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More magnet swapping

Ken

New member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
711
Toni and TJ, you are right. After trying out both pickups with the Alnico II mod for several days, I ended up switching the bridge back to the Antiquity magnet and the beloved spongy tone I had been missing came back. (The bridge with the mod was just too biting and a tad harsh. ) The antiquity magnet simply matches the natural brightness of my guitar better. What worked in the neck didn't in the bridge.

I'm glad I experimented, but now I'm sick of the whole fiddling thing and just want to play. :wail: ;)
 

toni

LPF Tone Chaser
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,103
Ken,
maybe Gaston and i were lucky.
all i can say is that my pickups both read very low (7.73K and 7.35K).
Both pickups kept their tone after the alnico II mod.,but they now are warmer and fuller.
Maybe it woks better with very weak reading pu's.
Tonejunkie,
You can buy Alnico V from Seymour Duncan's custom shop for 20$ each.
 
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tonejunkie

New member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
269
How do I get in touch with them? Is the 7.35k a bridge pickup? Did you special order it, or did it come that way straight off the rack? I wish I could try a whole range of values with this mod, but that probably isn't practical. Either that or you'll see me posting lots of ads on the Forum for used Antiquitys. Have you A/B'd any of these against real PAFs?
 

Ken

New member
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
711
Toni, I think experimentation is key. My bridge reads 8.56K so that most likely has something to do with it....then there's the wood factor and personal preference. I very satisfied with the end result and I would not have tried were it not for the findings of you and Gaston and the experience of everyone else. I'm grateful....and done with this one for now. The experiment is over for me.

TJ, if you check the post started by Dave P at the SD bulletin you'll see the number and a contact name for the Custom Shop in response to a post by Ed R. Enjoy.
 

toni

LPF Tone Chaser
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,103
Tonejunkie
(805) 964-9610 ext. 1009
Two neck pickups ! from the rack !

Ken
if you like your tone then it's a good tone.
 
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EdA

New member
Joined
Jul 17, 2001
Messages
311
Wow Tonejunkie, a man after my own heart, anal testing out the wazoo! Enough to get you dizzy, huh? But its the only way to answer questions.

Without a doubt it all comes down to each individual guitar. Ive had some PAFs that sounded great in one historic and not so great in another. I think youre doing the right thing, trying different combinations in your different guitars and seeing which suits each guitar best.

Dewey my PAFs read 7.8k and 8.3k. Generally, the higher the number the more gain and mids, but Im aware that it can vary from pickup to pickup. Another thing about PAFs, they varied from 7k to 9k and the individual coils were not always evenly matched. My bridge 8.3k has the inside slug coil reading 4.4k and the outside screw coil reading 3.9k. I think thats why I get some really cool snarly mids and harmonics, the stronger coil is farther from the bridge. Needless to say, if the coils were reversed the pickup would still read 8.3k but it would sound different. So if you REALLY want to drive yourself nuts, you could take readings on your individual coils and start mixing and matching!
-Ed A
 

tonejunkie

New member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
269
hey EdA,

Tell me how to do it, and I'll give it a try. How do you read the coils seperately, and how do you safely take them apart. Let me know I'll pull everyone of them apart...I didn't pick this user name for nothing...
 

EdA

New member
Joined
Jul 17, 2001
Messages
311
Shit Ive only done it once and it was a while ago, some of the other guys (RICH) have probably done it a lot more, but basically from what I remember, youve got to unwrap the tape that goes around both coils and you'll see some small wires coming out from each coil. They are soldered to one another, when taken apart, you can get a separate reading of each coil. You have to be REAL careful though because the little wire is attached to the end of the hair thin copper winding any you could pull it out easily.

I would suggest getting advice from someone with a better memory than me or maybe experimenting first with some old shit pickup if youve never taken one apart. Also, this may not be as much of a factor with Antiquities, Im assuming they are more evenly matched, but I dont know for sure....

-Ed A
 

Dewey

The Czar
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
557
Interesting stuff Ed! I'm pretty convinced at this point that the variables are endless to find the perfect "tone match" Tonejunkie is on this mission and I can respect his efforts. Some get lucky with a guitar off the production line that has a "tone match" and others have to find it. Maybe I got lucky because I only changed p/u's 4 or 5 times, changed pots and caps a few times, and setup the guitar to where it sounds good with this particular combo of p/u's, weight, wood, tp, pots, caps, strings, and amp settings...and of course MY ears! ....though, I'd still like to put a Gibby lightweight tail piece on it when they're available;)

This thread is the "key" to finding a good tone match for your particular guitar. Thanks to all the endless efforts of everybody here, we have a firm foundation to build on with p/u's. Excellent information....that's one of the functions that this forum does well, information gathering from all over! My thanks to all those that contributed...and of course, that search continues;)
 

tonejunkie

New member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
269
Dewy,

Are those PAFs you mentioned real PAFs?

