Analysis of pickups from a Chinese Gibson style guitar Sept 13, 2020 2:50:52 GMT -5
Post by antigua on Sept 13, 2020 2:50:52 GMT -5
I had a chance to see a supremely low cost Chinese made Gibson-like guitar up close and personal. I think it cost about $150. Without getting too much into the non-pickup related details, all I can say is that I would not buy one of these. One on the control knobs is actually gray, that's not a trick of the light.
The PAF style pickups are the sort of thing you see on Amazon or other sellers for as little as $20. They have a lot of the same manufacturing markings of those cheap "FLEOR" pickups.
Testing confirms the covers are brass, but I actually thought they sounded pretty good. The loaded peak frequency of the bridge is 2.3kHz, very typical of a bridge PAF style pickup. The neck pickup has a loaded peak of 3.4kHz, normally that would be very bright PAF, but the brass cover helps bring the treble down, and the over flat response up to 3kHz makes for a clear sounding neck pickup.
These pickups feature large Super Distortion style ceramic magnets, similar in size to a Filter'tron magnet, as seen below. The Gauss measures a max of 450, about 50% stronger than a comparable PAF clone with AlNiCo 5. The neck pickup in particular can be likened to a Filter'tron, with it's higher resonant frequency and the brass cover, which attenuates treble, as a Filter'tron's oversized filister screws do as well. The bridge pickup doesn't have a high resonant peak, and maybe it should sound more muddy than I perceived, but this guitar also has brand new strings, and that might be pushing the overall treble content higher than it might otherwise be.
Instead of using a maple spacer, the plastic bobbins have legs baked directly into the mold that serve the propose of a spacer, and it is needed on both sides, on account of the double thick bar magnet.
It's a bit odd that the bridge pickup has a DC resistance of 14k but an inductance of only 6 Henries. A JB has the same DC resistance, but an inductance closer to 8 Henries, and that is more usual. It must have a relatively low turn count with a fine gauge wire. I'm glad that they didn't achieve 8 henries with that pickup, I think the resulting tone is better off for it.
The main takeaway I get from this is that cheap pickups can sound really good if the electrical values are favorable. I think the stronger magnetic field caused by the large ceramic magnets is a plus, not a negative, a positive association with Filter'tron or Super Distortion pickups. After everyone is done arguing about who makes the best PAF clone, maybe they will try something different for different's sake, and it costs virtually nothing by comparison.
Chinese SG, Gold w/ Blue Flame Top
- DC Resistance: 14.3K ohms
- Measured L: 6.064H
- Q at 1kHz: 1.391
- Calculated C: 144pF
- Gauss: 450G (ceramic)
- DC Resistance: 7.7K ohms
- Measured L: 3.375H
- Q at 1kHz: 1.459
- Calculated C: 152pF ( - 10)
- Gauss: 450G (ceramic)
Bridge unloaded: dV: -1.3dB f: 5.54kHz (black)
Bridge loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: -1.5dB f: 2.36kHz (blue)
Neck unloaded: dV: -2.6dB f: 8.17kHz (red)
Neck loaded (200k & 470pF): dV: -1.8dB f: 3.40kHz (green)