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Burstbucker 1 & 2 output

stratolux

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Hi all, first time poster. I have a 2012 Les Paul Trad that I just installed BB1 & 2 into. They're outputs are BB1 7.7k, BB2 7.5k. It seems that either the BB2 is weak, or the BB1 is really hot. I ended-up installing the BB1 in the bridge because it was higher output than the BB2. Obviously, because they measure almost the same, there is quite the difference between neck and bridge. Has anyone else had odd outputs from their Burstbuckers? With that much variability, I can see why some people may not like their BB's, while others think they're great.
 

Zentar

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That's what Gibson rates them at. All BBs have DCR like that. They are stepped.
BB! 8.4k0
BB2 -8.7ko
BB3 -9.1ko.
Then the BB Pros give more output by usinga stronger magnet. All BBs are PAF style so you won't get high DCR.

Dunno about your DCR measurement. Strange huh?
 
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Big Al

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Resistance is not an output measurement.

Don't look at numbers, use your ears. Properly installed and setup hum buckers with identical resistance measurements can be made to play at unity gain. The neck pickup can sound bigger as the strings are moving in a larger vibrational pattern, where the bridge sees a much smaller pattern.

Too compensate most of the old farts like me adjust the neck pickup much lower to the strings when fretted at the 22nd fret and raise the bridge pickup as close to the strings as you can. Then I tweak the pickups to get a more balanced tone and attack. So do not let numbers fool you.
 

Zentar

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DCR is most certainly can be an indicator of output. There are other indicators as well. On PAFs the DCR is the most valuable spec as to whether a pickup will produce classic tones.
DCR tells me how many winds and even tells me the wire gauge.
DCR tells me three things. That's why I use DCR specs.

For instance if I'm hunting a PAF style pup and the DCR specs on a humbucker post a 16ko DCR then I keep looking. 16ko is not PAF territory. I am not looking for that much output.I don't want that many winds and I don't want that wire.



If you don't use DCR to select pups that is fine with me but I do.
 

MK.II

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That's what Gibson rates them at. All BBs have DCR like that. They are stepped.
BB! 8.4k0
BB2 -8.7ko
BB3 -9.1ko.
Then the BB Pros give more output by usinga stronger magnet. All BBs are PAF style so you won't get high DCR.

Dunno about your DCR measurement. Strange huh?

Those readings seem high according to what Gibson claimed them to be when BBs first came out. I've had Custombuckers that had both the bridge and neck in the mid 8k range and also both in the 8k range. Anyway, the BBs were supposed to be:

BB1 = mid to upper 7k range
BB2 = right around 8.0k/8.2k range
BB3 = mid 8k range

The BBs I've had over the years have basically been in those intended ranges. For me those ranges give me an idea of what the tone might be like (brighter/more mids, etc.). I've seen a mis-labled BB2 that read 7.5k (actually a BB1)! YMMV!
 

Zentar

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I got those specs out an article several years old which I saved when looking for my BBs. Even if the specs are wrong today the stair stepped DCRs are pretty accurate.300 ohms per step on average.

PAF pups are relatively bright sounding pups but BBs may be brighter sounding than most aftermarket PAFs.
 

stratolux

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Those readings seem high according to what Gibson claimed them to be when BBs first came out. I've had Custombuckers that had both the bridge and neck in the mid 8k range and also both in the 8k range. Anyway, the BBs were supposed to be:

BB1 = mid to upper 7k range
BB2 = right around 8.0k/8.2k range
BB3 = mid 8k range

The BBs I've had over the years have basically been in those intended ranges. For me those ranges give me an idea of what the tone might be like (brighter/more mids, etc.). I've seen a mis-labled BB2 that read 7.5k (actually a BB1)! YMMV!


These are the ranges I was expecting. Maybe I have a BB1 labeled as a BB2? I assume that the BB1,2 1nd 3 are identical except for output? Even though the BB2 I have measures lower than the BB1, is there any other reason the BB2 should still go in the bridge slot?

Thanks for the feedback so far.
 

Zentar

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You have two BBs. Put the highest DCR in the bridge. You could sell one BB. Try something else which you think would work with the keeper. Doesn't have to be a Gibson brand even.
 

