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[Review] Testing bridge humbuckers in a 1981 Love Rock LS120
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hans-j?rgen
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Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not important anymore...
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ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"


Last edited by hans-j?rgen on Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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togps
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Dec 2004
Posts: 2049
Location: Bavaria, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

H.-J. this is for you.

It is the PUP's MASTER AWARD



Well done
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benpaul
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well deserved award... great job hans
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hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 3:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not important anymore...

By the way, togps, what's AGS?
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"


Last edited by hans-j?rgen on Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:30 am; edited 2 times in total
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hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

not important anymore...
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"


Last edited by hans-j?rgen on Wed Mar 17, 2010 9:31 am; edited 2 times in total
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hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 11:22 am    Post subject: PART V: DiMarzio PAF Reply with quote

PART V: DiMarzio PAF

I bought this pickup back in 1979 for my Ibanez Musician MC 300, and it has been in the neck position there for more than 25 years. When starting the review about the three LS60s some months ago, I had a feeling it would be a good idea to test it, too, and it seems I was right. With only 7.5 kOhm it's the humbucker with the lowest resistance in this comparison and about closest to the original specs that Gibson introduced in the early '60s (the first PAFs from the 50s were hand-wound "until the bobbins were full"). DiMarzios's web site specifies the magnet as Alnico V, so it's not the weaker Alnico II that is mostly associated with original PAFs. But this is not entirely true either, because Gibson used what was available back then, and that could have been either version or anything in between.

As far as I know, it isn't wax potted which is different from new DiMarzio PAF models according to their web site. It doesn't have a cover and comes in double cream (of course), so it nicely complements the cream P-94 in the neck. They both look good in the brown sunburst LS120 in my opinion, but I probably wouldn't like them in my cherry sunburst LS60, because for my taste that color needs covered pickups.

Last but not least this would have been the original pickup for my 1981 LS120 which had been swapped by the first owner with the Gibson Shaw PAFs from his Heritage model (excellent pickups, by the way, and now installed in my LS60).


_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"


Last edited by hans-j?rgen on Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:52 am; edited 3 times in total
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hans-j?rgen
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Joined: 21 Feb 2005
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Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 6:06 am    Post subject: PART VI: Gibson P-94 bridge Reply with quote

PART VI: Gibson P-94 bridge



This is the last pickup I have at the moment, so I'm through with installing, recording, uploading, and harping for now... It belongs to the neck pickup of course, because I bought them as a set a couple of years ago. The bridge version has 7.9 kOhm and also an Alnico V magnet, and in the middle position the set provides a humbucking effect, because the neck version is reverse wound with the magnets turned 180? like the middle pickup in some Strat sets, too. It's strange that I had to solder the red and white colored wires "out-of-phase" for a normal sound though, because that might confuse some people when they install them without knowing this.

Like I already mentioned, I adjusted the individual polepieces for a better overall balance of weaker vs. stronger strings which reveals that these pickups are wax potted, too. Furthermore the neck pickup has the same spacing as the bridge version, so its outer polepieces don't line up with the E strings, as they are too far apart.



Now I'm gonna follow my own advice and check all these samples with my Beyerdynamic DT770 headphones before commenting on them, because sometimes the differences are quite small on my PC speakers.


_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"


Last edited by hans-j?rgen on Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:51 am; edited 7 times in total
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benpaul
I only know 3 chords


Joined: 10 Dec 2005
Posts: 16

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the p94 (bridge), sounds pretty good to me... wasn't expecting that
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hans-j?rgen
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Joined: 21 Feb 2005
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Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, I especially liked the clarity of the middle position for Zep sounds, but also for anything else.
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ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
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togps
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Joined: 21 Dec 2004
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Location: Bavaria, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hans-j?rgen wrote:
... By the way, togps, what's AGS?

AGS PUP?s are neither Steward MacDonald nor Gotoh PUP?s.
AGS PUP?s are an OEM product of one of the 3 top and premium manufacturers.
It doesn?t like to have its name published.

Prices:
Tokai MKIIN

List Euro 85.00/pcs.
Forum member price Euro 50.00/pcs.

AGS PUP?s
List Euro 85.00/pcs.
Forum member price Euro 50.00/pcs.
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hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 2:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

togps wrote:
AGS PUP?s are an OEM product of one of the 3 top and premium manufacturers.
It doesn?t like to have its name published.

If the bobbins glow in the dark, I can understand that... But a good price for forum members anyway.

And am I right that the new Tokai MK2 is the one in all new MIJ Tokai humbucker guitars now except for the few with a MK3?
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
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hans-j?rgen
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Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 5:25 am    Post subject: PART VII: Winners and losers... Reply with quote

PART VII: Winners and losers...



