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The Rabs very honest pickup review


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Well today I tried my three new builds through my Marshall for the first time to really hear them....

 

These babies

DSC_0166_zpsl71bjm6d.jpg

 

Now what was really interesting about them is that they are all built the same way, two pieces for the body and a glued neck all with 500k pots and .022 PIO caps and all use the same wiring type... So really the only thing that's different about them is the pickups....

 

They have from left to right... Vanson AlNiCo V P90s, the middle are Gibson Minis from a 70s tribute guitar and the last ones also Humbucker sized P90s are from a UK company called Axes r Us.. Price wise the Vanson were £34.50, the Gibsons as you know new are way expensive (don't even know how much exactly cos these are second hand but im sure like at least £140 a set) and then the Axes R Us one were like £50...

 

So three different price ranges....

 

And you know what.. Truly, honestly I could hardly tell them apart when I plugged them in... Id still say the Gibsons are the most rounded pickups of them all but nothing that cant be quickly fixed with some tweaks on the amps EQ.... VERY impressed with the Vansons for that price (even for double that price theyd be worth it).

 

In saying all of that, im not implying that theres no such thing as a bad pickup, we all know that.. BUT I truly think that if you cant afford the Gibson level pickups where you are pretty much guaranteed they will sound good some of the cheaper makes like Vanson and Wilkinson are great.. its one of those things though, until you try them you never really know what make will be good or not.. Just don't base your opinion on their retail value. :)

 

Oh, and I will be making some vids of these soon so you will hear for yourself.

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I've got some Artec pickups in my strat at the moment, and they're pretty good, and for a reasonable price, too!

 

Agree - my Strat mid pup is now an Artec 2-rail hb with 3-way switch - powerful, sounds good and chunky and a fine pup for less than £20..... [thumbup] [thumbup]

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I've said this many times. All the talk of pickup changes (unless for a jazz/clean sound) is rubbish once you add distortion. The different nuances can be tuned out with the amp and pedals.

Might also depend on the degree of overdrive. Moreover, tuning out something often works, but tuning in something is likely to fail. There are differences beyond nuances between the various BurstBuckers, the two '57 Classics, and Dirty Fingers. Same is valid for Fender Vintage Noiseless, N3 Noiseless, and the sadly discontinued SCN (Samarium Cobalt Noiseless). Of course, they sound very different when played clean, but crunchy overdriven sounds still nicely reflect the tonal characteristics.

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I've said this many times. All the talk of pickup changes (unless for a jazz/clean sound) is rubbish once you add distortion. The different nuances can be tuned out with the amp and pedals.

I hear what you are saying - I saw Bonamassa 10 years ago and his Strat, LP and whatever else all sounded exactly the same. Presume all went into the same board and through the same pedals - that's what it looked like.

But I bet he could hear a difference.

 

And ok you can add enough mush to make anything sound about the same.....but OTOH a Tele pup does sound different to a Strat to a P90 then to HBs and actives (EMGs) etc etc up to that point.

 

Plus a pup can work better in one guitar than another.....

 

 

BTW I have a Bridge pup made in Brooklyn I would like you to hear, it's the greatest, you'll want it...... [flapper] [flapper]

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Also remember that the three sets of pickups I was testing were fairly similar (in broad terms)... as in two fat single coils and the mini hummers which are probably more similar in sound to a P90 than a full sized hummer....

 

Obviously different pickups are made to give different frequency ranges.. but in comparing three fairly similar pickups the differences were very minimal and easily compensated for....

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Also remember that the three sets of pickups I was testing were fairly similar (in broad terms)... as in two fat single coils and the mini hummers which are probably more similar in sound to a P90 than a full sized hummer....

 

Obviously different pickups are made to give different frequency ranges.. but in comparing three fairly similar pickups the differences were very minimal and easily compensated for....

I also think that the sonic results translate the consistent qualities of your guitar builds. [thumbup]

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Besides adding distortion or pedals, there is the amp you might be playing through.

 

A higher quality amp will bring out more of the original sound, the "tone" and thus, show more differences between pups.

 

Another way of looking at it is if the amp is crap, then it doesn't have the "fidelity" to be able to make a good pup worthwhile.

 

So...needless to say, besides personal taste, there is each one's personal rig. It all works together.

 

Also, maybe related maybe not, I find it interesting they all sound close. In my experience, P-90's seem to change drastically from one guitar to another.

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Besides adding distortion or pedals, there is the amp you might be playing through.

 

A higher quality amp will bring out more of the original sound, the "tone" and thus, show more differences between pups.

 

Another way of looking at it is if the amp is crap, then it doesn't have the "fidelity" to be able to make a good pup worthwhile.

 

So...needless to say, besides personal taste, there is each one's personal rig. It all works together.

 

Also, maybe related maybe not, I find it interesting they all sound close. In my experience, P-90's seem to change drastically from one guitar to another.

Yes well this thread is more about how good some of the cheaper end pickups can be rather than the sonic differences between them. Theres obviously going to be some differences but as I say it was nothing than the amp eq couldn't fix...

