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Old February 19th, 2012, 05:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Any love for wilkinson pickups?

Hey,

Bought a set of Wilkinson vintage Stratocaster pickups years ago (maybe 2) and complete a squier project. They sounded good but I dismissed them and moved on to next project.

I noticed, in terms of tone, I find ceramics not bad for at home on your own playing. Sound like they have slightly scooped mids, quite bright. It's not a bad sound, quite like it. Doesn't sound that great when doing live band stuff. I play mostly clean and the sound just gets lost.

So I tested out the wilkinson wvs pickups (alnico 5 magnets) again his time in my MIM fender. Been playing with pickup heights and think I'm nearly there for my liking. They've not got that top end ceramics have, but it makes them softer on the ears. There's a distinctive honk in the mid range which I like, an the bass isn't weak and isn't boomy.

So I'm surprisingly happy with my cheap wilkinsons!

Any of you had any experience with Williston pups?
M

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Old February 19th, 2012, 06:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I play the WVS pups in my strat. Love 'em.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 11:09 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I have 2 pair of Wilkinson zebra humbuckers and I think they are some of the best pickups I've heard. Can't go wrong for less than $40 a pair.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 11:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think the HB's my Switch Aurora Stealth (short-lived defunct brand) were Ceramic Wilkinson. I replaced them, but they were good sounding PUP's. Powerful, fat, warm, and crisp without being shrill. I may sell them at some point.

tatman, the traits you attribute to ceramic PUP's are not universal. Your SC ceramics may have sounded the way you describe, but it' not because of the magnet. Ceramic magnets produce more bass than Alnico and they have a low flux-density in comparison, which can mean they have less rich highs.

The traits associated with ceramics are actually due more to the metal pole pieces. Certain types of steel not only increase inductance, but also create a sharper Q at the resonant frequency. Hence, ceramics have a reputation of sounding darker, sharper and less rich.

A well designed ceramic pickup using something like stainless poles with about half the windings of a normal Strat PUP will have roughly the same inductance and output as an AlNiCo V, but will actually have a more even frequency response with more bass. The highs may not be as rich, but that can be very useful for certain distortion tones.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 11:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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i have a wilkinson in the bridge of my tele. i friggen love how it drives.. not too much mid, not too much trebel. and nice mixutre of low end. man.. i want to play it now.
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Old February 19th, 2012, 11:22 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Really? Thanks for the info. Got a massive interest in pickups, need to learn more!

Trying to learn how to audibly distinguish sounds is one thing, to describe it in words is something else!!!

When I bought my MIM fender, I compared it to an American one, and although I tested it on an amp I didn't know, the only difference I could ear was slightly brighter more detailed top ends, not enough for me to warrant the extra money.

Wonder what a wilkinson pup would sound like next to the fender equivalent??? Worlds apart? Just a different tone? Hmm

M
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Old February 19th, 2012, 12:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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my tele is an american, the american tele pickup sits in a box now, i found it had over pronounced highs, and that makes sense considering most people pick up a tele to twang, i however do not. i pick it up for the creamy neck pick up, or to drive the hell out of some tubes and enjoy that nice natural low end. i hate twang in my sound, and the wilkinson got rid of the twang when i overdrive, i seldom play clean on the bridge so i dont have any insight into how that sounds compared to my old us pick up.
i had the choice between this p up and a dimarzio tone zone, i chose the wilkinson because the drive sounded more natural and less hissy
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Old February 19th, 2012, 12:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The main thing to know is the inductance of a PUP. That will tell you what the resonant frequency is with a given capacitance load. Even without using the guitar's tone knobs, the guitar cable puts a capacitance load on the circuit. It is usually the determining factor.
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Old February 20th, 2012, 11:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I put Wilkinson vintage pickups in my Tokai ST40 and was well pleased with the results, certainly much more "Strat-sounding" than the originals. But you might also like to look at Ironstone vintage pickups: I put a set in an MIJ Squier, and they're great. They're also remarkably cheap (and, in case it's relevant, based in the UK).
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Old February 20th, 2012, 05:14 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have a set of Ironstones. Sound nice on youtube clips, but waiting to get my new build underway to chuck 'em in.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 09:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I put two cheap Wilkinson PAF-style Humbuckers (black bobbins with no covers) in a Yamaha and they were suprisingly good.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 10:09 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aquaflan View Post
I think the HB's my Switch Aurora Stealth (short-lived defunct brand) were Ceramic Wilkinson. I replaced them, but they were good sounding PUP's. Powerful, fat, warm, and crisp without being shrill. I may sell them at some point.

