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EGC/Bean pickups: how can pickups be high output and bright?

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EGC/Bean pickups: how can pickups be high output and bright?

Postby qbertsoul on Sun Sep 30, 2007 1:51 am

I've heard about a few pickup manufacturers that make pickups that have very high output and at the same time are very bright with lots of treble. Considering that raising the output of the pickup involves increasing the winding on the pickup, which consequentially lowers the resonant frequency of the pickup and therefore lowers the treble output, we can establish that high output = low treble and visa versa.

However, various pickups, like the single coil sized humbuckers offered by Joe Barden and the TB-500 single coils on a Travis Bean allegedly boast both very high output and very high treble response, which seems paradoxical due to its contradiction of the previously stated rule. How is this possible?
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Postby a. james on Sun Sep 30, 2007 3:40 am

i have no idea and wondered the same thing myself.

but i've heard (or not, i don't remember) that the bass pickups are wound at 8.9kohms.

which isn't that hot. a little hotter than your average jazz bass pickup.
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Postby HCT on Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:01 am

maybe it's the electronics, not the pickups.

what about using really high value pots? the choice of the tone capacitor might have some bearing too.

also, a more powerful magnet means more output and more treble.
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Postby madlee on Sun Sep 30, 2007 9:21 am

resonant frequency?

I thought pickups were electro-magnetic devices, not acoustic devices?
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Postby Rodabod on Sun Sep 30, 2007 12:36 pm

I reckon stronger magnets would probably be a good starting point. Ceramic ones are brighter than Alnico too.
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Postby qbertsoul on Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:00 pm

MrFood wrote:
(btw. this should really be in the tech room).


You're right. I apologize about that.

MrFood wrote:
I thought the wide range that TBs were capable of was largely down to the materials and build of the body?


This is definitely the case with the harmonics of the guitar, as aluminum is said to be much more resonant than wood. Also, when people say that the pickups are "high output", they could be mistake the fact that the guitar is simply acoustically louder than solid body wood guitars.

HCT wrote:maybe it's the electronics, not the pickups.

what about using really high value pots? the choice of the tone capacitor might have some bearing too.


I e-mailed Kevin about this a while back and he mentioned that they use 500K volume pots, which will sound brighter than 250K ones. Both the volume and tone controls on a guitar will sap treble, however, this can be rectified by using a 1 meg volume pot and a no-load tone control. However, this is not enough by itself to make a guitar as bright as the TB is, as most guitars w/ humbuckers like the Les Paul or SG have 500K volume pots and they still sound very dark.

Rodabod wrote:
I reckon stronger magnets would probably be a good starting point. Ceramic ones are brighter than Alnico too.


Kevin mentioned that the pickups use Alnico V magnets, essentially the same ones you'd find in a Tele or a Strat.
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Postby juice on Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:27 pm

madlee wrote:resonant frequency?

I thought pickups were electro-magnetic devices, not acoustic devices?


lol

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuned_circuit
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Postby madlee on Sun Sep 30, 2007 2:50 pm

juice wrote:
madlee wrote:resonant frequency?

I thought pickups were electro-magnetic devices, not acoustic devices?


lol

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuned_circuit


I can't say I understand that at all.

I guess I was under the incorrect impression that the strings vibrated over the magnetic field of the pickup, creating voltage.
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Postby matt_stevens on Sun Sep 30, 2007 3:12 pm

madlee wrote:I guess I was under the incorrect impression that the strings vibrated over the magnetic field of the pickup, creating voltage.


The strings vibrating over the magnetic field of the pickup will induce a current into the coil of wire.

When you create a circuit that has an inductor (the pickup) and a resistor (the resistance that is inherently present in the coil of the pickup) in it, you create a tuned circuit. This will have it's own resonant frequency, where the voltage output is higher than at other frequencies.

Radio receivers work on the same principle, only you can change the resonant frequency, so that you can boost the frequency you want.

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Postby juice on Sun Sep 30, 2007 3:54 pm

madlee wrote:
juice wrote:
madlee wrote:resonant frequency?

I thought pickups were electro-magnetic devices, not acoustic devices?


lol

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuned_circuit


I can't say I understand that at all.

I guess I was under the incorrect impression that the strings vibrated over the magnetic field of the pickup, creating voltage.


Yeah the thing is, virtually all electronics contribute to some form of tuned circuit, more or less, but especially electromagnetic devices. In fact. things like capacitors are essentially the exact same as springs as far as modeling things such as resonant frequency, and stuff. Inductors (pickups) are a little bit different, not too much though. Strings (and other parts of the instrument) are, for generalization purposes, damped harmonics oscillators, just like a spring. This is actually kind of why we use pickups and not just piezo sensors and microphones.
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Postby sunset_gun on Mon Oct 01, 2007 1:33 pm

I use a Seymour Duncan C5/'59 hybrid pickup in my aluminum necked guitar. The pickup is made by combining one coil from each production pickup. The mis-matched coil windings give some of the clarity and focus you get from a single coil pickup, but it is more smooth under a lot of gain. This hybrid combines the best characteristics of both single coil and classic PAF-style pickups - it's bright and "open", but humbucker-smooth under a lot of gain.

For the most part, I don't like ceramic pickups. They are hotter, but sacrifice personality IMO. Ceramics are not always brighter than AlNiCo, just more powerful.
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Postby juice on Mon Oct 01, 2007 3:45 pm

yeah, another thing is this:
Image

The Q factor is dependent upon L and R, and

as is the damping factor

Image

This is why you increase the pot values, to try to conserve these values when you add humbuckers (2 single coils, or L=2L) or for other inductance pickups, although I don't think it's entirely that simple due to things like tone pots/caps, cable capacitance, amp/pedal impedance, polarity reversal, etc.. but you get the gist.
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Postby qbertsoul on Mon Oct 01, 2007 8:12 pm

juice wrote:This is why you increase the pot values, to try to conserve these values when you add humbuckers (2 single coils, or L=2L) or for other inductance pickups, although I don't think it's entirely that simple due to things like tone pots/caps, cable capacitance, amp/pedal impedance, polarity reversal, etc.. but you get the gist.


