NPD Ron Ellis 54s review

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by Belltonenblues84, Aug 1, 2020 at 7:50 PM.

  1. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    Earlier today i reviewed my new slider 59s in my fiesta red FSR strat. Well im reviewing this one as well and i must say this one was a bit harder to get right but it was worth the struggle. Usually guys wait like 5 months to ive seen 4 years for Ron Ellis pickups. I found a guy to sell them for the cheaply sum off 850 dollars *I'm being totally sarcastic*. So given Ron Ellis near mythical god like status for tone chasers, i had to have a set. So let's get started shall we?

    The guitar used is a squier classic vibe 50s in vintage blonde stratocaster. It's been fitted with:

    Ron Ellis 54 pickups *they're non RWRP like all my pickups*
    Callaham tremolo system w/ full steel block
    .1uf capacitor
    3 way selector switch

    I ran it through my 5f6a circuit handwired tweed bassman with TAD 6L6GC power tubes, mullard 5ar4, electro 12ay7 and 2 tung sol 12ax7s. Bright channel volume at 6 and all other EQ at 12.

    Im going to be completely transparent. You know how when you first get your axe back and you listen to that first 1 or 2 chords and that big toothy smile appears on your face cause you're loving what you're hearing? They didn't come for me, infact after playing my strat with the slider 59s I WAS QUITE DISAPPOINTED with the Ron Ellis 54s. It's not that IT WASN'T GOOD it was good but honestly wasn't better than the pickups it replaced IT WAS WORST. I was crushed like *man i spent all this money for this?* that was just the neck pickup. It had this kinda midrange hump that i didn't really like and i felt like the dynamics was a bit stiff, the harder i picked it just got louder it didn't react to my attack like im used to with other pickups. I went to the out of phase 2 position and out of nowhere this shimmery spot on early *hoodoo man* buddy guy and SRV *lenny* tone comes bursting out. Im like *whoa where this come from?* so i had hope because the position 2 sounded REALLY GOOD. Get to the middle pickup and it was REALLY GOOD lol. In my sliders 59 review i said the middle pickup was the best i had ever used, these are equally as good. Throaty dynamic woody it had everything going for it but it was MEAN sounding, a middle pickup with bad intentions.

    Get to what i call the *Robert cray* tone in position 4 and every animal sound was there, quack in spades bark honk you name it it had it lol. I get to the bridge and it was a ASS KICKER it had a small jump in volume but this was the position you go to solo and make a point. Slightly springy with some teeth to it but also slightly fat NO MUD ANYWHERE. So the only position i didn't like was the neck. I took my screwdriver out and lowered the neck pickup some, strummed afew chords, a small smirk came over my face cause IT SOUNDED ABIT BETTER. but ive learned pickup height IS LIKE MARINATING CHICKEN, it takes a few hours for the pickups to settle in and be at its best. So after 3 hours of letting it settle i came back and played the neck pickup and all of a sudden there's this acoustic clarity that wasn't there before and it was far more dynamic BIG SMILE IS BACK. You know how some strat pickups kinda sound similar in each position? These have their own identity n are completely individualistic. There's a hint of bloom and compression in these early 54s styled alnico 3 pickups and id say im very satisfied with them .....NOW with a little work of course lol.

    So in conclusion THESE SOUND GREAT. How great? 580 dollars or in my case without the 2 year wait 850 dollars great? Nope, not at all haha, sorry to disappoint you. But i give this about 9.3 out of 10. I have most of what's considered the best of the best high end boutique strat pickups money can buy, don Mares super sports mark foley pre cbs 60s JM rolph 63s onamac windery 64s mccon-a-wah bell tones klein 63s rocketfire total 60s kloppman st60s e.t.c e.t.c, but i wouldn't consider any of them BETTER. They're just all VERY DAMN GOOD and different in their own way. But nonetheless if you're willing to WAIT and by wait i mean WAIT to the point of almost forgetting lol these are incredibly great pickups. Or just do like me and buy them second hand if you can find them lol. I got very lucky and im honestly very happy to have these. No regrets. Sorry for the long winded review but it was necessary lol.
     
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  2. Nick-O

    Nick-O Senior Stratmaster

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    I've always wonder about his pickups. I thought Jim Rolph's were unbeatable, so these obviously are in the same ballpark.
     
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  3. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Strat-O-Master

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    Great detailed review. I could never pay that much or wait that long.

    Sound samples @Belltonenblues84 ?
     
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  4. Tone Deaf

    Tone Deaf Most Honored Senior Member

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    Yeah, This ⬆️
     
  5. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    I'll do a YouTube video of them tomorrow for sure.
     
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  6. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    Under regular circumstances i wouldn't pay that much but theres not alot of ppl who have the opportunity to have ron Ellis pickups and considering i had the money i figured why not?....i found a guy to sell me some 50/60s for 650 which is a bargain but used the money to pay to get my jazzmaster jaguar and custom telecaster out the shop.
     
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  7. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    The shell pink strat with the jm rolph 63s are at the shop my tech really likes them so I'll see for myself in about a week or two.
     
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  8. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Strat-O-Master

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    Very cool! Watching so I don't miss the link. Thanks!:thumb:
     
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  9. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    I can honestly say that i don't have a favorite stratocaster. All of them sound really good & really i base guitars on my mood. Theres no *most played* or *least* played i gotta be honest and say they're not played equally but not due to me liking something more than another. The strat i compare everything to is my other classic vibe with raw vintage RV50s. I guess cause when i got back into strats 3 years ago it's what i measure everything up to. But i will say that every pickup isn't guaranteed to sound good in whatever guitar you throw it in. But i do think most don't mess with pickup heights and try everything before they replace them.
     
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  10. StummerJoe

    StummerJoe Strat-O-Master

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    Very true. I have had customers amazed how a slight adjustment can make a HUGE difference. Salt to taste.
     
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  11. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    A screwdriver will solve all their problems. Id honestly say before i adjusted the neck pickup id rate the pickups a 7.3 out of 10. But just loweting them slightly upped it up big time made a world of difference
     
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  12. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    Until i record the pickups this is the closest thing to what they sound

     
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  13. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    Here's the real thing

     
  14. 2aug82b

    2aug82b Strat-Talk Member

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    I love that you put them in a Squier. That is king.
     
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  15. Belltonenblues84

    Belltonenblues84 Strat-Talker

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    I love bringing out my squiers and guys hear them n they're like omg that strat sounds great. Then they look at the headstock and they say how the hell did you get it to sound that good? Goes to show you you don't need 2000 or 4000 dollars to make your 300 dollar sound like a 20000 dollar pre cbs. Even though when you consider all the upgrades and the pickups were almost 3 times the cost of the guitar it itself i spent about 1500 bucks total for it to sound better than any guitar at that same price that's stock