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Hello,

I'm a noob, so I have a question about my Epi LP: How can I find out what pickups I have? I mean, not only the company, but single coil vs. humbucker? Do I have to open/unscrew the pickups? Is there anything I can measure, e.g. wire resistance, etc.? Is there any way to hear whether it's got to be one vs. the other?

 

Thanks.

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Matt,

 

You are probably in the right place.

More info always helps.

 

Many pickups have a sticker or engraving on the back of the base plate.

Pics always help.

 

Are you the original owner?

Was the guitar new or used when you got it?

What model Epi LP is it?

Answers to these questions would be a start. A few questions and answers after that and we might be able to help you narrow them down.

 

ex: If you have a LP Standard that you bought brand new and is stock, you probably

have an Epi 57 CH in the neck and an Epi 57 Hot CH in the bridge. (Humbuckers)

 

Willy

 

Edit:

http://forum.gibson.com/index.php?/topic/62166-kindly-request-help-on-identifying-my-guitar/page__view__findpost__p__844443

Why, after a year, are you now curious?

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Humbuckers have two coils, so you'll either see them (if it's an uncovered PU); or if covered, you'll see the pole pieces (screws) slanted to one side. Epiphone has a few P-90 models, which are single coils, and the pole pieces are in the center of the PU (only one coil!).

 

Epi PU's are okay, but the more you learn about tone, the more you'll want to upgrade them. Come on over to the Duncan forum and read some threads and ask questions. We'll get you up to speed. Lots of helpful do-it-yoruself guys, and all kinds of cutting-edge things being discussed.

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Hello,

I'm a noob, so I have a question about my Epi LP: How can I find out what pickups I have? I mean, not only the company, but single coil vs. humbucker? Do I have to open/unscrew the pickups? Is there anything I can measure, e.g. wire resistance, etc.? Is there any way to hear whether it's got to be one vs. the other?

 

Thanks.

A good rule of thumb: Single coils are skinny - Humbuckers are wide

 

There are exceptions to this rule. Please post pics. [-o<

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A good rule of thumb: Single coils are skinny - Humbuckers are wide

 

There are exceptions to this rule. Please post pics. [-o<

 

Yes, Real single coils like P-90's (which came out in the late 1940's) are wide, and Fender's cost-cutting little single coils from 1950 are skinny.

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Does it cost less to make and wire three Fender single coils than two P90s?

 

Yes. Open them up and look. Everything on Tele's and Strats was designed with the priority of being cheap to manufacture. That's was Leo's genius, cheap mass production. In the 1950's this horrified all the other guitar makers, who considered it an all time low in luthery. Yes, many guitarists have used Fenders and gotten great tones from them; some of them are my favorite guitarists (Hendrix, Blackmore, Healey, Montoya, Schofield, etc), but that doesn't change the fact that the guitar was designed to be cheap to manufacture. Put your emotions aside. Players have done great things on Dan Electros too. Talented hands are far more important than the instrument they play on.

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Yes. Open them up and look. Everything on Tele's and Strats was designed with the priority of being cheap to manufacture. That's was Leo's genius, cheap mass production. In the 1950's this horrified all the other guitar makers, who considered it an all time low in luthery. Yes, many guitarists have used Fenders and gotten great tones from them; some of them are my favorite guitarists (Hendrix, Blackmore, Healey, Montoya, Schofield, etc), but that doesn't change the fact that the guitar was designed to be cheap to manufacture. Put your emotions aside. Players have done great things on Dan Electros too. Talented hands are far more important than the instrument they play on.

Thanks for the answer. No emotions. It was an honest question. I was just wondering about the cost and time to build and wire three pickups to a 5-way switch as opposed to two bigger pickups to a 3-way switch. I know that Fenders are very modular and cheaper to produce...and that was the point of them. I had no idea about the pickups. Thanks again! I love learning this type of stuff.

[thumbup]

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Thanks for the answer. No emotions. It was an honest question. I was just wondering about the cost and time to build and wire three pickups to a 5-way switch as opposed to two bigger pickups to a 3-way switch. I know that Fenders are very modular and cheaper to produce...and that was the point of them. I had no idea about the pickups. Thanks again! I love learning this type of stuff.

[thumbup]

 

Look at all the materials in a P-90 and HB. Fender doesn't even use bobbins, they jam 6 little magnets inside a small loop of wire, bare bones approach. HB's and P-90's have big metal baseplates, bobbins, big covers, and more wire. Then there's all the other cost-saving things like bolt-on necks, maple fretboards, headstock in the same plane as the neck, neck in the same plane as the body, small inlays, low cost furniture paint that wore off, PU's sharing volume and tone pots, etc. Gibson prided themselves on the workmanship and quality of materials they used. They intentionally put a carved top on LP's because they knew Leo didn't have the machine to do it, and couldn't afford one. Guitar dealer/author/collector George Gruhn in Nashville wrote that Tele's 'look like a high school shop project.'