I know it's crazy, but if I ran across the "perfect" sounding guitar, I think at some point I would at least be tempted to mess with it, if I thought it might make it sound even 10% better.The only guitars I haven't messed with are original vintage gutars that sound great already, and I don't want to mess up the originality. Barring that, it's hard for NOT to try something, if I think it will stand a chance. None of these guitars sounded bad, but after reading what I might get out of this, it's hard not to go for it. The lucky thing for me with this is it's easy stuff on which to experiment. It's all newer stuff, and it's not that valuable, so I can afford to do it, both in terms of money and risk. If I were Bill Gates, I'd be doing this with Bursts and PAFs. I guess for me the best part about it is the education--I've learned so much! That alone has been worth it. AND IT'S NOT OVER.

I've also been thinking of trying something in the 7.5-7.6k range in the bridge to see what happens. That 7.62k neck PU in the Gold Top out guns almost everything I put in the bridge, except for maybe the 8.77k BUT ONLY WITH THE FULL STRENGTH ALNICO II. I haven't had much luck with stronger neck/weaker bridge combinations. The closest I've come are evenly matched neck/bridge.
 
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Dewey

The Czar
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
557
Tonejunkie, your right on the money about tweaking a guitar that already sounds great. To my ears, the particular combination in my guitar came about by swapping p/u's a few times. I bought a combination of zebra and double black paf's from a forum reader here. The zebra read 7.99k and the dbl black read 8 something, they both had gold covers. I sold the black to Tim here on the forum, and that p/u smoked in the bridge. But, of course at that time I was crazed with this zebra or white thing so I was funding the purchase of a white with some of the proceeds. When I first bought the zebra, I sent it to Jim Rolph, saw an ad in VG mag for him to put a longer lead on it to reach from the neck. He looked it over pretty good at the time, and he has this set-up in his shop to hook p/u's into a guitar to hear what they sound like sonically, so he knew the particulars or this p/u's tone. Anyway, I sent him the white to look over when I got it and he said that he needed to resolder the connections on the winding taps because of age corrosion. My plan at the time was to put this particular p/u in the neck as it read less than the zebra, after he scrutinized this p/u he said it's definitely a bridge p/u. I told him about my thinking with the readings of higher ohm in the bridge and less for the neck....man you cannot argue with this guy, he knows his shit and I always end up sniveling away. He get's great praise from Dan Erlewine, they have been friends for some time....so who am I to argue with this guy with my limited knowlege of p/u's. And BTW he loves to talk....always has great info to share. Long story short, I put this white in the bridge and it sounds great...so much for my theories. Though I did have a higher ohm black in the bridge that sounded great too at one time. My curiousity was peaked with this thread and I never did swap bridge/neck to hear differences so I went into surgery and I can tell you...the change was not at all to my liking sonically, so they were put back to the original config...white/bridge and zebra/neck. This particular combination in this particular '99 just sounds great...to MY ears, I might add.
Yes Tonejunkie, they are real paf's. But even if they were X brand p/u's with this particular combination of windings, magnets, wood weight, p/u height, pots, caps, acoustic qualities of the wood...it would just sound great ;)

But I gotta tell you...Ed A, he comes up with some good shit, now he's got me thinking I could find another good double black, that's similar in characteristics, and use slug of the black and the pole adj side of the white and make another zebra:lol I'v always wanted two zebras just cause I like the way they look;)
I will never have a scientific explanation for why my guitar sounds the way it does with this combination, its a holistic approach to the guitar...and may suck in another guitar unfortunately :smoke
And finally, other's may not think my guitar sounds good to them...so you have to add the individuals ears to each equation;) and I'm happy....and that's all that matters....but about that zebra thing :nut
 

EdA

New member
Joined
Jul 17, 2001
Messages
311
Yeah Tonejunkie, Im talking about REAL PAFs being less consistent with the coils matching one another. Check this out, when I first got my double white PAF I use in the bridge it read 9k. And thats not heating it up, that's at room temperature. At one point I accidentally cut the coil winding (dont ask me how...) and repaired it myself. I decided a while ago to send it to Lindy Fralin for proper REPAIR, not REWIND. He had to unwrap some of the coil to get to the area that was not cut and put it back together. The output changed from 9k to 8.3k and I think its sounds better than ever. Probably because the coils were so mismatched before. The amazing thing is before he unwrapped the slug coil it read 5k! The screw coil read 4k and there's your total of 9k. He was shocked because he said that the pickup was absolutely all original and had never been rewound and that it was one of the highest readings he's ever seen in a PAF coil. That potentially means that some PAFs could be well over 9k if you get a couple overwrapped coils like that. Now that coil reads 4.3k, so with the 4k coil it adds up to 8.3k. I know that Duncan will make pickups if you want where both coils are perfectly matched. A lot of guys dont like that though because by having them a bit different from one another begins to add a touch of single coil tone to the humbucker. Im betting that the Antiquities vary somewhat in how closely each coil is matched but I doubt they vary as much as the PAFs did...

