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Possible ear fatigue from Black Winters

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  • Possible ear fatigue from Black Winters

    I put a Black Winter in my Strat it sounds glorious. Maybe too glorious. I used the guitar with what I will call my mellower band, classic/hard rock. The pickup was great for 80% of our stuff. When I switched to my Strat with the Fralin High Output the guitar sounded flat and off. It also felt like my finger sensitivity was gone. I know the guitar sounds amazing so I thought maybe I was just not jiving with it that night. Tonight I opened the set with my other hard rock/metal band with the Black Winter Strat. Once again it sounded fantastic. When I switched to my Les Paul with the WLHs once again the guitar felt and sounded flat.

    I thought it was just me but talking to my bass player after practice he noticed it also. I think the pumped mids in the Black Winter are making everything I play after it sound flat. I have not changed the EQ on my amp since putting in the BWs so it is not as if the amp;/pedals are EQed for the BW.

    Next practice I am going to open the set with the Fralin Strat and then switch to the WLH Les Paul to get a feel for the sound of the guitars. I will then give the BW Strat a go. If it is the mids in the BW that are causing ear fatigue my solution would be to put Black Winters in everything (not happening) or to start using my EQ pedal with my other guitars to give the mids a boost.

    Am I losing my mind, is this in my head? Has anyone else experienced anything like this? I play all kinds of different guitars during a set and this is the first time I have experienced anything like this.

    TLDR - My Black Winters are making all of my other guitars sound like ass.


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  • #2
    I'd say it's just one of those pickups that has to be adjusted for, but not quite as much as the Super3. If you went back and forth between the BW and Super3 you would probably just need to adjust the highs up for the Super3. Mids are so strong with these, and the Nazgul too.

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    • #3
      BW can do that, especially if what BWs do is what you've been hunting for. In my case, it was switching between my Jackson with BW and my Les Paul Studio with Bare Knuckle Black Dog and 59/A4. The LP didn't sound bad or like ass, but I did question what it sounded like, like, "So that is what PAFs sound like? I know they are good, but should I change my amp to make them sound right?"

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      • #4
        Originally posted by beaubrummels View Post
        BW can do that, especially if what BWs do is what you've been hunting for. In my case, it was switching between my Jackson with BW and my Les Paul Studio with Bare Knuckle Black Dog and 59/A4. The LP didn't sound bad or like ass, but I did question what it sounded like, like, "So that is what PAFs sound like? I know they are good, but should I change my amp to make them sound right?"
        I just got home and I am frustrated. You described it perfectly. The guitars didn't sound like ass but they didn't sound right.


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        • #5
          Maybe you should take the opposite of your own advice. Use your EQ on the Black Winters and suck some of the mids out of them to bring them down to be somewhat EQ'd like your other guitars/pickups.

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          • #6
            Sometimes I feel like that after a long session with my JB.

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            • #7
              Yeah, a JB does the same thing to me. I think it is just about what frequencies your ear is sensitive to.
              Dave, Ambassador/Writer/Artist for Seymour Duncan

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              • #8
                I don't think it's necessarily ear fatigue but you're probably just used to the extra aggression from the ceramic BWs so when you switch back to the alnico paf pups, they sound soft in comparison. Decide whether you want to eq down the BWs like Jolly said, eq up the pafs. Or a 3rd option if you like the ceramic aggression is you could add ceramic spacers to the alnico pups so that they maintain their character but get some bite to compete with the BWs.
                The things that you wanted
                I bought them for you

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Clint 55 View Post
                  I don't think it's necessarily ear fatigue but you're probably just used to the extra aggression from the ceramic BWs so when you switch back to the alnico paf pups, they sound soft in comparison. Decide whether you want to eq down the BWs like Jolly said, eq up the pafs. Or a 3rd option if you like the ceramic aggression is you could add ceramic spacers to the alnico pups so that they maintain their character but get some bite to compete with the BWs.
                  Good suggestion but I do not think it is a ceramic vs. alinco type of thing. I have tons of ceramic pickups, alinco, and even piezo, I have never experienced this. I am really thinking it is more about the EQ.


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                  • #10
                    Yeah, I bet you could solve it with eq.
                    The things that you wanted
                    I bought them for you

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                    • #11
                      Could it be the attack that is throwing you off?
                      Black Winters can make you feel superhuman...like you can play anything as if you have found the perfect overdrive with that perfect eq curve and the guitar just starts playing herself.
                      I think everyone mentioning the ceramic vs. alnico thing is dead on.

                      Bump your other pickups but not with an eq...use an overdrive set up for that one job.
                      For the record, Lucy Diamond is a stage name and a movie reference and I'm a guy.

                      Also, the Dimarzio PAF Pros that came in my 1991 Blue Floral Ibanez Jem are some of the best paperweights ever made.

                      What are you doing right now? Thread.

                      Follow me on Instagram: @LucyDiamond777

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Lucy Diamond View Post
                        Could it be the attack that is throwing you off?
                        Black Winters can make you feel superhuman...like you can play anything as if you have found the perfect overdrive with that perfect eq curve and the guitar just starts playing herself.
                        The attack the Fralin High Output pickups have is amazing, they have incredible touch and sensitivity.

                        Originally posted by Lucy Diamond View Post
                        Bump your other pickups but not with an eq...use an overdrive set up for that one job.
                        I have 3 overdrives and 2 boosts on my board. Nothing or combination (gain staging) seemed to get me over the hump. Even my Wampler Dracarys with an EP type boost wouldn't get me over the hump.


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                        • #13
                          Honestly, that's how I feel about all vintage output pickups after trying the Black Winters.

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                          • #14
                            I've not used the BW as that's not my style of pickup but after reading description and specs, seeing a couple videos, (3 ceramic magnets?), yeah, it makes sense why the PAF class pickups would seem lesser after playing the guitar with the BW in it. It will take a dedicated EQ to get the PAF class in the same EQ path, IMO.

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                            • #15
                              This thread makes me want to try some Black Winters, yet run from them at the same time.

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