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Thread: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

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    Default Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    I dusted off an old Schecter earlier (a 006, I forget which specific model; it's been in the attic for a decade) and gave it a quick bash, decided I quite like it and will clean it up, give it another chance to rock. It's an HS config and the neck single coil sounds pretty good, some kind of Duncan Designed. The bridge pickup isn't quite right, though. It sounds a lot like a JB (I'm guessing it's the DD HB-102?) but the bass is a tiny bit lacking and the high-end is a little more shrill. Not as much as a Distortion, but definitely like a JB that's running on a 1meg pot or something like that. The overall sound is pretty good but it could do with just a bit more junk in the trunk.

    I'm thinking shoving an A6 in there would boost the bass and curb the highs in one easy move.

    So, anybody tried a 'JB6'? I've searched and found a few people referencing the idea, but nobody seems to have actually pulled the trigger on it. JB8s are common but I know that'll turn up the high-end aggression, too. I tried a JB3 myself once, a few years back, and that was so warm and dark (a.k.a. muddy) I scrapped it. I know an A2 will lose too much high-end and an A4 or UOA5 won't really change much. A6 seems to still be uncharted territory.

    I forgot this guitar even existed so I'm not fussed enough to buy a whole new pickup for it, but I'm thinking if a quick magnet swap will fix it, I might as well give that a go. I'm only not jumping right into it because the pickup is covered (and I'm lazy) and because ordering an A6 will take a while, my usual UK supplier is out of stock. If nobody can vouch for the JB6 then forget it, but y'know, thought there's no harm in asking.

  2. #2
    Tone Member Calsip's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    I havenít but Iím interested to know what itíd be like.


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    Toneologist Discharged's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    Let's start at the beginning: a Duncan Designed p'up does NOT sound like their alleged counterpart. Their winding patterns and component's metallurgy do not equival.

    As a matter of fact, both the HB102 and HB103 are exactly the same, being the only difference the magnet they come with.

    Their neck model is actually pretty good sounding and gracefully takes magnet swaps, the bridge a little less.

    Of you're willing to invest in new pole screws, slugs and a keeper bar, then it'll be a lot more magnet-swap friendly but make no mistake: it'll still be a kinda "one-trick-pony", intended to be used in hi-gain type of music.

    Hope this somehow helps.
    Peter Pedersen aka Discharged
    Kolding, Denmark

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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    Well whichever model it is (I've not looked under the hood yet), it sounds 90% like a JB. I've got JBs in three other guitars—and had and modded several other JBs in the past—so I know what a regular JB sounds like, and this is very close. Whatever purist nitpicking may mean it's not a 100% carbon copy doesn't bother me; I'm just interested in the tone experiment, and the JB is the closest point of reference in that regard.

    In any case, I'm not sure what swapping the screws, poles, and keeper would achieve. The screws seem to be perfectly standard. (The rest is under the cover, but I can't imagine the slugs are any different.) Unless they are actually somehow plain iron rather than steel (which I doubt; I've only ever seen iron poles on boutique pickups, and they're notorious for corroding if they're not anodised) they shouldn't affect the sound. Same with the keeper bars. I've never even heard of non-steel keepers, in fact. So I really don't see what you're getting at. Did you mean the spacers? I'd assume they're just plastic and no more impactful on the sound than any wooden ones. Doesn't seem to have enough output to be magnetic spacers and I'm not seeing any DD pickups which would have that configuration other than the Invader-copy, which this visibly is not. Even if it was, those are just as easy to swap out as any other spacer, so... yeah, I'm really not understanding what you're saying there? I've been hacking up guitars for 15 years now and I think this is the first time I've heard someone suggest any pickup would need its keepers changed.

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    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    I have found that an A8 rounds and subdues the high end, not accentuates it.

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    Toneologist Discharged's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Flibble View Post
    I'm not sure what swapping the screws, poles, and keeper would achieve.
    I think you missed the word "metallurgy". The three elements, keeper bar, polepiece screw and slug are the very elements dictating all specs of both the magnetic flow and magnetic circuit, hence the carbon content is the principal element influencing the tone outcome, aka tonefootprint. The ones contained in DD p'ups are made of what I call "mystery meat" alloys, that's why I give'em such high priority working with the good, known ones. Alloys like 1018 for pole screws and keeper bar and 1215 for slugs are the standard used by mostly boutique winders and the most renowned american high-volume producers, including Seymour Duncan. That's the only way to compare apples to apples, so to speak.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Flibble View Post
    I've been hacking up guitars for 15 years now and I think this is the first time I've heard someone suggest any pickup would need its keepers changed.
    Being ten or eighty years old, there will always be a first time for something. The last first one for me, being forty-two years old, is last month, when I finished a crash-course on Wordpress. See?

    PS: I have tried an A6 in a Seymour Duncan in a swamp ash bodied, maple neck superstrat, and for the player was exactly was he was looking for. Although, it doesn't automatically mean that'll be the same for you, with an unknown DD in a different guitar.

