SD "Whole Lotta Humbucker" gig review.

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Paul G., Jul 31, 2016.

  1. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    Although I have a really long history with the SG, I have loved and appreciated the Gibson Les Paul over my life. I've owned 10 (if you include a couple of Tokai Love Rocks). During my last short-lived retirement from playing I sold my last Paul.

    One evening, wifey was watching TV, I was trolling through Sweetwater's site and came across a 2016 Studio T in ebony/gold weighing 7lb 11oz. Next day I went back again and almost the entire stock of 2016 was gone. The one I had my eye on was still there, so...

    Guitar arrived and was quite nice, perfect neck, perfect fretwork, well-cut nut, great balance, unreal sustain and a lively woody quality unplugged. It sounded pretty good, so she stays. Over the last 6-8 months or so, I kinda fell out of love with the 498T/490R combo. While they often sounded killer (especially outdoors), there were plenty of nights where I just couldn't dial them in. They were dark, a bit muddy.

    Let's go shopping...Next panel
     
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  2. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    I wanted hot-ish pickups, but not too hot. Need a full tone with some bite -- like my SG really, just fatter.

    Plenty of choices for $350-$400, but I won't pay. Settled on Seymour Duncan "Whole Lotta Humbucker" set, hot PAF style with Alnico V magnets and a "special wind", whatever that means. I decided to keep all the stock stuff intact if I ever sell guitar so I ordered a wiring set from RS Guitarworks. I've used MartinSixString in the past and love their stuff, but apparently they're gone(?)

    First package arrives from RS, marked everywhere "Long shaft upgrade set", with a receipt for a "Long shaft upgrade set". Unfortunately the package contained a "short shaft upgrade set" which won't work on a modern Les Paul. To their credit, they shipped out correct set even before I could ship the wrong one back.

    Wired it up (I'm good a this, so it's no trouble). Nope, front pickup dead. Checked my wiring, pulled out my DVM, everything checks out until the switch. Checked switch wiring, it's fine. Over an hour spent trouble-shooting, then I had a brainstorm...bypassed the switch, jumped the pickup hot right to the switch out and TaDa! all is well. Bad switch.

    Took the original switch (not nearly as nice or heavy-duty, but still a Switchcraft) and wired it in. Everything works.

    Pushed the knobs onto the pots, 3 go ok, the last one, the pot starts coming apart as I push. I undo the nut, wiggle the pot back enough to get some needle-nose pliers in and bend the tabs that hold the pot together. This time I hold the back of the pot as I push knob on. Tested, all ok.

    At home, at low volume everything works, but now shower, change and to the gig.

    Next...
     
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  3. Paul G.

    Paul G. Well-Known Member

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    Plugged into 18-watt 2x12 amp, it sounded pretty much as I'd hoped, compared to the SG similar with spank and cut, but noticeably fatter.

    Played it all night was very satisfied. Rolling off the tone gave a big fat midrangey tone on the bridge, open up the tone and it bites and snarls without any harshness. The neck pickup is pretty good, nothing very special, but clear and spanky with plenty of fullness without sounding woofy at all.

    Despite the troubles I had with the RS kit, I have to say the controls were controllable, predictable and the full range was very useable. None of that works good down to 7, then it's a switch.

    I finished one solo with a long, sustained vibrato that went on so long, so sweetly we were all laughing.

    First night--9.5 out of 10. Will tweak the heights a bit and get it perfect soon.

    P.
     
  4. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    Damnit Paul, you're making my decision even harder.....
    Great review though!
    :cheers:
     
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  5. lineboat

    lineboat Well-Known Member

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    That was a great review!
    I love that LP you have. And that's a great selection in pickups! I contemplated those, and ended up with the Seth Lover set as they're not quite as hot. I just put a JB/Jazz combo in my Jag, which is the other end of it being super hot. Now you've got me wanting something in the middle!
     
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  6. Raiyn

    Raiyn Well-Known Member

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    I might do these on a future build, but so far I'm digging the Carvin S22J & S22B set I got instead.
     
  7. RVA

    RVA Well-Known Member

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    Great story (all three posts). I dig how you test out your pickups live - a true player!
     

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