transitional hi gain set, HUGE ohm rating difference

Early years of Rickenbacker Guitars prior to and including 1972

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transitional hi gain set, HUGE ohm rating difference

Postby (Revbrodiddley) » Sat May 14, 2016 8:48 pm

So I've (thanks to people here on the forum) figured out I've got a cool old set of transitional hi gains from 69 or so. I'm really wanting to put these pickups in a project dream ricky, but am concerned about the ohm rating difference between the two. Although I've certainly heard tales of significant, easily noticeable to-the-ear differences in pickups, I never thought I'd see a set so different. My neck pup is 14.3K (!!!) and bridge is 5.4. So, thought its not like its a huge deal anyway...i am nervous about putting these into a guitar as I feel almost certain that the rating difference is very telling that I'll see a frustratingly thick and muddy crunchy neck tone and an anemic super bright bridge tone. Now I've definitely heard and seen in some guitars that ohm rating isn't everything. But sheesh, is this even worthwhile or do I already know what I'll get? (the guitar is being put together right now and so I'd have to ship the pickups off to be installed, hence some of my hesitation as its not as simple as just opening the guitar up and soldering them in for the moment). Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
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Re: transitional hi gain set, HUGE ohm rating difference

Postby (iiipopes) » Mon May 16, 2016 12:43 pm

Revbrodiddley wrote:So I've (thanks to people here on the forum) figured out I've got a cool old set of transitional hi gains from 69 or so. I'm really wanting to put these pickups in a project dream ricky, but am concerned about the ohm rating difference between the two. Although I've certainly heard tales of significant, easily noticeable to-the-ear differences in pickups, I never thought I'd see a set so different. My neck pup is 14.3K (!!!) and bridge is 5.4. So, thought its not like its a huge deal anyway...i am nervous about putting these into a guitar as I feel almost certain that the rating difference is very telling that I'll see a frustratingly thick and muddy crunchy neck tone and an anemic super bright bridge tone. Now I've definitely heard and seen in some guitars that ohm rating isn't everything. But sheesh, is this even worthwhile or do I already know what I'll get? (the guitar is being put together right now and so I'd have to ship the pickups off to be installed, hence some of my hesitation as its not as simple as just opening the guitar up and soldering them in for the moment). Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

Yes, in the '70's and early '80's, it seemed that maximum contrast was the goal, to get the neck pickup as dark as possible and the bridge pickup as bright as possible, and let the 5th knob do its thing to balance as necessary, without regard to relative gain as this was the era of the development of the pre-gain controls on amplifiers: the original Mesa Boogie, the Marshall 2203 & 4, etc.

Both my 1981 320 and 360-12WB had these variants on the button-top high-gain pickups: 14 kohms' measured neck, and 6.1 kohm's measured bridge (and middle on the 320). So I took the bridge pickup out of the 360-12, put it in the neck of the 320, and about the same time I did this, the neck pickup fried on my 360-12. So I had it rewound to @ 7.5 kohms, and I unwound the leftover 14 kohm pickup to @ 8 kohms for the bridge position of the 360-12.

So now I have a good emulation of "early Beatles" tone on my 320, and a very versatile 360-12 that goes from maximum jangle to almost an acoustic tone with the neck pickup, being farther south with the 24 fret neck instead of hollow sounding with the 21 fret neck.

As I have posted before, everything makes a difference. The real question is what makes a noticable difference. 7 kohms to 8 kohms may not make an audible difference, but 6 kohms to 14 kohms definitely does, given the same bobbin and magnet.

What do you want out of the guitar? If you want all vintage jangle, then get a pair of toasters, wire in the .0047 capacitor to the bridge pickup, and save the current pickups in case you want to sell it or change your mind about tone. If you want drive with a lighter toned rhythm setting, try swapping the pickups around. If you like the overall tone but want better balance try one or both of the following: add a 500 ohm resistor in-line with the 5th knob to bring the neck pickup output down a little bit, and/or bridge the .0047 inline capacitor to the bridge pickup, or change it to one value higher, the Fender Jaguar .0063, to get a little more low end back. If you want a cover band guitar doing a wide variety of repertoire, then a set of the new adjustable-pole high-gains are great versatile pickups. If you want maximum rock-out, get a pair of HB-1's and install them, knowing the usual trade-off will occur: more drive at the expense of a little less top end.

I do not recommend unwinding the 14kohm neck pickup, even though I did, because it is very tedious, 44AWG wire is smaller diameter than a hair, and the risk of irreversible damage is great. The only reason I did it was I had to have one pickup rewound anyway, so I had nothing to lose except a second rewind. And since I was gigging the guitar at the time, I had to get it up and running, and I could write-off the cost of the rewind. I have also worked on instruments about as long as I have been playing them (mumble) decades, and so I knew what I was getting into up front.

I hope this gives some perspective in helping the OP sort out what he wants out of his guitar.
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Re: transitional hi gain set, HUGE ohm rating difference

Postby (Revbrodiddley) » Mon May 16, 2016 10:19 pm

Man what an incredibly thoughtful reply! Many thanks for this. Confirms a lot of thoughts I've already had and shared but also brings legit experience into the fold. I really appreciate it. Thank you!
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Re: transitional hi gain set, HUGE ohm rating difference

Postby (kennyhowes) » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:09 pm

Did you wind up doing anything with them?
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