MIM Ceramic pups.... a huge suprise

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by bgfthntr, Feb 4, 2014.

  1. bgfthntr

    bgfthntr Strat-Talk Member

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    Now that I've had them in for a short while they sound better to my ear than the first day if installation. I've lowered the neck pup a bit and it has a nice balanced tone with the middle and 500xl. Great pups....
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  2. Texaspicker

    Texaspicker Strat-Talk Member

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    I'm quite happy with the sound of my MIM's pups. It's and HHS and sounds just fine to me. I have a DiMarzio Tone Zone that I intended to drop into the MIM but I haven't because I'm not sure I want to change it's current stock sound.
     
  3. tweeddeluxe

    tweeddeluxe Strat-Talker

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    In my partscaster I have pups from a Bullet set really low in the pickguard. To my ears it's the strattiest sounding one I've owned. Just cant bring my self to swap them out.
     
  4. ShaneRingo

    ShaneRingo Senior Stratmaster

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    generally speaking, I'll only replace ceramic pickups if they have
    that nasty overtone that some people refer to as "ice pick" sound.

    my only MIJ Strat came stock with such pickups; they really bothered
    me but I still played that guitar for at least ten years before I upgraded
    to a set of CS 69s. it was always a good Strat but now it's a great one!!

    two MIJ Teles I have also received pickup upgrades as the stock pickups
    just didn't seem to have much character. I put Texas Specials in both
    and that did the trick. (I don't like the Texas Specials for Strats at all
    but the Texas Special set for Teles is just right for my tastes!)

    I have a '97 MIM Strat that I left alone 'cuz it sounds really nice as-is.
     
  5. fenderkev

    fenderkev Most Honored Senior Member

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    +1 on this. Bought a 2013 last week, and am pleasantly surprised at how good it sounds. This is after using DiMarzio Areas, Lace Sensors, and all kinds of Alnicos through the years. Have no plans to swap 'em out.
     
  6. StratoTerr

    StratoTerr Senior Stratmaster

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    I like the stock Squires which are only 3.6 K dc ohms compared to the Mexi Strats 6.1 K, They have a much lower resonance, greater transparency and air than the MIM Strats of similar construction. Not a trad Strat sound, but I like it a lot. Still clear in series, and quite powerful. Replacing the ceramic magnets w AlNiCo (I used magnets from GFS AlNiCo Neovins,but after markets are available) lowers the output on them or the MIM Strats a little, but gives AlNiCo sparkle. In the middle position, because of the P90 magnet style the Squire or MIM Strat w AlNiCo gives a tone very much different than a normal Strat p/up, in case like me you don't like position 3.
     
  7. stjohn1299

    stjohn1299 Strat-Talker

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    I have a MIM strat and tele. As I've mentioned, I really love the tone of the strat pups. What's odd to me is I don't care for the tele tones at all. I will be switching those out, and will probably get a vintage 3 saddle bridge for it. The only change I plan on doing on my strat is either aged white or mint green pickguard and pup covers. Other than that, the strat will be bone stock!
     
  8. LPBlue

    LPBlue "That Guy", again...dammit!

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    I too have one of each and found the same result. I swapped the Tele pups for Bardens (20yrs ago) but I love the sound of the Strat, a stock Roland Ready. That said, I also have a 94 MIA Std. with Bardens that I prefer to the MIM pups.


    J.R.
     
  9. smurph1

    smurph1 Senior Stratmaster

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    that's a sweet looking axe!!
     
  10. Duceditor

    Duceditor Strat-Talker

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    To me this is a further example of fads and prejudices at work.

    Where an instrument is made. Does it matter?

    What's was in yesterday is out today. And vice versa.

    "Ceramic magnets"
    "Brass this and that."
    "Nitro lacquer."
    "Blah."
    "Blah."
    "Blah."

    Play it. Judge for yourself. Do you really hear and feel a difference? Really? And if we go double blind?

    Lonestardan, that is a beautiful guitar! :)

    -don
     
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  11. LaWnDaRt

    LaWnDaRt Strat-O-Master

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    I thought my MIM ceramics sounded great....until I bought D.Allens Voodoo Blues set. Now...not so much.;)
     
  12. Tim Z

    Tim Z Strat-O-Master

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    This!

    I have a Vintage Vibe SP-90 in the bridge of one strat. His design makes it very easy to swap the magnets in them and he offers you two free magnet types with the purchase. So I got Alnico 2 and Alnico 5 magnets. Both sounded good, but I later got the ceramic magnet option from him and that is what I am still using in that pup. The ceramic magnets in this pup sound hotter, fuller and better balanced.
     
