I mentioned it last week in my little UPS rant, but my new pickups from Lollar arrived this week. I considered a lot of brands (Fralin, WCR, Wolfetone, etc) but the Lollar pickups sounded like what I wanted.
I decided on the Imperial humbucker for the neck. I got the low-wind option, which gives it an overall brighter tone than the standard Imperial. I got a Special T for the bridge. It’s basically a hot-rodded, high output pickup that sounds almost like a P-90. Both of these pickups use Alnico 5 magnets, which contribute to an overall brighter tone than the Alnico 2 magnets used in the stock G&L pickups.
I installed the new pickups on Monday, but I haven’t really had a chance to play the guitar through a real amp yet. Things have been a little busy at home lately. However, I have played the guitar through the school’s solid state Peavey keyboard amp. That amp is actually surprisingly okay if you set the EQ right. Anyway, my initial impressions are pretty good. The neck humbucker is a lot louder than the bridge pickup, so I still need to tweak the height of the neck pickup a little bit. I also need to mess with the tone cap values a little bit. I currently have a .022 uF cap, but I want to try a couple of other values (Jason Lollar recommends .015 for teles).
Anyway, I don’t have a lot to say about the tone since I haven’t played them through a tube amp, but I think that I’m going to be pretty happy with them. I had two complaints about the the stock pickups. My main problem was that they were too dark. The Lollars are clearly brighter without being icepicky. The other problem is that they were unpotted, so they tended to get microphonic and would squeal whenever you added much gain. I haven’t played with distortion yet, but the Lollars are wax potted so they shouldn’t have the squealing issues.
I’ll post again (with clips) when I have a chance to really play through the new pickups. In the meantime, does anyone need some gently used pickups? I’ve got a Seymour Duncan Seth Lover (PAF-style) and a G&L MFD tele bridge pickup. Both pickups are actually really nice, but they didn’t really agree with the guitar. I think that the semi-hollow body makes the guitar darker or something. Anyway, feel free to send me trade offers or whatever if you’re interested.