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Single Coil Pickup Accessories


Paul Marossy
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I remember about 12-15 years ago, they used to have this steel device that you stuck on the top of your pickup that would turn a regular single pickup into something more along the lines of a rail type pickup - the pickup magnets held it in place. I can't for the life of me remember what those things were called! Nor do I remember who made them...

Anyone know what I'm talking about? Do they still make them? And, if so, do they really do much?

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I remember those. I still have scads of old Guitar magazines; I'm in the middle of a move now, but if someone hasn't come up with it by the time I'm all unpacked and settled in, I'll look it up for you.

They made some strange claims about the positive effect on tone, but I always had my doubts about their effectiveness. Still, you just never know!!

Greg

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They made some strange claims about the positive effect on tone, but I always had my doubts about their effectiveness.

Same here. I was thinking about these the other day, and it prompted the question.

Jaguar pickups have something similar to that.

My guess is that the thought was that it would increase the output of the pickup while simultaneously making them somewhat quieter...

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There is a pickup company named APC, Adder Plus Corporation. They make great pickups to this day, but they had different pickup toppers back in the mid 90's. I have a few around here somewhere. Maybe that's what you're thinking of. They had flat black ones, but they also had some where the metal showed in a jagged fashion. They manipulated the magnetic field. APC's pickups are like that too. They do a lot of magnetic field manipulation. The company is run by Mel Lace, who's Don Lace's brother, and a lot of the Actodyne technology is ripped off from Mel. I consider APC the "real" Lace.

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There is a pickup company named APC, Adder Plus Corporation. They make great pickups to this day, but they had different pickup toppers back in the mid 90's. I have a few around here somewhere. Maybe that's what you're thinking of. They had flat black ones, but they also had some where the metal showed in a jagged fashion. They manipulated the magnetic field. APC's pickups are like that too. They do a lot of magnetic field manipulation. The company is run by Mel Lace, who's Don Lace's brother, and a lot of the Actodyne technology is ripped off from Mel. I consider APC the "real" Lace.

Bingo! That's what I am remembering. I was seeing the jagged ones in my mind's eye. Have you tried them, and if so, what do you think of them?

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They're a great invention, and they work very well. I don't use them because I have tons of guitars with various pickups that I've chosen intentionally. So I don't need/want to alter the sound of any of my pickups. I have the flat black ones which provide increased output and punch. I like them on flat pole pieces so they make direct contact with all the poles. They'll still work with a stagger but the effect isn't as pronounced. Plus the volume fluctuations between the strings are still there, if not augmented. They also eliminate dropout between the poles. If I had one or two guitars, these would be a great way to have an instant variance at my fingertips. I have a humbucker one too BTW, although you can also use two singles next to eachother.

Most of the Lace Sensors and these APC pickups' advancements are in the magnetic field. There are other things too, but if you can control the aperture, you can really outperform stock pickups. The Dimarzio stacked hum cancelling single coils have a metal "U" channel around the top coil. It shields the pickup but it also directs the magnetic field. Then look at their Virtual Vintage 2.1. The U channel drops off across the bottom three strings. What a great idea. These pickup toppers are built around the same understanding.

In the early days of guitar customizing, some companies made pickup boosters that were just stronger magnets to put under the pickups to jack up the strength. But then you have all the negative byproducts associated with ultra powerful magnets. Lindy Fralin sells a strat pickup baseplate to warm up your bridge pickup. It's all just magnet fun.

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I have the flat black ones which provide increased output and punch.... They also eliminate dropout between the poles.

That's basically the claims that I remember seeing in the Guitar Player ads...

Thanks for satisfying my curiousity on those. :D

EDIT: I forgot to ask, do you remember what they were called? (tradename)

Edited by Paul Marossy
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  • 1 month later...

The APC ones I'm referring to are indeed magnetized. But I don't know what the secrets were. It was manipulating the magnetic field in some way, I believe narrowing it for a sharper attack. And since they were about 3/16" thick, simply applying them raised the magnetic field that much closer to the strings. So you had an increase in output. Some of that was the proximity and some was legitimate. When I used to try them I would put the pickups right near the strings, and then compare that with lowering the pickups and applying the device.

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Wow, that information about the Lace brothers is crazy!

Thanks Frank for the info. :D

The links on their website (the three for pkps) are all dead. I just called them and asked for a brochure on their pkps, I'm not really interested in the toppers, but their pkps look nice, and I am a big Lace Sensor fan.

But I wonder how active the business could possibly be with all the links dead. There is basically no information on their pkps at all, just model names...while Lace Sensor is hopping like crazy...

The things you learn if you stay alive long enough... :D

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Yeah Mel spends a lot of time designing and patenting other cool stuff, besides pickups and music industry stuff. The pickups still manage to find their way onto various factory guitars, some signature models, and custom jobs. I spoke with him a few months back and he said they're still making pickups. They are among the best kept secrets, because there's no marketing. It's just them, sitting there running a small business. Meanwhile Actodyne had all the years of Fender muscle behind them to catapult them to where they are now. I don't think they really care about reaching mainstream status. The APC's are truly superior to any comparable Lace product IMO. If you get the chance, try some out. I have an H/S/H set here waiting to go into a guitar I'm refinishing right now.

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