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Are Custombuckers 2018 potted “better” than unpotted pickups 2019/20?

Asyntek

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Jun 10, 2020
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I understand the theory that potted pickups don’t squeal with high gain amps, and unpotted pickups are vintage correct, more clear, sensitive and microphonic.

I’ve got a Les Paul R0 2018, with Custombuckers potted pickups. I find that potted 2018 Custombuckers are sensitive, clean very well, very versatile to play hard rock, blues and even high gain.

Now LP R0s 2019..21 have the unpotted Custombuckers. I don’t know if I am really missing something.
I am looking for versatile pickups covering from vintage blues/rock to progressive metal,

Has anyone tried and tested potted vs unpotted Custombuckers?
Should I upgrade to unpotted pickups?
 

El Gringo

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Apr 8, 2015
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As I use a pair of high gain Marshall 2555X's un potted pickups are a no go for me . That is exactly what it comes down to . I have used both potted and un potted and if you play thru high gain amps save your self the headache and avoid un potted pickups . Just my 2 cents and Best Wishes .
 

Tim Plains

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Aug 1, 2013
Messages
712
Why stick with CBs if you're spending money? Throbak, Wizz, OX4. All sell arguably much better pickups and unpotted.

All potted but I owned a 2013 R7, 2013 R8, 2014 R9 all at the same time, all with stock CBs, and they all sounded completely different from one another. I had a Shanks at the same time, again completely different. It's not like all factory pickups sound the same, so it's hard to answer. You know the general differences and you know your guitar. Experiment with different pickups if you want.
 
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goldtop0

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Aug 19, 2003
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8,260
If you can, try some unpotted CBs through your rig at high gain..............the acid test.
I like both but I'm not a high gain player................overdrive yes high gain no.
 

Tommy Tourbus

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Jan 1, 2005
Messages
806
They seem to be inconsistent regardless of year or if potted or unpotted. I've had a couple sets that sounded good, and a couple sets that were so-so.
 

Drayve85

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Jan 30, 2019
Messages
117
I have a 2015 TH58 that came with potted CB’s and I’ve played it for a couple years now with them. I then swapped in a T-top into the bridge, and could very much tell the difference between potted and unpotted. So, I then purchased a set of Q pickups pups, which come imported, and have not looked back. But, as always, YMMV. You have to ask yourself whether or not you want to go down that rabbit hole.....do you feel lucky?...well, do ya...punk!?!?😎😃

edit: HAD to fix auto-correct mistake.
 
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Asyntek

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Jun 10, 2020
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I have a 2015 TH58 that came with potted CB’s and I’ve played it for a couple years now with them. I then swapped in a T-top into the bridge, and could very much tell the difference between potted and imported. So, I then purchased a set of Q pickups pups, which come imported, and have not looked back. But, as always, YMMV. You have to ask yourself whether or not you want to go down that rabbit hole.....do you feel lucky?...well, do ya...punk!?!?😎😃
Have you tried high gain amps with your Qs?
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
Messages
14,294
I have a 2015 TH58 that came with potted CB’s and I’ve played it for a couple years now with them. I then swapped in a T-top into the bridge, and could very much tell the difference between potted and imported. So, I then purchased a set of Q pickups pups, which come imported, and have not looked back. But, as always, YMMV. You have to ask yourself whether or not you want to go down that rabbit hole.....do you feel lucky?...well, do ya...punk!?!?😎😃
So you compare two very, very different pups and it's the potting you hear? I've potted many Ttops and never heard any difference in tone other than the lack of annoying artifacts, whistles and howls, high gain or not.
 

Drayve85

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Jan 30, 2019
Messages
117
So you compare two very, very different pups and it's the potting you hear? I've potted many Ttops and never heard any difference in tone other than the lack of annoying artifacts, whistles and howls, high gain or not.
Whoa, big al. I could tell a difference in feel of the pups, not talking about tone. It was like a wet blanket was lifted off the speaker, and I could hear the pick scratch on the string before it was plucked. Maybe it’s the microphonics I’m hearing, idk, but I am hearing something. I noticed the same thing with 57 classics. But, that’s my opinion.
 