I'm afraid I can't answer that question, because I don't see any losers here, only pickups that might sound better in one specific guitar than in another. Since it was my original intent to match the available pickups to the acoustic sound of my LS120, I'm happy with this result anyhow.

The Super Distortion clone certainly is the pickup with the highest "balls to the walls" ratio of all participants, most of the time it sounds as if it has a Marshall stack built in there while the others have to deal with their "combo sound". Actually I like that a lot, because this guitar has got balls, too... Furthermore it transports the nasal honk (e.g. on "Brown Sugar") very well, so it would be almost perfect if I wouldn't like to play cleaner stuff like Police now and then or something with more dynamics, i.e. adding distortion during a song only by hitting the strings harder which the guitar can easily do. In that situation you have to work harder with such a pickup (= be more cautious, fumble with the knobs a lot), or simply switch to a rhythm and/or crunch channel if you have one in your amp.

That raises the question what aspects of a pickup sound are most important to you. Generally I would listen to the tone first, i.e. its basic frequency characteristics, then the dynamics, and then the rest like rich harmonic overtones when playing chords with 3rd or 6th intervals that might even grow when sustaining (= "bloom"), or how easy/hard it is to play pinch harmonics on the wound strings. The reason why I rank these properties this way is that I know there isn't much left of dynamics and bloom when the band starts to play. In other words these secondary features in my opinion are more important in a couch potatoe or studio session situation. Or more seriously: don't decide on a pickup simply by playing it at bedroom level on your own if you plan to use it in a band context, too.

I was surprised that both pickups with 11-12 kOhm were able to match the output of the neck P-94 quite well when adjusting them lower than usual (about 1mm for the Super Distortion clone). This might also be caused by the Alnico V bar magnets of the P-94, so it isn't a typical single coil neck pickup. Like mentioned before I like it very much, because it comes closer to the deep, warm, clear and honky acoustic sound of the LS120 than any other pickup I've tested yet. It seems that almost all bridge humbuckers have problems to deliver a similar bass part compared to the P-94 in the neck. Besides their placement at the bridge this might also be caused by their magnets, as weaker ones will lose even more punch vs. stronger ones. By the way, I'm not sure if the SD clone has ceramic magnets, because it seems to use a special construction anyhow.

I don't know which magnets Tokai or rather Gotoh/Keiyo used in their pickups, but both sounded thinner on the wound strings than the SD clone or the DiMarzio PAF to me, so it might be Alnico II for the '57 PAF and something weaker than Alnico V for the new MK2, as it has a rather high resistance which would probably sound too muffled with Alnico II. But this is only a guess, maybe someone can confirm or correct this some day.

The 1984 Tokai '57 PAF has a quite unique sound that isn't overly bright on itself (e.g. with lots of treble). But there's a certain canny component in it which you probably have to love or hate depending on your preferences and the guitar you use it in. This kind of "hollow twang" enhances sharp attacks and might be caused by its cover and that it isn't wax potted, as far as I know. It isn't very dynamic either, but there are enough mids left to install this pickup in darker sounding guitars that could use a bit of that Tele twang on their sound. So I'm quite sure the set will sound fine in my Luxor ES copy that needs new humbuckers, too.

The new MK2 by Keiyo sounds more open to me than the Gotoh with a more "natural" voice which you could also call "standard". And of course it's louder, but at the same time less dynamic again than e.g. the DiMarzio PAF. The set with the 7.5 kOhm neck pickup is well balanced (tested it in the Love Rock II back then), so you should be able to easily dial them in without the bridge overpowering the neck pickup. It seems that everybody is looking for the perfect "10k hot bridge PAF" at the moment (e.g. have a look at the Seymour Duncan forum...), and the MK2 would be one to consider in my opinion if you don't adjust it too close to the strings.

The AGS model was a bit harder to figure out, it had good and bad sides at the same time. What I didn't like was the pronounced string separation that made single notes and/or strings stick out of a chord or a phrase too much lacking the typical humbucker smoothness then. But this is probably caused by the adjustment of the polepieces (see above) which should rather be set flat with the cover. I didn't have enough time to test it that way, but I'm quite sure it will benefit from such a setting, because there's a nice characteristic tone in the background that will probably come through then, i.e. you should try to ignore the pronounced string separation when listing to the samples. By the way, I have no idea which of the three big names that togps mentioned produces this pickup, but because of its American threads it should be either Seymour Duncan (those "Designed by" thingies?), DiMarzio or Gibson.

