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Author Topic: Polymath... and prices  (Read 1690 times)

timmy_pix

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2021, 06:12:15 PM »
Thanks for chipping in Nolly, and congratulations! They should really have you do all the descriptions on the website as you describe things much more clearly - I like it when you swing through here and drop little pearls of insight.

Very interesting about the magnet, I do hope I get the opportunity to try a set one day but I suspect it'll be a while!
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Mule set, 10th Anniversary set, Mother's Milk set, Holydiver set, Emerald set, Black Dog 7-string set, Nantucket bridge, Stormy Monday neck, Cold Sweat set, Old Guard neck, True Grit bridge.

ericsabbath

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2021, 07:43:22 PM »
Hey! Firstly, itís a huge honour to have created a set with Tim and I really hope those that get hold of Polymaths will love them as much as I do!

To answer about how the Polymaths relate to the Black Dog, there arenít really many points of comparison - itís a different wire gauge, different wind/offset and a different magnet (the Polymaths are the first BKPs to feature an unoriented A5 magnet, also known as isotropic, and this gives a noticeably different feel and tone when compared to standard anisotropic A5). Also, the neck Polymath is an unusual design that combines two wire gauges. In practical terms though, the Polymath bridge is less twangy, has much thicker mids and has a squishier but still tight low end when compared to the Black Dog, with more output. The neck pickups donít really compare since the BD neck is within the PAF-y realm and the Polymath is a much more modern ďtubularĒ sounding pickup with - again - more of a squish on the attack.
I canít really comment on the pricing, but note the Polymath is in line with the other signature humbuckers, and features a black powder coated baseplate as standard - this would be a bespoke option and would come at an additional cost normally.

nice to hear, Nolly
considering your previous favorites I was guessing something between the true grit, rebel yell and black dog, but with a modern take
I'm glad this finally happened! you've been a big part of bkp history since I've heard of it 14-15 years ago
« Last Edit: October 04, 2021, 07:45:48 PM by ericsabbath »
Riff Raff, Mules, Black Dog, VHII's, Cold Sweat

Nolly

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2021, 10:46:53 PM »

Nolly, congrats on the pickup!  That's a pretty cool thing especially being BKP.  Also, funny you mention Zhangbucker.  That is the small winder in the States that I refer to above!

Anyway, the crunch tones for the bridge really have me intrigued.  I don't play the heavier styles, but that crunch sounds like it might be cool stuff for straight into my Plexi clone (Rockitt Retro 50) for a modern day interpretation of the Stooges' Raw Power, or whatever else I may want to cook up.

Oh thatís pretty funny about the Zhangbucker connection! Have you ever tried their isotropic A5 magnet models (I think they simply refer to it as simply UOA5)?
If you do end up getting some Polymaths I hope you enjoy them! I should say too that the parallel coil sound is phenomenal on them - very much like getting a whole different and perfectly usable thick single coil tone. Thatís what youíre hearing at the very start of the demo track, and also for the neck pickup cleans in the mid section.

Congrats on the pickups Nolly! They sound fantastic in the video!
After years of using pretty much only ceramic pickups, I recently switched to the Seymour Duncan Pegasus (Alnico V) set in one of my prs 6 strings. It was a sweet change of sound I much needed. Any chance you know any SD pickups you could compare the Polymath to? In the first few months with new pickups it's always difficult to find some decent comparisons.

Great stuff, thanks! So the SD pickup people will think to compare the Polymath to is the Custom 5 because itís a similar DC resistance and A5 magnet, but I again have to stress the unoriented/isotropic A5 magnets in the Polymaths are a whole different sound than youíd expect and put a lot more emphasis on the mods with sweeter highs and springier low end. Itís also not the same kind of wind nor pole pieces and this adds up to a very different pickup. Common complaints with the Custom 5 is that itís a bit scooped and harsh for some players and thatís absolutely not the case with the Polymaths.
You could also compare to the Pegasus - again similar ballpark on a spec sheet but very different in practise. Iím actually not sure if there are any wind differences between the Custom 5 and Pegasus, but my hunch is they are the same recipe with the Pegasus having copper foil wrapped around the wound bobbins like on the old Gibson Dirty Fingers or DiMarzio Super Distortion pickups - a move which cuts high end and lowers the resonant peak substantially. Most of the recent SD designs aimed at modern players feature this copper foil, which I think means theyíre getting more mileage out of their existing pickup designs with this simple addition. Iím not badmouthing here, itís probably great business practise for a company that deals in such huge production numbers.
Anyway, Iím rambling. Iíve benchmarked the Polymaths next to the Pegasus and Custom 5 (and many other SDs) and I feel the Polymaths donít overlap all that much (and obviously are my preference). Although itís totally unrelated in spec, I think you could say the Polymath bridge has some of the midrange qualities that make the JB so well-loved but youíve got a more open top end leaner lows, along with more headroom and richer harmonics.

