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Silenced Fred

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So many famous guitar sounds and "signature tones" come from low output pickups and P90s, so my question is why the hell do all companies nowadays brag about hot their pickups are?

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I guess it would depend on he tone you're going for. I used to love a ton of gain and distortion but as I get older I prefer less and less. I like songs that are "Heavy" and a lot of guitarist think that heavy means a ton of gain and distortion. I listen to old sabbath, kiss, AC/DC Judas Priest etc... and it is amazing how little gain they are using and the songs in my opinion are as "Heavy" as anything today.

 

 

Andy

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I think the guys that folks wanna sound like have gotten their "signature tone" by a combination of a guitar they like to play and are comfortable playing, plus any electronics through to an amp.

 

Then you add whatever settings "they" tend to use on guitar, electronics and amp. And... playing style.

 

Bottom line is that selling pickups is kinda important to companies that sell them and, it seems, some guitarists who don't need new pickups but have decided they want something to improve their sound.

 

I dunno. I think BB would sound better - and tonewise, more like BB - playing my Epi Dot through any of my amp rigs than I would playing his own Lucille and amplification rig.

 

I've added pickups to archtops and flattops that didn't have any; I've replaced pickups and wiring that had obvious problems (maybe I should have repaired them had I known how), but I've never replaced a perfectly functional pickup setup.

 

m

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So many famous guitar sounds and "signature tones" come from low output pickups and P90s, so my question is why the hell do all companies nowadays brag about hot their pickups are?

Gee, I thought the flavor of this decade was "See how much our pickups are like 59 PAFs"

What goes around comes around-

60's= original factory pickups

70's/80's= Dimarzio Super Distortion and the like

90's= Active pickups

00's=a trend back toward lower output and boutique pickups.

and now it seems p-90s are making a comeback.

Go figure!

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Another thing to remember is that some of those signature tones might have used low output pups but were they then boosted with a tube screamer or some other type of gain enhancing box? Some players may have also taken their original pups and had them custom wound with more winds and/or thicker wire.

 

The idea is that the more signal you can push into the first stage of a tube amp - the pre-amp tube the more distortion you can make. Thus a hotter pup means more distortion. Again this goes back to the reasons for having a signal boosting box (tube screamer).

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I just ask this one...

 

Can anybody off the top of their head tell me what amp(s) was/were used by Chuck Berry? There likely are a few guys who know right now, some more folks may care to try to research it on line. But...

 

Seriously, I think we're talking "gearhead" because we can, not necessarily because we need to. For what it's worth, I loved my Deluxe Reverb in a lotta ways but to be honest, it was the only thing with half decent power in my price range and that I could find anywhere close enough to pick up and carry out of a store.

 

And "versatile?" A modern inexpensive amp can plug into your computer, can take output from your computer, can mod your tone back into the amp... and even offer a half close rendition of a "tube amp sound" with an appropriate stomp box. Not perfect, not perhaps to a "purist" even close - but close enough for almost any audience who pays for a concert or booze in a saloon you might play in.

 

Would I have said the above were I only 40? Naaaah. But when I was 40 we didn't have the quality of solid state amps nor the computer capability to mess with 'em, either.

 

And... I didn't mind hauling a 90-pound tube wailer around. Now? It really doesn't make much sense to me.

 

I look at Bob Norton and he's makin' his living at music. His comment has been that he doesn't even use a guitar amp, but goes through his PA board with that nicely versatile guitar he uses that can sound sorta like acoustic, sorta like single coils or sorta like whatever. That makes darned good sense to me...

 

All kidding aside, I think a better case almost could be made to argue about speaker size and brands... And don't forget: Mike the amp all you want to, or go amp direct to board, if the PA won't carry and reproduce it, who cares?

 

m

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what does hot pickups mean

 

more signal output from your pick up. For example a humbucker pick-up has a hotter signal (more output) than a traditional single coil pick-up.

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I think the guys that folks wanna sound like have gotten their "signature tone" by a combination of a guitar they like to play and are comfortable playing, plus any electronics through to an amp.

 

Then you add whatever settings "they" tend to use on guitar, electronics and amp. And... playing style.

 

Bottom line is that selling pickups is kinda important to companies that sell them and, it seems, some guitarists who don't need new pickups but have decided they want something to improve their sound.

 

I dunno. I think BB would sound better - and tonewise, more like BB - playing my Epi Dot through any of my amp rigs than I would playing his own Lucille and amplification rig.

