Single Coil Pickup - search and test

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Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:11 pm

So I'm on a kick lately trying to find various single coil (strat sized) pickups that will make a sound that is similar to the split single half of a Dual Sound or Super II. The central principle here is that these are steel poled, ceramic magnet pickups. They are NOT alinco types. The Super II is simply an underwound Dual Sound. And the Dual Sound is simply a Super Distortion with all the wires available for the multiple configuration options. I think that there are many of us that would find a great benefit in having a strat-sized pickup that will nail this middle pickup Jerry tone. It doesn't have to be exactly the Super II or the Dual Sound. Ceramic/Steel already has that character to it. The wire and winding and magnet strength will impart a lot of the various flavorings. We may find that there are some spectacular sounding pickups out there that will really get a killer Jerry-like sound.

I'm in the middle of a project rewinding an SDS-1 to a much lower DCR value. Essentially less winds. This will brighten the pickup and reduce the output. I'll know soon how that comes out. I also am checking out, believe it or not, a cheapo mexican Fender Strat pickup. They are also ceramic, steel-poled. Not bad actually, maybe a bit overwound and darkish. I may unwind this one a bit too. Lindy Fralin makes a steel poled, ceramic pickup too. One of them is a 6k, brighter toned one. That may be worth checking out. Also G&L makes great pickups, and they have adjustable steel pole pieces and ceramic magnets too. I think this whole steel-poled, ceramic magnet thing is something we should check out, especially those of us with Strats that we want to Jerrify.

I'll chime back in with my results, and please anyone interested, jump on in.


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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby milobender » Mon Mar 08, 2010 10:59 pm

That's interesting... I just assumed they'd have Alnico posts... I've been using my own homemade strat-type and P90 type (I like the strat type better) for about 10 years now. I think I've got a few strat pups with steel posts. I'll make a couple of them too. Though I may order some new ceramic magnet material.
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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby mijknahs » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:12 am

Hey, thanks Brad. Let us know what you find out.

Why have a humbucker when all you want is a single coil anyway?

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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby bpg21 » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:45 am

I really like the single coil tone but find that when I use the envelope filter ( Qtron) I need all the juice that a humbucker delivers. I find the qtron works best with bothe the middle and bridge engaged in full humbucker mode. My Qtron sounds enemic when I use my single coiled strat.
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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby Arnold's Carnival » Tue Mar 09, 2010 5:04 am

I am mosty definitely interested in this research Brad. Ive got a CS69 Strat that is loaded with Kinmans. They are nice p/us, but not extactly what i am after at the moment and i do not really want to route the Strat for HBs. The wolf clone i have has an SDS-1 in the neck and it doesnt sound all that great to me. I am curous to hear what you find with unwinding the SDS-1, as well as looking into other ceramic/steel p/us options.
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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby mijknahs » Tue Mar 09, 2010 4:48 pm

I bet an SDS-1 would sound great as a bridge pickup.

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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby jdsmodulus » Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:05 am

I used to play a PRS EG w/Fralin "Dominoes" those were awesome. Everyone who played my guitar couldnt believe that it was a low end PRS. Many PRS folks around here thought I took a neck from a "real" one and used it on a strat copy. Of course this was years ago and info was not as readily available. Good luck on your trials.
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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby Rusty the Scoob » Wed Mar 10, 2010 3:20 pm

I liked those old PRS EGs... seems like a great guitar for us modifying types. Seems like they came and went pretty quickly though... last time I saw one in a store was when I bought my Strat in like 1993. :shock:
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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby KWRummie » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:16 pm

I put SD2's and a Waldo buffer into a PRS SE Custom and got somewhat of a Jerry tone. It was nice, but didn't get me close enough. I didn't route out a spot for a middle pickup. That may have got me closer.

Back to the original thread though, I remember reading a post a couple of years ago where somebody said they had tried several different single coils. I can't seem to find it in the search, but I remember he said he tried duncan's, fralin's, etc. and the best he found were cheap GFS pickups.
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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed Mar 10, 2010 7:52 pm

That's interesting about the cheap GFS pickups. I'm tending to gravitate in that direction because it tends to be cheap, budget pickups that use the ceramic magnets with steel poles. It's a cheaper method than using the special Alnico 2, 3, or 5 magnets. These Jerry Dimarzio's we like are very simple animals, just ceramic bar magnets and steel poles, then wound with the right gauge wire to taste. I bet a cheapo, fairly low-wound, bright ceramic type pickup may really get close to nailing this sound.

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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed Mar 10, 2010 8:42 pm

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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby mijknahs » Wed Mar 10, 2010 10:31 pm

Could you take/break apart a DiMarzio Super 2 and just use one coil? That would be the ultimate "mod".
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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby SarnoMusicSolutions » Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:24 pm

mijknahs wrote:Could you take/break apart a DiMarzio Super 2 and just use one coil? That would be the ultimate "mod".


That wouldn't work for that pickup. The whole magnetic field and magnet positioning works with that double-wide humbucker chassis. That's why I'm exploring options that are strat, single-coil sized yet can nail that ceramic, steel-poled tone with a similar resonant frequency and general sound. Doesn't have to be exact, but something in the ballpark would be nice. If you think about the Dual Sound and the Super II, they do sound different, yet they both did that Jerry thing real well. There's gotta be a ceramic single that'll be like that, or so it seems.

I haven't had a chance to rewind this SDS-1 yet, but I hope to very soon. I figure that should get pretty close. This Carvin has me interested.

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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby mijknahs » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:25 pm

I know all pickups can sound different so if you happen to find a stock single coil that does get a good "Super 2 split coil" sound, that would awesome. I really don't want to use humbuckers if I'm not using them as humbuckers.

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Re: Single Coil Pickup - search and test

Postby mkaufman » Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:46 pm

Good luck on your quest.

I've had the same question regarding Weir's Cowboy pickups. Since he used the Dimarzio Virual PAF's in single coil, I wondered if I could use a single coil that would yield the same sound.

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