Iím trying very hard to not to turn this into an advertisement for the Polymath, but I need to say that Tim and I were agreed from the outset that there is no point putting out a pickup if it doesnít genuinely bring something new and awesome to the table. We worked extremely long and hard to refine the design(s) and constantly reference other pickups to make sure we were achieving that goal. To me, where we ended up just feels ďrightĒ every time I come back to it, and thatís been corroborated by other players trying them for the first time and feeling that instant connection with the instrument that makes playing feel easy and joyful.

Nolly

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2021, 10:53:27 PM »
Thanks for chipping in Nolly, and congratulations! They should really have you do all the descriptions on the website as you describe things much more clearly - I like it when you swing through here and drop little pearls of insight.

Very interesting about the magnet, I do hope I get the opportunity to try a set one day but I suspect it'll be a while!

Thanks! I hope you do too!

nice to hear, Nolly
considering your previous favorites I was guessing something between the true grit, rebel yell and black dog, but with a modern take
I'm glad this finally happened! you've been a big part of bkp history since I've heard of it 14-15 years ago


Hey thanks Eric, I appreciate that, nice to see you around still! There's definitely something about the output level of the Rebel Yell that feels very homely to me - like you can push into modern territory but equally easily slip back into classic tones without feeling awkward. It wasn't surprising to me when we ended up in a similar DC resistance ballpark with the Polymath.

b.gandt

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2021, 12:14:03 AM »



Oh thatís pretty funny about the Zhangbucker connection! Have you ever tried their isotropic A5 magnet models (I think they simply refer to it as simply UOA5)?

Yep, UOA5 is how I know them.  This is the first time I've heard "isotropic"!  I have not tried them yet.  The one Zhang humbucker I have is A2.

Nadz1lla

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2021, 03:09:32 PM »
Well I've not been back here in a while, I wasn't sure if you were still posting, Nolly! Glad to see you are. ^_^

As I said on your Insta, I'm saving up for a set. I'm going to take to BKP nearer the time I have the money together but I'd love a matte white covered set with the polymath etching / tattoo in black to fit my Ibanez FRIX (it's the black blasted-grain finish with white binding, so my concept would look killer on it!)

Also, I don't know if you look at your Insta DMs, Nolls, but I sent you a message regarding something from my Arcanum Plectra account. ;) If there's a better way to have a private convo let me know which you'd prefer. \m/

andrewt

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2021, 08:26:24 PM »

Polymaths are the first BKPs to feature an unoriented A5 magnet, also known as isotropic, and this gives a noticeably different feel and tone when compared to standard anisotropic A5.

In practical terms though, the Polymath bridge is less twangy, has much thicker mids and has a squishier but still tight low end when compared to the Black Dog, with more output.

Iím curious about the feel and tone of the bridge pickup. Iíve never played an unoriented A5, only regular A5, A2 and A4.

That squish on the attack, is that similar to the way A2s feel squishier and a bit compressed on the front of a picked note compared to A5 which feels less compressed and stiffer?

Nolly

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2021, 11:00:05 PM »
Well I've not been back here in a while, I wasn't sure if you were still posting, Nolly! Glad to see you are. ^_^

As I said on your Insta, I'm saving up for a set. I'm going to take to BKP nearer the time I have the money together but I'd love a matte white covered set with the polymath etching / tattoo in black to fit my Ibanez FRIX (it's the black blasted-grain finish with white binding, so my concept would look killer on it!)

Also, I don't know if you look at your Insta DMs, Nolls, but I sent you a message regarding something from my Arcanum Plectra account. ;) If there's a better way to have a private convo let me know which you'd prefer. \m/

Hey mate thanks so much, Iíve replied over on Instagram now, much appreciated. Hope you can make the etched white cover dream come true, I think thatís look really cool with the black baseplate too - very two tone.


Polymaths are the first BKPs to feature an unoriented A5 magnet, also known as isotropic, and this gives a noticeably different feel and tone when compared to standard anisotropic A5.

In practical terms though, the Polymath bridge is less twangy, has much thicker mids and has a squishier but still tight low end when compared to the Black Dog, with more output.

