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Forum :: General Discussion

what makes the pickups so potent?


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JohnBR

Joined:
20 Dec 2005
Posts: 223
PostPosted: 08/29/2007 at 8:00 PM    Post subject: what makes the pickups so potent? link

I have been trying to figure out what makes the Bean pickups so darn strong. I plug in my Bean after ANY guitar and it is at least 1.5 x louder! I thought it was the 'alnico', but have since learned that Gibsons use alnico magnets as well....could it be the aluminum sheild on top of the pup that magnifies the magnet? Or, is it just a stronger pickup. So, can anyone educate the ignorant? What's the deal??

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Kevin

Joined:
16 Mar 2007
Posts: 147
PostPosted: 08/29/2007 at 10:22 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

Alnico and steel.

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JohnBR

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20 Dec 2005
Posts: 223
PostPosted: 08/30/2007 at 7:03 AM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

hmm...thanks!

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guitarcharlie

Joined:
06 Jan 2008
Posts: 250
PostPosted: 08/30/2007 at 3:13 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

I have wondered the same thing and just to demonstrate my ignorance: I thought all or at least most pickups are made of alnico and steel. Is there something specifically different? Isn't alnico basically a type of steel? I know there are different types of alnico, but are the Bean pickups one particular type? Is there any truth to the rumor that they are just Fender humbuckers with Travis Bean covers?

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JohnBR

Joined:
20 Dec 2005
Posts: 223
PostPosted: 08/30/2007 at 4:05 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

all I know is that alnico is a metal composed of aluminum, nickel and cobalt...hense the name. I thought Alnico was a type of magnet. It was used in early speakers like the Jensen Bluebells (Fender Tweeds) and Celestion Silver "Bulldogs" (Vox). Those are now known as the two greatest speakers in the vintage world. From what I read, the alnico substance became a bit scarce in the 60s and more expensive, so then major speaker companies switched to ceramic magnets. Speaker companies are now using alnico magnets again, but a single Celestion Gold, their 50 watt speaker, if I'm not mistaken is $225 or so. Pretty darn expensive for one speaker.
So, yea, I am still baffled GC. I don't know if the aluminum plate on top of the magnet possibly amplifies the signal somehow?? I am getting a white artist (actually bought already, my friend is driving it from Portland to Chicago as I type) and it has replaced pickups. I am eager to see if the replaced pups have the same power.
Other than that, there is NOTHING that I know about the Bean pickups. Don't know what company made tham or anything. Does anyone know who supplied the pickups? I thought I read Semour Duncan supplied them to Kramer?? Not sure. Maybe they were the Bean supplier. Then, maybe Travis had a winder in the shop. It is just a machine. A friend of mine has one and can wind his own pickups. It is pretty cool. But, yea, I am definately in the dark and seeking some light on this subject.
-peace

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djarovsky

PostPosted: 08/30/2007 at 7:55 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

In the Travis Bean article "What's In a Name" that I purchased on Ebay, it talks about the pickups...........so it appears there is some truth to the rumors.

Travis's prototype was fitted with Gibson humbucking pickups.

Travis also began to install Fender, instead of Gibson, humbucking pickups. "I liked the idea of having the coils right up next to the strings," he explains. "But all we really used out of the Fender units were the bobbins. We didn't really have the facilities to wind our own. But we did replace the covers with our own. We had no die, so they originally were silver-soldered and folded brass. They were incredibly complex to do."

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LHakim

PostPosted: 08/30/2007 at 7:57 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

Travis' pickups used full strength alnico V magnets, were overwound, and mounted directly to the highly stable aluminum neck. This makes for a strong, and loud sounding guitar. This is mostly the same combo of factors that make vintage single P90 Les Paul Juniors sound so ferocious.

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djarovsky

PostPosted: 08/30/2007 at 8:28 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

Perhaps they are the Fender Wide Range Humbuckers with Travis Bean covers?

I have never seen the inside/construction of a Travis Bean humbucker pickup, so I'm not sure how they compare. There are pics on Ebay of the Fender WRH pickups......so perhaps someone knows. The size looks similar.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w...../Fender_Telecaster_Deluxe

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Wide_Range

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holmes

Joined:
29 Feb 2008
Posts: 182
PostPosted: 08/31/2007 at 9:55 AM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

ive i tele deluxe from 1973 and its wide-range pick-ups sounds very simarler. best humbucking pick ups ive heard. i wouldnt be at all suprised. in fact if you look at pictures of that protype that showed up on ebay a while back, they are wide range pick ups in the guitar.

