Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #104408  by jeager
 Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:52 pm
In response to jackevorkian. Yea that was us a the Hamden Fest. Hope we sounded ok...

The cab is an SSP (Sound Scraper Productions) and the speakers are k120s. The Preamp is a Sarno and the poweramp is a mesa 50/50.

I have a question for y'all about shielding to reduce hum. Its been said that if you use good quality single coils and shield really well, things should be really quite. When i plugged a PRS with three singles in at guitar center it buzzed liked hell, it was totally distracting to me. I can't imagine that a 3000$ guitar from such a renowned maker would be poorly shielded. I guess gtr center is probably full of stuff that makes noise but so are many of the bars we play in... Jerry had people working to eliminate that stuff.

I am really tempted to just get some high quality pups and shield well but if I do and it and it buzzes too much, I will be bummed...
Last edited by jeager on Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #104409  by jeager
 Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:54 pm
+1 For Lollar's funky pickup installation videos. I figured if Brad and other here like em' they are worth checking out. So I went and watched his installation video. Nicely done.
If I were gonna try for a Jerryish from lollars, which set would I use?
 #104410  by waldo041
 Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:31 pm
Last edited by waldo041 on Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #104411  by jeager
 Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:51 pm
So it sounds like if since i am shielding the heck out of the thing (complete pickguard, cavity etc) and use your preamp a, which I am things should work out pretty good. Ok I'm going for it...
 #104413  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:23 pm
Shielding can help with some aspects of electrostatic and RF interference, but MOST of our problem is with 60HZ AC hum that's in the air around us. The reason Jerry probably suffered very little from it was because of the stage environment he was so fortunate to live in. Concert settings and big venues like that have the great fortune to have clean power, a good distance from big AC transformer radiation, distance from or the non-existence of neon sign ballasts, etc.

Hum is in the air around us in nearly any club gigging or home environment, and all the shielding in the world isn't gonna make a single coil pickup not hum. It's the nature of the beast. As surely as they will generate signal from a vibrating string, they will also generate signal from magnetic waves in the air that pass thru them. You can't shield that stuff unless you encase yourself and your guitar in a booth made of mu-metal. You can help a tiny bit and you can reduce the high buzzy noises a bit, but 60Hz is there, so is the first harmonic at 120Hz.

Some tricks are to make sure your pickup is ideally close to the strings so that the strings signal is as strong as you can get it without compromising the tone or string pull issues with single coils. Higher signal to noise ratio. Also, having the humbucker option can save you at a gig. And then when you're stuck with single coils and don't want to sacrifice that sound, just stand with the guitar pointed in the best direction to reduce or eliminate the buzz. If you find that quiet position, know that a 180 degree rotation should give the very same null or hum cancel. It may not be the ideal position, but it's what Fender players have done for decades on stage or in the studio.

Basically it's ALL happening at the pickup. Hum is coming from the pickup and so is string magnetic/vibration signal. There's really not much you can do after that point to alter that ratio of hum/strings. It's embedded in the signal right out of the gate. One bonus is that Jerry tones almost completely dump the bass (60Hz) so the hum fundamental is pretty weak in a Jerry tone. So it's the buzzy components of the AC interference that can be helped with the shielding to some degree. But, fact is, it's gonna be there with single coils for most all of us in the real world with all those dimmers, neon ballasts, power line transformers, etc., and it changes from place to place. Some places have very little hum, some are nightmares. I can't tell you how many gazillion times I've had to pull the string on neon bar signs when playing a gig. Thats some of the nastiest noise you'll ever encounter. Fuck the Pabst sign in the window, I gotta play music, and I like my Dimarzio split to single coil tone!

 #104416  by jeager
 Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:50 pm
Fuck the pbr sign indeed, its swill anyway and everyone already knows you can get beer in a bar.