Iím curious about the feel and tone of the bridge pickup. Iíve never played an unoriented A5, only regular A5, A2 and A4.

That squish on the attack, is that similar to the way A2s feel squishier and a bit compressed on the front of a picked note compared to A5 which feels less compressed and stiffer?

Yes, itís a lot like that, but the unoriented A5 stays a lot more controlled and articulate than the A2/3s can at the same time. Itís a really addictive feel, trying the UOA5 was a eureka moment for us during the Polymath development.
If you listen to the ĎHeavyí clip on the website clip player, I think youíll hear the pickupís attack character quite clearly. I deliberately did various intensities of palm muting to show how it responds.

BTS

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #23 on: October 06, 2021, 02:30:26 AM »
Hey Nolly - congrats on the new pickups mate! They sound great so far.

I was looking for a new set of pickups for a guitar I have - was debating between the holy diver set and the silos, which are different I know but both could serve as a versatile set rock metal set. I have to add the Polymaths to the consideration now - I really like that the fact you wanted/created something fun to play (I found juggernaut bridge to sort of lack that a bit) and the tones sound really good, in particular the bridge distorted (which has some nail bomb but also a bit of a holy diver mid-range similarity to my ears in a way) and the neck parallel clean tones.

I hope you can share some clips of the polymaths in one of mahogany Prs guitars you have at some stage - just as a refence point vs the guitar you demoed them in on the launch clip.

Cheers and congrats again!

veritas0aequitas

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #24 on: October 06, 2021, 11:26:08 PM »
Was hard to swallow the $440 USD price tag but I ordered a set of black covered Polymaths for my E-II M-II in Black Natural Fade with a Hipshot bridge.

I tune this guitar to drop A# so I am very interested in how this will do. My go to pickups (and favorite combination) are Riff Raffs in Les Pauls. The clarity, punch, and 3D quality are phenomenal through my VH4. I also have been digging Emeralds in my Eclipses and Silos in my Horizon III.

Was looking at a Holydiver set for some Horizons until I saw the Polymaths. I have yet to install the A-Bombs and Black Dogs I have in Horizons, but I want to try them all, so I just went for it. I will get a set of Holydivers soon.

I was told by Tim that the the black matte covers should sound the same as Nickel covers and not affect their tone really. The video sounds phenomenal with covered pickups so I took the plunge. Big fan of Nolly's work and ear so this will be fun to give them a spin. I hope they get along well with my VH4 even if they're higher output. (My VH4 typically likes more vintage/vintage hot pickups)
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Nolly

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #25 on: October 08, 2021, 11:41:54 AM »
Hey Nolly - congrats on the new pickups mate! They sound great so far.

I was looking for a new set of pickups for a guitar I have - was debating between the holy diver set and the silos, which are different I know but both could serve as a versatile set rock metal set. I have to add the Polymaths to the consideration now - I really like that the fact you wanted/created something fun to play (I found juggernaut bridge to sort of lack that a bit) and the tones sound really good, in particular the bridge distorted (which has some nail bomb but also a bit of a holy diver mid-range similarity to my ears in a way) and the neck parallel clean tones.

I hope you can share some clips of the polymaths in one of mahogany Prs guitars you have at some stage - just as a refence point vs the guitar you demoed them in on the launch clip.

Cheers and congrats again!

Hey BTS, thanks so much!
In all the experimentation I've done on the journey towards and testing of the the Polymaths I've not really found a guitar they don't work in, provided you like the general idea of broad midrange, open top and lean lows with a bit of squidge. The output level and voicing don't really exacerbate troublesome low end or overemphasise treble etc, so I've been really happy with the results in all my guitars. That said, I've adopted the Mansons as my main guitars these days - the combination of the chunk from the TOM bridge with the geometry and snap of a Fender style guitar, it's just a match made in heaven for me. I feel like I'm getting the best of both worlds - all mahogany set neck guitars combined with modern articulation and tuning stability.

Was hard to swallow the $440 USD price tag but I ordered a set of black covered Polymaths for my E-II M-II in Black Natural Fade with a Hipshot bridge.

I tune this guitar to drop A# so I am very interested in how this will do. My go to pickups (and favorite combination) are Riff Raffs in Les Pauls. The clarity, punch, and 3D quality are phenomenal through my VH4. I also have been digging Emeralds in my Eclipses and Silos in my Horizon III.

