Trying to decide between John Birch humbuckers

Discussion in 'Pickups' started by Kareem Badr, Nov 16, 2020.

  1. Kareem Badr

    Kareem Badr New Member

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    Hi,

    I have an old Samick Artist Series SG, and I've been pleasantly surprised by it. I bought it used 17 or 18 years ago, and I think it had some modifications. It has chrome machine heads, rather than the classic snot-green ones, for example. Anyway, in doing some research, it seems that I happened to get a pretty decent (cheap) SG, which is exciting.

    I am thinking about upgrading the electronics, and the Iommi pickups are long gone and very hard to find. I did stumble on the John Birch pickups, and the price is certainly right, but there is virtually no description or details on their website to distinguish between the sets of humbuckers.

    Does anyone know what the differences are between the Magnum 4/Hyperflux 5, 3/4, and 2/3 sets of John Birch pickups? The only description I've read is that the Magnum 4 + Hyperflux 5 are the "Heaven & Hell" pickups, so I would assume they're akin to Iommi's post-70s sound. Personally, I'd like something that would be good for some all purpose blues playing, and Iommi's early 70s sound if possible. Worst case, I'll pick the 3/4, since they're in the middle, and hope for the best.

    I realize tone is all in the fingertips (or lack thereof), but I figure upgrading the electronics on my Samick wouldn't be the worst idea. And you can't beat the price of the John Birch pickups (around $140 for a set)

    Anyway, any thoughts or advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. Kareem Badr

    Kareem Badr New Member

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    Well, I went with the Magnum 2 and Hyperflux 3s, since they are supposed to be close to the 1970s sound. Just got them installed and, man, they sound *great*!

    While I was at it, I replaced the jack, got push-pull pots installed so I can coil split, swapped out the knobs for vintage-style knobs and got a 5-ply pick guard.

    I'm really happy with how this looks and sounds. Now to practice...

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    Nice !

    Which coils stay hot when they're split?

    Closest to the bridge and neck?
     
  4. Kareem Badr

    Kareem Badr New Member

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    You know, I’m not really sure. I just tried tapping them with a pick and end of a cable and there wasn’t an obvious volume change as I tapped around. It would be easier to figure out if they weren’t covered, I suppose.

    Is there an obvious way to different that out that I haven’t tried?
     
  5. Huntroll

    Huntroll Active Member

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    You've got to use something metallic, like a screwdriver.

    A magnetized screwdriver would be even more evident.

    Be sure to put some tape over it so it doesn't scratch those nice covers.

    If you're shorting across the same color pair on each pickup, on one of them try the other color pair to maximize the overall effect, when combined.

    I would short across the innermost coils, the ones closest to each other.

    Then if the bridge pickup is too treble-ly, select its other coil to short across.
     
  6. Kareem Badr

    Kareem Badr New Member

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    Oh, I didn’t install the new pickups myself. So...however they’re wired is going to be how they stay.

    The coil splitting doesn’t seem to do much to the tone, so much as reduce the volume. But that’s fine. I didn’t expect it to suddenly sound like a Tele. Just figured I’d pay for the push-pull pots while I was having work done anyway.
     

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