Santana and HFS/VB pups: Internet vs Real Life

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by sergiodeblanc, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    You are correct sir...about it being ceramic, not about it being ice-picky. Use the tone knob people!;)
     
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  2. shallbe

    shallbe New Member

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    The DII neck pickup is much better than the bridge, IMO. I had 2 sets of these. The 2003 guitar with them---yuck. Just overwound, overwaxed, overcompressed. Replaced with Lollar Imperials and it was literally night and day.

    The set in my 2008 CU22 were MUCH better. Great sound from both, but still too compressed. Robbed the dynamics I crave from my amp. The DGT pickups are a wonderful example of a pickup with great dynamics and a dash of sweet compression on attack.

    I thought I did not like ceramic pickups either. Then I got my 2008 CU24AP and loved the HFS in there. Then came the used 2003 Santana II---the stock bridge pickup is fantastic. Clear, powerful and dynamic. So I don't discriminate on magnet types or windings or any of that anymore. If it sounds and feels good, I like it.
     
  3. Jazzedout

    Jazzedout More Guitars than Time...

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    Have said that before, will say it again: The HFS and the Dimarzio ToneZone are the pickups I grew up with.
    Regardless what else comes along while tastes change, I always feel at home when playing a guitar with either pickups.
     
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  4. Jazzedout

    Jazzedout More Guitars than Time...

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    Had more time to write this better on March 23 2018...
     
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  5. NBW

    NBW New Member

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    I might be odd. I went to Dave’s yesterday. I was seriously thinking about trading in my 71 Mustang on a 18 CU 24. So I played the CU 24, it was nice. But the tones I get from my lowly SE Standard 24 with the BKs are much nicer to my ears.

    The people at Dave’s are awesome and if you have a chance you should stop by.
     
  6. Black Plaid

    Black Plaid just another Alan

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    They do seem nice, I bought my ME1 from them, and it's currently my favorite guitar.
     
  7. BWV548

    BWV548 Custom Title

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    I’ve no experience with those pickups. However, it’s the internet, so it must be right. I mean, they have me, as a PRS player, pegged as a DDS, MD, and/or JD. I have degrees in none of those, but the internet knows. As such, I’ll be doing a root canal on it, then severing its corpus callosum. After those procedures, I’ll be suing myself on its behalf
     
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  8. danktat

    danktat Award winning tattoo artist ... Amateur guitarist

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    I hear more hate for D2's than any of the other pups. They, for me, are my ideal. They clean up nicely for me and have enough natural compression that my sloppy picking doesn't sound like it is all over the place. To the point that a compressor is only used to add some sustain for me. Perhaps those with better playing technique don't like them as much....BUT, I think a lot of it is simply that they were on so many production guitars for so many years that they are considered the "generic" starting point that you get when you buy one, and then, like pipes on a Harley, you just have to pay the pickup tax and switch them to something (anything) else as soon as you lay your hands on the guitar.
     
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  9. Rider1260

    Rider1260 New Member

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    I did like the VB/HFS set in my CU24 the 2 + 4 positions on the rotary were money !!! and plugged into my Mesa MKII it just made me smile.
    I have a 88 Multifoil at the house that has me rethinking at least having one guitar with VB/HFS and a rotary.
    The Multi Foil is out of my league price wise BUT a Standard 24 or CE 24 with those pickups would be a winner
     
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  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike This space for rent

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    Used my own ears
    Would rather jab an ice pick and end the suffering than ever use an HFS Again.
    Dragons, D2, McCarty, standard T and B, some one off stuff from orkie, the old artist pickups...love em.

    Still trying to decide if I’m jibing with the dgt pickups much as I like the guitar
     
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  11. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    So yesterday I decided to run through a bunch of my guitars with a variety of pickups, but focused on my 1990 CE which has VB + HFS pups.

    If I put the bright switch on my Sweet 16, use the bridge pick up only (HFS), with tone and volume at 10, using a relatively bright setting on a dirt pedal, I can get it a little "too bright". Turn off the bright switch or turn down the tone, and it just sounds "nice and trebly, punchy", as it should.

