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Author Topic: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
soggybag

Posts: 84
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Post Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 11, 2013, 18:18
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I have bought a few pickups from GFS, and have seen a few sites selling cheaper pickups. A lot of these get good reviews. Obviously if they are made overseas, seems that most are made by Artec in Korea, labor is cheaper. They are probably copping popular US designs in many cases, which would lower R&D costs.

The difference in price is huge between the cheap Korean pickups and famous American brands, how much of this is justified?

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 12, 2013, 05:50
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Have to say a lot of the info is misleading and for the most part advertising is nothing but lies.The only thing that really counts is what you hear and the sounds you like in a guitar pickup.The bad part is that requires you to buy/install and listen. I believe that using quality materials and actually making pickups by hand produces a "better" pup.I also am 100% sure you can get good sounds with cheap mass produced ones from Korea and China.Theses same factories make higher end gear with many different names on them.It all boils down to how much money and time you want to spend looking and comparing.I found a local guy that makes pups by hand, custom options and cheap. Check craigslist in your area and look on bulletin boards in music stores, you might get lucky. And for what it is worth , I hate the bridge pup he made for my LP but love the set he put in my Tele. Going to change the magnet and tweak the LP pup soon.Think I have rambled on way too much , but the answer to your question is yes with a large set of attached variables.

soggybag

Posts: 84
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 16, 2013, 23:23
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Oh I agree, it seems every pickup on the planet has loads of "clarity" and "warmth" with "tone" (combine with descriptive adjective of choice). They also have as much "crunch", "power", and "dynamics" as marketing thinks you might need. Did I mention how "organic" todays pickups are. Of course I need all of these things, which is why I have so many of these things. But why am I never satisfied? When they make a pickup with a full load of talent, I'm buying it. They are never "muddy", or "weak", though might be "punchy", and "fat" with lots of "harmonics". Did I mention they always sound great when the guy that endorses them plays the, except I'm not sure that guy really plays the same pick ups.

But seriously, something that has interested me is the placement of a pick up and the height. The position of the pickup can be effected by the harmonic divisions of the string as it vibrates. Picture the Strat, the neck pick up is placed at almost the exact center of the string. When you hit a string open you're getting the widest possible swing of the string over the neck pickup. Also how close to the tring should a pick up be? Closer is louder, but I here claims of losing sustain to magnetic pull as you get too close. I just find I start hitting the pick up with with my pick.

As far as cheap pick ups are concerned, it seems that it's possible to make a great sounding pick for less. Get the right wire wrapped around a bobbin the right number of times. I'm skeptical of effect of things other than the magnets and coil wire.

Of course then we get the core of the matter, what really sounds good? Maybe '59 PAFs sound good, then again maybe those cheap no name single coils covered in tin foil from that plywood '70s strat knock of sound great. Which of course they do when you write a righteous song with a badass riff RAWK ON!

</rant>

Oinkus

Posts: 236
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 17, 2013, 06:00
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The word tone just bothers me all around, it is the KNOB NEXT TO VOLUME !!!!

smgear

Posts: 170
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 17, 2013, 08:41
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well, cheap pickups can certainly sound good for a particular vibe or setting. Some cheap pickups may sound comparable to some expensive pickups, but generally aren't consistently manufactured to be reliable alternatives. It really depends on what level of clarity, detail, and coloration you want. So for example if a reference pickup is w number of winds of p percentage copper g gauge wire with m type of magnets of s strength, then your typical chinese factory is going to spec about a 10% variability in each component and their suppliers are going to degrade and relabel each component by at least 10-20%. So the final product is going vary significantly in quality relative to the reference. The boutique guys generally stick to a formula and source the exact components to achieve that. I don't think that hand vs machine wound makes a big difference, but the grade of copper, number of winds, and magnet selection/balance make a significant difference. As mentioned, positioning is also important.

So it's highly unlikely that you're going to find a cheap pup that compares to the high def splendor of a Kinman, but there is about a 30% chance that a random chinese PAF or single coil will sound fairly decent. My personal math on the subject is that if I want a particular level of clarity and coloration, then I'd rather spend more on one pickup that I know will give me what I want than to spend the same money auditioning 4 or 5 cheap (and non-returnable) pups until I find one that is generally acceptable.

But then again, I prefer low-wound, high def style pickups. If you want lots of dirty mid-range, then just get some cheapies and rock out.

smgear

Posts: 170
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 17, 2013, 08:47
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Quote from Oinkus on January 17, 2013, 06:00
The word tone just bothers me all around, it is the KNOB NEXT TO VOLUME !!!!

Yes, a knob which only subtracts. If you start with a muddy signal, the tone knob will just allow you to focus in on the mud. If your desired tone involves more clarity and precision (especially on the high end), then no amount of tinkering with the tone knob is going to give you that if your pickups aren't already collecting that level of detail.

soggybag

Posts: 84
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 17, 2013, 12:45
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A lot of this reminds me a freakonomics radio show on wine tasting. The long and short was no one, even experts, could not tell the difference between cheap wine and expensive wine. When told a wine was more expensive people rated it higher consistently.

https://www.freakonomics.com/2010/12/16/freakonomics-radio-do-more-expensive-wines-taste-better/

smgear

Posts: 170
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 17, 2013, 14:18
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just out of friendly curiosity, do Led Zep and Nickelback sound the same to you too? 🙂 They're both 'rock' right?

soggybag

Posts: 84
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 18, 2013, 16:38
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Never heard nickleback.

smgear

Posts: 170
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Post Re: Cn cheap pickups be as good as expensive pickups?
on: January 18, 2013, 16:53
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Quote from soggybag on January 18, 2013, 16:38
Never heard nickleback.

🙂 keep it that way ....

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