tatman, the traits you attribute to ceramic PUP's are not universal. Your SC ceramics may have sounded the way you describe, but it' not because of the magnet. Ceramic magnets produce more bass than Alnico and they have a low flux-density in comparison, which can mean they have less rich highs.

The traits associated with ceramics are actually due more to the metal pole pieces. Certain types of steel not only increase inductance, but also create a sharper Q at the resonant frequency. Hence, ceramics have a reputation of sounding darker, sharper and less rich.

A well designed ceramic pickup using something like stainless poles with about half the windings of a normal Strat PUP will have roughly the same inductance and output as an AlNiCo V, but will actually have a more even frequency response with more bass. The highs may not be as rich, but that can be very useful for certain distortion tones.
Glad you brought this up concerning the pole pieces. I own a mid 90's Fernandes strat that had ceramics in it. A few years ago, I changed the pups out mainly because I have always hated ceramics and even though I liked what these pickups sounded like, snobbery got the best of me and I changed them out for alnicos. I rarely play the guitar these days. It just doesn't sound as good as it did. I swear those ceramics sounded better. I may be changing back to see if I can put the old mojo back into the guitar.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 10:53 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Several much admired studio guitarists over here play straight up Vintage V52's ,as in make ,telecasters with stock Wilikingson pickups ,They also own US teles .I also use Wilkingson fittings for all my parts caster and to replace some higher end bridges .They work .The steel block strat trem ,tele bridge with compensated saddles and his tuners are really great .
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Old February 20th, 2013, 11:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I tried Ironstones and didn't like them at all. The covers were extremely rough, as if they'd been made in a sandpaper mould, and had a nasty ridge where the top met the side. Also they were too small - when installed there was a slight gap all round (I couldn't use the covers off the original pups, as Ironstone use a narrower string spacing for the neck pup).

Worse still, they sounded no better than the originals (MIM Classic 50s). I replaced them with 57/62's and am now well pleased. You get what you pay for.

On the other hand the one set of Wilkinsons I had, I really liked.
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Old February 20th, 2013, 12:09 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Love Wilkinson Vintages. Awesome!
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Old February 21st, 2013, 05:41 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Trevor Wilkinson makes some no nonsense kit at a decent price. When you think about it, why should six small magnets and a small reel of copper wire cost a fortune?
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Old February 21st, 2013, 08:17 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Theres been a lot of back and forth about whether magnets have a tone. In my direct experience they do. The pole material has a tone too. I'm finishing up a Hardtail Strat clone. After trying everything from from low end to boutique Strat and Tele AlNiCos, I finally went w the Strat Squier 2 ceramic magnets in the P90 configuration. These p/ups are unloved because they have a deep dark tone perceived as not Stratty. Since my guitar is hideously bright, they are perfect, giving the trad Strat tone minus some of the sparkle that I've only heard from AlNiCo, but they have a nice hollowness and 3D vibe, w the normal Strat Q (at least to my ears). As an experiment I put in 2 Firebird AlNiCos instead of the ceramic stock magnets. What a difference. The resonant frequency went way up and much sparklier harmonics. It would be great for a normal Strat. So, yeah, any p/ups can be best for a guitar regardless of their origins. I should note that if the ceramic is in the coil and not feeding the poles, its tone tends to be the opposite, since the coil will have less induction than w AlNiCo or pole pieces.
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