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Author Topic: High output vs low output  (Read 22820 times)

Keven

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2010, 06:27:18 AM »
I'm an odd beast for metal tones. i like my pickups organic and dynamic. i like my black dog more than my cold sweat. i feel the CS doesn't reward me for grinding harder. both of my guitars are quite different so i don't really feel the low end response so far. just the lack of dynamics. my BD is in an ash and maple 7 string and my CS is in a full mahogany 8 string. so each pup's inherent EQ seems to work really well for both guitars. the gain levels are different. even if i beat the hell out of my CS, it sounds the same as when i play soft. on the BD however, i really feel the different textures when banging hard and when not.
My BK's:
Black Dog8-Riff Raff8 / Black Dog7-Mule7
C-Bomb Set / Blackhawk Bridge
Holydiver Set/ BG50 Set

LP_LOVER

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #16 on: November 14, 2010, 12:26:48 PM »
Good thread.

Like Twinfan I prefer hotter pickups for classic rock and metal.

I've used low output, medium output and high output BKP's and they were all good for what they did. The lower output models (especially the ones with AIV neck pickups #Mules/Mississippi Queen) sound more woody and open, which makes up for a 'bigger' clean tone thats especially great for blues and jazz (think 'Need your love so bad'). However, most of this 'bigness' has to do with the guitar as well (Les Paul in this case). Yeah, you really want to play blues with low output BKP pickups, at least I do. The hotter these pickups become, the more compressed the tone becomes.

BUT, in many ways you'll always have the tone you had before, no matter if you're using Mules or Painkillers (ok, that's kind of an extreme comparison, but still)...remember it's the guitar that has the tone, not the pickups. We should know that pickups have an influence on the tonal balance (certain frequenties) of the guitar, but they don't really change the tonal characteristics of the guitar. It the guitar wants to bite or scream, it will always do that (no matter if you're using Mississippi Queens or Rebel Yells). That's a tonal character the guitar has or not. For one particular Les Paul I went from Mules to Rebel Yells, to Holydivers and finally to Cold Sweats. They fit the guitar like a champ and they do exactly what I want them to do, no matter if it's clean or distorted. The guitar just needed that extra output (and probably the ceramic magnet in the bridge) to sound at its best and it's a great screaming LP tone that's still open and sensitive to your playing. It sounds warmer and more fluid in the neck position. Some amazing pickups just fight with a particular guitar, it's just the way it works. Rolling down the volume knob can easily give that classic attitude with the higher output models, depending on the guitar as well.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2010, 12:31:18 PM by LP_LOVER »

gordiji

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #17 on: November 14, 2010, 12:45:15 PM »
my low output hb'ers sound great clean(sm neck, vhii bridge). all other hb'ers i've owned have been higher output
and without exception have sounded poor clean, straight into amp.they've all sounded good (enough)driven, hi or lo.
this is why i prefer low output hb'ers.
good overview from MDV above.

LP_LOVER

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #18 on: November 14, 2010, 01:02:32 PM »
Gordiji,

So, what do you exactly mean with a 'poor' clean tone? Generally speaking, I think this 'issue' has a lot to do with the playing and personal picture of what's a good clean tone. For instance, with the Cold Sweat set in my 88' Les Paul, there's a clear difference between the two pickups, with that nice blend in the middle position; it's far from undefined (always with both tone knobs around 8.


gordiji

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #19 on: November 14, 2010, 05:04:18 PM »
lp lover, a tone that is instantly pleasant to the ear without having to fiddle about tweaking trying to find something that isn't really there.most hard rock players don't really need this, but if you like all styles of guitar good clean tone
needs to be the starting point.(i think). it's hard to make unpleasant sounds with a clean strat for example.

dave_mc

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #20 on: November 14, 2010, 05:26:13 PM »
essentially i agree, but don't forget metal is such a broad genre - with gain ranging from the highest available in the late 60s, to todays modern detuned 8string br00tals.

if you want tightness and focus, i do agree high gain is the way to go.

if a pickup is well enough designed, it should make a decent enough stab at all styles i think, with the possible exception of the very extremes. having said that - if you really want to nail a tone, then you'll need something very specific.

yep, sure, I realise it's a broad range of tones. Good points in the rest of your post, too. :)

I'm guessing so. I dont know so, but its reasonable. If your ears not attuned to and you arent used to playing it then youre probably just going to hear 'lots of clipping' and go 'there, metal tone!', and be horribly wrong.

yeah, that's the only way I can explain it. :?

Agreed with your other post too :)

LP_LOVER

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #21 on: November 14, 2010, 09:44:23 PM »
Gordiji,

I also believe that a good clean tone is the starting point, even if you'd only care for hardrock or metal.

'Problem':

All BKP's sound articulate and well defined in a quality guitar....I just make my choices based on what the guitar needs, period (not on what my amp needs). If the guitar needs more compression, then I'd stay away from the low output models. If it already sounds compressed from nature, then low/medium output pickups might be the better choice. Every guitar has a voice of its own; you just need to choose the right pickups for it. Generally speaking I can't really say whether I prefer low output or high output pickups, as it really depends on the guitar you're putting them in.

