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wickid
Curator: Carvin Museum of NY


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:08 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

So, I FINALLY got around to swapping out the Lithiums in my newest Kiesel metallic purple CT3M I got back last April or so. (I'm sure theres an NGD review here somewhere, and/or on the Kiesel BBS. Oh yeah, see the pic in my sig - for the original version.) I feel like I got back a guitar that I WANT to play now (and not just look at). So just chalk this up to - I'm not a fan of Lithiums, on a 6 string anyway.

What went in is a Duncan combo I've been dying to try - a 4-conductor '59 neck, and Custom5 Bridge. I cant believe I've never had a '59 Neck. I now have 3 versions of the Custom5 - a trembucker (Strat), chrome covered (PRS), and this non-trembucker (CT3).
(I'd post pix - I took a couple, but the home computer is plodding along and dont have the upload time - see Nerditorium thread. Have to post from work.)

Impressions:
(Just to note, my fav Carvin p/ups are an M22T and C22J, with the C22N a close 2nd in the neck.)

Custom5 -
This is the alnicoV magnet version of the Duncan Custom line. I've had the Custom (ceramic) in the Strat - hated it / lifeless IMO, Custom Custom (alnico II?) in both my Schecter and a Bolt - very creamy mids / goodly amount of output for a described "vintage" p/up, but you have to want that variety of tone, and now as mentioned 3 versions of this C5.
Its as Duncan describes - a boosted PAF style HB. It has a fairly scooped tone, but a lot of emphasis in "good" frequencies IMO. A noticeable hi-end as well as deep bassiness. Output comparable to my fav M22T, not too hot, but ... "right there" for me. A bit more brightness, but more low end as well than the M22T (as expected from the style of p/up).
I've noticed some subtle differences in the 3 varieties of the C5 I own. The Strat trembucker seems a bit deeper, but that may have a 250K pot (almost 75-85% sure ... the last time I had the guard off). The PRS covered C5 looses some depth and is a bit cleaner and brighter, but consistent with my experience with other covered versions of normally uncovered p/ups.

As with any p/up, adjusting the height delivers more clarity when lower, but more sustain and output when raised. But get too close and you sacrifice clarity for ... "compression" is how I'd describe it, and muddiness at an extreme. So I had to toy with the height to get a good balance, and I found it after some trial.

'59 -
What have I been waiting for?!?!?!
Output level was higher than I was expecting, I actually had to lower this pretty deep. GREAT PAF tonal character, nice and deep lows, but not too muddy; chimey top-end. Great clean and dirty tones. Also sounds great split, Hendrixy type of neck tone. Slash GNR like in full HB.
Tonal quality is hard to describe otherwise, comparably ... somewhere between the C22N and J. I played my Platinum Gold CT3M (C22J) back to back and heard different things at different times. But I think the '59 had a subtly brighter chimier quality overall, while keeping just the right bass response. Both sound great to me.

Overall -
This may be my fav Duncan combo. Output was hotter than expected, especially the neck, which wound up lowered to be about even with the p/up ring. Also - I reused a spare Carvin set of 2x1 (height adjust screws) rings and used a drill bit by hand to drill between the 2 screw holes on 1 side. I also ordered a set of black Duncan-threaded p/up height screws from StewMac. I used a tin snip / metal cutter to snip off 1/8" or so of the length of these screws. Not 100% sure I needed to do this, but the '59 "feet" tabs dropped pretty low, and wasn't sure they'd fit in the cavity. But the p/ups dropped in just fine. (The screws were definitely longer than the Carvin screws.)

Duncan diagrams seem to suggest wiring the splits so both inner (or even outer, but in this case inner) coils are on. I turned the '59 so the screws for that and the C5 are on the outer coils (as Duncans usually are). However, that makes the inner and outer coils the same polarity (ie NOT reversed, nor reverse wound). So when using both p/ups split (inner slug coils on), there IS some hum. But man, do they sound great together on a clean amp channel. Some sparkle and twang.

FYI - I got the non-trembucker version of the C5. With the TOM bridge, the strings *are* over the poles, the D and G are centered, but by the low and high E's, they are more towards the outer edge of the poles. So alignment is NOT perfect, but I cannot perceive any lack of string to string response. (I'm not sure if a Trembucker version would fit in the cavity?? They have to be wider, if just a scooch?)
This is mainly what I took pix of, and will post when my home PC comes back to normal operation (I hope).