  13. Maplelover

    Maplelover Strat-Talk Member

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    The myth about ceramic vs alnico has been broken here also. Iv'e built 20-30 guitars, re-engineered my own 60th anniversary Strat with CS 54's, another with vintage 59's , most of the builds were with Tex-Mex, Fat 50's and on and on. A friend over the winter gave me a 90's Squier in Oly white body and neck for work I did for him.
    I had parts laying around (don't we all) and put it together with CTS pots, orange drop, Oak Grigsby 5 way. I had a set of the two rail pickups, from a years gone by , in a bag with other replaced parts. I bought a GFS body and slapped it together. I was utterly FLOORED at the true Strat sound it has compared to my "traditional" expensive pickups. I took a q-tip to my ears ...this can't be right, I thought....amazing sound in all 5 positions.
    The old saying "you can't judge a book by lookin' at the cover" !! It's the light blue supposedly seafoam...it photographs weird..I did the lacquer jobs on the red/autumn gold burst and the emerald green ones
    be safe , play on...there's more notes to play...more ears to listen,and waiting too GUITARS 2020.gif
     
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  14. Stratafied

    Stratafied Most Honored Senior Member

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    I have them in my 2010 stratacastor and they sound just fine.
     
  15. chicago slim

    chicago slim Senior Stratmaster

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    I've used them in the past, then recently got a set in my 2018, FSR Standard. I pulled out my favorite American Strat with Texas Specials, and adjusted the ceramics by chasing the sound. I was pleasantly surprised, just how close I could get them to sound. The tone control roll off is different, due to the Grease Bucket circuitry.

    They sound very good in a band situation, and are easier to use live, than most, more expensive pickup sets.
     
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  16. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Senior Stratmaster

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    My MIM FSR has them, no plans to change them.
     
  17. bsman

    bsman Strat-O-Master

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    In my experience, ceramics in later (i.e. 2006 and beyond) MIM Std strats and teles are an excellent choice for rocking out. They are better at driving amps into overdrive and squeezing squeal out of a tele or strat. I have an 09 std tele I on which I replaced the stock ceramics with a set of A3 Mojotone Clone 52s (5.9/6.5), and while they sound very nice, I would be hard-pressed to say they were demonstrably "better" than the stock ceramics. Just different.

    If I were choosing a set for playing rock alone, the stock MIM ceramics would be a very good choice. I believe this "truism" (alnico > ceramic) is one of those things that has been written and spoken so many times that people have begun to accept it as a given truth. That is a major mistake. There are so many commonly-held truths one reads on the boards (i.e. "maple FBs are harder than rosewood" - easily disproved; just look at the janka hardness scale) that are just plain factually incorrect that it makes me shake my head sometimes...
     
  18. StratmanNick

    StratmanNick Senior Stratmaster

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    I have ceramics on my MIJ Fender Strat XII

    it sounds really very good and having used it for gigging and recording see no need to change to alnicos.

    I do think we can get hung up sometimes not having the right stuff on board without actually listening to what the guitar has to give.
     
  19. Antigua

    Antigua Senior Stratmaster

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    Ceramic pickups share qualities with a PAF style humbucker, pr P-90, pickups people love; steel pole pieces with under-mounted magnets, and a higher inductance than vintage Fender pickup. The ceramic bar(s) serves to bring the flux density of the steel poles slightly closer to that of AlNiCo pole pieces, but only slightly, it's still a lot weaker than any AlNiCo grade, closer to a Gibson style pickup.

    They sound fatter, warmer and flatter than vintage AlNiCo pickups. I think after you have your vintage correct Strat on hand for all your vintage needs, it makes sense to have a second Strat with the steel/ceramic pickups, for all the benefits they bring.

    Arguably, the vintage style pickups are inferior quality, because the AlNiCo causes a stronger resonance, which is the opposite, of a broad, flat response. If you look at "better" pickups, like low impedance pickups, or active pickups, or even microphones or speakers, you don't want a pronounced resonance, you want flat response. Steel / ceramic pickups have a low resonant Q, they get rid of something that is almost always unwanted. We only desire resonant AlNiCo pickups because a bunch of famous recording were made with them and that has shaped our tastes. And I think when people describe that sound as "sterile", I think what they're really saying is "it's not the sound I'm used to".
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
  20. chicago slim

    chicago slim Senior Stratmaster

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    Yesterday, I swapped a set of ceramic pickups from my 2018 FSR, into a Classic Vibe Strat. I'm much happier now. They sound better to me than the Tonerider or GFS Grey bottom pickups. Although I'm sure that much of what I didn't like, was due to the POTs. The Tonerider's used small Alpha POTs, and GFS used the larger Alpha POTs. When I removed the Tone POT from the Tonerider neck pickup, it really sounded good. Kind of like a Lipstick pickup.

    The ceramic's have a good useable range, that can be adjusted to blend, in a live band situation.

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