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hitman007

50's technology for pickups

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So I was wondering with all the innovations Gibson has made to the Les Paul over the years, why are they (and everyone else) still using the old "solder the pickup wires" method of the 50's. Why not have everyone in the industry go to a simple plug and play configuration so changing pups would be as simple as unplugging one and plugging in a different one. No solder, no burns just plug and play? Then you could actually change pickups on your guitar during a break!

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Everything you mention has been tried and rejected. Gibson does use "quick-connect" pickups on some models, and the "interchangeable pickup" guitar was invented by Dan Armstrong and marketed by Ampeg in 1969.

 

A good solder joint and point-to-point wiring is far superior in conductivity, connectivity and longevity than any "connector" and/or circuit board could ever be, and the "change pickups on break" idea is just not really practical, you just pick up a different guitar between songs.

 

During the early 70's Ibanez even made a "MPC" model Les Paul copy with interchangeable on-board effects "modules" (circuit boards). Another idea/invention that crashed and burned very quickly.

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Hello Hitman, and welcome to this nice place.

 

When changing pickups, adapting to the change in magnetic field may take the strings days. Tone and intonation will lack for that period.

 

It's the same as with a new string set. I personally know a pro guitarist who used 28 Strats of same build and even same finish when touring during the heydays of his band. He always had some at hand with strings unplayed but mature due to being at least ten days on the guitar. In his opinion, he owed this to himself and to the audiences.

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Both work fine. Its really personal preference just like with mini pots. The math comes out the same on the circuit it has to. Efficiency may slightly vary but not enough to change the tolerance to effect the math.

 

Players prefer the original point to point style solder. I don't have an issue with Gibson upgrading electronics and switching etc. Its a person to person thing. I don't know that a valid argument could be made on the connections. They don't use solder with electricity in anything but electronics.

 

We are creatures of habit bro, not a bad thing either. I just like to leave space on the habit list for free thinking.

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I personally just don't like the whole PCB board in place of 4 separate pots. If one pot fails it is much easier to change out when it is not integrated into a circuit board. if it was not on a board, and just involved soldered connecters onto standard pots I would not be against quick connect, but I do not like the circuit board, it just overly complicates everything for no good reason.

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Just because something is new doesn't equate to being more technologically advanced.

 

Ever since the Les Paul was "reissued" in the 70's, poeple have been trying to figure out how to make them GOOD, as they were when it was discontinued in the 60's. 20 or 30 years later, they can finally make one as "good" as they used to be.

 

That is to say, sometimes it takes "technonogy" a long time to advance to a point where we understand enough to be able to know what makes something made long ago sound good or not.

 

The fact something is made the "old way", replicated, if you will, IS a form of technology.

 

As for the quick connects, that is NOT a better way of doing it. Apart from welding, or "cold welds" (that's a clamp under high pressure), soldering IS the most technologically advanced way to make an electrical connection. A quick connect is down there with twisting the wires together and using electrical tape.

 

As far as ease of use/mainetnece, it isn't that hard to solder a connection. The increased effort in mainetence and alterations created by the quick-connect system is more than it saves.

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Quote: "Why not have everyone in the industry go to a simple plug and play configuration so changing pups would be as simple as unplugging one and plugging in a different one. No solder, no burns just plug and play? Then you could actually change pickups on your guitar during a break!"

 

 

 

hitman007.

 

Because of my background, quite a few of my pals of old are renowned, significant, authoritative figures in the Recording Industry. People that everyone respects and listens to.

 

Several of them, actually invented the most significant and important Recording Studio Innovations and Equipment in the Whole History of Recorded Music and are revered all over the World. Some others are Consultants, Designing many Key Pieces of Equipment and Laying Out New Studio Builds.

 

Solid State Logic Recording Consoles, the biggest Large Format Recording Console maker, owned by Peter Gabriel, (a really great guy) are actually Designed and Manufactured a short distance from my Home. So what I am about to explain to you is not conjecture, misinformation, based upon hearsay or anything like that, but if you like, a little "inside information".

 

 

 

So Here Goes.

 

There is a Recording Studio that uses Exactly the Same Equipment as many, many other Recording Studios.

 

Yet the "Sound" in that Studio is Legendary. It is very widely recognised as being Significantly Superior by everyone familiar with a wide Range of Top Recording Studios, (though of course many Top Studios have been killed off by the Rise in Value of Real Estate and the Ubiquitous Producer Studios, utilising Digital Technologies).

 

 

 

How does the Studio Owner Achieve this?

 

 

 

People assume it's the Talent of the Owner himself, the Design of the Studio and the Acoustical Treatment.

