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jgordonXXX

Best budget pickups

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haven't tried them yet... but will on my current build: boostrap pickups.  def inexpensive but get good reviews and def look quality.  I'll be satisfied if they are a step up from gfs/artec.  Recently bought a set of hardly used sd sentient/nazgul for $80, and a set of dimarzio superdist/36th paf pro for $75.  If I see anything on craigslist for those prices I snap it up and figure I'll use it sooner or later.  got sd blackout 1 single and 1 humbucker on reverb for $35... guy wasn't able to test them so... SCORE!

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from what I've read... iron gear is supposed to be re-branded artec.  I'm not entirely sure if that is true... but if you look at them as well as a number of other mfg (GFS and a few others) they certainly have the same format.  Does that mean they are bad?  No, not to me anyway... but it does seem like you'd save money just buying them on evilbay.  I've bought a few here and there as tests and have had ltd success replacing the magnets... in my experience... even when they say A2 it sure does not seem like you get A2.  I don't have magnet measuring equipment but from what I can guestimate in looks and sound most have resembled ceramic.  Replacing the mags is kind of a crap shoot... it's really hard to guestimate what this mag or that mag will sound like (at least for me).  That said, I did some mag swaps on some 'invader style' artec pickups and settled on A2 mags.  Didn't sound heavy anymore... but sounded great for cleans! 

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The UK market is, of course, different but there are presently some stupendously good very low priced pickups on the world markets.  Checking on a few local (to US) forums will quickly get you to a shortlist and the multitude to also avoid!

@mistermikev - are the IronGear pickups you refer to the UK-based IronGear?  If so, they are not Artec and they have a very, very good reputation on UK forums.

Having said that, Artec also do produce some excellent products at ridiculously low prices,  I can't vouch for the magnetic pickups simply because I've never tried them, but I can vouch for the piezos.  And I know a multi-thousand-$-each guitar maker that has just moved to Artec piezos from a very expensive brand...and NOTHING to do with cost - simply because they perform so much better!

The main thing is to do the research and NEVER assume cheap is bad.  For humbuckers in a LP or SG, I fit a UK cheap brand (Tonerider) in preference to Gibson top-of-the-range 3x the price...because they sound better.  For single coils, quite often likewise. Certainly, there are better sounding (and cheaper) noiseless singles that the Fender ones. 

For mid-range price offerings of the bigger names, I've yet to have a DiMarzio that hasn't punched well above its weight... 

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23 hours ago, Andyjr1515 said:

The UK market is, of course, different but there are presently some stupendously good very low priced pickups on the world markets.  Checking on a few local (to US) forums will quickly get you to a shortlist and the multitude to also avoid!

@mistermikev - are the IronGear pickups you refer to the UK-based IronGear?  If so, they are not Artec and they have a very, very good reputation on UK forums.

Having said that, Artec also do produce some excellent products at ridiculously low prices,  I can't vouch for the magnetic pickups simply because I've never tried them, but I can vouch for the piezos.  And I know a multi-thousand-$-each guitar maker that has just moved to Artec piezos from a very expensive brand...and NOTHING to do with cost - simply because they perform so much better!

The main thing is to do the research and NEVER assume cheap is bad.  For humbuckers in a LP or SG, I fit a UK cheap brand (Tonerider) in preference to Gibson top-of-the-range 3x the price...because they sound better.  For single coils, quite often likewise. Certainly, there are better sounding (and cheaper) noiseless singles that the Fender ones. 

For mid-range price offerings of the bigger names, I've yet to have a DiMarzio that hasn't punched well above its weight... 

afa artec peizo... didn't realize they make them.  If I ever build an acoustic - I'm all over it.  (thanks for that)

iron gear: Again, I haven't tried iron gear, and I have seen they get great reviews, and there are a few threads suggesting they are mfg in the artec factory.  I know right now there is a "everything is made by artec" which hunt so.. perhaps they just got swept up in that. 

also a big fan of dimarzio here. funny thing: I took a paf pro out of a carvin and put in a hamer steve stevens and did not like it.  liked it in the carvin and loved it in my jem.  perhaps I didn't have golden ears that day or perhaps it just proves to me that whenever I find a 'bad' sounding pickup... it's not that the pickup sounds bad it's just not in the right guitar!

maybe I've got a bias going, but I do not like the fender noiseless pickups at all.  I liked the orig lace sensors.  just not for me I guess.

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2 hours ago, mistermikev said:

afa artec peizo... didn't realize they make them.  If I ever build an acoustic - I'm all over it.  (thanks for that)

iron gear: Again, I haven't tried iron gear, and I have seen they get great reviews, and there are a few threads suggesting they are mfg in the artec factory.  I know right now there is a "everything is made by artec" which hunt so.. perhaps they just got swept up in that. 

also a big fan of dimarzio here. funny thing: I took a paf pro out of a carvin and put in a hamer steve stevens and did not like it.  liked it in the carvin and loved it in my jem.  perhaps I didn't have golden ears that day or perhaps it just proves to me that whenever I find a 'bad' sounding pickup... it's not that the pickup sounds bad it's just not in the right guitar!

maybe I've got a bias going, but I do not like the fender noiseless pickups at all.  I liked the orig lace sensors.  just not for me I guess.

I might stand corrected, @mistermikev !  You are right that IronGear, although designed and spec'd in UK are made in the far east.  So it's entirely possible that is in the Artec factory - where a number of other well known brands are also made as well as their own product ranges....

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