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Best construction quality in pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by amper, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I know this is something of a ridiculous question, but I'm looking for totally subjective opinions here...

    Who makes the best pickups in terms of construction quality (materials, design, and workmanship), and why?

    I'd start it off, but I've never used any pickups other than what came in my basses, and I don't generally disassemble them to see how they're put together.
  2. edwinhurwitz

    edwinhurwitz Supporting Member

    May 13, 2003
    Boulder, CO
    Endorsing Artist: DR Strings, SMS
    There are lots of good ones, Alembic, Bartolini, EMG, Hammon Eng, Seymour Duncan, Lane Poor, Q-Tuner, etc, and many more that I have left out. It's pretty rare that a pickup fails because of construction materials or workmanship.

    Decide what you want based on the sound. That's what matters.

  3. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    Thanks, but what I'm really interested in with this particular question is pickup construction quality. Sound isn't something I'm worried about right now.
  4. mjolnir

    mjolnir Thor's Hammer 2.1.3beta

    Jun 15, 2006
    Houston, TX
    That's really not something you need to worry about. There really isn't a pickup out there that'll break on you easily under any circumstances.
  5. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I'm also not worried about the pickups breaking. I'm simply looking for examples of particularly good construction for study purposes.
  6. study purposes? It's not like it is rocket science, it is a magnetic core with a lot of thin wire wrapped around it :)
    I don't think anybody understands your question :meh: you are looking for a well made pickup to compare maybe? The stock Fender pickups in my USA Jazz look fine to me, the plastic looks sturdy, the copper winding looks clean, and the solder points are solid... I would say my Dimarzio J look much messier since the potting is splattered everwhere, and it looks cheap inside. But I don't see it breaking and they sound great
  7. bkief1


    Dec 25, 2005
    If you wish to speak with someone knowledgeable on pickups, a call to Bill Lawrence at 877-647-2651 will yield "boatloads" of information. Be prepared for a lengthy conversation, as Bill is always willing to teach those who ask.

    I must respectfully disagree with a previous poster, but making pickups is a science that involves physics, mathematics, and a knowledge of materials (magnets and the materials from which they are made, wire, etc.). Pickups do follow the laws of physics as they are an AC current generator.

    You will not be disappointed with the call or purchasing one of his pickups to study.

  8. I see what you are saying, and you are right :) But I was talking on a manufacturer's standpoint, not R and D, once you get the formula down, they are very simple ac generators to make ;)
  9. mjolnir

    mjolnir Thor's Hammer 2.1.3beta

    Jun 15, 2006
    Houston, TX
    What sort of study?
  10. amper


    Dec 4, 2002
    I've been doing a lot of work on my old house, and I've been thinking quite a lot about the quality of materials that went into many of the electrical parts. For instance, many of the older fixtures in my house are solid porcelain, where modern equivalents would be made from plastic. Now, we know that porcelain will last thousands of years, but we know comparatively very little about the longevity of plastics.

    Granted the old knob & tube wiring system was built with conductors that have insulation that probably will not ultimately last as long as some of the modern equivalents, but in many cases with older electrical and electronic devices, older materials may have borne less of an impact on the environment, even if they don't have quite the same level of performance as some modern materials. This of course isn't always that much of a concern in a device like a magnetic pickup, which carries far less current than a residential wiring system. In other cases, vintage materials were clearly not up to the task and have deteriorated markedly after less than half a century.

    I'm something of a materials geek, in case you haven't already noticed. What I'm looking for is, for lack of a better term, museum quality components. Obviously, the sonic properties are still of concern, but I'd like to know if such a beast exists on the market, or even something close to what I envision.

    Here's the kind of questions I'm thinking of:

    Who makes pickups out of non-polymer/non-plastic materials?
    Are the materials recyclable/renewable/of relatively low inherent impact compared to other options?
    Who makes pickups out of materials of proven longevity (metals, ceramics, etc.)?
    What methods of construction lend themselves to better inherent longevity?

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