 

Leo cut corners just about everywhere, and tone wasn't a priority. Electric guitars were still a novelty in the 1950's, and solid bodies were a new concept. He wanted to get in on the ground floor and sell as many units as he could. Nothing wrong with that. Humble beginnings, but like I said, but it doesn't mean great things haven't been done with them, and they've obviously outsold everything else. Just don't attribute lofty things to their creation.

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Look at all the materials in a P-90 and HB. Fender doesn't even use bobbins, they jam 6 little magnets inside a small loop of wire, bare bones approach. HB's and P-90's have big metal baseplates, bobbins, big covers, and more wire. Then there's all the other cost-saving things like bolt-on necks, maple fretboards, headstock in the same plane as the neck, neck in the same plane as the body, small inlays, low cost furniture paint that wore off, PU's sharing volume and tone pots, etc. Gibson prided themselves on the workmanship and quality of materials they used. They intentionally put a carved top on LP's because they knew Leo didn't have the machine to do it, and couldn't afford one. Guitar dealer/author/collector George Gruhn in Nashville wrote that Tele's 'look like a high school shop project.'

 

Leo cut corners just about everywhere, and tone wasn't a priority. Electric guitars were still a novelty in the 1950's, and solid bodies were a new concept. He wanted to get in on the ground floor and sell as many units as he could. Nothing wrong with that. Humble beginnings, but like I said, but it doesn't mean great things haven't been done with them, and they've obviously outsold everything else. Just don't attribute lofty things to their creation.

 

 

Interesting. Thanks! I didnt know that about Fender pickups. I've never taken apart a single-coil. Not much of a Fender guy. Its interesting that all of the things we consider standard for a Fender or most any S-type guitar were made as cost-cutting measures. That bit about Gibson is pretty funny.

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Interesting. Thanks! I didnt know that about Fender pickups. I've never taken apart a single-coil. Not much of a Fender guy. Its interesting that all of the things we consider standard for a Fender or most any S-type guitar were made as cost-cutting measures. That bit about Gibson is pretty funny.

 

I'm no Fender fan, all my guitars are Gibson designs, but I think that it's a good idea to 'know the competition.' When Fender players brag too much about their instruments, I'm usually able to take them down a notch or two. My ears have been subjected to the shrill, piercing tones (or what passes for tone) of hundreds of Strats over the years; proof that the average Strat owner has no idea how to EQ his instrument (there are admirable exceptions though). I'm a firm believer that there should be some sort of permit/licensing/background check required to purchase a Strat, like there is for firearms. You just can't have things like that available to the public at large. The ear damage that has been done by reckless owners to audiences, not to mention dogs too, it's scary. In the wrong hands... ;)

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I'm no Fender fan, all my guitars are Gibson designs, but I think that it's a good idea to 'know the competition.' When Fender players brag too much about their instruments, I'm usually able to take them down a notch or two. My ears have been subjected to the shrill, piercing tones (or what passes for tone) of hundreds of Strats over the years; proof that the average Strat owner has no idea how to EQ his instrument (there are admirable exceptions though). I'm a firm believer that there should be some sort of permit/licensing/background check required to purchase a Strat, like there is for firearms. You just can't have things like that available to the public at large. The ear damage that has been done by reckless owners to audiences, not to mention dogs too, it's scary. In the wrong hands... ;)

Lol. Yeah. I've been subjected to some pretty bad sounding strats...or strat players. They also need to include a class on how to not kill your audience with 60-cycle hum.

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Look at all the materials in a P-90 and HB. Fender doesn't even use bobbins, they jam 6 little magnets inside a small loop of wire, bare bones approach. HB's and P-90's have big metal baseplates, bobbins, big covers, and more wire. Then there's all the other cost-saving things like bolt-on necks, maple fretboards, headstock in the same plane as the neck, neck in the same plane as the body, small inlays, low cost furniture paint that wore off, PU's sharing volume and tone pots, etc. Gibson prided themselves on the workmanship and quality of materials they used. They intentionally put a carved top on LP's because they knew Leo didn't have the machine to do it, and couldn't afford one. Guitar dealer/author/collector George Gruhn in Nashville wrote that Tele's 'look like a high school shop project.'