Im actually leaning towards the lollars, after all this talk of hum canceling single coils. Any thoughts on which strat model will be most Jerry-esque? He's got some great sound clips at his site for each but the amps/settings are clearly are not what we would use for a Jerry tone. I am think the blond model though. ... at-pickups
 #104419  by jeager
 Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:17 pm
Actually the lollars I was asking about are not a dummy coil thing, they are good old fashion sing coil pups

The Fralin split blades don't have a dummy coil either though, its like humbucker that has been split with half covering the bass side and half covering the high strings (and a little overlap in the middle) its a neat design really.
 #104421  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:34 pm
I have yet to be impressed by or even hear from serious tone lovers that the dummy coil thing is a great solution. Sure it can be made to reduce hum, but it's a coil that loads down the other coil thus changing the tone. Not a true single coil tone. And stacked hum cancelling strat pickups have always failed to impress me. But I haven't heard them all. It seems that the kings of tone still use good old noisy single coil pickups or straight up traditional humbuckers.

One theory I'd like to try is the actively buffered dummy coil setup where the pickups and dummies are actively buffered before summed (mixed) together. This would let the main pickup remain unloaded by another coil and perform the duty of capturing the string motion. The dummy could could be used to cancel out the larger magnetic hum field. This theory is impressive, but I havent seen it done personally yet.

 #104477  by claytushaywood
 Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:23 pm
waldo041 wrote:DC Resistance 5.8k - Alnico V

Fender Custom Shop 69's or
Fender Custom Shop Strat Abigail Ybarra Hand-Wound Pickups


What does this refer to? your search and best solution for winding? any more information... as in wire type? or is that the resistance of the CS 69's? arent the cs69's all signed by AY? and would that be the resistance for the middle pickup or all of em or what?
 #104478  by claytushaywood
 Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:37 pm
jeager wrote:+1 For Lollar's funky pickup installation videos. I figured if Brad and other here like em' they are worth checking out. So I went and watched his installation video. Nicely done.
If I were gonna try for a Jerryish from lollars, which set would I use?
As I state in a previous post... I contacted Lollar pickups with this question. I sent a lot of info, about jerry's affinity for new pickups and the possibility of jerry using new stock strat pickups from fender on a regular basis, so they might have been 70's pickups. I also told him about how close the custom shop 69's were in my experience among a bunch of other speculations! Jason Lollar responded immediately saying that he checked out some youtube videos of various grateful dead videos where jerry was using single coils (how freakin' cool is that?!? taking initiative to go and look at specific videos, and even to search through them)... He asked if Europe 72 would be a good example because that was his favorite. I said yeh Europe 72 and I sent him a couple videos from 74 with jerry using wolf and told him about jerry's use of the volume knob and the alembic blaster with his single coil setup. Jason then recommend his Blonde series pickups... These pickups use alnico 2 magnets with 5.6k, 5.8k, and 6k impedance from neck to bridge respectively. I've always liked alnico 2 pups better, because i'm a lover of nice highs. another cool thing about alnico 2's is that they have less magnet pull on the strings than alnico 5's. strat pickups with alnico 5's pull the strings so hard that it actually reduces sustain some. jerry's tiger super 2's are ceramic pickups which have much less string pull than alnico magnets... so that's cool that the 2's will get you more into the less string pull territory.

i've heard some demos of lollars blondes and i really think they could get close. i've played the cs69's and they are real close if not right on (was playing a noisy master volume twin with crap utah's, so i couldnt realllly tell)

I really respect waldo's opinion on stuff and the blondes have the 5.8k resistance he recommended but waldo said alnico 5's... I'm still curious as to a little more info on that statement waldo if ya dont mind! but at least i've found two great opinions match up on the 5.8k number!!! woohooooo!
 #104483  by waldo041
 Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:41 pm
Last edited by waldo041 on Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 #104489  by SarnoMusicSolutions
 Thu Oct 20, 2011 6:22 am
As much as I respect Jason Lollar and his wisdom, I must agree that the Jerry strat pickups were most likely Alnico V and not Alnico II.

 #104495  by joeriz
 Thu Oct 20, 2011 8:42 am
If this has been discussed here I could not find it in a search so here goes...

Has anyone considered or used EMG active pickups for their Strat? Based solely on what I've read on their website they seem like a possibility. The single coil SA model, for example, uses Alnico V. (I think the SA is what they use in their 'David Gilmour' pickup set.) Moreover, given the fact that they are active they seem to share a certain kinship with the practice of using the UGB.

They also would seem to have a significant amount of flexibility in terms of the sounds one can get out of them given how their "tone" controls work.

Thoughts? Am I way off base here?

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