    I dunno, maybe I just have too much hearing loss in the high end to think "ice picks". But my wife agreed with my assessment, and her hearing is fine (as far as we know, I guess). I like my HFS+VBs - got them in the CE and in a 2002 CU24.

    :shrug: (need a shrug emoji) ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
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  12. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    That seems right to me.
     
  13. Steve's addiction

    Steve's addiction New Member

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    I love em in the CE 24. It's part of the reason why it's my favorite. Also have em in my cu 24 but I don't care for them as much. CE has a 5 way and CU has coil tap.
     
  14. Sage

    Sage While you were partying I studied the guitar.

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    I currently own three PRS electrics:
    2008 Custom 24 with Dragon II pickups
    1992 CE-24 with HFS/VB pickups
    2018 Private Stock Cu24 Semi-Hollow with 57/08 pickups

    I love all three pickup sets. The Dragon II is probably the most maligned pickup I’ve seen online. People say it’s too “compressed.” I’ve learned that when a guitarist says that, he means its mids are too pronounced (Eric Clapton used to mistakenly refer to the active mid-boost circuit in his signature Strat as a “compressor”). Me, I like a lot of mids, seeing as how I play mostly classic hard rock. The Dragon IIs are great for that. They can be a little dark compared to other pickups, but I find that is easily remedied by turning up the presence on my amp.

    The VB is one of my favorite neck humbuckers ever made. It’s remarkably clean and clear-sounding. I feel like it could even pass for a single coil if EQ’d properly. The HFS is extremely well-balanced, which is to be expected from a good ceramic pickup, but some people interpret that sound as “sterile.” To me it just means the pickup takes to EQ very well. I’ve always assumed it was PRS’s take on the Dimarzio Super Distortion, a similarly well-balanced, high output ceramic pickup.

    I doubt I need to describe the 57/08s to anyone, but I will say they are good for when you want to let the amp handle the gain rather than have it pushed by the pickups. I love them and the guitar they’re in is probably my favorite, but I would argue those pickups are actually less versatile than the other two sets. They do the job I need them to do extremely well, but they don’t split as well as the HFS/VB or Dragon II sets.

    Gotta agree with Sergio that these older pickups are vastly underrated.
     
  15. Big Mike

    Big Mike This space for rent

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    The D2 aren’t bad at all
    The pickups in the s1, S2 and S3 were good


    I’d kill to have a set of artist pickups again
    Sigh
     
  16. Boogie

    Boogie Zombie Two, DFZ

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    That’s a fair and accurate statement. It’s also my experience with any ceramic magnet pickup. Since I played one of the most potentially high gain amps of its day for 20+ years, I fell victim to this situation often. Setting the amp for the individual guitar is essential, but inconvenient for live situations. (Clearly I lived with it since both the amp and guitar are still around and have oodles of miles on them both.)

    “Offended” is way too harsh of a description for my experience. More, annoyed. But if I moved into a band situation where I needed to stand out, the annoyance disappeared.

    Yep. But playing live and finding a guitar that physically speaks to me (think: Vela) leads my thinking to morphing it into what I need for a particular band. If/when that band need dissipates, the Vela will probably go back to stock config. Damn...that RL Vela is the most comfortable guitar I own and is a joy to play!
     
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  17. MichaelS

    MichaelS I'm here for the free kool-aid...

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    ...late to the party here, and might not read the whole thread, but I frickin LOVE Santanas.
    Put HFS/VB into an SE22 and they're mighty fine too.
     
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  18. MichaelS

    MichaelS I'm here for the free kool-aid...

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  19. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    #59 dogrocketp, Jul 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2019
  20. shinksma

    shinksma What? I get a title?

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    That is quite an interesting video! I had no preconceptions about ceramic vs alnico, so I always wondered how folks heard one thing vs another when it came to pick-up construction and the type of magnets (see many of my previous posts about my general ignorance about pickups that is only now being informed).
     

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