 

But they don't see anything really different, from so very many other Studios. The only thing people note is that many wires they would usually expect to see, aren't there.

 

In Reality, what the Owner has done is to REMOVE and ELIMINATE every possible Plug In Connection he can, between all the KEY Equipment that is in use. All the "Connections" are GONE and Key Equipment is "Hard Wired Together" by Soldering the Cables, Directly into the Heart of the Equipment itself. All the Cables are Routed in Channels under the Floor, so people assume that he is using some rare, special and expensive High Quality Type of Cable. He is not, it is the same Standard Cable used by Studios all over the World.

 

So with the Same Equipment and Cables, he is achieving a "Significantly Better Sound", but simply by Hard Wiring all his Equipment that doesn't require Patching In, Directly Together by Soldering them, instead of using the Usual Connector. By the way, when you have the familiar "Usual Connections", they can and do degrade over time. So anyone familiar with a Working in a Top Studio will know that Studio Patchbay Connectors and Connections have to be Routinely Cleaned and the Jacks Polished to ensure the Connections are kept as Good as Possible.

 

This to me, is the best argument I can think of from Real World Experience at the Top Level, against the flexibility and convenience of change from the type of people that are more concerned with the seemingly adding of value, by adding features.

 

Most Consumer Studio Equipment is Packed with "Value Adding Features" that in reality, does little well.

 

Most Top Studio Equipment is Very Simple in Design, with Few if Any Added Features.

 

It just Concentrates Wholly on Delivering Great Sound.

 

 

 

I think Great Pickups should be just the same.

 

 

 

If you are still unconvinced.

 

One of the World's Top Recording Engineers has told me that the Best Recorded Sound from a Fender Precision Bass is achieved when "By Passing" the Volume and Tone Controls and Tapping Straight from the Pickup Direct.

 

Here are some of his Clients. ZZ Top, AC/DC, The Rolling Stones, U2, Robert Palmer, The B-52's, Talking Heads, Dire Straits, Bob Marley, Eric Clapton, The Cure, Adam Ant, James Brown, Duran Duran, David Bowie, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Mick Jagger, Whitesnake, ELO, Serge Gainsbourg, Status Quo, Tom Tom Club, Madness, Spandau Ballet, Third World, Grace Jones, Joe Cocker, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Eurythmics, Julio Iglesias, Power Station, Roxy Music, Thompson Twins, Wings, Ringo Starr, Julian Lennon, Bad Company, Average White Band, Carly Simon.

 

 

 

Be open to the possibility that he may know what he is doing, though personally I prefer to keep the Pot's Handy, so do argue with him about that.

 

 

 

Have you ever considered the advantage of buying the Guitar that has the Pickups and Sound you want?

 

Instead of deliberately purchasing a Guitar that doesn't have the Pickups and Sound you want, which with respect, you appear to have done.

 

Using this completely novel, brilliantly conceived method of Purchasing Guitars, unless there is some definite electrical problem that appears over time, you never need to ever buy Additional Pickups or Change Out Anything at all on your Guitar. It gives you the Playability and Sound you want, right from the Get Go. You could become a Great Guitarist, instead of an Average Modder.

 

Despite the popularity of Retro Fit After Market Equipment. My observation and experience of Guitar Owners has been, that with very rare exceptions indeed; the Best Guitarists simply buy the Guitar that Plays and Sounds the way they want in the first place, rather than buying an Instrument they don't want, and then trying to make into a Guitar that they will want in the Second Place.

 

But these "upgrades" will make the Instrument Sound and Play Better!" I hear someone say. What they may do, (and there is no way of accurately predicting this until after you have Spent the Additional Money and Done all the Necessary Work) is to possibly make the Instrument more to YOUR particular personal taste, although it is often the case that a continuing dissatisfaction remains I have observed. But the question is will the Average Player and Audience feel the same way as you? Probably not or similar parts would be Standard Features.

 

The underlying and often self deluding subliminal implication here is that although all Great Instrument Manufacturers spend very significant amounts of Time and Money indeed on Research and Development by Highly Qualified Experts, before they bring their Products to Market. Without such Qualifications or any Genuine Resources, any individual will easily be able to Vastly Improve their Instrument by enacting a few simple changes. Naturally, once the Money is spent the "Difference or Improvement" can easily be detected by Ear, such are machinations of the Human Brain, which by the way can only hold the information for Sonic Comparison in its Short Term Memory for mere Milliseconds.

