PAF for neck position, what magnet type?

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Satellitedog, May 11, 2017.

  1. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    Hi tonesters!

    I want to get a vintage spec PAF for an SG standard in the neck position.
    Problem is, I don't quite know what magnet would give me the best result.

    I need the pup to fill up sonic space on its own, with a large 3D sound. Defined, audible bass with a clean solid top. Some bark would be nice when pushed with a harder attack.

    Thank you for your advice!
    SD
     
  2. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    I contacted Mojo Pickups, and Marc suggested an underwound Alnico 5 neck PAF style.

    Any opinions?
     
  3. DCCable

    DCCable Active Member

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    I like Alnico II or III for the neck position. What's in the bridge?

    BTW IMO having the windings on the two coils be different counts is very important especially in the neck (helps to eliminate the "muddy sound")
     
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  4. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    Thanks for the reply! Thought this thread was a goner.

    I don't know either original pickup in the guitar, they look to be non-descript Korean jobs with grey plastic tubing on the wire, I didn't have the opportunity yet to measure their output, but they are probably closer to medium-low, and are clean-ish, and they lack the typical SG bark. They are probably whatever Cort used in the late '80s, early '90s for Greco brand orders. I don't dislike them at all, just looking for another flavour.

    On the other hand, I just recieved another SG standard, an Edwards E-SG 120 with Seymour Duncan SH 1 in the neck, and SH 4 in the bridge positions, and those seem to be hotter than the Greco's pups, and seem more punchy and aggressive, although they neither will bark at living room volume levels.
    I may be at fault I think, probably should turn up the guitar volumes - I usually keep them around 3-6 - but then I'd have to turn down my Blues Jr even further, and that's ridiculous. I'm thinking of buying an even smaller combo amp, like a Laney Cub 10 or even 8, with lower wattage, but I like the 12" speaker of the JR, so perhaps a small head with a box would be a better option, I don't know...

    In contrast, my brother's Wilkinson pup equipped Vintage brand SG copy has that nice growly, barking tone when played harder at the same volume settings but it is muddier, flatter tonally.
     
  5. pedecamp

    pedecamp Well-Known Member

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    Alnico 2
     
  6. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    Listening to the Dimarzio 36th Anni. PAF (Alnico 2) it did have that grit and bark with highs intact, but I want something that can be ocean deep and 3D AND bark when pushed.
     
  7. DCCable

    DCCable Active Member

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    If you're looking for that "3D" type thing stay away from potted pickups! IMO potting kills that type of flavor in a pickup. As a rule I don't pot any of my pickups, even Strat pickups for that reason.
     
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  8. DCCable

    DCCable Active Member

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    If this is going in a SG I like to go with "61 PAF" clones with about a 10% differential on the coil wind counts.

    Those will use the short magnet A5 magnets in both the neck and bridge.
     
  9. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    Thanks for the tips, DCC!

    Since the Mojo PAF will be custom-wound, I'll ask for an asymmetrical wind. I was going to go for an unpotted hb, since I don't play very loudly, nor do I gig. I wonder whether a combination of 3D spaciousness and bark can be achieved in the same pickup. Maybe I'm looking for something impossible.

    Anyways, now I have two SGs to experiment on, so I don't have to have the be-all-end-all pup in one guitar. I can get flavours. Yay.
     
  10. DCCable

    DCCable Active Member

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    Of course they can.

    Get Mojo to wind with PE wire with a 10% difference between the two coils and go with the short magnet A5 magnets; wind for something like 7.7K for the neck and 8.3K for the birdge; oh and go with the nickel silver base and raw nickel silver covers with a 49.2 mm pole spacing since coil geometry does make a difference. You'll be pleased!

    And for the record, IMO, potting as a method of suppressing feedback is highly over rated. There are other methods of suppressing feedback that does not mess with the guitars sound.

    Just out of curiosity what's Mojo charging for two custom wound pickups?
     
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  11. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    https://www.mojopickups.co.uk/product/vintage-pafs/

    The basic price is $247 (XE curr.converter) for a set of vintage type PAFs, but I'm not sure whether Marc charges extra for further customization. Offset winding could be an extra for example, if he offers it.

    Thing is, I haven't decided what kind of pup I want in the bridge position. The one that came with the guitar sounds decent , so I'm not in a rush. Also, I might go for a bastardisation, like a filtertron type, or P90 in hb format.
     
  12. bwotw

    bwotw Well-Known Member

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    My favourite neck position right now, of all the humbucker guitars I own (Antiquities, 36th Ann...), is this: http://www.tonerider.com/es/alnico-iv
    No mud whatsover, somewhat scooped, and cleans up like a single coil. Can even get twangy on clean. I'd decribe it as 3D.

    Only issue for me: it tends to be somewhat dark with gain. Not muddy, not at all, but it makes it hard to balance with a bridge pickup that's not fat-sounding.
     
  13. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    Yeah, I'm probably going to get a Tonerider (which kind, I don't know) and maybe an Iron Gear or two, just to have a couple of cheap options for wildly different flavours.

    Thanks for the heads up about the Al IV.
     
  14. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    Alright, I got home from work, and tested the SH1 and 4 in the Edwards, lowering amp volume and turning both pups to 10, and they do growl a bit, and they got that compressed break up going. Wish I could play louder to get them full on barking, but it's good to know that typical SG tone is in this guitar.
     
  15. Satellitedog

    Satellitedog Active Member

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    Oh, I was working when you posted this, so I had to make my replies quick and I didn't pay attention to your other PAFs... That sounds pretty impressive for the Tonerider then! Gonna put it on the shortlist.
    I like the Antiquity's sounds, and the 36th Anni is really nice, but not exactly what I want, but to get in the ballpark of those (taking into account personal preference) with an affordable brand is sweet.
     
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  16. Semla

    Semla Member

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    I just had a good try at testing what in pickups makes them sound good and not. I have a Les Paul with Lundgren PAF humbuckers, around 7,3 neck and 8,3 bridge if I remember correctly. I bought some magnets from a seller at eBay and started trying out. Tried A3, A4, roughcut A5, unoriented A5 and the magnet from a 70s Seymour Duncan '59 (probably a rough cut A5, looked and sounded like that). It sure was a big difference, and also, magnets sound very different depending on how much the pickup is wound. I liked A4 in the neck and unoriented A5 in the bridge best for my les paul, but it is a different beast altogether with much more bass than my SGs. A3 in the neck for example was to soft, I had no rough edge in the bass, and a bit to spongy although sweet sounding. A4 in the bridge was a bit to bland. The best was actually to go the treble of the A5, turn my treble all the way up on my amp (ouch!) and then lower the tone control on my guitar. Got a really nice vintage honk that way, that I can't replicate with other measures.
     
  17. JimD

    JimD Member

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    Don't forget it's just a link in a chain. Those sounds still have to come out of an amp driving a speaker (and do you want an alnico or a ceramic speaker magnet...?)

    There's also the height you have the pickup set from the strings, and the position the pickup occupies along the string length (i.e. how close to the bridge or end of the fingerboard it is - check out the difference in neck pickup position between a LP and an SG in this regard).

    If you like this sort of minutae you might like the YT videos of Johan Segeborn if you haven't already seen them. He keeps trying just about everything he can to compare the various "links in the chain"; he has lots of videos so this link is just searching for some of the pickup related ones

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=johan+segeborn+pickup
     
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