    Only you would know what "good" sounds like. Full stop. /thread

    /Peter
    Last edited by Discharged; 11-13-2019 at 08:03 AM.
    Peter Pedersen aka Discharged
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Flibble View Post
    I've been hacking up guitars for 15 years now and I think this is the first time I've heard someone suggest any pickup would need its keepers changed.
    I don't know what pickups need - or more exactly: I don't know what YOU(RS) need(s) - but IME, different keeper bars / pole shoes can alter the tone significatively. Some are stamped, others are milled. Their holes are not necessarily similar. Their alloy, shape and mass vary. They have been annealed or not. These specs change how these parts cooperate with the magnet. One can check it with a lab teslameter measuring the magnetic field from the poles (such measurements change when a different keeper bar is used, in our experience with these things at least).
    That's why various boutique winders do mill their own keeper bars, AFAIK.


    Good luck in your mods, whatever they are. :-)

    POST SCRIPTUM posted instead of an answer 10 -Sounds like I’ve over-estimated the possibility to share peacefully my own experience in an argumentative context. :-))

    So, for anyone possibly interested: among the lab tests on guitar pickups archived here since 2003, I’ve a comparison between keeper bars, with their effect on induced resonant peaks. I’ll PM one of the related screenshots on request, within the limits drawn by intellectual property and if time permits.
    Now, of course, it would be quicker to search what other pickups makers say about keeper bars (like in the answer 28 of this thread: https://music-electronics-forum.com/...ead.php?t=6024 )...
    Last edited by freefrog; 11-13-2019 at 11:44 PM. Reason: Added a post-scriptum.
    Duncan user since the 80's...

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    OH THE GLAZE! Clint 55's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    A6 is $$. It does round the top a little. But it doesn't change the character a big amount like going from A5 to an unoriented mag would. You should give it a try.
    Keemsta meha
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    In hundreds of pickups I've only ever seen steel keeper bars. I know 1016 steel is vintage correct and most pickups get 1018 steel now as the next-closest available alternative, but regardless of the nitpicking make-up of the steel, I'm struggling to believe that two types of steel keeper bar could A) cause that much of a difference, and B) interfere with changing magnets. Same with poles, as long as they're of the same basic type. I mean, tone doesn't care if something is a metric thread or imperial.

    Sounds like a couple of y'all are drastically over-thinking these things, to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clint 55 View Post
    But it doesn't change the character a big amount like going from A5 to an unoriented mag would.
    That's my theory, a subtle tweak, not the total overhaul that a magnet swap is usually done for. The big changes—A2, A5, A8, ceramic—are well-documented but what these less-significant magnets can do intrigues me.

    In any case, since nobody's come forward to vouch for a JB6 (or 'close enough') I guess I'll be the one to take the plunge and report back once my supplier has restocked A6s.

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    Toneologist Discharged's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Flibble View Post
    Sounds like a couple of y'all are drastically over-thinking these things, to me.
    It's ok.

    “A man maie well bring a horse to the water, but he can not make him drinke without he will."
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    Peter Pedersen aka Discharged
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    Aceman is MR SPEED JB_From_Hell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Discharged View Post
    Only you would know what "good" sounds like. Full stop. /thread
    Maybe you should post this as the first reply to every thread. Wouldn’t that apply to every question anyone has about gear?

    Or, people with relevant experience could reply and answer the question, like Clint did.

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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    Meant to update this. I placed an order for a job lot of A6s from my supplier a couple of weeks ago and I'm waiting for them to come in. They should arrive some time in the next week and then I'll be putting one in the HB-102, a JB, a Custom and a Full Shred. I'll play with them for a day then record some direct-in A/B samples. I'm getting 10 magnets and have a few other humbuckers laying around spare so I might experiment further. Seems the A6 is potentially under-reported, if it does offer anything different to an A5 or A8.

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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ace Flibble View Post
    Meant to update this. I placed an order for a job lot of A6s from my supplier a couple of weeks ago and I'm waiting for them to come in. They should arrive some time in the next week and then I'll be putting one in the HB-102, a JB, a Custom and a Full Shred. I'll play with them for a day then record some direct-in A/B samples. I'm getting 10 magnets and have a few other humbuckers laying around spare so I might experiment further. Seems the A6 is potentially under-reported, if it does offer anything different to an A5 or A8.
    I look forward to this, as I've never used A6 magnets, and I suspect that most here haven't, either.
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    Bacteriaolgoist GuitarDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone tried a JB with an A6?

    +1 to that. I too would love to hear your evaluation.

    I've got a couple A6s in my stock but haven't gone to the trouble of trying them out yet. I'd like to know a bit more about them first (my time is at a premium right now and can't spare it to do magnet testing).
    Originally Posted by IanBallard
    Rule of thumb... the more pot you have, the better your tone.

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