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Post new topic Your Thoughts on Alumitone Pickups?
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Author Topic:  Your Thoughts on Alumitone Pickups?
Georg Sørtun


From:
Mandal, VA, Norway & Weeki Wachee, FL, USA
Post Posted 24 Apr 2017 8:30 pm     Reply with quote

If I should characterize my Alumitone PU, I have to call it "neutral sounding, very sensitive to string-vibrations, and very insensitive to external electro-magnetic fields" - superior to most other PUs I have tested in every way when it comes to exact transformation of string-vibrations. Easy to get a good and well-balanced sound with an Alumitone, but not if I mount it exactly like any other PU.

1: To get the most out of an Alumitone I lower it a little furter down from the strings compared to most other PUs, to avoid a tendency to what I would call "saturation" (or "harsh") sound. The Alumitone is very sensitive (or "hot" if you like), which is easy to tame as long as the PU can be lowered.
2: I move the Alumitone a tad further from the bridge compared to most other PUs, to get a fuller and more even sound. This is all but impossible on most PSGs, but I designed in a 3/4 inch "horizontal PU-position range" on my modified Dekley so I can experiment and pretty much move a PU on-the-fly while playing if I like.

In my experience: one can get more variations in sound by varying the placement of the PU on a PSG, then by switching PUs. A pity not all PSGs are built with this option.
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Stu Schulman


From:
Ulster Park New Yawk
Post Posted 27 Apr 2017 5:17 am     Reply with quote

A little to bright for my tastes...My favorite pickup these days is a Telonics 206 or a George L' 10-1
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Mike Perlowin


From:
Los Angeles CA
Post Posted 27 Apr 2017 9:03 pm     Reply with quote

I like mine.
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Bob Carlucci


From:
Candor, New York, USA
Post Posted 29 Apr 2017 1:03 pm     Reply with quote

Ken Metcalf wrote:
If a pickup is too hot try lowering it.
On my Carter I ended up mounting the Alumitone directly to the body almost a 1/4 inch from the strings.

Mine was as low as it would go.. I don't fight pickups or guitars personally.. If they don't do what i want, they go off to the cornfield. bob
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Terry Barnett


From:
Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada
Post Posted 1 May 2017 5:23 pm     Reply with quote

I've put a few of these pickups in bass guitars. Turns out the "bass" pickups are the same ones used on psg's. Super sensitive to nearness to the strings, be it bass guitar or otherwise. Think of it like a microphone...it's a pretty different sound when you're eating the mic or when you back off a bit. They're pretty hot so you're probably going to get way more clarity and definition as you back down the pickup. Sounds to me that the single coil sound so many here like is in this pickup if it's adjusted properly. Worth a try.
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 2 May 2017 8:55 am     Reply with quote

I think one of the problems with this pickup is the ability to get it far enough away from the strings.
I believe they are higher than most other steel guitar pickups.
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Gary Cosden


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 2 May 2017 9:12 am     Reply with quote

Erv you're right. They spec it at .88" thick and everyone seems to think you need more than standard string clearance. My current guitar (Performance) only has 1.0" between the body and the strings so I would need an additional .25" or more so as it turns out I won't even try it. If someone has a used one they would sell me for a good price I would be willing to try to modify the pickup itself as an experiment. Otherwise it looks like it's not in the cards for me after all.
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Jerry Gleason


From:
Eugene, Oregon, USA
Post Posted 5 May 2017 12:01 am     Reply with quote

I currently use Alumitones in all my guitars; My Carter D-10, and all my 8-string builds. Not because I think it's the best pickup there is, but it's characteristics generally suit my style, and I've learned how the get the most out it. It's a very "hi-fi" sounding pickup, meaning neutral, accurate, and very clean. That might not suit everyone, or every guitar. They also incorporate a "coil tap" that's useful. I agree with Georg's assessment above. Placement has a big effect. That's why I made my last Double 8 with sliding pickup mounts that can move fore and aft about 24mm. Not an option on a manufactured pedal steel, but something to consider for a builder.


