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Somebody educate me on reading the tone charts?

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  • Somebody educate me on reading the tone charts?

    I was just looking around on the Dimarzio website and I noticed that they listed the output levels in millivolts. Isn't the best way to determine if 2 humbuckers will go well together to look at the output levels?
    I have no idea what to think of a resonant peak or DC resistance which are listed on the SD tone charts.
    Yeah mostly a higher DC resistance would indicate a hotter pickup but this isn't the case all the time.

    Example: some guitars are being sold with a PAF pro in the neck and and a Tone Zone in bridge. PAF pro has 8K resistance and the Tone zone has 17K. Basing on those readings I would say that the Tone Zone is way hotter than the PAF pro and that they wouldn't match well together.
    However the output levels are both around the 300 millivolts, that's a good way to determine if the pups would match in a guitar?

    Isn't the general rule that a neck humbucker should at least have 1k more resitance over the neck pickup in order to balance out well? Other wise the neck on would be too overpowering. But what about the other way around?

  • #2
    I don't know how a 17k pup could have a similar output level to an 8k pup.

    Anyway, DC resistance is generally an indicator of how much wire is used in the pickup. The more wire, the higher the output, so naturally the higher the dc resistance, the higher the output (generally. magnet size, type, and space between coils are also determinates)

    Resonant peak....think of an equalizer. My GE-7 had frequencies listed above the knobs like 100, 1.6k, 6.4k...the resonant peak is the HIGHEST of the frequencies. A pup with a res peak is like boosting the 6.4k knob until it was louder (more resonant) than any of the other frequencies. So the higher the resonant peak, the more clarity (generally. this figure doesn't tell you how many peaks there are, or how close they are to the peak frequency)

    Hope that helps.
    Originally posted by Pink Unicorn Horsey
    Dumbness on massive idiocy with the stupid dumb-dumbnity of ridiculous WTFation in the dumbass of you-idiot.
    Originally posted by Sosomething
    "How do I improve the tone of my ThrasherKidzz-O-Blaster combo??"

    The answer is always "burn it, dumbass."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Somebody educate me on reading the tone charts?

      Originally posted by Nightburst


      Isn't the general rule that a (bridge, right?) humbucker should at least have 1k more resitance over the neck pickup in order to balance out well? Other wise the neck on would be too overpowering. But what about the other way around?
      I suppose. But there is no law against raising and lowering pickups. I do it. Otherwise my bridge pup would actually be a little louder than my neck pup and they wouldn't balance volume-wise played clean.
      Originally posted by Pink Unicorn Horsey
      Dumbness on massive idiocy with the stupid dumb-dumbnity of ridiculous WTFation in the dumbass of you-idiot.
      Originally posted by Sosomething
      "How do I improve the tone of my ThrasherKidzz-O-Blaster combo??"

      The answer is always "burn it, dumbass."

      Comment


      • #4
        It's true, just check out the Dimarzio tone chart, they list 300 and 375 millivolts so the output is more or less the same (or is 75millivolts a huge difference?)

        Thanks for the explanation on resonant peak, yet my question remains, how to determine if 2 pickups would go well together based on the readings listed?

        Maybe Mr. Duncan should list the output levels in millivolts in the tone charts?

        Comment


        • #5
          Check out the Pickupology section of Bill Lawrence's site. It's chock full of good info:

          http://www.billlawrence.com/Pages/Pickupology/Contents.htm

          Having said that, and having read Bill's explanations, I still think that the answers to your questions are part science, part magic, and part dumb luck.

          As far as pups "matching" in a guitar, I have a DiMarzio HS-3 single coil in the neck (low output) and a Duncan Invader (Hi output) in the bridge. Theoretically this shouldn't work in terms of "matching output." And when I switch pups in the middle of a song there is a slight output difference. But each pup has something so unique to offer in terms of overall tone and capabilities that the fact they aren't "matched" has never been an issue.

          Comment


          • #6
            there was another thread about this recently, search for it.

            dimarzio is the only company that uses a millivolt rating and its a cool idea but lots of work and is only useful for comparing one dimarzio pup to another. the only way it would be useful for comparing companys is if an independant organization did all the testing

            Comment


            • #7
              I think all comapnies that make pu's should have a chart like this that includes
              low mids and upper mids as well as treble ,bass

              Comment


              • #8
                i like the low/high mid thing but then some one will want bass/low mids/mids/high mids/highs and then eventually a frequency responce curve (which would be very cool by the way) and i dont think thatll happen any time soon.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jeremy
                  there was another thread about this recently, search for it.

                  dimarzio is the only company that uses a millivolt rating and its a cool idea but lots of work and is only useful for comparing one dimarzio pup to another. the only way it would be useful for comparing companys is if an independant organization did all the testing
                  I haven't noticed the other thread, I'll try and search for it. There are so many posts on this new forum, I guess I just missed it.

                  I am not interested in Dimarzio at all, I was just saying it would be easier to compare the different SD pickups with each other while having the output levels listed.
                  Didn't I read something about a new tone chart on the old forum?

                  I'm reading the Bill lawrence stuff now, very interesting thanks Gamera!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    gamera.. the HS-3 aint a low output pickup.. dont confuse it because it's a single coil.. it's a stack with a total of 23k of dc resistance and packs a major whallop

                    and the duncan tone chart is confusing me sometimes also >.< ..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      True, the HS-3 is a higher output pup than a standard single coil but it's still way outclassed by the Invader it's been paired with. But it still works out great.