Actually, I checked some resources on the Seymour Duncan website and they mentioned that while changing out the pots increases the treble, it does NOT increase the resonant frequency.

The resonant frequency is essentially the focal point of the tone. So if you take a guitar that has a resonant frequency of 8 khz and completely remove the volume pot and tone pots (giving it no load whatsoever and brightnening the sound), the treble frequencies from 6-7 khz onward will be significantly louder, but it does not change the resonant frequency and thus the harmonics will still peak at 8 khz.

Read this link for more information:
http://www.seymourduncan.com/support/ch ... iometer_v/
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Postby juice on Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:40 pm

oh sorry, I think I slightly switched topics. Technically you are right, but I was talking about Q factor and damping factor which have more to do with how fast the frequency response drops off and stuff, and not the actual resonant frequency per se. Actually I think the damping factor is technically for driven loads and talks about things like impedance matching, but fundamentally it's not *too* different from a pickup driving a load. Q is actually defined in terms of the resonant frequency.

Anyways, here is a calculator to determine all sorts of fun stuff with these circuits:

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hb ... rc.html#c1

That website is awesome for most things physics too.
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Re: EGC/Bean pickups: how can pickups be high output and bri

Postby duskyamp on Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:44 pm

Zombie thread!

I believe the primary reason for the sonic difference is the use of alnico magnets as pole pieces in the EGC/Bean pickups vs bar magnets on the bottom with steel slug pole pieces in the case of Gibson style pickups. This is the case whether we're talking humbuckers or P90s, and it's the main reason Fender single coils are brighter than P90s and Fender Wide Range Humbuckers (which the Travis Bean humbuckers are based on) are brighter than Gibson PAF Humbuckers. The magnetic structure that is sensing the string is very different in these two cases.

I did an experiment a while back where I took a cheap-o Chinese made P90 from a kit guitar and replaced the bar magnets and pole pieces with strat-style alnico pole pieces. It was a completely different pickup. No longer a mellow P-90, it became an extremely bright single coil. Bright enough that to take the edge off, I'd probably wind it way hotter, if I wound pickups (which I don't, yet). I suspect the Bean/EGC magnets being just bigger helps with output as well, where you can wind it pretty hot but still not lose high end like in a Gibson. And of course you can play with the metal used for base plate, etc...

I do have a recording of the modified P90, but I talk way too much and then play real shitty on top of that, so it may be unlistenable:

https://soundcloud.com/dusky-electronics/derdle
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Re: EGC/Bean pickups: how can pickups be high output and bri

Postby holmes on Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:54 am

I've not found EGC pickups to be overly bright. I've got overwound ones in my C500, and I find it quite a dark, mid heavy sounding guitar. Definitely doesn't have the treble or clarity of my tb500. A good example of this is to listen to dude incredible and then terraform - the bean has Egc pickups circa dude, while on terraform the 500 has lower output bean pickups and a noticeably less middy sound. I don't know whether Steves Egc pickups are as overwound as mine, but it's a very clear difference sonically. Realistically, the Egc pick ups are more useable in more traditional situations as the lower output original 500 pickups are quite weak compared to Egc p'ups, and can sound like ice picks. The trade off with having the higher output is still loss of treble and clarity though, its just how it is. Of course, in comparison to most wooden guitars the aluminium is going to have a more ringing sound regardless of pick up construction, though that is still a big factor of course. Weren't the bean humbuckers
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Re: EGC/Bean pickups: how can pickups be high output and bri

Postby holmes on Wed Nov 15, 2017 6:55 am

...based on wide range fender pick ups? Wouldn't surprise me as they both have masses of clarity.
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Re: EGC/Bean pickups: how can pickups be high output and bri

Postby duskyamp on Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:11 am

Yes, Bean Humbuckers were based on Fender Wide Range Pickups which are different from Gibson Humbuckers in the same way Fender/Bean single coils are different from P90s--magnets pointing right at the strings rather than bar magnets underneath the pickup.

The single coil pickups in my EGC Series 5 are fairly bright, but I don't have a TB to compare to, so they may very well have been even brighter. The main point is if you start with an inherently brighter topology you can wind more before they start to sound muddy. In my experiment with the P90, swapping out the pole pieces without making any other changes yielded a pretty ice-picky pickup--maybe that was closer to the original TB single coil sound. I don't know.

I think, additionally, maybe TB/EGC use bigger magnets than Fender, et al, which might help with increasing output without having to increase the number of winds. I might be wrong on that last point, though.
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Re: EGC/Bean pickups: how can pickups be high output and bri

Postby duskyamp on Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:30 am

duskyamp wrote:Yes, Bean Humbuckers were based on Fender Wide Range Pickups which are different from Gibson Humbuckers in the same way Fender/Bean single coils are different from P90s--magnets pointing right at the strings rather than bar magnets underneath the pickup.

The single coil pickups in my EGC Series 5 are fairly bright, but I don't have a TB to compare to, so they may very well have been even brighter. The main point is if you start with an inherently brighter topology you can wind more before they start to sound muddy. In my experiment with the P90, swapping out the pole pieces without making any other changes yielded a pretty ice-picky pickup--maybe that was closer to the original TB single coil sound. If Kevin started with that and decided to keep winding, then that makes sense. I would've done that, too.

Edit: Removed completely incorrect conjecture about relative size of magnets. My EGC single coils seem to use the same size magnets as a Strat.
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