-Ed A
 

Ed Rafalko

Les Paul Forum Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
6,287
According to Evan Skopp, back in the day they wound byu time and not windings, and sometimes the clockwatchers weren't paying atention.;)
Another thing to consider- physical limitations. With a given size of bobbin and a given gauge of wire, you're only going to be able to wrap a certain number of windings on that bobbin before you run out of space. This varies with tension levels, but the high end on a real PAF would be , according to everything I've read, around 9.5K or so.
 

tonejunkie

New member
Joined
Jul 25, 2001
Messages
269
Ed & Dewy,

Dewey,
I believe what you say about readings and output. My experience seems to mostly the other way around, but now I wonder about that 7.62k in the Gold Top neck position. Maybe I should pull it and try it in the bridge--it really seems to have a lot of output. I'm all about 'whatever sounds best is "correct"', so if that thing sounds better as a bridge PU, a bridge PU it is, even if means flipping the magnet, if necessary. Do you think the phenomena you described is truer of older PUPs like PAFs cause I haven't notice it so much with newer ones?

Ed,
I measured a couple of Antiquitys, and I think you're right. It seemed the coils were pretty evenly matched, not a huge variance. I think what you're saying about the mismatched coils might be part (but only part) of that elusive PAF magic. That's what I was thinking before: get two Antiquitys with fairly different readings and recombine them to get that kind of mismatch. Maybe it will do something? I dunno. Have you tried putting Alnico IIs in Antiquitys at all? I'm sure you have some. I would be real interested to hear your opinion of how this mod compares to a real PAF. I know you have no personal interest because it's not going to make your R9 sound any better, but maybe in the interest of the Forum?

Finally, do either of you think there's a huge difference in correlation in DC resistance between Antiquitys and PAFs i.e. are 7.6k PAFs generally hotter than 8.xk Antiquitys?

All you guys are doing is making me want some real PAFs...
 

toni

LPF Tone Chaser
Joined
Jul 26, 2001
Messages
1,103
Tonejunkie,
When Gaston compared his Historic 59 (stock Antiquities in) to old burst's, the old burst's had much more output...wich suggest that PAF's magnets were much stronger than stock aged magnets in the Antiquities.

and we better pay more attention to pots...
I dont know if i'm right, but it seems to me that CTS pots are "harsher" than Gibson's pots.
Maybe Gibson's dont last, but to me they sound better, more natural tone without harshness.
If we could find pots that sound as good as old centralabs, I'm pretty sure we would be more than happy.

Maybe Ed Amantia and Dave Peatow could tell us about the tonal difference between CTS and Centralabs.
...I'm sure there is a good difference...
 
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Dewey

The Czar
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
557
TJ, I've had a few discussions with Jim Rolph about paf's, resistance values, and tone. He told me that many vintage guitars that were equipped with real paf's were all over the place with respects to the p/u ohm value and respective locations on the guitar. And he said they varied so much in tone characteristics, even two of the same value pafs, when changed into the same positions in the same guitar...they both sounded sonically different! Go figure, maybe the characteristics of the p/u change when current is applied to the windings. I've had an interesting experience at work where I had two separate coils that operated an electro-mechanical device in a control circuit on a large circuit breaker, both coils had almost the same ohm values, but when installed and current applied only one of the coils would actuate the mechanism. The one being suspect as the weaker of the two had in fact almost the same identical reading, age? wire insulation? capacitance?
So it doesn't suprise me to find that two p/u with similar readings sound differently in the same controlled conditions. And when your using different wood density, weight, electronics, tailpiece, strings etc...I think tone will be all over the place, with not much consistencies. I'm sure though, there are some general rules with respect to current, winding ratios, wire size, tension, and values, but when the signal goes thru the electric's and into the amp circuits the resulting tone signature can yield immense amounts of variations...and with the same "set of ears"
Bottom line for me, is to explore until you find what your ears tell you is where you want to be. And this is where changing p/u's, magnets, caps, pots, and positions become a very viable option to changing tone.
And as for the "phenomena" I think there are too many variables to consider, way to many inconsistencies from one p/u to another to say that what ohm value bridge/neck p/u works in my guitar may work in another. And further, if you do choose to buy paf's, take into consideration that you may have to purchase a few paf's to find the ones that sound good in your particular guitar. The good thing is that you can almost always resell them for what you pay for them;)
 

LHakim

Active member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
2,113
Fralin has been offering pups w/ mis-matched coils. He claims the mismatching on a neck pup brightens up the lower strings. I would think that antiquities are either made w/ a small amount of mismatching inherent, or could be ordered that way.
 

LHakim

Active member
Joined
Jul 15, 2001
Messages
2,113
Probably not but then I don't even know when the show is. I have a feeling I've left it too late for a room and I don't want to impose on anyone.

If you, RICH or any other forum members happen to come through Memphis, I'd like to hook up w/ you if only for a short time. I live less than an hour south of Memphis, and there are always fun things to see and do there.
 
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