I initially absolutely had that honeymoon phase, possible placebo effect with the strings not being completely stretched. That "new string" initial looseness somehow comes through enhancing the p/up response IMO. But even after a few necessary tune-ups, stretching the strings, and height adjustments, these p/ups kept their "shine" for me.

Just a note:
I am a bit of a cheapo, in that I try to keep the current set of strings when swapping p/ups, especially with locking tuners. I hate previous experience of putting a new set on, and having to correct something and then the new set already needs to be replaced (altho - that's typically an issue with a pickguard Strat/Bolt guitar, now that I think about it - lol Embarassed ). So maybe that's a habit I got into.
And I have plenty of sets of strings - so I don't know why I insist on doing this?
Anyway - Carvin/Kiesel ships their guitars - even with locking tuners - with a good wrap or so around the posts - ie not pulled all the way through and locked down. I've noticed this on more than 1 occasion, and I like this approach. It allows some slack to allow p/up removal / replacement. Good for us tweakers. Also having longer lasting Elixirs helps IMO - YMMV. Or at least even more so makes me not want to scrap a "good" set still with life in them.


I don't want to rag on the Lithiums, but I am not a fan. I'm sure the output and clarity are great for the 7 and 8 strings they were originally designed for. Heck I was not pleased with the lower output C26s I have in my DC747, so maybe they are a good fit for those guitars? But the 6 string version ... did not cut it for me, and am glad I made the switch.
Lithiums - tried 'em, wont be going back to them on a future build.
(That is all. Wink )

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wickid
Curator: Carvin Museum of NY


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:16 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Just a note about the splits -

I suppose I could've turned the '59 around, and wired that up for the (then) inner (screw) coil. Would require wiring in the hot line on 1 side of the push/pull switch, instead of using ground for both. That may have given it inner coil with hum cancelling. (The lead wires currently come out of the top left side corner of the p/up. Turning it would put them closer (bottom-right) to the access hole to the control cavity.)
But most SD p/ups I've seen do not go slug / screw / slug / screw poles. Well, my Schecter does that, but it does not employ coil taps. It has an SD Custom Custom and Jazz set.

So neither way is totally "correct". 1 is more form correct, the other more functionally correct, I guess. I like how it sounds split now, so I'll leave it as-is.

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Guitardan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:08 am   Reply with quoteBack to top

Well....cool biz : )
Nice report as well.
I swapped out my C22's on my CT3T as well but with DiMarzio PAF Masters.
Love - Love - Love'em

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wickid
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:01 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks.
Isnt it funny how a successful p/up swap begets the craving to do more?
I'm starting to float the notion of putting a lil '59 in the neck of a Bolt. The only thing is, I kinda like my 2 HSS Bolts as they are - 1 M22T / TBH (meh - so so) / AP11; another C22B / S60 / S60. I was also considering the lil '59 for the mid p/up, but a quick google got me 1 review that said it was kinda muddy in the mid.
And looking out on the Duncan site, I came across their 1/4 lb singles. I have 2 80s Ibbys with large pole singles, and man, they sound GREAT. They even tap, which is odd for a single, but the SD 1/4 lb also has that.

Might be GAS for a new Bolt and try some of these other singles (I need an HB in the bridge).

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Guitardan
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:18 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

I have S sized DiMarzio: Air Norton / Cruiser / Cruiser in my Bolt and it freakin' rocks. Much smoother and more balanced than the TB's they replaced.

Here's a vid I did on the Bolt when I had Cruiser / AP11 / Cruiser, before I put the Norton in the bridge and moved the Cruiser to the middle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Btl4rplnoOU

Fun to experiment, but can be costly just the same....

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wickid
Curator: Carvin Museum of NY


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:24 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

Finally got a shot with the new p/ups ...



And speaking of pups, here are my 2, 1.75 years old. Looking at that pic, I better check my credit card balance ... they look too much like they're waiting for delivery of an in-stock. Mr. Green Laughing



Lucas on the left, Fiona on the right.

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Last edited by wickid on Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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tbonesullivan
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 12, 2017 9:22 pm   Reply with quoteBack to top

I have a Covered '59 neck and Custom 5 bridge in my Hamer Newport semi-hollow. LOVE those pickups.

Another great PAF which you don't hear about nearly enough are the Dimarzio 36th anniversary PAFs. Put one in the neck of a Hamer Diablo with a Tone Zone bridge: PERFECT.

They also work great in Semi hollow and jazz boxes, so says Jim Soloway, former builder of Soloway guitars.

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