 

 

 

Hmmmmm, gets me to wonderin' just what's inside the single-coils on my BMG with 3 Burns Tri-Sonic pups :-k :-k :-k005.JPG

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Look at all the materials in a P-90 and HB. Fender doesn't even use bobbins, they jam 6 little magnets inside a small loop of wire, bare bones approach. HB's and P-90's have big metal baseplates, bobbins, big covers, and more wire. Then there's all the other cost-saving things like bolt-on necks, maple fretboards, headstock in the same plane as the neck, neck in the same plane as the body, small inlays, low cost furniture paint that wore off, PU's sharing volume and tone pots, etc. Gibson prided themselves on the workmanship and quality of materials they used. They intentionally put a carved top on LP's because they knew Leo didn't have the machine to do it, and couldn't afford one. Guitar dealer/author/collector George Gruhn in Nashville wrote that Tele's 'look like a high school shop project.'

 

Leo cut corners just about everywhere, and tone wasn't a priority. Electric guitars were still a novelty in the 1950's, and solid bodies were a new concept. He wanted to get in on the ground floor and sell as many units as he could. Nothing wrong with that. Humble beginnings, but like I said, but it doesn't mean great things haven't been done with them, and they've obviously outsold everything else. Just don't attribute lofty things to their creation.

You seem to be quite knowledgeable.

 

But in addition, you are putting an interesting "twist" on it as well.

 

You can not rewrite the past or change history because you hate Fenders. The part about the cost cutting is accurate, but the part about Leo not caring about the sound is just not true.

 

Leo WAS an electronics expert, and an EXPERT on tone. The design of the pups and electronics are not a result of cost cutting, but the result of a man who KNEW what he was doing.

 

Pause here to mention FENDER AMPS.

 

Back to guitars. Leo spent LOTS of time trying different things when designing the pups and the electronics for his guitars, adjusting the coils, the magnets, materiels, etc. It is also well documented that he cared and designed for the musician, the player, and the control layouts were arrived by that philosophy.

 

Look a little deeper, and you will find the wiring design for a Strat provides progressively more resistance from bridge pup to neck pup. Pure genius.

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You seem to be quite knowledgeable.

 

But in addition, you are putting an interesting "twist" on it as well.

 

Leo's priority was reducing manufacturing costs so that everyone could afford his guitars, which was admirable; he made them sound as good as they could under those constraints, and that did involve periodic tweaking. He was a talented electrician and innovative designer, not that every innovation is welcomed across the board with open arms, and his certainly weren't at first, especially the Tele. Leo took the existing luthier standards of design and quality and threw them out the window; took a while for the public to warm up to his approach. Gibson wasn't focused on cutting costs in the first place and wanted to compete with a higher quality product; there are those that think that is admirable. These two companies have dominated the electric guitar market, and players chose what they preferred. None of us is without bias.

 

I have heard many complaints from Strat owners about the 'control layout' as you referred to it. The volume pot next to the bridge PU easily gets hit accidently, the extremely bright bridge PU isn't connected to a tone pot, and the lever was only a 3-way instead of 5-way. A string tree is needed to hold the high strings in the nut slots. The 'soundboard' that the PU's are mounted in isn't a piece of wood, it's a big piece of plastic. There are also those that think Leo slanted the bridge PU the wrong way, as it made a shrill PU even brighter on the high strings (just what it didn't need). All of the SSS Strat owners I know don't use their bridge PU's because they're so bright they're not even usable (3 PU guitar and only 2 are worthwhile). The vibrato system, while innovative at the time, is also famous for throwing guitars out-of-tune (a complaint of Hendrix amongst many others, which really annoyed him on stage). Like everything else made by mortals, Leo's premier design has no shortage of flaws; perhaps your bias is showing too.

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Spoken like a true Gibson man, BLUEMAN!

 

Comparing a Start and an LP is like apples and stuff. Where one is different, the other will have shortcomings.

 

Personally, I like the volume close-as in close enough to HIT. I ride that thing all night long, and I don't have to stop to use it. I use the bridge pup less than the others, but when I do, it is EXACTLY for the cut-your head off MEAN lightning bolt blues lick to pierce right through. If I want to get 'low' and dirty, I roll that tone knob DOWN. It will RUMBLE.

 

The controls of a Strat seem to me to be meant to be 'live', and in 'as it is happening'. The LP or Gibson style seems more to me to be good for 'presetting' and switching back and forth.

 

I digress...we need another thread for this.

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OH...one more thing about tone not being a priority for Mr. Fender:

 

Play a genuine FENDER amp. One from when he ran the company, as in one of his creations.

 

It isn't enough to say that nearly every amp made today is based on his origonal mods or creations, but folks are STILL trying to learn WHY they sound so good and everyone can't just build one to sound as good.

 

THAT tone will be a priority.

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It isn't enough to say that nearly every amp made today is based on his origonal mods or creations

Well that just ain't true, many more are modelled on the Vox or Marshall circuits than Fenders, or maybe that's just a geographic phenomenon.

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