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Magnet swap for Throbak SLE-101LTDs

slammintone

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Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
1,954
When I got my Throbak SLE-101ltd set back in the fall of 2009 I knew I'd gotten something special. NOS wires, and I'd wanted the set that had the bobbins wound on both vintage machines. When I got them I noticed an improvement over the Burstbuckers in my R7 right away. They were better but I'd also just six weeks before gotten a set of Wolfetone Legends for my R8 and I just always thought the Legend set was hitting all the right PAF buttons while my otherwise excellent Throbak set was reaching towards PAF greatness but ending up sounding a bit like a less refined more modern interpretation of a PAF. I tried swapping each set between my R8 and R7 and quickly swapped them back as the Legend set did even less for my R7 than the Throbaks and the Throbak set didn't quite have the chirping middle position tone on my R8 than the Legend set had. I know, I know BLAH BLAH BLAH get on with the story!....

So about a week ago I got the idea from a thread on this forum to try a magnet swap for my Throbaks, specifically a pair of Jon Gundry's unoriented A5 magnets as are standard in the SLE-101 + Ltd set. Yesterday the magnets arrived from Throbak and I emailed Jon about the correct way to install them to avoid frustration and got my answers. This morning I completed the mag swap and soldered the covers back on (beautiful set of double whites I just saw for the first time. Just excellent) and strung the guitar back up and did a rough pickup height setup. Plugging in and firing the JCM800 2204 up I threw the standby and started playing a bit and WOW what an improvement. This was not subtle! I sort of hoped to brighten things up a bit because my R7 is on the dark side of neutral. Well, what I got was a total transformation from (in comparison) a rather blah and somewhat soft and murky PAF imitation to what I'd call as spot on PAF tone and character as I've heard yet. The bridge pickup woke right up with a vowelly honkin midrange, a spankin' woody and bloomin low end and a nice sparkle on the high end with a 3D presence and just this wide palate of tonal colors it was completely lacking before. Truth be told I think both pickups got a bit louder with the magnet swap. After I played with the polepieces on the neck pickup it had much of the same sonic wonders happen to it. Gorgeous woody low end bloom, a very sweet and clear middle range and another bit of sparkle on the high notes. Very organic. The middle position has got to be the best I've ever heard on a guitar I've played. The end result? I couldn't hardly put the guitar down for two hours straight. And this is the guitar that usually gets the most time sitting on the stand while I play my R9. Oh yeah, my poor R9! Once my favorite with it's stock burstbuckers, ha! Those pickups sound so compressed and generic compared to the Throbaks it almost a joke. I'll put it like this, if I would have sent the pickups to Jon to swap out the mags for me and got the same set back with the A5 mags I would strongly have suspected he just tossed me a whole new set of pickups because the change has been that huge. Should have done this two years ago!!:##
 

straightblues

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2004
Messages
954
That sounds great. I just emailed him to see if I can try one of the A5's out. I have never been to overly excited about the tone of my Throbak. I hope this puts it over the top for me.
 

slammintone

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Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
1,954
Don't know how the unoriented A5s would fare in non-Throbak pickups but they sure fired up things sonically that were only hinted at with the A2s for some reason in my SLE101LTD set. Playing them some more I'm just amazed at the increased pick responsiveness and the warm glow imparted through the midrange. There's also a dry crisp character most noticeable on the bridge pickup position that I'd not noticed before. Makes me wonder if a good PAF imparts it's own sound or if a good PAF just gets out of the way of the instruments natural sound and just enhances what's in the guitar itself?
 

reswot

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Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
3,295
I put a pair of Jon's unoriented A5s in a set of Burstbuckers and was really pleased with the results.
 

Mars Hall

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Nov 26, 2008
Messages
1,824
Don't know how the unoriented A5s would fare in non-Throbak pickups but they sure fired up things sonically that were only hinted at with the A2s for some reason in my SLE101LTD set. Playing them some more I'm just amazed at the increased pick responsiveness and the warm glow imparted through the midrange. There's also a dry crisp character most noticeable on the bridge pickup position that I'd not noticed before. Makes me wonder if a good PAF imparts it's own sound or if a good PAF just gets out of the way of the instruments natural sound and just enhances what's in the guitar itself?

Rick, I tried an UA5 in the Antiquity bridge position of my R7. I wish it had the adjectives you described above, you sound as if you just came from a wine tasting.:salude My experience was that of more clean headroom, a full strength A2 was best in my situation. I'm all moved in at the new house, still living out of boxes yet but we should get together soon and sip some of the proverbial wine.
 

slammintone

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Joined
Jul 19, 2001
Messages
1,954
Rick, I tried an UA5 in the Antiquity bridge position of my R7. I wish it had the adjectives you described above, you sound as if you just came from a wine tasting.:salude My experience was that of more clean headroom, a full strength A2 was best in my situation. I'm all moved in at the new house, still living out of boxes yet but we should get together soon and sip some of the proverbial wine.

Yeah, that's what the wife says: "Rick, you know sometimes I think yer just full of....adjectives!" Anyhow I don't know, maybe my set of Throbaks had a bum set of A2s or something. It happens I guess. My Legend set sounded better with it's A2s but even that set wouldn't compare to what I'm hearing now. However I did very, very much like that Legends set and if I still had that R8 I wouldn't ever change those pickups out. They really made a great pairing with that instrument and it had it's own cool voice thanks to Wolfetone IMO.

Heck yeah buddy on the big move! Email me and let me know the details. I gotta vacate this town ASAP too. Glad to hear ya made it out!:jim
 

straightblues

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Mar 17, 2004
Messages
954
I got a hold of Throbak and they are going to send me out the A5. I will report back in a week or so when I get it installed.
 

straightblues

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2004
Messages
954
I put the unoriented magnet into my Throbak SLE-101 limited bridge pickups. It completely woke it up just like the original poster said. It is like a new pickups was installed in the guitar. Sounds great now. Thanks so much for the tip slammintone.
 
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