MacFangus

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Oct 10, 2016
Messages
143
I don't know if my 2018 Wildwood spec Custombuckers are wax dipped, but they sound fabulous. Best sounding pickups I've ever had in a LP.
 

JoeC

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Oct 25, 2019
Messages
85
I have a 2018 R9 and was intrigued by the unpotted pickups as well. Love the sound of my R9 and didnt want to mess with pickups changes. I had a 2014 R8 that no longer got played so I finally traded in for an unpotted 1960 V1 anniversary. Its nice to have both if you can. I do hear a difference but also two different guitars with a 2oz weight difference. Someone else said it could be the tapered potentiometers on the anniversay making the difference. I also played a vintage 59 at the same time I played an unpotted anniversary and seemed just a bit closer than my 2018. But splitting hairs now. the 2018 CB do feel very close and lightly potted.
 

MacFangus

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Oct 10, 2016
Messages
143
If I'm playing a heavier guitar that doesn't exhibit a lot of resonating effect, I generally prefer waxed pickups. Resonate guitars seem to benefit from non-waxed pickups. Just my experience...
 

Big Al

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Apr 24, 2002
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14,294
Whoa, big al. I could tell a difference in feel of the pups, not talking about tone. It was like a wet blanket was lifted off the speaker, and I could hear the pick scratch on the string before it was plucked. Maybe it’s the microphonics I’m hearing, idk, but I am hearing something. I noticed the same thing with 57 classics. But, that’s my opinion.
Again, that is two different pups. What interests me is how you can heard any difference due to the coil solidification from potting. I have potted many, as I've said, and cannot hear any difference in tone and certainly no difference in sensitivity or dynamics. I've never met a person who could reliably pick out my potted or unpotted pups in any of my guitars. I have just marvellously memories of the superlative assessments of tone, touch, sensitivity and feel of some potted pickup, which I had represented as unpotted, and long explanations of the merits of such a pup. Nope, no one has ever been able to, unless it was howling like a banshee or whistling like a trucker. No demonstration, no recording no measurable difference.

Except feel. Sure seems to me that some can feel what they expect to, whether or not it is. Potting is so damping that it can be felt on an unpotted pickup labled as potted only or undetectablewhen potted is passed as un. Some mighty powerful feel stuff there.
 

Drayve85

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Jan 30, 2019
Messages
117
Again, that is two different pups. What interests me is how you can heard any difference due to the coil solidification from potting. I have potted many, as I've said, and cannot hear any difference in tone and certainly no difference in sensitivity or dynamics. I've never met a person who could reliably pick out my potted or unpotted pups in any of my guitars. I have just marvellously memories of the superlative assessments of tone, touch, sensitivity and feel of some potted pickup, which I had represented as unpotted, and long explanations of the merits of such a pup. Nope, no one has ever been able to, unless it was howling like a banshee or whistling like a trucker. No demonstration, no recording no measurable difference.

Except feel. Sure seems to me that some can feel what they expect to, whether or not it is. Potting is so damping that it can be felt on an unpotted pickup labled as potted only or undetectablewhen potted is passed as un. Some mighty powerful feel stuff there.
Well, I guess I’m wrong then, my apologies. I won’t believe my lying ears anymore. You sure have a way about you, big al! I’ve been keeping up with your health issues for a while, and I sincerely hope you are doing well!
 

renderit

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Jan 19, 2009
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10,111
About the only difference I have seen is where you stand in relation to your amp.

Some unpotted I have played are very sensitive and feed back super easy.

Potted seem to do it less.

Which (I believe) is the point...
 

Tommy Tourbus

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Jan 1, 2005
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806
So you compare two very, very different pups and it's the potting you hear? I've potted many Ttops and never heard any difference in tone other than the lack of annoying artifacts, whistles and howls, high gain or not.

No, he said imported, not potted
 

somebodyelseuk

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Jun 10, 2020
Messages
287
Only theorising, but I suspect the difference, regarding feedback/microphony is much reduced with open coiled builds?
 
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