Big Al

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DCR is most certainly can be an indicator of output. There are other indicators as well. On PAFs the DCR is the most valuable spec as to whether a pickup will produce classic tones.
DCR tells me how many winds and even tells me the wire gauge.
DCR tells me three things. That's why I use DCR specs.

For instance if I'm hunting a PAF style pup and the DCR specs on a humbucker post a 16ko DCR then I keep looking. 16ko is not PAF territory. I am not looking for that much output.I don't want that many winds and I don't want that wire.



If you don't use DCR to select pups that is fine with me but I do.

Nope. The magnet has a greater influence on volume and PAF's used at least 3 or more different magnets. It also depends on how out of balanced the coils are, since two pickups with different coil offsets can give the same resistance reading but show different volumes.
Also how they are measured and temperature can effect the readings.
 

stratolux

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I measured the BB1 & 2 in my SG and they both measure 8.01k. They have more balance, and not as much highs. its a 2012 Custom Shop SG, so I assume it has 500k pots. Before the pickup swap, I had put Gibson 500k audio-taper pots and sprague caps in the Les Paul, and the 57/57+ improved, but it wasn't overly bright. This BB in the the bridge is really bright and thin. It'll drive the amp just fine, but I may need to play it with the tone rolled almost halfway back. I haven't played it with the band yet, so I'll reserve final judgement, but the 57+ might have to go back into the bridge slot. Odd that the SG would sound beefier than a Lester.
 

Classic

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I measured the BB1 & 2 in my SG and they both measure 8.01k. They have more balance, and not as much highs. its a 2012 Custom Shop SG, so I assume it has 500k pots. Before the pickup swap, I had put Gibson 500k audio-taper pots and sprague caps in the Les Paul, and the 57/57+ improved, but it wasn't overly bright. This BB in the the bridge is really bright and thin. It'll drive the amp just fine, but I may need to play it with the tone rolled almost halfway back. I haven't played it with the band yet, so I'll reserve final judgement, but the 57+ might have to go back into the bridge slot. Odd that the SG would sound beefier than a Lester.

It depends what you classify as beefier? I tried an SG with a vibrato and it was way more mids than any LP which was probably highlighted by it having far less highs and bass. Definitely sounded ballsy.
 

stratolux

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(+) probe to vol pot lug and (-) probe to body of pot. I figured this to be accurate because it gave the same readings my tech measured before he installed them.

I have a gig this weekend, so we'll give the Lester a whirl and see how she does.
 

Big Al

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(+) probe to vol pot lug and (-) probe to body of pot. I figured this to be accurate because it gave the same readings my tech measured before he installed them.

I have a gig this weekend, so we'll give the Lester a whirl and see how she does.

There w2as a thread awhile ago, and I can't remember the details, but I seem to recall that when measured in the guitar there is an effect that the pots have on the measurement. Someone will know, but I thought it would give a different measurement than not soldered in.
 

Zentar

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There w2as a thread awhile ago, and I can't remember the details, but I seem to recall that when measured in the guitar there is an effect that the pots have on the measurement. Someone will know, but I thought it would give a different measurement than not soldered in.

The pots are not going to be included in the meter reading. They are in parallel not series so they are mathematically insignificant .
You can simply plug a short cable to the jack and measure the plug. Set all the knobs to 10. Use the selector switch to pick which pup. This is a very accurate. reading. No need to have the pickup in your hand.
 

B Ingram

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The pots are not going to be included in the meter reading. They are in parallel not series so they are mathematically insignificant . ...

+1, depending on how anal we're being with the readings.

The volume pot will be in parallel with the pickup's DCR when doing a resistance reading, which lowers the measured value vs true DCR out of circuit. The pots are well over 10x a typical pickup's DCR, so while the measured value will be lower than actual DCR it would normally be "meaningless" if we were talking about a resistor in an amplifier.

Except people get up in arms about minutia here (and on other forums). So let's take an example of a pickup which has a DCR of 8kΩ when measured out of circuit and see what it will read when in-circuit with a 500kΩ or 300kΩ volume pot.

For 2 parallel resistances, R[SUB]total [/SUB]= (R1 * R2)/(R1+R2)
500kΩ pot: (R1 * R2)/(R1+R2) = (8kΩ * 500kΩ)/(8kΩ+500kΩ) = 7.87kΩ
300kΩ pot: (R1 * R2)/(R1+R2) = (8kΩ * 300kΩ)/(8kΩ+300kΩ) = 7.79kΩ

So even with the 300kΩ pot, the measurement is only ~2.6% low. If we were measuring a 10% tolerance resistor, this is "nothing".

