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Who likes ceramic pickups?

Discussion in 'Pickup Forum' started by htwheelz67, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. htwheelz67

    htwheelz67 Senior Stratmaster

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    I've been playing for 35+ years I have been on that "perfect sound hunt" forever. I love vintage a2, a3 a5 magnet pickups. I love humbuckers too same deal. Some of my favorite pickups have ceramic magnets, I like (not love) the sound of MIM ceramic single coils, they sound really "stratty" The 80's MIJ low output ceramic pickups almost sound more vintage to me than "real" vintage pickups. Humbuckers........Dimarzio super 3 was made by Dimarzio for Fender, looks super hot on paper but not really. D Allen Johnny Hiland set, dual blade with ceramic magnets and one of the best if not the best strat set I have ever heard. Who has the same experience?
     
  2. Squier2Knight

    Squier2Knight Strat-Talk Member

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    If you really want a traditional strat sound, you already know you don't really want ceramics. If you want a Strat to sound like something other than a Strat, ceramics (and then humbuckers) are a good start. I hate ceramics, but then some of the best pickups in the world are ceramics, and some of best players use them, and if you want that kind of a sound, you should embrace them.

    I can't imagine the dual blade ceramics giving me the noiseless '54 (as if there ever was such a thing) sounds that my Lace Holy Grails (note that Holy Grails are not Lace Sensors, nor is the latter a bad thing) give. But then who am I to say as I haven't tried those Dimarzios. As far as specifically the 2 and 4 position Strat sounds, the MIM Robert Crays are the best I've heard.

    The only question I ask myself regarding pickups is: Do I like the sound that these pickups give me? If the answer is yes, what the rest say is irrelevant. (Or at least it should be.) If I had listened the "sterile" folks here years ago, I never would have discovered how much better Lace pickups sound compared to Duncans. Buy, try, sell what you don't like. But you really shouldn't need validation on your choice from random netizens like us.
     
  3. htwheelz67

    htwheelz67 Senior Stratmaster

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    I've been somewhat of a pickup snob, but with an open mind. I bought a 1985 MIJ squier st-357, it just gave the sweetest vintage tone and I was shocked to find ceramic pickups in it and they were quite low output, I swapped them but I wont sell them.

    I also have 2 Epiphone Del Rey guitars, they come with OBL pickups "which is suposed to mean Original Bill Lawrence") they are Korean licensed Gibson pickups based on His design. Guess what? they are ceramic, read about 15k but one of the hottest, yet clear quietest pickups I have ever used. They smoke for rock,metal etc.....turn them down they claen up nice for blues and jazz, split them and they quack. I still have a hard time putting them in an expensive guitar just cause the pickups are cheap and I know better. I put one in the bridge of my 1976 les paul custom with maple neck/fretboard and it sounds way better than the original T-Tops and the Dimarzio transitions I installed and all I want to do is hide the name on the pickups with some gold covers so no one knows..............its like realizing cheaper hankook tires handle way better than expensive Goodyears on your Mercedes.......
     
  4. NZdave

    NZdave Strat-Talker

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    I have a set of ceramic pups that came out of an80's MIJ squier and hey are my favourite set of pickups and I've tried loads. They sound similar to a set of Fender 57/62's but I actually prefer the ceramics to the fenders!
     
  5. htwheelz67

    htwheelz67 Senior Stratmaster

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    Thats what I am saying, some ceramic pups sound so "organic" and vintage and I wonder why some people hate them........I have heard some MIM strats and MIJ strats and played them as well if you didn't know they were ceramic you would swear they were vintage or botique expensive pups. Once again the D Allen Johnny Hiland dual blade ceramic PUPs are one of THE BEST SOUNDING STRAT PUPS MADE! well they are discontinued but killer and noiseless.
     
  6. Uncle Fiesta

    Uncle Fiesta Senior Stratmaster

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    I'm told that the ceramic pups in CIJ's are spoken quite highly of. I wouldn't know, I couldn't wait to rip the ones out of my '97 Hank Marvin Strat and chuck a set of Kinmans in! My guitar tech sold them for me so I never got the chance to try them in anything else.

    The Squier type with the single flat magnets I just find too ice-picky for words.
     
  7. gilmourstrat

    gilmourstrat Senior Stratmaster

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    I once tried an CIJ Aerodyne Strat with ceramic Japan pickups in it and it sound wonderful. Very warm and balanced tone. Still prefer alnicos but nothing against a nice ceramic trio :)
     
  8. rudos1

    rudos1 Senior Stratmaster

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    They can sound really good but if you do a shootout with them I find the alnicos always win. I am just about to swap my very nice sounding MIM pickups in my strat for some Tex Mex we'll see how well it works out..
     
