Humbucker-Size Blade Style Single Coil Pickups
Drop-in replacement for standard size Gibson humbuckers. These pickups allow the user to exchange the bar magnets with ease. Removal and exchange of the magnets does require the pickup to be lifted out of the pickup cavity (the output leads do not need to be unsoldered).
Perceived output level: Hotter than stock Epi humbuckers, perhaps even edge out the S-D's for gain!
Tone: Warm and woody neck, bright and full bridge, nice Gretschy "doink" in the middle
Sonic evaluation: I had expected these to sound like some kind of a P90 variant, but that's not even close. Pete really has found some kind of mojo/magic to get a BIG, woody, full-bodied tone out of this neck pup. Just for fun, I A/B-ed it with a couple of other axes trying to nail it down, and it FAR out-warms the P90 in my LP Special (NOT a P100, BTW - it's the '98 reissue model), and the pup/axe that it sounds the closest to is the S-D Jazz in the neck of my ES-333. Imagine, a single coil as fat as a humbucker... The bridge pup is brighter than you might expect, but full, just as you'd expect, and the "both on" middle is as sweet a Gretch/fat single-coil "doink" as you could imagine.
For which styles and positions is this pickup (un)suitable: This is THE neck pup for that big "jazzbox" tone! The set would be great for rockabilly, fine for country (but not for Tele parts!), and most "vintage rock" applications as well. I personally just don't see it as a thrasher's pup... ;->
OK, let's talk about the motivation, and the entire experience:
Now that I had the screamin' blues tones covered with my ES-333, I wanted to go for something different with my Epi Sheraton. I had considered humbucker-sized P90's, but I have that tone covered by an (USA) Epi Casino loaded with S-D Antiquities and a (stock) Gibson LP Special. So, I thought I try something really different, and maybe get a big "jazzbox" tone out of the Epi - I ain't got nuttin' like dat...
I had seen CC-Riders on the Vintage Vibe website, they looked cool and was curious to know just what exactly they sounded like. I've used Pete's Strat pups in many axes (and highly recommend them to anyone looking for vintage-Strat sweetness), so I e-mailed him for the bird's eye lowdown on this caper, whatever that means.... Pete had one of his customers e-mail me with a candid review of his impression of the CC-Rider pup, and it sounded good, so I thought I'd give it a try.
The CC-Riders I received were cool looking, with that goofy, classic trapazoidal shape and big honkin' bar polepiece, but had a few mounting issues in the Epi, as the Epi (and Dots, and LP's) have hardly any space between the string height and the face of the guitar at the neck pup's spot. I believe that these would easily mount up on full-bodied archtops, with their raised fingerboards, but there just wasn't room on the Sheraton. I e-mailed Pete with my observations and suggestions, and quickly received a set that was cosmetically a bit different, with the bobbin tops trimmed down to "humbucker" size and a shorter bar polepiece, losing some of the visual "vintage Charlie Christian" vibe, but, were a perfect, no-worries, drop-in replacement for a humbucker, and would fit into ANY of the afore-mentioned axes. Pete is da man!
The next time I change strings on this axe, I'm definitely going with a set of flatwounds, because the guitar has completely changed personalities with the addition of these pups. That neck pup has the big, silky, woody fullness you usually associate with a seasoned ES-175, Super 400, or the like.
AND! The only other axe in my possession right now that comes close to the "doink" and rockabilly vibe that the Epi has now is my late '60's Gretsch Double Anniversary with the single-coil HiLoTrons. But Pete's pups make the Epi easily TWICE as loud as that axe, and the Epi's construction eliminates most of the feedback issues associated with the big ol' Gretsch. It's a good combination of tone and practicality.
BOTTOM LINE: If you have an Epi Dot or Les Paul (or other humbucker "clone"), but what you really wanted to get out of yer axe were the BIG TONES you associate with a Gretsch or some fat jazzbox, try these pups! Just the neck would be fine for for jazz, or get 'em both for rockablly.
Tell Pete WHAT axe you are gonna mount 'em, though, to get around the potential mounting issues. Heck, he may even update his website and offer the same custom set that he built for me as a regular item - watch for it! Good stuff.
On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this pickup a: 10 Fantastic value
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|Installation notes (pdf)|
|Humbucker size blade polepiece single neck position pickup, with changeable magnet design. My current design for these pickups allows the owner to change the magnets with ease. I ship these pickups with two complete sets of magnets. Magnet types available include: AlNiCo-II, AlNiCo-III, AlNiCo-V and ceramic-8. The AlNiCo-II magnets give a warm vintage tone, the AlNiCo-III magnets boost output and give a little sharper attack. The AlNiCo-V magnets give even higher output and sharper attack; for the highest output and sharpest attack choose the ceramic-8 magnets. Comes standard with magnets installed north up, wound clockwise, Creme||$115 each|
|Humbucker size blade polepiece single neck position pickup, with changeable magnet design. My current design for these pickups allows the owner to change the magnets with ease. I ship these pickups with two complete sets of magnets. Magnet types available include: AlNiCo-II, AlNiCo-III, AlNiCo-V and ceramic-8. The AlNiCo-II magnets give a warm vintage tone, the AlNiCo-III magnets boost output and give a little sharper attack. The AlNiCo-V magnets give even higher output and sharper attack; for the highest output and sharpest attack choose the ceramic-8 magnets. Comes standard with magnets installed north up, wound clockwise, Faux tortoise shell||$120 each|