 

I've added pickups to archtops and flattops that didn't have any; I've replaced pickups and wiring that had obvious problems (maybe I should have repaired them had I known how), but I've never replaced a perfectly functional pickup setup.

 

m

 

I should probably clarify: When I say "signature tones" I just mean what they were famous for. So many people go 'I want 'blank's" guitar sound.

 

Before, it was single coils and low output humbuckers, now everything seems to be "someone made a humbucker that will make a Fender Twin Reverb break up at 1? We will make one that will explode at 1!"

 

It just seems that for so many sounds, everything seems to keep moving up a notch, and not necessarily in a positive way. For myself, I find that my effects work best with low guitar volume because it isn't pushing the amp as hard allowing more of the effect to fill sonic space instead of just blasting noise.

 

I'm not saying that hot output pickups are bad, they have their purpose, but everyone seems to be going that way

 

Still not sure if I am explaining myself properly [blush]

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Because all the guitar companies know how to do is respond to the market, and that seems to be all they're willing to do.

 

The 80's and early 90's were all about finding hot pick ups so you didn't have to have 4 distortion pedals running to get your typical High Gain sounds. Serioulsy, guys would be running two Identical Boss (or DOD) Distortion Boxes and Two Overdrive Boxes. On Distortion and One Overdrive would be pegged and on all the time, the other would be used to kick in various lead and rhythm sounds. High Output Pickups eliminated the Boxes that were being used like pre-amps.

 

All that was an effort to duplicate the sounds that were coming out of Studio Recordings. The argument that most of the classic recording were done on a Les Paul and Marshall with no effects is super misleading. Take Jimmy Page, he recorded "Black Dog" with a Les Paul into an amp....SEVERAL TIMES, then layered the tracks till they sounded Huge and Distorded. In order to get that sound live he had to run 3 Marshalls and a host of Jim Dunlop prototype effects boxes. Add in Tape Delays, Studio Phasing, Room Ambiance, and a few engineering tricks we don't know about.

 

Doesn't sound like Guitar into Amp anymore, does it.

 

Now, with the Metal and Grunge phase waning and a return to classic tones tipping the horizon, we'll probably see a flood of Classic sounding Low Output pickups, and lack of High Gain pick ups for metalhaeds.

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I'm not very knowlegdable about all the various types of signal processing, and I'm not trying to sound like any specific celebrity player, but I do know that I like passive pups sound better than actives and 57 classics way better than 500t/496r, all other things being the same (found this out with a couple explorers that are identical other than pups). I like heavy music but to me, it seems like I cna get a heavier, more percussive sound by keeping my gain lower rather than dimed out all the time and when necessary, actually lowering my pickups. It may be second nature to a lot of oyu here already, but it took me a LONG time to appreciate this and get past my natural 'more is better' kind of assumptions that's I'd had since my teen years.

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You know, if your pickups are too hot you can turn the volume down.

 

OR, you can screw the pickups closer in to the body.

 

That's not the point man. It's all about the dynamics man.

 

If I turn the volume down, I lose treble and bite in the attack.

 

If I screw the pickups closer in to the body, I lose treble and bite in the attack.

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Guest FarnsBarns

That's not the point man. It's all about the dynamics man.

 

If I turn the volume down, I lose treble and bite in the attack.

 

If I screw the pickups closer in to the body, I lose treble and bite in the attack.

 

Yeah, if I remember rightly, 50s wiring means that the volume effects the tone.

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That's not the point man. It's all about the dynamics man.

 

If I turn the volume down, I lose treble and bite in the attack.

 

If I screw the pickups closer in to the body, I lose treble and bite in the attack.

 

If you over wind the pickups you lose treble and bite in the attack. If you switch from ceramic to alnico magnets you lose treble and bite in the attack. If you play through true by pass pedals you lose treble and bite in the attack. If you use a cord to connect to your amp you lose treble and bite in the attack. If you play without a pick you lose treble and bite in the attack.

 

Gotta think about the whole picture.

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So many famous guitar sounds and "signature tones" come from low output pickups and P90s, so my question is why the hell do all companies nowadays brag about hot their pickups are?

 

Of course P-90s are not exactly low output, and many aficianados like their 'hot' (but biting) tone... They are to vintage single coils what alnico V hummers are to 57s. Or some such aphoristic comparison.

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