Was looking at a Holydiver set for some Horizons until I saw the Polymaths. I have yet to install the A-Bombs and Black Dogs I have in Horizons, but I want to try them all, so I just went for it. I will get a set of Holydivers soon.

I was told by Tim that the the black matte covers should sound the same as Nickel covers and not affect their tone really. The video sounds phenomenal with covered pickups so I took the plunge. Big fan of Nolly's work and ear so this will be fun to give them a spin. I hope they get along well with my VH4 even if they're higher output. (My VH4 typically likes more vintage/vintage hot pickups)

Thanks so much, I really appreciate it's not an easy decision to drop serious cash on pickups you can't try in advance, so I hope you like them! I've used them with my VH4 plenty, and they work very well. I'd describe them as borderline "Vintage Hot" pickups, they're really not far off the Emeralds or Abraxas in output, for example. Certainly pickups like the Rebel Yell and Crawler drive an amp a bit harder if you leave the pickup heights the same. I will say that I love getting the Polymaths right up on the strings though, they get very angry sounding but still don't hit an amp as hard as - say - a JB or Nailbomb or Holy Diver.
I look forward to hearing how you get on!

BTS

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2021, 01:16:32 PM »
thanks for the info / reply Nolly.

fdesalvo

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2021, 04:37:52 AM »
Nolly, just a quick shout out.  Really appreciate your contributions to the forum and product development.  Hope these sales allow you to retire, get fat, and live a comfy life (not in that order).  You've paid your dues.  You're on my top 10 list of fav contemporary instrumentalists.

schneidas

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #28 on: October 19, 2021, 01:04:52 PM »
Hi Nolly, can you talk a bit about the Polymath's neck pickup in more depth?

How is it for distorted soloing a la Dave Murray, Yngwie, John Petrucci etc. (yes they all have different tones, but use the neck pickup quite a bit for soloing with distortion)? Does it have a pronounced attack? Is it fatter or brighter voiced in general?

Thanks, Chris
Owned past BKP models: VH2 set, Mule set, 10th Anniversary set,  Emerald set

Nolly

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Re: Polymath... and prices
« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2021, 09:14:29 AM »
Nolly, just a quick shout out.  Really appreciate your contributions to the forum and product development.  Hope these sales allow you to retire, get fat, and live a comfy life (not in that order).  You've paid your dues.  You're on my top 10 list of fav contemporary instrumentalists.

Thanks so much, those are some incredible compliments that I don't feel I deserve but I'm very honoured that you'd feel that way. To be perfectly honest, making money was about the furthest thing from my mind when we designed the Polymaths, it was an amazing experience to learn more about pickups and to find a cool new approach that gives me the results I've always wanted. I really hope everyone loves them too.

P.S. Glad you said "not in that order" - I'm working on the fat part right now, seems more achievable than the other bits..

Hi Nolly, can you talk a bit about the Polymath's neck pickup in more depth?

How is it for distorted soloing a la Dave Murray, Yngwie, John Petrucci etc. (yes they all have different tones, but use the neck pickup quite a bit for soloing with distortion)? Does it have a pronounced attack? Is it fatter or brighter voiced in general?

Thanks, Chris


Hey Chris, nice question, I haven't spent much time talking about the neck pickup yet! It really excels under gain - it's got some of the Petrucci tubular quality but less wooly on the low strings especially. It's a very unconventional design that mixes two wire gauges, and also has a couple of other design features that mean it stays open and touch sensitive despite the unusual DC resistance reading. Using the unoriented A5 in the neck makes the midrange sing and also gives a similar slight squish on the attack like the bridge pickup does too. To me this evokes that drool-worthy Andy Timmons attack character and actually the Polymath neck in parallel coil mode does a decent impression of the Cruiser pickups AT uses - single-coil-y but you can dig in hard and it doesn't get too toppy or harsh.
To answer your questions more directly:
- It is really fluid under gain but is harmonically rich enough to express your playing nuances. I play leads on the bridge pickup 99% of the time because I love the harmonic richness, but the Polymath neck is one of few that I feel can be similarly expressive, and I find myself using it a lot.
- It has a clear attack, but it's lower down the spectrum than your typical PAF-y 42AWG 7.5-8.5k DCR neck pickup, which is why I'd describe it as more "modern" voiced. Again, I'll say the parallel coil sound is so good it's definitely worth wiring up as an option, it'll give you all the vintage neck tone you could want.
- I don't know if I'd use "fat" or "bright" as a descriptor for it, I'd say instead it's a clear and tubular sound without excessive low or high end.

Hope that helps!