Cold Sweats just sound right in my 80's LP Custom, whether it's clean or distorted. Mules didn't cut it (too thin, not balanced). Rebel Yells and Holydivers already came closer to what it should sound like. Cold Sweats were like: yeah, exactly the right amount of bass, mid and treble. For instance: my Standard Faded sounded great with Mississippi Queens, while my LP Studio was a beast with BKP Black Dogs.

Each guitar needs something different to sound right/most balanced.

Alex

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2010, 12:09:25 AM »
Well one of the things that made me consider this question was in fact the Black Dog. I feel it doesn't mush out with lots of gain, but sounds very heavy if needed. On the other hand I also feel it lets more of the guitar's tone - the wood and the vibrations - through when dialing back on the gain.
Current BKPs: Miracle Man, Nailbomb, Juggernaut, VHII
Past BKPS: Holy Diver, Trilogy Suite, Sinner, Black Dog

Keven

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2010, 03:38:43 AM »
in all honestly i've usually treated pickup selection in a couple of distinct steps

first of all the amount of compression you need. honestly i think it can vary depending both on the player or the guitar. sometimes some pieces of wood just need more/less compression than others. then i think hotness and compression kinda go hand in hand. is there a low output compressed pickup somewhere?

hotter is also warmer, or bassier. cooler winds can be clearer but you can also loosen the bass with magnet types. alnico and ceramic. i guess weaker magnets have looser bass. and then you wind the coils depending on the amount of bass you need. tightness and dB level maybe?

and then there's the eq curve from the wind itself. as what is pretty much generally known, a longer wind has more DCR, but that can vary depending on the gauge of the wire itself. or the lenght of the wind. I never really knew though, a wind with a thin wire has more resistance than with a thick wire right?

anyway. it comes down to amount of gain you want (how hard you hit the amp), how compressed the waveform seems to be, and then the EQ. i try to balance out the guitar's own characteristics. i won't put a Riff Raff in a maple body. nor will i put an alnico warpig into a les paul. that's all personal and it worked for me so far.

that's not to say a black dog which is a kind of dark but also clear pickup doesn't work in a les paul. I mean, black dog, the name is just les paul into a marshall. I guess happy experiments can sometimes be quite surprising!

personally, as a rule of thumb, bright pickup into dark guitar. warm pickup into bright guitar. then there's so many variables, that all seem to depend on playing styles and amp tones and everything. that's where the lines blur IMHO
My BK's:
Black Dog8-Riff Raff8 / Black Dog7-Mule7
C-Bomb Set / Blackhawk Bridge
Holydiver Set/ BG50 Set

dave_mc

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2010, 03:50:43 PM »

I also believe that a good clean tone is the starting point, even if you'd only care for hardrock or metal.


I don't think I agree with that. I've heard people say similar things about amps, and in my experience the opposite is true- that you almost want the opposite characteristics for good cleans as you do for good distortion.

I mean if you look at most amps renowned for cleans, they're not really known for their distortion, and vice-versa. And that's before you even look at cabinet and speaker types.

Same thing goes for pickups, if you ask me. Obviously it depends on what you mean by "clean" and "distortion".

MDV

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2010, 06:09:46 PM »
+1

I've never seen anything to suggest that theres a connection between good cleans and good distortion. Often the opposite. A more sterile clean sound often retains more clarity and tightness when subjected to the torture of the clipping and distortion of a modern high gain sound.

dave_mc

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2010, 06:14:41 PM »
exactly :)

ratspeak

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2010, 10:50:54 PM »
+1

I've never seen anything to suggest that theres a connection between good cleans and good distortion. Often the opposite. A more sterile clean sound often retains more clarity and tightness when subjected to the torture of the clipping and distortion of a modern high gain sound.

Indeed. Why do people use ceramic magnets in their pickups if a good clean=a good distortion?

Pale Rider

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #28 on: November 16, 2010, 02:29:06 AM »
Yeah a good unplugged sound is a good starting point instead. The clean and distorted ones are not related to each other.

Actually high output pickups have a fast attack but not that strong (because the whole note is equally strong - compression). Low output pickups have slow attack but a stronger one (because the note fades out faster). That's why they have better clean sounds. They have that distinct ding in the beginning of the note the acoustics have.

The fast yet weak (in comparison with the rest of the note volume) attack of the high output pickups gives a blunt (as the attack doesn't quite separate itself from the rest of the note) clean sound lacking dynamics. But that same weak fast attack gets sharp and cutting when under high gain while the slow stronger attack of the low output pickups gives that loose feeling.

Scientifically speaking, tightness is compression and compression is tightness. That doesn't mean that compression means bad sound. The timbre of the pickup is controlled by other factors (at the frequency domain). You can have very good sounding compressed pickups if you know the art of winding. ;) This is actually the kind of pickups I like to use...
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 02:46:04 AM by Nuke »
Painkiller :: Miracle Man :: Holydiver :: Trilogies

::::::::::::::: ME(N)TAL DISTORTION ::::::::::::::

ratspeak

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Re: High output vs low output
« Reply #29 on: November 16, 2010, 03:28:55 AM »
Scientifically speaking, tightness is compression and compression is tightness. That doesn't mean that compression means bad sound. The timbre of the pickup is controlled by other factors (at the frequency domain). You can have very good sounding compressed pickups if you know the art of winding. ;) This is actually the kind of pickups I like to use...
I <3 my C-Pig.