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First ES - MHS vs MHS II?


Blayneb
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After lusting for an ES almost my entire life, I finally figured I need to get one before it's too late (yeah I'm old). Don't want to break the bank, and even though the Custom 1964 VOS seems to be the one to get, don't think I can justify $5,300+ (especially to the wife!) so I'm currently looking at a new figured limited edition I see at GC for around $3,700. Appears to have everything I want. However, it has what appears to be new MHS II pickups. I can't find any recent comparisons of these new pickups. All I found is that they have alnico 5 magnets vs the 2 and 3 that are in the original MHS sets. I believe both are not potted which I like. Now it would appear to me that the 5s probably offer a little more modern oomph and brightness than the original MHS sets which are supposedly more vintage and warmer sounding. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with these new MHS IIs vs the original MHS, or what advise anyone can offer between these 2 pickups. I can't play it, no 335s (of any kind) are in stock near me, so I'll have to order it and just hope I like it or send it back or eventually swap pickups. Any input is greatly appreciated, Thanks from a forum newby! 

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Order from a Dealer who offers a good Return/Exchange Program.. Like Sweetwater, MF or the like. They offer a no hassle 45 day Return/Exchange.. 

If you want a modern Sound go for the MHS II’s. If you want more traditional sound go for the MHS.. 

The most important thing is to buy what you really want..

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Haven't heard the new MHSII pickups, but would agree with you that based on the different magnets the newer ones will probably be a little hotter and brighter.  That isn't to say that you couldn't get a nice mellow tone out of them.  If you use a good tube amp you should be able to dial in a good tone.  Pretty sure Guitar Center will let you return it if you can't live with the pickups (although that's a hassle too).  Good luck and hope you get a player.  We will need to see photos when you get it in.

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Thanks for the advice Larsongs and Twang. Probably going to get it at GC since I have an account there and yes they do have a 45 day return policy. I also have one sales guy there who helped me with previous online orders so I'm sure I can work a return easily enough if necessary though I hope to avoid that. I've always loved the "woody" sound a vintage ES is known for so I'm a little suspect that these MHS IIs would get that. However, I do have what I think is an excellent tube amp (a Carr Slant 6V) so I think I would hopefully be able to dial in the tone I'm looking for. Once I do pull the trigger on whatever and am hopefully happy with it, I'll be sure to post pics. Thanks!

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6 minutes ago, jdgm said:

IMO and in my experience lower output pickups would be better at getting that woodiness you are after.  

Good luck with it!

I've kinda been thinking the same thing! Thanks - I'm going to take my time and hopefully, eventually make the right decision.

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On 7/22/2021 at 3:46 PM, Blayneb said:

After lusting for an ES almost my entire life, I finally figured I need to get one before it's too late (yeah I'm old). Don't want to break the bank, and even though the Custom 1964 VOS seems to be the one to get, don't think I can justify $5,300+ (especially to the wife!) so I'm currently looking at a new figured limited edition I see at GC for around $3,700. Appears to have everything I want. However, it has what appears to be new MHS II pickups. I can't find any recent comparisons of these new pickups. All I found is that they have alnico 5 magnets vs the 2 and 3 that are in the original MHS sets. I believe both are not potted which I like. Now it would appear to me that the 5s probably offer a little more modern oomph and brightness than the original MHS sets which are supposedly more vintage and warmer sounding. Just wondering if anyone has any experience with these new MHS IIs vs the original MHS, or what advise anyone can offer between these 2 pickups. I can't play it, no 335s (of any kind) are in stock near me, so I'll have to order it and just hope I like it or send it back or eventually swap pickups. Any input is greatly appreciated, Thanks from a forum newby! 

 

On 7/23/2021 at 10:53 AM, Larsongs said:

Order from a Dealer who offers a good Return/Exchange Program.. Like Sweetwater, MF or the like. They offer a no hassle 45 day Return/Exchange.. 

If you want a modern Sound go for the MHS II’s. If you want more traditional sound go for the MHS.. 

The most important thing is to buy what you really want..

That pretty much sums it up both in question and answer.  When the reissues came out with the original MHS pups, there was criticism about the reissues not being bright enough,  Mostly was the pups, partly the nylon saddles.  But the truth is, they really were vintage accurate.  The "critics" were not happy because of their preferences, not because they were vintage inaccurate.    So much for misplaced criticism.  The MHS II pups were then used to appease those critics.  But they are not more historically accurate.  So make you choice according to what you really like. 

 

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58 minutes ago, Wmachine said:

 

That pretty much sums it up both in question and answer.  When the reissues came out with the original MHS pups, there was criticism about the reissues not being bright enough,  Mostly was the pups, partly the nylon saddles.  But the truth is, they really were vintage accurate.  The "critics" were not happy because of their preferences, not because they were vintage inaccurate.    So much for misplaced criticism.  The MHS II pups were then used to appease those critics.  But they are not more historically accurate.  So make you choice according to what you really like. 

 

Thanks for the background info W. Yeah it would appear the original MHS may be closer to what I'm looking for (I assume due to have Alnico 2/3s vs 5 magnets) which is a more vintage "woody" ES sound.  I have other guitars that get a brighter sound when I need it. So going to poke around as much as possible and try to get my hands on an ES with the MHS pickups to at least hear them.

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