 

After those Milliseconds, the Information is transferred into Long Term Storage in the Brain. During this transference process the Sonic Harmonic Information is significantly Stripped Down, Dramatically Reduced in Size for more efficient Long Term Storage as the Brain only has so much space to keep everything it learns. (The Average Human Brain overwhelmingly gives Massive Priority to Visual Stimulation). We could liken this unconscious and automatic mental process to that of the difference between a High Quality C. D. and that of an MP-3 File, which has had a quantity of the Harmonic Information stripped down and out, so that its File Size can easily be Stored in a Tiny Space. Lots and lots of room for self deception there then, even if you had Two Identical Instruments for as direct as possible comparison. This is the problem with A-B-X Testing.

 

 

 

 

Of course no Two Musical Instruments are completely identical.

 

 

 

 

This Memory Transference is why when people try an Instrument, then later try it again, quite oftentimes it just doesn't seem to Sound Quite the Same as they actually remembered it, and they can feel confused and unsure of their own mind by this and don't understand why this is the case.

 

It is of course why they seek the opinions of others. Depth of Experience, and the Skill and Ability to understand that you never, ever get a Second Chance to Hear Something for the First Time, goes a Long Way here, though Scientific Analysis in Anechoic Chambers can provably tell us a great deal.

 

The Ability to Hear and Directly Understand Everything you Need to Hear The First Hearing, is a very Special Ability few people possess. Top Class Mastering Engineers that prepare and finalise Recording Studio Takes for Playback over a wide range of possible Audio Systems used by Consumers. Their Experienced Ears using unbelievably Expensive, Truth Telling, Reference Class, Loudspeaker Monitors, are amongst the very few that can.

 

Of course, the "upgrader" without an Anechoic Chamber, and no means of Direct Comparison, always can tell the Sonic Improvement their High Cost (for what they are) "upgrade" has brought to their Instrument. Can you see the Scope and Magnitude for completely honest Self Deception in all these processes? Yet few people have even ever heard of these processes, much less understood them.

 

 

 

 

Boiling it all down.

 

Buy the Instrument, that ticks every single one of the boxes for you, right from the get go.

 

Keep searching and trying every Instrument you can, to gain experience and knowledge, and vastly enjoy the ride, as this journey of discovery, will take considerable time.

 

Clarify your Thought Processes. Usually, the money spent on "upgrades" is far, far better spent on a Higher Class of Instrument in the First Place, so learn to save a little more money and take a little more time, looking to find what you really want. Rather than looking or needing to "upgrade", a Brand New Instrument, that isn't actually, what you do want. Usually Better Classes of Instrument have Superior Setups having finally gone through the Hands of the Factories Best Workers.

 

 

 

 

Finally.

 

My experience and observation of Guitar Owners.

 

Is that it is often the case that dissatisfaction with their Instrument, is in my judgment psychological "Projection".

 

Projection is a defence mechanism that involves taking our own unacceptable qualities or feelings and ascribing them to other people or in this case an Instrument.

 

For example, if you have a strong dislike for someone, you might instead believe that he or she does not like you. Projection works by allowing the expression of the desire or impulse, but in a way that the ego cannot recognize, therefore reducing anxiety that otherwise might occur.

 

Usually, where a Great Guitar Manufacturer is involved, the Real Problem is actually Deep within the Player, rather than in the Instrument. But the Guitar Owner subconsciously compensates for their Own Personal Insecurities and Deep Inferiority Complexes by suppressing reality and avoiding addressing them Directly. Instead Channelling and Expressing these Inner Sensibilities Outwardly and Projecting them into a Dissatisfaction with what is in Reality, actually a Fine Instrument.

 

Oftentimes, they are looking for a magic bullet to dramatically lift their performance, and alas this can often be an outward expression of what is in actual fact on a subconscious level, a profoundly deep inward recognition that their own personal musical performance, genuinely needs a great of deal attention. The hard application of strict disciplines and long hours of practise necessary to develop to the level they want to sound as though they are at, have precious little appeal to the genuinely lazy, looking for the quick, easy fix so prevalent amongst us today, that so often actively look for "easy improvements" in their Instrument.

 

 

 

 

Do they displace and project their own personal inadequacies, and spend their hard earned money, helping their Instrument to Improve?

 

 

 

 

The truth is.

 

Usually, by far the best "upgrade" any Instrument Owner can deploy and implement, is to very seriously dedicate themselves to a Hard Regime of Learning, Practising, and Applying Disciplines that Extend, Develop and Powerfully Amplifies, the Quality and Character of their Personal Musicianship.

 

 

 

 

This will have far more Direct Impact on their Audience, making a far greater Positive Impression that any Upgrade you could think of.

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