  9. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I had 2 out of the 3 single coils in a Strat that were the vintage style, with the middle one being a generic ceramic. I thought it sounded great. My little Affinity with all ceramic, and pretty much stock sounds good, I would put it a close second.
     
  10. TSims1

    TSims1 Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Um....no. They ARE a great set of pickups for someone looking for a DUAL BLADE direct-fit single coil ALTERNATIVE(which is what they are)with less noise and a hotter/darker tone, as long as you agree with the tonal appetite of the one they were made FOR(Johnny Hiland).

    Best sounding STRAT pickups ever made? Lol.....well I suppose that's subjective, but I(and likely 99.999% of others)would go with a vintage voiced set of alnicos if you are looking for the REAL quintessential Strat tone.


    ;)
     
  11. Mouse

    Mouse The Knees of Rock Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I can't really speak for single coils as I use hot noiseless and Lace golds in my Strats but one of my favorite pickups is the classic DiMarzio Super Distortion which uses a ceramic magnet. Likely a good chunk of your favorite classic rock tunes were recorded using this pickup. It pretty much kicked off all of the pickup tone snobbery that followed.
     
  12. Willie D

    Willie D Pentatonic Hack Strat-Talk Supporter

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    I like G&L MFD pickups a lot, and they're ceramic.
     
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  13. StratoTerr

    StratoTerr Senior Stratmaster

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    Bartolini ceramics sound great. The Strat sets have a sweet tone, and the hot p/ups w a tap at normal have one of the best full hot and tapped normal tones I've heard. Usually the normal tap isn't quite as good as a straight ahead normal wind p/up, but Barts are. I have the "warm" ceramic HB in a great sounding Spirit. It is warm and also sweet, w a usable difference in tone depending on which leads are ground and hot (Its on a toggle to reverse leads).BTW If you can dig the headless, the full body versions have a Fenderish tone once the horrible EMG Selects are replaced w AlNiCos or better sounding ceramics.
     
  14. Virgman

    Virgman Strat-O-Master

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    I only have ceramic pickups in my guitars. They are all stock pickups as I have never changed them.

    I don't know anything else.

    Each guitar sounds different and to get the best out of them I adjust the amp and sometimes the pedal settings and pickup heights.
     
  15. stratman in va

    stratman in va Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

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    The amp will influence the sound a bit too. A really bad amp will make a really good guitar sound bad, or at least not its best.
     
  16. Willie D

    Willie D Pentatonic Hack Strat-Talk Supporter

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    Well-designed ceramic pickups can sound great.

    Poorly-designed ceramic pickups can sound bad.

    My experience with the cheapo ceramics that come from the factory on entry-level guitars is that they sound good and punchy at very low bedroom volume, but they fall apart terribly when you turn the amp up. They're good for what they're designed for, and really nothing else.

    Unfortunately, many of us disregard ceramics based on our experience of the cheapos. But a well-designed ceramic pickup can sound quite good.
     
  17. Carlos Lucena

    Carlos Lucena Strat-Talker

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    It happened to me a recent experience with these ceramic pickups. they have been for many years in one of my strats and I have always liked them. But they were eventually replaced by 57/62. First I found odd these new pickups but then I started to like more and more to hear their sound. Now recently i put back the ceramic in the same guitar and changed the 57/62 to another strat. I did not like to hear them now. I ended up replacing them with a custom '69 :neutral:
    (sorry bad english)
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2015
  18. 98BlackStrat

    98BlackStrat Senior Stratmaster

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    I had ceramic pups in my MIJ ST58. They were voice pretty nicely, but still lacked the note to note definiton of Alnicos. Strumming chords have more "blossom" for a lack of a better word now that it's loaded with alnico pups.
     
  19. fenderkev

    fenderkev Most Honored Senior Member

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    I do like the MIM stock ceramics, although I have Dimarzio Areas in my MIM Std Strat now. I have an old Squier Bass that I supposedly upgraded with a Wilkinson Alnico V P Bass pup. It was weak and thin sounding in comparison to the B&G ceramic pup I had in it before, so the ceramic went back in.
     
  20. StratoTerr

    StratoTerr Senior Stratmaster

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    Yeah, for bass you don't really need the AlNiCo sparkle, so ceramic power and clarity (if designed right) is just fine.
     
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