Love Rock - pickup options, advice ?

Tokai guitar discussion

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Love Rock - pickup options, advice ?

Post by -Alan- » Mon Aug 26, 2019 4:59 pm

I've had my LS65 for a while now, but have never really liked the pickups it came with - a pair of Seymour Duncans.


I believe the Seymour Duncans in it are a 'Jazz humbucker' in the neck and a 'JB' in the bridge - supposedly the combination of choice for those looking for a 'meaty rock lead guitar tone' in their LesPaul style guitar, but I just find them lacking any real clarity or brightness - especially when compared with either of the two Tokai doublecuts I have.

One of my doublecuts is totally standard, the other came with a set of IronGear Alchemist P90 humbucker sized pups. These are not expensive - under €100 the pair, but certainly seem to work well in the doublecut with a range of nice clean tones.

(The P90 installation did include a new loom and replacement pots btw, but I'm not exactly sure if they are a different spec to the original.)

So in terms of replacing the Seymour Duncan pups on the LS65 - I currently have the option of fitting the spare set of original Tokai pups that came with the doublecut, but have also considered buying a second set of the aforementioned p90s for it.

I'm wondering whether reinstalling a set of the original spec Tokai pickups instead of the Seymour Duncans would make a huge difference, or indeed if I go with a new set of the P90s, and drop them straight in - whether they could potentially sound quite different in the LS65.

I suppose the first question is, is there likely to be much difference in sound between the Tokai pups and the Seymour Duncans. Just wondering what your thoughts or advice might be ?

Thanks, Alan

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Post by Paladin2019 » Tue Aug 27, 2019 9:01 am

First and foremost, have you tried tweaking the height of the current pickups? I find it a bit odd that someone would describe the JB/Jazz combo as lacking in those areas you mentioned, and sometimes people are too quick to start ripping things out when a few turns of a screwdriver might get the job done.

You say you want more clarity and brightness, so I would try lowering them. This will reduce the output but you can compensate for that by turning up the gain/volume on your amp.

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Post by -Alan- » Tue Aug 27, 2019 2:53 pm

Thanks for the steer on the height adjustment Paladin. I had overlooked it as the guitar came back from a fairly reputable luthier here locally less than a month ago after a full setup.

Taking your advice, I moved the pickups up and down, and experimented with the pole pieces too - but not to any great great avail.

Always hard to describe issues with tone as they are usually fairly subjective, and a lot will depend on the strings/amp setting etc. But I'll try to expand a little:

On closer auditioning, I could probably live with the tone from the JB hum bucker in the bridge - which ironically is the one people seem to complain about more if they do have complaints. When compared back to back with the Tokai neck pup in the doublecut, however, the Jazz in the neck almost sounds - to use a phrase lifted shamelessly from elsewhere - "as if somebody had thrown a blanket over the amp."

I know there's a lot of received wisdom and circulating around the web and comments that get parroted blindly - but one statement I came across that rang true was

"One thing about a Jazz in the neck.
I have found that in some guitars they can be really nice with a singing, full and almost stratty quality. But in other guitars they are empty nothingness. Not sure why though."

Currently that's what I feel like I'm getting with mine. The Tokai pups sound much more stratlike than the SD ones.

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Post by somebodyelseuk » Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:18 am

I'd echo what Paladin says...
...I'd add to that, the SD pickups fitted to your guitar from memory are significantly overwound in comparison to the old PAF spec, so if you're looking for old school clarity, they're probably not the place to start.
Since you've got the original pickups there anyway, assuming you're competent with a soldering iron, throw 'em in, adjust 'em and see what you think of them, before you start throwing money at it.
In addition, if you've got a multimeter handy, check the resistence readings of the pots - what's stamped on 'em rarely matches what they actually are. If they're more than 10% out on the low side, I'd change 'em, before even thinking about the pickups.
"As long as I stay between the 'Sun and my Shadow', I guess, I'm doing well..."

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Post by Peter Mac » Thu Aug 29, 2019 4:09 am

Hi guys,

i had great success with an LS-65 by putting a Gibson Burstbucker 1 [7.6k]in the neck position and an SD 59B [8.6k] in the bridge.
Pots were wired to 50s spec with Sprague Orange Drop caps.
lots of clarity and grunt when it was needed.

The world will not end today...because it is already tomorrow in Australia.

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