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Need "Schoolin'" on Humbuckers...Questions

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by Silvercrow, Jan 2, 2018.

  1. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 6, 2014
    Bucks County, Pa.
    I just had a set of Fralin humbuckers, 8k / 9k set, installed in my SG. I REALLY like them. But while adjusting them, and comparing them to the pickups in my LP, I have some questions.

    The Fralins utilize AlNiCo IV magnets, 42 gauge wire, wound to 8K in the neck, 9k in the bridge. Got them adjusted to my liking and noted they were set very similar to my 2000 LP (similar relative to distance from strings). My LP has the Gibson 490 in the neck, which I like a lot. Limited research shows the 490s to be in the 8K range, although they use AlNiCo V magnets.

    There is a marked difference between the 490 and the 8K Fralin. I understand (I think) that there will be some tonal differences between an LP and an SG, but in addition to the tonal differences, there is a difference in output, also; the 490s seeming a little hotter / more body.

    How much of this, in your opinion, has to do with:

    • LP vs. SG body, pickup locations, etc.?
    • AlNiCo IV vs. V magnets
    • Variations in actual ohms (I am only going by what the spec sheets tell me- I haven't measured them myself)...WHICH
    Brings me to the next question:

    How can I measure ohms for my pickups. I do have a newer Fluke Volt/Ohm meter. What is the proper way to measure the pickups? A local luthier has a set up where he plugs a 1/4" cable into the guitar and the other end is configured to fit into his meter. He CLAIMs it's accurate as long as you open the volume pot all the way.

    Any help in explaining (carefully please) how to measure my pickups is greatly appreciated.

    It appears there is some controversy as to how much ohm ratings has to do with actual output. I'm not trying to start a "flame-out" post / thread- I am new (relatively) to humbuckers and am trying to learn.

    Thanks so much!

  2. Seymour Duncan

    Seymour Duncan Senior Stratmaster

    The proper way to do this is to measure them when not connected to a guitar circuit. DCR will vary with temperature, and altitude, as well.
    Silvercrow likes this.
  3. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 6, 2014
    Bucks County, Pa.
    OK, thanks. So I can, using the probes, test the portion of the wires at / before the solder connections? I do have alligator adaptors for the probes but don't know if there is enough bare wire to test without unsoldering...

    sorry so dumb- never did this before.

  4. Teleplayer

    Teleplayer Strat-O-Master

    May 29, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Ideally you should measure them before they are soldered into the guitar. You can also measure from the guitar's output jack, but the measurement will be lower because the volume control is connected in parallel. Eg. if its 500k volume control and 9k pickup resistance, the parallel combination would be 8.84k. Basically you will get a lower resistance measurement when they are wired into the guitar. It also possible to calculated backwards to get close to the actual pickup resistance if you know the approximate resistance of the volume control.
    Silvercrow likes this.
  5. fezz parka

    fezz parka Duke of DILLIGAF Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    Right behind you...
    DC resistance is only useful when comparing pickups that are otherwise identical.

    8000 turns of 42 awg wire will have a lower DCR reading than the same turns of 43 awg.

    Inductance tells you more than DCR about the character of the pickup.
    Silvercrow and Teleplayer like this.
  6. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh needs you to go ahead and come in on Sunday, too. Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 10, 2014
    Initech, Inc.
    Temperature, definitely, but altitude? How does that change the DCR of a pickup?
    Silvercrow likes this.
  7. stratomatt

    stratomatt Strat-Talker

    Sep 23, 2010
    San Diego
    Hey Silvercrow, I'm a big fan of 490s and have them in my SG faded and my Les Paul faded. I can tell you based on Gibson's own description that they are alnico 2. I don't have my guitars at hand now, but I am pretty sure the neck pup is a little closer to the bridge on an SG, which could change the tone compared to the LP.
    Silvercrow likes this.
  8. Silvercrow

    Silvercrow Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 6, 2014
    Bucks County, Pa.
    Right you are! AlNiCo 2. Could have sworn I'd read they were 5...but the memory is definitely not what it once was...sigh.

    I too, love my 490 / 498T combo in my LP.

    THANKS ALL- for the info so far! Seymour Duncan has a couple of videos that ere enlightening. I assumed (incorrectly) that stronger mags equaled hotter pickups. Not necessarily.

    ONE of the videos (not Duncan) there was a guy doing a 'shoot out' and to me, you could plainly hear the difference as he systematically replaced magnets with AlNiCo 2 through 8, and also ceramic. He concluded that there was no discernible difference (!). I could absolutely hear differences- not huge, but certainly discernible.

    Spending more time with the Fralin IV's- getting them tweaked in pretty well...