But as shown in this thread's discussion, if we're talking about pickup DCR things get blown out of proportion. Lot of argument over whose numbers are right, though several sets of numbers could be right depending on the circumstances of measurement. If you are going to use DCR as your most-important factor for judgment, then you owe it to yourself to be certain your numbers were all gotten the same way so they have relevance to each other.

Otherwise, do what I do and take it as only one indicator among many to be weighed, with the most important indicator being how it actually sounds in your guitar.
 

B Ingram

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A sidenote: the results I posted above speak to Big Al's point that DCR does not equal output. Ultimately, turns of wire and magnet strength are what decide the pickup's output. [At this point, my old Sergeant Major would say, "Stop it girls, you're both pretty!"]

# of turns and wire gauge decide the DCR, with thinner wire and the same # of turns giving higher DCR. But only the turns count towards increasing output, so two pickups in this case with the same magnet would give the same output even though one has higher DCR than the other.

And of course, if we had 2 identical pickups (with identical wire, turns and resulting DCR) but one used a weaker magnet, then while DCR is equal one pickup will be obviously weaker than the other.

Lastly, there's the case of what I showed above: you could be talking about the same pickup measured in different settings and arrive at different DCR. It will always have the same output, because turns and magnet are unchanged. But using the DCR as a figure of merit becomes misleading when its measured value changes due to conditions of measurement.
 
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stratolux

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Update: Well, it was one of those gigs where we were just trying to make it thru, so swapping guitars wasn't a priority. I ended up playing the Tele all night. Does that get me banned here?! Regardless, night before, I played the Les Paul at home and there is no way I could live with that particular BB in the bridge so I yanked it out and put the 57+ back in. Much fuller and meatier. What's weird though is that the 57+ reads just a hair over 8k, which seems low for a 57+. Regardless, it works better in that guitar. Didn't think that much diff in output would be so dramatic soundwise. If I'm a sucker for punishment I may order a BB3, but swapping pups gets expensive quick. Good for now.

Thanks again for all the advice/comments.
 

stratolux

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Ok, before I give up completely lol, from some internet reading it seems possible that not properly grounding the braided wire to the pot can have a detrimental affect on the tone. The BB1 measures approx. 7.7k, and is thin, strident, and plinky sounding in the bridge position - no meat to it at all. Is this just what a sub-8k pup sounds like, or is it possible that the wiring could have been suspect? It seemed to be soldered just fine - my tech did a very tidy job.

Also, if the pup had an internal short, would it read approx. half what it should - 4-5k-ish?
 

B Ingram

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... from some internet reading it seems possible that ...

Well, you gotta be careful what you believe when reading on the internet.

After all, why on earth would you trust what I say?!? :rofl

... from some internet reading it seems possible that not properly grounding the braided wire to the pot can have a detrimental affect on the tone. The BB1 measures approx. 7.7k, and is thin, strident, and plinky sounding in the bridge position - no meat to it at all. ...

If both your pickups have braided shields (a la standard old-school Gibson pickups), and you have the same type of braided shield wire running to your pickup selector switch, there's a better than 99% chance your pickup's shield sees a ground connection even if you don't solder it to the pot at all.

Huh? How?

Those braided shields are all touching each other while they're laying in the channel running from selector switch to the control cavity. And if the typical old-school wiring was used at the switch, there's a ground wire wrapped around the whole bundle right near the switch's ground tab.

No, I don't think there's likely anything wrong with your pickup. I think you just don't like the way it sounds/performs, which is your prerogative.

... Is this just what a sub-8k pup sounds like ...

Not necessarily. DCR is only part of the equation.

Besides, I have a set of these pickups in my LP. The bridge reads 7.57kΩ, has an A2 magnet and sounds just like the bridge A2 demo in the video. Maybe that sound doesn't float your boat, but it works nicely for me.

... Also, if the pup had an internal short, would it read approx. half what it should - 4-5k-ish?

Only if the short was from midpoint of the winding to one end. How much the DCR is reduced depends on where in the coil the pickup is shorted, and what it is shorting to. Could be anything from 7999.999Ω (for an 8kΩ pickup) down to 0Ω.
 
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