 

And for the record the amp I used was my Marshall Slash SL5 which is a class A tube amp...

 

I also think that PIO caps really help open up the full range on any pickup.... im fairly convinced about that now... EVERY time I used PIOs they always sound great.. Orange drops however I have found to sometimes just be a bit flat and it can really vary from guitar to guitar. I have no real proof of that but what I hear but ive now finished 7 guitars and I will use PIOs every time from now... and the ones I did with Orange Drops im going to change... (that may make an interesting video? a before and after sound test :-k )

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Yes well this thread is more about how good some of the cheaper end pickups can be rather than the sonic differences between them. Theres obviously going to be some differences but as I say it was nothing than the amp eq couldn't fix...

 

And for the record the amp I used was my Marshall Slash SL5 which is a class A tube amp...

 

I also think that PIO caps really help open up the full range on any pickup.... im fairly convinced about that now... EVERY time I used PIOs they always sound great.. Orange drops however I have found to sometimes just be a bit flat and it can really vary from guitar to guitar. I have no real proof of that but what I hear but ive now finished 7 guitars and I will use PIOs every time from now... and the ones I did with Orange Drops im going to change... (that may make an interesting video? a before and after sound test :-k )

Indeed, for sure, there ARE some "cheaper" pups that sound top-notch. Or rather, "inexpensive", cheap to buy, but really aren't cheap at all.

 

Only way to know that, is to try them. Kinda like PIO vs Orange drop.

 

I can't explain the differences in caps either, but my "idea" (if you can call it that), is that certain types and values let certain stuff through besides just how much or little treble.

 

I'm wishing I was close to those guitars right now.

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I hear what you are saying - I saw Bonamassa 10 years ago and his Strat, LP and whatever else all sounded exactly the same. Presume all went into the same board and through the same pedals - that's what it looked like.

But I bet he could hear a difference.

 

Agreed; listening to JoBo's older albums, everything seems saturated in the same tonal effects as everything else, although I expect he was using multiple guitars. Definitely by the time The Ballad of John Henry was released, I think he had started exploring the tonal characters of the different guitars in his arsenal, and was established as a big user of Les Paul guitars. So you can make a guess as to what he's playing now when you hear him as the individual guitar tones come through on his later albums. Just my thoughts, anyway.

 

 

BTW I have a Bridge pup made in Brooklyn I would like you to hear, it's the greatest, you'll want it...... [flapper] [flapper]

 

Is Brooklyn a pickup company, or just where you got it?

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Hi Rabs, really awesome looking guitars you got there.

Congratulations!

You can be proud of yourself.

 

Interesting topic here.

Looking or should I say listening to Epiphone pickups can be surprising for example.

They can sound pretty good for less than half of what a Gibson pickup costs.

Even in the cheapest models.

The Epi SG Special I gave my GF has 650R/700T ceramic pickups.

Once adjusted the height and played with the volume control (they are HOT) I had a pretty decent sound.

 

This week should arrive a set of PIO's I ordered, wonder what they will sound like, combined with the 59 Tribute HB's.

 

Oh, and was about time you put one of your beautyfull build's as your avatar.msp_thumbup.gif

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BTW I have a Bridge pup made in Brooklyn I would like you to hear, it's the greatest, you'll want it...... [flapper] [flapper]

 

 

Is Brooklyn a pickup company, or just where you got it?

 

 

sorry just a very little joke.....

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This week should arrive a set of PIO's I ordered, wonder what they will sound like, combined with the 59 Tribute HB's.

 

Oh, and was about time you put one of your beautyfull build's as your avatar.msp_thumbup.gif

Thanks man... im pretty happy with them :)

 

And what PIOs did you order? theres so many out there.

 

If you can it would be really cool if you do a recording before and after to see how much difference there is.

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Thanks man... im pretty happy with them :)

 

And what PIOs did you order? theres so many out there.

 

If you can it would be really cool if you do a recording before and after to see how much difference there is.

 

They arrived yesterday, a matched pair of Luxe 022mF bee's.

I'm gonna rewire it 50's style and those seemed to be good option for that kind of project.

 

I agree, it would be cool if I could.

I thought about it at first, but I don't know how I could record it.

I don't have the necessary equipment for that kind of experiment.

I have an exelent guitar, a 30 watt's class A tube head and a nice 1x12 cab with a vintage 30.

The only problem is I have no mic to put in front of the cab.

 

Recording with my crapy netbook isn't an option. And the only other thing I could do is to hang my headset in front of my cab and record it with my iPod.msp_lol.gif

 

Not a proper scientific approach.

 

It will be my first 50's wired guitar, but if I like how it performs I may do the same with my LPJ.

And then I hope I can borrow a decent mic from my (almost) brother in law, he is sound technician.

But he works in Madrid and the next time I will see him is probably christmas.

 

eusa_think.gifHmm.....actually this is giving me an idea, could be a nice experiment with him around to record it.

