From mgarvi–(at)–anix.com Sat Jan 31 20:36:43 CST 1998
Article: 180517 of rec.music.makers.guitar
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From: mgarvi–(at)–anix.com (Mark Garvin)
Newsgroups: rec.music.makers.guitar
Subject: Re: Joe Barden Strat Deluxe Pickups, Opinions Please.
Date: 27 Jan 1998 17:40:46 -0500
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>Jeff wrote in article
><34cd48f9.12005505--(at)--ews.eoni.com>…
>> I am looking to replace the gold sensors on my strat plus and have
>> been considering the Joe Barden’s. I have researched several single
>> coil designs but the reviews are somewhat inconsistent. A recent post
>> mentioned the Barden’s as “true Fender tone monsters without the hum”.
>> Everything I have been hearing about them is positive.

In <01bd2add$bac42e40$4d61a0c--(at)--huckstr> “Paul Dragon” writes:
>Barden’s are not cheap, but you do get what you pay for. I have a Zion
>guitar with Bardens and they are best sounding single coils I have ever
>heard (yes, I have heard them all). You could go with a cheaper pickup like
>a Bill Lawrence or Duncan, but you will always be wanting those Bardens!

I can’t claim to have heard them *all* (!!!) but I have had a chance
to check out lots of hum-cancelling ‘single-coil’ designs. This
includes the normal Duncan and Dimarzio rail and stack designs, the
Bardens, some experimental pickups, Lace Sensors, and Evans, etc.

Please preface all the following with “IN MY OPINION”, OK? And I’m
a picky bahstid, so keep that in mind.

The Evans pickups are the quietest. Great matching between the coils.
Jeff Healy has used them, and you can hear a distinct high ‘ping’ on
the early Healy stuff (not sure if he still uses them). I’ve used
both the ‘single’ and wider (actually dual single…not true humbucker)
versions with success on a some instruments.

Most Dimarzio rail designs sound ok at first listen, but wear a bit
with repeated use. They have patented the ‘different coil gauge…
same amount of windings’ technique for supposedly getting differing
‘resonant’ frequencies from their coils. Not nec the result that they
claim, but interesting. Still, dull compared to true old strat sound.
Maybe good for some metal players.

I’ve heard a (supposedly custom) version of the Dimarzio stacked
design at Sadowsky Guitars, and it sounded good. Not sure if it would
survive the test of time. I have not tried the ‘EJ single-coil’ test
of this pickup. (See? I haven’t ‘tried them all’ yet).

Duncan ‘Classic stacks’ lose something of the edge and definition.
Their standard stack pickups are better in this respect.

Duncan ‘HOT Rails’ are one of my own LEAST favorites (sorry…I’m
a fan of old 60’s strat pickup tone). No tone (IMO, etc.etc)

I DO like the Duncan Vintage rails. More incisive tone than most
stacked pickups. Maybe better to use their stacks in more edgy
sounding instruments. Still, this design has possibilities.
Consider that the approach is similar to the Fender bass split
pickup designs.

Lace Sensors…again, an interesting tone. I don’t hate them like
some do. In fact, I prefer their very thin (‘Robert-Cray-like???’)
tone to many of the sludgier sounding pickups above. They do sound
a bit clinical, but that can be good sometimes. Not as quiet as
many of the above, but they are not really humbuckers. They’re
just shielded well with a unique magnetic structure.

EMG’s: Ok, but a bit sterile and nondescript.

I’ve also tried lots of custom designs, incl hum-cancel coils (some of
my own design) and some work pretty well. No time to run down all of
that, and I’m not marketing anything.

So, what were you asking? Oh…yeah…

Bardens: A relatively powerful sounding pickup that maintains a lot of
single-coil character. I still do not hear pure ’63 strat tones. The
Bardens have a steely quality that I’d equate with Telecaster more
than Strat. An interesting tone, and more single-coil-like and
wide-range than most of the side-by-side rail designs.

At present, I’ve gone back to old single coils and newer Fralins for
the most part. I deal with the noise. The Duncan Vintage Rails works
OK in many places, and still has much of the character that I look
for in old strat pickups. Keep in mind that nothing will sound
identical (not even two actual ’63’s), so it’s a matter of choosing
the one that has the aspects that *you* appreciate.

MGarvin

(not affiliated with any of the above)

 

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