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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 5 May 2017 7:01 am     Reply with quote

Very nice looking instrument. Very Happy
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James Marlowe


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 11 May 2017 5:39 pm     Reply with quote

I tried one on my Zum. It sounded fair but the problem was the height. On my steel the changer arms prevent the pick up from sitting low enough. I have wondered if altering the pick up by shortening the legs would hurt it. It would be worth a try if I can get by with it. Any ideas about it?
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Erv Niehaus


From:
Litchfield, MN, USA
Post Posted 12 May 2017 6:50 am     Reply with quote

James,

Save yourself the trouble.
I had a Zum with an Alumitone pickup in it and I didn't care for it.
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Jerry Overstreet


From:
Louisville Ky
Post Posted 12 May 2017 4:02 pm     Reply with quote

If it's any help James, I installed 2 AT's in an '81 Zum. I know the problem. I had to take a Dremel to the changer mounts legs in order to gain enough clearance.

I posted about it here a few years back. It was a fairly intense project and I don't believe I would do it again in that guitar when there as so many others that will drop right in.

You can grind down the pickup legs a little bit, but keep in mind the element is right there, so you don't have much to work with.

I was satisfied with the sound. They sounded crisper and more present than the 10-1 I pulled out and comparable to the old Zum and Truetone's of around 17-17.5 ohms resistance.

Very quiet and clean. Powerful as well.

Concerning pickup changes and pickups in general:
Just about any and all modern pickups wound today, in good shape, have a clean, clear sound. With proper adjustments on your amp, fx. and eq's, I feel they can all be made to sound good. It's mainly about the guitar's character and the center frequency range you want to boost or cut to suit your style. IMO.

Don't be afraid to twist those knobs. That's what they're for and just a few tweaks can make a big difference.
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James Marlowe


From:
Florida, USA
Post Posted 12 May 2017 6:30 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks so much Jerry. I never could get a pleasing sound with the Loomy. And being reluctant to tamper with the Zum I thought maybe it would be worth a try altering the pick up. I twisted plenty of knobs☺️, for sure and even tried a graphic eq. in the mix. I currently am using an Emmons s/c which sounds great. But the hum can be annoying for sure. Oh well, I'll see what happens with the Loomy. Thanks again!
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J.R. Marlowe
Life has many choices. Eternity has TWO. I choose Heaven.
Black '95 Zumsteel SD10, 4+5;Black Mullen RP SD10, 4+5
NRA Life member
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Stephen Rethmeier


From:
Yorba Linda, California, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 10:26 am     Reply with quote

What David said. I have a GFI that had a GFI III and to me it was not playable from a tone standpoint. My wife is a music director at a church and I play for her sometimes. She asked me to never bring the GFI before I changed the pick up to an Alumitone.

Jim Palenscar changed it out for me, so maybe he got it low enough, but when I got it back and played it, it was a huge and pleasing difference. It had a much warmer tone than the III. Even the wife came into the music room to see if I was playing the GFI or my Carter Pro (which she preferred).

Funny thing, though, was that when I brought the guitar to Jim, he played it with the III in it and thought it sounded fine. Made me doubt my purpose for a second, but glad I went through with the change.

I have a Williams S-12 on order and went with an Alumitone in that too. Fingers crossed.

David Nugent wrote:
I consider the Alumitone to be the ideal replacement in a GFI 'Ultra'. The stock pickup (the'GFI II',which in actuality is a slightly modified George-L E-66)caused the guitar's tone to be brittle and harsh sounding to my ears... In the GFI it appeared to mellow the high end considerably and made the bass and mid range much more clear as well.

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Kirk Eipper


From:
Arroyo Grande, Ca.
Post Posted 8 Jun 2017 12:59 pm     Reply with quote

I have one in my Williams and love the string separation
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 8 Jun 2017 1:44 pm     Reply with quote

I installed 2 of the P-90 types in one of my Fender 400's and they are absolutely fantastic!
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