive guitars, too.
DVCVNT VOLENTEM FATA NOLENTEM TRAHVNT
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#8 User is offline   BaZie 

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 01:00 PM

View Postcapmaster, on 28 August 2013 - 08:53 AM, said:

It should be mentioned that poor pickups still are the most significant - not necessarily most important - shortcomings of cheap guitars, despite of personal taste or preferences which may cause people to replace pickups of fine make in more expensive guitars, too.


I think it's easier to change pickups or even all the electronics, than for example neck, especially set-in. And the results of pickup change are very well audible (almost) immediately. That's the advantage of Floyd Rose-exuipped guitars - you don't need to detune strings to loosen them, you just press the vibrato as if to "dive bomb", put a screwdriver between strings and neck and there's enough room to remove pickups with rings. After that, it's often not necessary to retune.
BaZie

Ibanez RG270 BK '2002 (Entwistle Nemesis AFG neck and bridge, XS62 middle)
Epiphone Les Paul Studio EB (Entwistle HV58-ZB neck and bridge, Seymour Duncan Triple Shots)
Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue TB (Entwistle HV-M neck, Epiphone NSX middle, Seymour Duncan SH-4 Slant bridge, custom-modified switching)
Epiphone Explorer Pro TV Silver (Entwistle Nemesis neck, Gibson Dirty Fingers bridge)
Kramer Assault 220 FR AW (Giovanni GCH-2 neck, GCH-2 bridge with Alnico 8)
Hamer Standard XT Series BK (Entwistle HV-58+ neck, HV-58+ bridge with Alnico 8)

Digitech RP300
Laney HCM15R

#9 User is offline   capmaster 

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 01:13 PM

View PostBaZie, on 28 August 2013 - 01:00 PM, said:

I think it's easier to change pickups or even all the electronics, than for example neck, especially set-in. And the results of pickup change are very well audible (almost) immediately. That's the advantage of Floyd Rose-exuipped guitars - you don't need to detune strings to loosen them, you just press the vibrato as if to "dive bomb", put a screwdriver between strings and neck and there's enough room to remove pickups with rings. After that, it's often not necessary to retune.

This is basically correct, but I never would do it the way you described. I wouldn't even do this with an additional wedging of the vibrato block and/or partial removing of vibrato springs.
DVCVNT VOLENTEM FATA NOLENTEM TRAHVNT
(The Fates lead the willing and drag those who are unwilling.)
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

#10 User is offline   Bluemans335 

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 04:21 PM

View Postcapmaster, on 28 August 2013 - 08:53 AM, said:

Next to design comes how and of which materials they are made regardless of where. Making pickups is a not that easy if a quality product with consistent quality is the goal. Remember the tolerances of the PAFs made in the late 1950s which led to their numerous variations offered nowadays.

It should be mentioned that poor pickups still are the most significant - not necessarily most important - shortcomings of cheap guitars, despite of personal taste or preferences which may cause people to replace pickups of fine make in more expensive guitars, too.


+1. A long-term problem with Asian PU's has been consistency, along with the cheaper materials used. American players have been chasing tone for decades, which is the only reason aftermarket PU manufacturers exist: because their products equal or exceed the tone of stock PU's. The vast majority of Asian-made PU's are produced so that they have something to put in a guitar, to produce a signal, regardless of how it sounds. PU's are not the place to scrimp.

I've bought dozens of American-made PU's over the years online, most were used, and the majority were $35 to $40. They're out there if you look.

#11 User is offline   BaZie 

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 10:21 PM

View PostBluemans335, on 28 August 2013 - 04:21 PM, said:

I've bought dozens of American-made PU's over the years online, most were used, and the majority were $35 to $40. They're out there if you look.


OK, so where to look for? On Ebay? Somewhere else?
BaZie

Ibanez RG270 BK '2002 (Entwistle Nemesis AFG neck and bridge, XS62 middle)
Epiphone Les Paul Studio EB (Entwistle HV58-ZB neck and bridge, Seymour Duncan Triple Shots)
Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue TB (Entwistle HV-M neck, Epiphone NSX middle, Seymour Duncan SH-4 Slant bridge, custom-modified switching)
Epiphone Explorer Pro TV Silver (Entwistle Nemesis neck, Gibson Dirty Fingers bridge)
Kramer Assault 220 FR AW (Giovanni GCH-2 neck, GCH-2 bridge with Alnico 8)
Hamer Standard XT Series BK (Entwistle HV-58+ neck, HV-58+ bridge with Alnico 8)

Digitech RP300
Laney HCM15R

#12 User is offline   Starpeve 

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 01:42 AM

I am envious of the availability of bargains as described above, for you will find very little of the sort here in good 'ol Oz! Plus the prohibitive shipping costs for overseas purchases ,make the game a little pricier here. So to play around with different types of pickups it seems to go with cheaper options makes some sense to a degree. Plus, I wonder if a small Asian concern making pickups in a more haphazard way might be turning out some to-be classiics? It's the labour costs rather than the material costs that makes Asian endevours so cheap- by a huge factor.
Epi Dot Studio modded
Epi PR5e
70's Sakai SGish Thingy
Digitech RP255
Guitar Rig2
Amplitube iOS
And many assorted bits of iOS stuff
and hardware to use it!
Epi Valve Junior v3
Now I've got a frankenthingy too!
And now a Casino , Natural .
Yamaha THR10c modelling amp

#13 User is offline   jonnyg 

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 02:59 AM

I bought a Wilkinson designed Vintage V100 LP type guitar which came fitted with Wilkinson PAF type pickups. They were OK but nothing better than middling. On the recommendation of a friend I swapped them out for a set of IronGear Blues Engines which were head and shoulders above the Wilkinsons, although still a far east made product at a similar price.
Played side by side with my early 80's USA made Hamer, with the factory fitted original DiMarzio's, I can't hear a great difference in tone or quality of sound. The differences are just as likely due to them being slightly different types of guitar.
To sum up, I think there are better pickups than Wilkinsons for similar money and I don't think that some far east made pickups are much worse, if at all, than USA made ones. Like Australia, it seems, people ask ridiculous sums of money in the UK for second hand American made pickups.