 

And maybe a bunch of other cap's with the same value.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They arrived yesterday, a matched pair of Luxe 022mF bee's.

I'm gonna rewire it 50's style and those seemed to be good option for that kind of project.

 

I agree, it would be cool if I could.

I thought about it at first, but I don't know how I could record it.

I don't have the necessary equipment for that kind of experiment.

I have an exelent guitar, a 30 watt's class A tube head and a nice 1x12 cab with a vintage 30.

The only problem is I have no mic to put in front of the cab.

 

Recording with my crapy netbook isn't an option. And the only other thing I could do is to hang my headset in front of my cab and record it with my iPod.msp_lol.gif

 

Not a proper scientific approach.

 

It will be my first 50's wired guitar, but if I like how it performs I may do the same with my LPJ.

And then I hope I can borrow a decent mic from my (almost) brother in law, he is sound technician.

But he works in Madrid and the next time I will see him is probably christmas.

 

eusa_think.gifHmm.....actually this is giving me an idea, could be a nice experiment with him around to record it.

 

And maybe a bunch of other cap's with the same value.

What sort of phone do you have? That could be good enough.

 

The recording doesn't have to be perfect even though obviously it will be better with a proper mic set up... its just, can we hear a difference that's all you really want... Youd need to just keep your amp setting all the same between recordings....

 

If your computer has an input for microphones you could plug directly into it, that would be a good way to record as no amp involved means you are getting the direct sound from the guitar.. youd just need a jack converter...

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What sort of phone do you have? That could be good enough.

 

The recording doesn't have to be perfect even though obviously it will be better with a proper mic set up... its just, can we hear a difference that's all you really want... Youd need to just keep your amp setting all the same between recordings....

...

[thumbup] Phones have electret mics which are like condenser mics in general the best for recording speaker signals. Just put it straight on axis. The speaker's voice coil's magnetic field won't foul up the tone like with dynamic mics.

 

...

If your computer has an input for microphones you could plug directly into it, that would be a good way to record as no amp involved means you are getting the direct sound from the guitar.. youd just need a jack converter...

An impedance convertor would be required. Some stomp boxes without true bypass can be of help here.

 

Plugging a passive guitar output into a mic input is not recommendable. All of the common mic inputs have a much lower impedance than appropriate for electric guitar - 2...10 kOhms versus 470 kOhms ... 2 MOhms. A mic input will severely load down a passive guitar's output and same time minimize the tone pot's effect including that of the capacitor.

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Wow Cap knows TONE for sure!

My Phone is a Sony Xperia E,

And my Netbook is Asus who knows what model.

I will try it, with my phone, if it doesn't work, I may even try with iPod and headset. That startet as a joke but thinking about it, the quality of my voice recordings isn't all that bad.

Thanks guys, there is always something to learn on this forum!

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Plugging a passive guitar output into a mic input is not recommendable. All of the common mic inputs have a much lower impedance than appropriate for electric guitar - 2...10 kOhms versus 470 kOhms ... 2 MOhms. A mic input will severely load down a passive guitar's output and same time minimize the tone pot's effect including that of the capacitor.

Ohh I didn't know that cheers....

 

Ive done it before I got my digital 4 track recorder and never had an issue.. maybe I was just lucky then

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Ohh I didn't know that cheers....

 

Ive done it before I got my digital 4 track recorder and never had an issue.. maybe I was just lucky then

Passive guitars will produce sound into a mic input, but output voltage and in particular frequency response are very different. The level is attenuated, and the pickup resonance is gone, or more exactly, the frequencies emphasized at no load or a high-impedance load are dampened now. Additionally, the guitar's or pickup's volume control acts much stronger when turned down from full level. A linear pot might act close to an audio-tapered one.

 

I know several players who like that and used to feed their electric guitar signals into common medium-impedance mixing board inputs, but to my experiences they are a minority.

 

On the other hand, the legendary Nile Rogers Stratocaster sounds were achieved this way. More interesting than Nile's Stratocaster tones could be the sweet French accent of Sheila B. though:

 

 

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I know several players who like that and used to feed their electric guitar signals into common medium-impedance mixing board inputs, but to my experiences they are a minority.

 

I did this many times. Line level input, basic/honest tone, as much eq as you want....these days you'd re-amp it or dial in a sim.

 

On the other hand, the legendary Nile Rogers Stratocaster sounds were achieved this way. More interesting than Nile's Stratocaster tones could be the sweet French accent of Sheila B. though:

 

God I remember this one!

Also used in the film "Silver Dream Racer" with (ahem) David Essex - it sounds terribly cheesy now (and the video doesn't help!) but it was big at the time....in Europe....

 

The accent? Non!

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I did this many times. Line level input, basic/honest tone, as much eq as you want....these days you'd re-amp it or dial in a sim.

 

...

When I do this - and I still do regularly - I use either an unbalanced Hi-Z guitar input, or my trusty Boss Rocker Volume PV-1 as impedance convertor. The latter does that job since the early 1980's.

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