                      As for the Duncan tone chart, the PDF file they offer is a little more helpful to me as they list the bass, mid, treble as numbers rather than tiny, little sideways bar graphs. I think it'd be a great idea for them to post a really comprehensive chart that combines specs, pics, sound clips, everything from a single master table. As it is now I'm constantly consulting different pages trying to remember what code number corresponds to which name which corresponds to what sound, etc.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What makes one pickup sound different from another?

                        Basically, a pickup is composed of two things: a magnet and a coil of insulated copper wire. The magnet works to magnetize the strings creating something called a flux field. When the strings vibrate, the movement of this flux field creates an alternating current within the pickup coils. This alternating current then travels from the pickup to the amplifier. When you crank your amp, you hear the combination of the pickup and the amplifier interpreting the vibration of the strings. When you’re thinking about how a pickup will sound, there are a few variables that determine the way it will transduce the string vibrations.

                        The Magnet
                        We use two different magnet materials: Alnico and ceramic. Alnico, an alloy consisting of aluminum, nickel and cobalt, tends to have lower string pull and creates a softer magnet field which improves sustain and helps smooth out the tone. We use two different strengths of Alnico magnets -- Alnico II and Alnico V -- to create two totally different tones. Alnico II, which is slightly weaker than V, tends to have a smoother, warmer, and rounder tone. Alnico V has a brighter, more dynamic tone with a tighter bottom end than II.

                        Ceramic magnets are a blend of magnetic iron and rare earth materials like barium or strontium, which is formed into bars under high pressure and intense heat. If you are looking for power and extended range in your tone, ceramic is the way to go. Ceramic creates a magnet field more powerful than that of Alnico and is more resistant to environmental aging. We use ceramic magnets on some of our humbuckers (like the SH-6 Duncan Distortion), single coil sized humbuckers (like the JB Jr.), and bass pickups (like the active soapbars), because it produces a more aggressive tone with a punchier bass end and enhanced upper mids.

                        The Coil
                        A pickup coil is merely a long strand of insulated copper wire, wound thousands of times around a bobbin (or coil form) that has magnetic pole pieces at its core or a bar magnet at its base. The different sizes and shapes of the bobbins as well as the various gauges of wire and types of insulation all have an impact of determining how the pickup will transduce the string vibration. For instance, a narrow coil that's close to the pole pieces like a Fender® single coil results in extended treble response. A P-90, on the other hand, is shorter and fatter, yielding a more midrange-intensive tone.

                        The Number of Turns
                        The number of turns the copper wire is wound around the bobbin greatly affects the performance of the pickup and the overall tone of your guitar. A pickup with too many turns will have high output, but this output will come at the expense of dynamics and high end. On the other hand, an under-wound pickup will come across sounding thin and weak. Getting the right number of turns for a great-sounding pickup is as much art as it is science.

                        D.C. Resistance and Resonant Peak
                        The gauge of wire and the number of turns on the coil each play a part in defining the d.c. resistance. Generally, the higher the d.c. resistance, the higher the output and the lower the treble response. For single coils, the d.c. resistance generally ranges from around 6.5k for a vintage tone, to 15k for a high output tone. For humbuckers, the range is around 7.5k to around 16.5k. Though it may seem that this is the clear-cut way to determine what kind of pickup is best for you, remember this is only one of several variables that aid in determining the tone or voice of a pickup.
                        Evan Skopp, Inside Track International
                        Sales and marketing reps for D'Addario, Musopia, Reunion Blues, Q-Parts, and Nukleus Pickups.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          What makes one pickup sound different from another (con't)

                          The frequency where a pickup's impedance reaches its highest level is called the resonant peak. The higher the resonant frequency, the clearer and brighter the pickup's tone. The relationship between d.c. resistance and resonant peak is a great way to understand the voice and tone of a Seymour Duncan or Basslines pickup. For example, if you know that an SSL-2 Vintage Flat for Strat® has a significantly higher resonant peak (9.0 KHz) than, say, an SHR-1 Hot Rails (3.5 KHz), you can easily see that the Vintage Flat has a much brighter tone and the Hot Rails has a much fatter tone. Or, if you see that the Vintage Flat (6.6k) has a much lower d.c. resistance than the Hot Rails (16.9k), you will understand that the Vintage Flat has less output and more brightness compared with the Hot Rails.

                          We list the d.c. resistance and resonant peak for almost all of our pickups. It’s most informative to compare d.c. resistance and resonant peaks between similar pickups, that is, between single coils or between full-size humbuckers for example, and not across broad categories, like comparing a single coil to a full-size humbucker. Besides actually hearing the pickup, this is the best way to figure out what the pickup is going to sound like.

                          I hope that helps.
                          Evan Skopp, Inside Track International
                          Sales and marketing reps for D'Addario, Musopia, Reunion Blues, Q-Parts, and Nukleus Pickups.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thanks Evan, very kind of you!


                            So it is safe to assume that a neck humbucker should be around 6-8k to still sound good clean (depending on it's character of course) ?
                            Last edited by Nightburst; 03-24-2004, 01:46 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ah...my sinister plan has worked once more: Start talkin' smack like I'm all knowledgeable, which just pisses off the experts, forcing them to come in and set the record straight!

                              Great info, Evan. Thanks once again for the insight.

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