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1/2" hex vs 1/2" filister: anyone compared directly?

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  • 1/2" hex vs 1/2" filister: anyone compared directly?

    Not interested In theory. Anyone actually compared the two in the same pickup? Not talking about normal length filisters, just the short ones vs the short hex poles.

  • #2
    The two head styles are very different concave/convex which leads to a difference in tone because each senses the string differently. Dimarzio's design philosophy has been higher output pickups, higher resistance, lighter gauge wire, and brass baseplates. All of those factors can lead to a darker midrange and bass heavy pickup. I suspect that Dimarzio uses short hex pole pieces because they sharpen treble response, dip out the midrange, and tighten bass response. By comparison long filister screws have a broad treble/upper midrange focus and woofy/farty bass response. If you use short filisters you still have much the same treble/midrange response but the pickup is much clearer sounding in bass response.

    I tried filisters in a Dimarzio Super Distortion and it ended up sounding more like a Gibson Dirty Fingers. I also replaced the hex heads in my Dimarzio SDS-1 because I never liked the bass or treble response. The bass was broad and murky while the highs were really sharp and ratty sounding. Changing it to filisters made it sound like a mini P90. The ratty treble was gone and it was replaced by a broad/sweet upper midrange and treble. The bass also became more punchy.

    You can also round off shrill humbuckers by changing to a brass baseplate. I have an Entwistel HDX which is a Neodymium pickup with a nickle silver baseplate. The bass was very woofy, no midrange and the treble was painfully sharp so I changed to a brass baseplate which rounded off the treble, beefed up the midrange and softened the bass response. I have also put a nickle silver baseplate on a Dimarzio Super Distortion and that made the bass much punchier and gave the upper midrange and treble a broad sweet tone. Which was a big improvement on a rather dark basswood Ibanez.

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    • #3
      I’m not sure when people ever have 1/2 inch fillisters without cutting then down themselves. I’m assuming this is towards Duncan users and not really dimarzio users. Dimarzio uses the headless hex screws where the width is the same across the entire barrel shaft right? In which case you can’t really compare since the widths are different and not interchangeable. I don’t think you could use those in say a tone zone that has regular fillisters. So this is more like Duncan full shred, alpha omega, and screaming demon hexes versus cut down Duncan fillisters right?

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      • #4
        I changed from 3/4" Duncan screws to 1/2" hex bolts.. It was a lot brighter for the bridge position. Perhaps that has more to do with the change in length. It could also be that high-tensile alloy steel in the hex bolt gives a brighter tone.

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        • #5
          I haven't had short filisters and hex in the same pickup. I have used both vs normal filisters in different pickups.

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          • #6
            Yeah I clipped some filisters and put them in 1 coil and had hexz in another coil. It sounded good. Clipping the filisters tightens things up a bit and the hexz are nice and gritty. So it was a nice, tight, gritty neck pickup.
            The things that you wanted
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bowtomecha View Post
              I’m not sure when people ever have 1/2 inch fillisters without cutting then down themselves. I’m assuming this is towards Duncan users and not really dimarzio users. Dimarzio uses the headless hex screws where the width is the same across the entire barrel shaft right? In which case you can’t really compare since the widths are different and not interchangeable. I don’t think you could use those in say a tone zone that has regular fillisters. So this is more like Duncan full shred, alpha omega, and screaming demon hexes versus cut down Duncan fillisters right?
              Are all DiMarzio hexes that way? It wouldn't ever be possible to replace the hexes in one with filisters?
              .
              "My hovercraft is full of eels."

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              • #8
                Ok so to clear some things up:

                1) this would maybe be done on a full shred neck

                2) mojotone carries 1/2" filisters in multiple colors, you don't have to cut them

                3) so much dimarzio misinformation in those few posts it's hard to correct it all but

                4) for pickups with hex heads, the super d line uses set screws, most others use hex heads like duncan,

                5) they use both brass and nickel bass plates depending on model

                6) not all dimarzios are high winds of thin wire. They were the first of the big boys to use larger than 42 on some of their pickups, and they make some great paf types.

                What I really was looking for is someone who had actually compared same length hex to filister in the same pup all things being equal. I think idsnowdog hit on that with the sds1 comments. If I understood him correctly, filisters had less presence and a tighter low end?

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                • #9
                  I've compared the 2. Filisters are broader, hexz are clicky. Hexz have slightly more top end but the brightness effect is exaggerated mostly by the thinner sound. Filisters have some bite to them but are also kind of round. Hexz are all bite.
                  The things that you wanted
                  I bought them for you

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                  • #10
                    Just for reference sake;

                    What are all the gauges/sizes/lengths for the hex-head/set-screws in the dimarzio superD?
                    I also assume they use this type hex-screw on models with different lengths. (???) Is this right?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by RayBarbeeMusic View Post
                      Ok so to clear some things up:

                      1) this would maybe be done on a full shred neck

                      2) mojotone carries 1/2" filisters in multiple colors, you don't have to cut them

                      3) so much dimarzio misinformation in those few posts it's hard to correct it all but

                      4) for pickups with hex heads, the super d line uses set screws, most others use hex heads like duncan,

                      5) they use both brass and nickel bass plates depending on model

                      6) not all dimarzios are high winds of thin wire. They were the first of the big boys to use larger than 42 on some of their pickups, and they make some great paf types.

                      What I really was looking for is someone who had actually compared same length hex to filister in the same pup all things being equal. I think idsnowdog hit on that with the sds1 comments. If I understood him correctly, filisters had less presence and a tighter low end?
                      The SDS-1 with hex poles sounds a lot like one coil of a Super Distortion. The two different style of heads emphasize different frequencies. What I noticed when switching between hex and filister screws on the SDS-1 and others is with filister screws you have a fairly broad upper midrange and treble spike around 2-2.5khz. With hex poles you don't have that broad sweet treble spike and the treble emphasis is closer to 4khz. With filisters the bass response is round and punchy like a PAF or P90. While with hex poles the bass response tends to be broad and flat.

                      I'm not sure about the science of "eddy currents" but I can tell you short filister screws improve clarity quite a bit. When people complain about the JB or 59 lacking clarity or having farty bass response I suggest trying short filisters before giving up on the pickup. With short filisters the bass mudiness largely goes away, the midrange becomes clearer and the treble isn't as shrill. If you put short hex heads in a 59 you have the ultimate dry resonant trash pickup.

                      The good news is that replacing poles is a cheap and simple way to fine tune a pickups response. The worst thing that can happen is you end up stripping the threads on the retainer bar if the threads don't match. However, it's cheap and simple to replace those too.
                      Last edited by idsnowdog; 01-19-2021, 10:29 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by RayBarbeeMusic View Post
                        4) for pickups with hex heads, the super d line uses set screws, most others use hex heads like duncan,
                        Thanks for the clarification.

                        .
                        "My hovercraft is full of eels."

                        .

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