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Cheap pickups


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I mean really cheap, those Chinese jobbies that often turn up on the bay, much like this- 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Guitar-Neck-Pickup-w-Bridge-Line-Plate-Set-for-Telecaster-Electric-Guitar/382536271978?_trkparms=aid%3D555017%26algo%3DPL.CASSINI%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20170221124951%26meid%3D905d4ea9af1f443d9b4d5faaee2d5f31%26pid%3D100643%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26%26itm%3D382536271978&_trksid=p2045573.c100643.m3226

Are such pickups often any good do you reckon? At the risk of being controversial, what makes pickups (especially single coils) so expensive anyway? Surely theres not a massive amount of factors that come in to play when it comes to a pickup? Gauge of wire...type of magnet...This is ignorance talking no doubt :)

 

Edited by ShatnersBassoon
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a controversial topic.  I believe the most expensive part is the labor and or recipe development, but the next most expensive parts are the baseplate (humbucker) and the magnets.  Most, if not all, chinese pickups I have purchased have had ceramic magnets, despite being advertised as a2, a4, etc.  Not only ceramic, but what looks like cheap ceramic.  Despite that, some have sounded great.  I recently was going to sell a guitar so I replaced some chandler mini humbuckers with $12 chinese ones.  They sounded amazing to me.  Did not look at the magnets.

afa single coils... take a close look at what you find.  most I've seen have a magnet on the bottom.  I suspect that is because it is expensive to make decent magnetic poles.  I use them all the time for dummy coils... but I have tried them - out of curiosity - and was not impressed.  If you want good inexpensive singles: try bootstrap pickups.  $45 for a set - have bought two and have not tried yet but they are all cloth wire, quality poles, clearly well made, and get great reviews.  handwound in usa.  I suspect there price will go up as folks are catching on.

I put some higher output chinese humbuckers in another guitar and hated them.  They were the typical flabby/bassy and not well defined - reminded me of some stock epiphone humbuckers.  I replaced the magnets with a2 and a4... was quite an improvement but still no comparison to seymours. 

One thing that has been consistently good (to my ears) is the 'hot rail' style chinese pickups.  again, put a set in a guitar I was going to sell and found them to be beautiful.  bought another set recently to fill out a guitar I was redoing and (from a diff supplier) and they sounded great too.  I have owned the seymour version but not at the same time so can't say how they'd match up. 

now you know what I know!  cheers

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Thanks so much for the detailed reply! I will check out the Bootstrap pickups. Funny you should mention the magnets on the bottom of cheap pickups, I have a really cheap Strat copy that has those and it sounds dull and lifeless. As for the Hot Rails, I have a Kent Armstrong one in a Mexican Strat and it sounds very good, including with a clean sound; well articulated. I may use it in a project.

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20 minutes ago, ShatnersBassoon said:

Thanks so much for the detailed reply! I will check out the Bootstrap pickups. Funny you should mention the magnets on the bottom of cheap pickups, I have a really cheap Strat copy that has those and it sounds dull and lifeless. As for the Hot Rails, I have a Kent Armstrong one in a Mexican Strat and it sounds very good, including with a clean sound; well articulated. I may use it in a project.

glad I could help!  bootstrap has what i'm told is an awesome tele set too so... heads up!

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