The old DiMarzio PAF is one of my favorites in this comparison, maybe you can hear that in my playing, too. Although it is the "weakest" model with only 7.5 kOhm, it doesn't sound like that to me when properly adjusted. I guess I'm just an All-NiCo-V guy, so don't gimme no sweet Alnico II ^&*(, I'll tell ya... I like how it combines great dynamics, creamy tone (and look) and sweet bite without sounding harsh at the same time. Probably it sounds great with covers, too, like some of the old Tokai LS120s had them installed originally, or the LS150 with a Super Distortion at the bridge and a PAF at the neck. Nuff said...

Last but not least the Gibson P-94 is a nice surprise each time I install it in the bridge position, because it also sounds smooth and creamy with lots of harmonic overtones, but clearer than the humbuckers which pays off especially in the middle position that sounds a lot like original P-90 soapbars then (think of or rather listen to Les Dudek for example). I would even prefer having the bridge model more beef = windings to it, but this also depends on the amp and speaker of course. Remember, I chose these bedroom level settings for a common ground to test the differences, not to dial in the most pleasing sound for each pickup. For example I took this guitar to my band rehearsal yesterday, and it was a whole lotta fun cranking my Fender Bassman head and Marshall cab with some AC/DC "Riff-Raff" jamming.

So I hope this comparison was of some use to you, and maybe I'll add another humbucker if I get it after Christmas, or record my LS60 with the Gibson Shaw PAFs then. If you have other suggestions, just go ahead, but I'll be away from the computer over Christmas and cannot answer them. The links are up and working again, by the way.
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"


Last edited by hans-j?rgen on Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:53 am; edited 3 times in total
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hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Dec 30, 2005 11:28 am    Post subject: PART VIII: Not competing... Reply with quote

PART VIII: Not competing...

I had some spare time in the holidays to record my 1984 LS60 with the Gibson Shaw PAF set, but was too lazy to install the bridge pickup (got back the cover) in my LS120. So these samples are meant "au?er Konkurrenz" and shall rather document that guitar to complete my first review in this forum.



The main difference between both guitars is the thicker '58 neck and 2-piece body of the LS60 vs. the thinner neck and 1-piece body of the LS120. Their overall weight is almost equal which I found out recently after using exact scales (4.1kg vs. 4.2kg), and the LS120 still has the heavier non-original Schaller M6 tuners. All this results in a loud acoustic tone of the LS60 with more vocal mids, but less honk and bass compared to the LS120 which also sustains a bit longer. It's interesting that the lightweight aluminum tailpiece (original part on the LS120) improved both guitars and brought them closer together generally, not only in their smoother treble sound.

I already described the Shaw PAFs in the other review, so I'll just add some links here where you can find more info:

http://www.gibson.com/magazines/amplifier/1999/1/mainevent1.html (scroll to the bottom of that page)
http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14940
http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=51331
http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=86372
http://www.lespaulforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=104140

It seems that these pickups despite or because of their very low resistance and special magnets have some mojo going on in the mids which lets them sound really impressive and huge and the perfect fit for the LS60. I wish I had another set...



In this thread you can find some older recordings of my band done with that guitar and pickups using the 1962 Fender Bassman head (Normal channel, Volume 10, Treble & Bass 0, Presence somewhere at 5) and half of the 1972 Marshall cab (2x Celestion G12H30 blackbacks with 55Hz cone):

http://www.tokaiforum.com/viewtopic.php?p=28073#28073

They are encoded with mp3PRO at 64 kbps, so without an mp3PRO decoder you won't hear the upper frequencies above ~7kHz, but can still listen to them with your usual audio player. It will sound a bit better than AM radio then. By the way, that posting also lists other recordings done with different gear.

[June 18, 2006]
Added a new recording of "Nasty Dogs & Funky Kings" done with the Marshall JMP 50 plexi combo over the same speakers and the LS60 with Shaws:

http://home.arcor.de/hans-juergen.bardenhagen/nastydogs-marshall.mp3 (128 kbps, 2.8 MB size)
_________________
ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"


Last edited by hans-j?rgen on Wed Jan 13, 2016 3:58 am; edited 8 times in total
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hans-j?rgen
Guitar God


Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 1740
Location: Hamburg, Germany

PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 3:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just added the direct links to the different parts of this review at the end of the first posting, so it should be easier to navigate now.
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ZZee ya, Hans-Jürgen
BLUEZZ BASTARDZZ "That lil' ol' ZZ Top cover band from Hamburg"
INDIGO ROCKS "Down home rockin' blues. Tasty as strudel"
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ochay
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Joined: 24 Sep 2002
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Location: So. Cal.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hans,
You have way to much time on your hands(envy).
This year for christmas I'd like Your LS120 with the Shaw Humbuckers

Brown Case of course

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