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Sol

PostPosted: 08/31/2007 at 11:10 AM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

Hmmm...a tech told me a while a go that If I ever needed replacements for my TB I should look into the Fender WRH...

I've been tracking them on ebay ever since...just doesn't seem to be worth the money (nor do I have any projects that would require one). They hover around $300 per piece...occasionally they pop up in the original replacement part box...I've seen those go for ~$50 extra...I've always dreamed of building a Jazzblaster a la Lee Renoldo...

The fender WRH were a Seth Lover design...and were designed to be tonally be different than the his Gibson design...see this article... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fender_Wide_Range

I have never played a WRH equiped guitar...so I can't comment on how it sounds compared to a Bean.

Unfortunately the reissue WRH...are just normal sized Alnico HB in a larger cover (This is what I have been told, I have not verified it).

Personally...I feel that the TB 1000 HB are equivalent (ok maybe a little louder...but note "a little") in volume to an old P-90... the apparent volume increase has to do with frequencies you are hearing that you may not be hearing in other pickups/guitars.

TB1000 HB = Tele on steroids with a smoother attack.

Also - the old guild HB from the 70's have a very similar construction as the Fender WRH (e.g. CuNiFe magnet) but in a normal (i.e. Gibson sized) package...or so I've heard somewhere before


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blackmarker

PostPosted: 08/31/2007 at 12:58 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

Guitar Fetish makes a Wide-Range clone, but it's not over-sized like the originals.

http://store.guitarfetish.com/visphuclfest.html


Greg Bailey makes an aluminum cover milled out of a solid block that fits regular sized humbucker. The humbucker fits snug, but I added a potting material of canning wax to make sure it does not move. and to cut microphonics. Make sure you place masking tape across the studs and screws before you do this.

http://img.photobucket.co.....cker/TB1000/tb1000008.jpg

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djarovsky

PostPosted: 08/31/2007 at 1:01 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

.....and then there is this info on the pickups taken from http://www.autohobbydiges.....m_guitars/travisbean.html

The pickups were made with Alnico 5 magnets and capped with stainless steel covers. On top of the pickup covers was etched "Travis Bean".

....so who is right??

We really need someone who either has pics of the inside of a pickup to share or worked with one and knows the details to speak up.

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guitarcharlie

Joined:
06 Jan 2008
Posts: 250
PostPosted: 08/31/2007 at 1:30 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

The fender WRH pickups have adjustable pole pieces while TB pickups of course do not. So if these are the same does that mean there are adjustable poles screwed down flush beneath the pickup cover or are they similar or same pickup with non adjustable poles? Somebody must have dissected one of these Bean pickups.

I suppose there is also the possibility that there was a gradual change. Has any one noticed that later TB pickups seem to have slightly higher output? That seems to be the case for me, but it might be just coincidence with my Beans.

About a year ago I almost bought an Artist with serial number in the #400's that had relatively weak pickups. They sounded fine, but did not have the kick I was used to so I passed on the guitar....Now I wish I would have bought it anyway!

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Sol

PostPosted: 09/01/2007 at 8:59 AM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

I did not mean to imply that the WRH were what was actually underneath the TB covers.

Even though fender did sell them as an after market replacement, I imagine fender would have cut off his supply early on (if he did indeed use them). It was probably more cost effective for TB to manufacture his own pickups once he got the swing of it. I imagine (more speculation) that he modeled the pickup after the WRH (e.g. strat sized bobbins and steel covers) but used more easily available (and presumably less expensive) Alinco V rods.

GuitarCharlie - I also would speculate that as the 70's wore on, and the demand for higher output pickups became more common place, that TB probably did start winding the pickups a little stronger. The only way to verify this though would be to take a sample of earlier and later production model pickups, and measure the resistance of the bobbin and the gauss strength of the magnets.

Blackmarket - Those GFS clones always looked suspect to me. Sort of like a Gibson HB in WRH clothing. If you search the web you can find places that will sell you the needed alnico or cermaic rods and bars to make most pickups. I'd imagine (I have to stop speculating) that the tooling to make CuniFe screws would push the pickups cost way above $29.





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djarovsky

PostPosted: 09/05/2007 at 8:58 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

More discussion and info here about the Fender WRH in the TB1000 prototype:

http://www.tdpri.com/foru.....der-humbuckers-print.html

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guitarcharlie

Joined:
06 Jan 2008
Posts: 250
PostPosted: 09/05/2007 at 11:35 PM    Post subject: RE:what makes the pickups so potent? link

Thanks for that link....Very interesting guitar. It looks like one of the early prototypes that had the cross bar string trees. I read somewhere that those early prototypes used Gibson style humbuckers, but maybe they also used Fender.

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