#14 User is offline   Bluemans335 

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 05:11 AM

View PostBaZie, on 28 August 2013 - 10:21 PM, said:

OK, so where to look for? On Ebay? Somewhere else?


Yes, eBay, and the Duncan Form's Trading Post. But that's for the USA, where there's a thriving market in used PU's. We're fortunate.

The inconsistencies in most Asian PU's do produce some better-than average sounding ones, but it also works the other way too.

There are a few Asian PU makers that are making a concerted effort to improve the tone of their products, like GFS and ToneRider. I don't think they're up to American or European tone standards yet, but they are better than the run-of-the-mill Asian PU's. For decades the Asian part of the market has been making PU's for entry-level and mid-priced guitars, producing large numbers of PU's without regard for tone quality. No one expects great PU's in a $300 guitar. That's gradually changing as the guitar market's gotten more competitive. Asian manufacturers want a piece of the high-end market too, and they're able to do it at a lower cost. We're in a transition period. Eventually almost all PU's may be made in the far east. They haven't been able to match Duncan and DiMarzio on selection or tone quality yet, but that day may be coming.

#15 User is offline   BaZie 

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 02:10 PM

View PostBluemans335, on 29 August 2013 - 05:11 AM, said:

Yes, eBay, and the Duncan Form's Trading Post. But that's for the USA, where there's a thriving market in used PU's. We're fortunate.


Fortunate, or just very close to the production line of both Seymour Duncan and Gibson pickups. ;-)

Quote

The inconsistencies in most Asian PU's do produce some better-than average sounding ones, but it also works the other way too.


"Classic" PAFs were not identical either. Today we consider them as some kind of reference point and try to reproduce their sound.

Quote

There are a few Asian PU makers that are making a concerted effort to improve the tone of their products, like GFS and ToneRider. I don't think they're up to American or European tone standards yet, but they are better than the run-of-the-mill Asian PU's.


It may depend how "European tone standard" is defined. There are new European guitar brands, like Revelation or Tanglewood, and their electrics are equipped with Entwistle pickups, designed in UK, but produced in Asia (some say they are manufactured by Artec).

I think one should decide, if an expense of original pickup can be justified. Even if the Asian-made aftermarket pickups are only half as good as originals, but at the cost of 1/10th of them, why not try? If I had Gibson, I would probably not hesitate. But if I have Asian-made guitar, I won't do anything bad choosing an Asian-made pickup, if that gives any improvement. In some cases, it does. But it depends not only on the pickup quality, but also on what we like, what we want, what we expect, what we feel. There are people who like Artec, or Wilkinson pickups, there are people who don't. And I'm sure there are people who don't like the sound of some particular Gibson or Seymour Duncan pickups.
BaZie

Ibanez RG270 BK '2002 (Entwistle Nemesis AFG neck and bridge, XS62 middle)
Epiphone Les Paul Studio EB (Entwistle HV58-ZB neck and bridge, Seymour Duncan Triple Shots)
Epiphone Nighthawk Custom Reissue TB (Entwistle HV-M neck, Epiphone NSX middle, Seymour Duncan SH-4 Slant bridge, custom-modified switching)
Epiphone Explorer Pro TV Silver (Entwistle Nemesis neck, Gibson Dirty Fingers bridge)
Kramer Assault 220 FR AW (Giovanni GCH-2 neck, GCH-2 bridge with Alnico 8)
Hamer Standard XT Series BK (Entwistle HV-58+ neck, HV-58+ bridge with Alnico 8)

Digitech RP300
Laney HCM15R

#16 User is offline   Starpeve 

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Posted 19 March 2014 - 02:58 AM

Just an update folks. I'm currently running one of those Wilkinson zebras in the bridge of my Dot Studio, and a cheap generic P 90 in the neck, originally as an experiment. Regarding the previous posts, I would say without hesitation that the Wilkinsons were superior to the stock Epi pups.However, I have been playing with the pups as advised on various forums re set-ups, and having dialed the slugs in the P90 below the top of the pup then raising it right up, and changing the slug staggering and heights on the paf, --Wow! These pickups sound seriously good regardless of their origins. I' m going to have to try going back and playing around with the Epis to be fair and re-compare them.Everyone I know loves my guitar, so it's not just my take on it. Pulls off Neil Young Ol' Black really well with no effects, just vol and tone with a bit of overdrive everywhere.
Just a bit of feedback for the thread out of interest [biggrin]
Epi Dot Studio modded
Epi PR5e
70's Sakai SGish Thingy
Digitech RP255
Guitar Rig2
Amplitube iOS
And many assorted bits of iOS stuff
and hardware to use it!
Epi Valve Junior v3
Now I've got a frankenthingy too!
And now a Casino , Natural .
Yamaha THR10c modelling amp

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