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buckers recommendation for ES-345 (more british/Claptonish tone)

Konrad00711

New member
Joined
May 24, 2016
Messages
25
Hi folks,

I need your help with pickups :D

Long story short, I drifted away from my initial "music style" quite a bit and now I feel the pups don't give me the tone I need. They are stock MHS Gibson buckers fitted in my 59Ri ES-345. They are fantastic for those cleanish, BB King style tones (just my opinion) but if pushed harder they become a bit muddy with lots of smoothness. They seems to be quite low output then. No barks, no snarling, no creamy howls.

I'm really into early Bluesbreakers tone and all kind of british blues vibes. I even gathered Marshall 1962 Bluesbreaker for help and it rather don't like my MHS pups :D

By all means, I don't plan to copy Claptons beano tone nor making my ES to be a Les Paul. I'm rather interested in those ballpark of tones. I'm trying to get sweeter, howlier, barky tone with nice & fat mids while not sacrificing semi-hollow oomph.

I've never really upgraded pups in any guitar so my knowledge is kinda small. I was usually buying guitar if I liked the tone from the very beginning. I truly love this ES-345, for me she's fantastic in every case so there is no chance I get rid of her and I think that good pickups will do the job.

Any suggestions?
 

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,186
I have 2 suggestions for you based on your post . ThroBak MXV-SLE-101 , and ThroBak MXV-SLE-101 Plus with A5 magnets which is a bit hotter than the 101 . These are really good pickups and you will not have the dreaded mud .www.throbak.com
 

57gold

Active member
Joined
Jan 14, 2005
Messages
656
if you don't worry about budget, Ron Ellis makes a PAF that I have in a Collings i-35 LCV that Bill Frisell has in his main Collings I-30 LC Custom that has great clarity and depth...Ron said that Bill called asking "what do you do to make these so transparent?" Not sure if they are his LRP or Custom or a special low wind he did for Bill and Collings.

Also very much dig a set of JW-102B Custom MXV P.A.F. pick ups that I put in my 2007 I-35 Deluxe (sold wood ES style); the stock Lollars were uninspiring and these Throbaks opened up the instrument with more of the acoustic quality/wood coming through, very articulate and fun to play now.

Many good choices.
 

brandtkronholm

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2006
Messages
2,359
The tone you're describing make me think that slightly hotter PAF-style humbuckers are the way to go. Something unpotted and with 8.0-8.5Ω. I feel like Gibson's Custom 'Buckers might work nicely but I do not know if they are available to be purchased after-market.

Another thought, if the tone gets a bit muddy when it gets loud, dial back the lows/bass on the amp. (Duh, right?) But it's a serious suggestion. I turn the volume of my amps up high and adjust on the guitar. However, I keep the lows/bass - less than 3 on a blackface Fender, around 2 on an old Mesa Boogie MKIII. I also crank the mids: ~7 on the Fender and ~6 on the Boogie. All the complex interesting stuff (sweet, howly, barky, etc.) is in those mids.
 

charliechitlins

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
392
The PAF market is saturated...a rabbit hole.
I can offer little advice other than to tell you that my ham-and-cheese Duncan Antiquities (compared to high zoot boutique offerings) are very satisfying and compare very favorably to the real deal PAF in my '58 ES175.
For better or worse, I haven't fallen for the boutique smoke and mojo (not that there's anything wrong with smoke and mojo), but I was also extremely happy with a very budget priced set of Blizzard of '59 pickups.
 

Konrad00711

New member
Joined
May 24, 2016
Messages
25
The tone you're describing make me think that slightly hotter PAF-style humbuckers are the way to go. Something unpotted and with 8.0-8.5Ω. I feel like Gibson's Custom 'Buckers might work nicely but I do not know if they are available to be purchased after-market.

Another thought, if the tone gets a bit muddy when it gets loud, dial back the lows/bass on the amp. (Duh, right?) But it's a serious suggestion. I turn the volume of my amps up high and adjust on the guitar. However, I keep the lows/bass - less than 3 on a blackface Fender, around 2 on an old Mesa Boogie MKIII. I also crank the mids: ~7 on the Fender and ~6 on the Boogie. All the complex interesting stuff (sweet, howly, barky, etc.) is in those mids.
I keep the bass at 0 in BBRi. Mid and treb around 7. Prsence around noon. Otherwise it will produce a lot of loosey bass.
 

charliechitlins

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 16, 2021
Messages
392
You could try an EQ pedal.
I have a theory that solder sakes would plummet if more people used EQ pedals.
Or a boost that emphasizes highs.
I have a couple Rangemaster clones, but my favorite is the lowly E-H LPB-1.
 

bern1

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 23, 2004
Messages
1,241
The PAF market is saturated...a rabbit hole.
I can offer little advice other than to tell you that my ham-and-cheese Duncan Antiquities (compared to high zoot boutique offerings) are very satisfying and compare very favorably to the real deal PAF in my '58 ES175.
For better or worse, I haven't fallen for the boutique smoke and mojo (not that there's anything wrong with smoke and mojo), but I was also extremely happy with a very budget priced set of Blizzard of '59 pickups.
I like the Antiquities as well. But after years of screwing around with pickups I guess I’ve just gotten lazy. Once you fiddle with the settings, change guitars or amps, then I can’t really figure out where I am with the pickups. I put the Antiquities in a Les Paul that had Burstbuckers. I liked the burstbuckers ok, but wanted a set of non potted pickups. Yes, there is a slight difference but I’m toying with putting the bridge B bucker back in. It has some sizzle!
 

Konrad00711

New member
Joined
May 24, 2016
Messages
25
Thx for replies. I think I will go for Antiquities first because they are higher output than MHS and are fairly easy to get here where I'm living. They seems to be a lot sweeter/creamier that MHS pups. Unfortunately I can't find Throback pups anywhere.

Any love for Bare Knuckle buckers? There are plenty of them around and I wouldn't have any problems to get em.
 

Tollywood

Active member
Joined
Mar 16, 2022
Messages
154
Hello Konrad. Someone mentioned a rabbit hole and boy were they right. Pickup preference is extremely subjective so it’s hard to suggest pickups to people.

The best method I find is to search for videos of those pickups in the type of guitar that you are planning to put them in. But amps and pedals come into play as well, so it’s never a perfect match for what you have to work with. But it can get close enough to give you an idea that you may like the pickups.

I am dying to try a set of Thro Baks. You mentioned Bare Knuckles. Those are amazing. I currently have a Bare Knuckles Rebel Yell and I love it, but I play 80s hair band music so it’s perfect for that. I also had Bare Knuckles Holy Divers and those were great, too.
 

renderit

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 19, 2009
Messages
10,403
I suggest every time this comes up:

If you CAN pick up as many USED boutique pickups as you are able so you have a lot of variations to try.

Each guitar is different as to what sounds good for the sound you are looking for.

In my experience semi hollows are the hardest to fit both in effort AND in sound.

I went through about 5 or 6 kinds in my CS 339 and everything sounded like ass until I tried some bog-stock Wizz' in it.

THAT was the sound I wanted in it.

I got luckier on my Collings I-35 (which had Lollar Imperials originally) as 2 sets; Gibson Custombuckers from another guitar were better and then I went with Throbak MXV's in it and it was great.

Solids are usually a little easier as I have found listening to choices on Yoootooob can get me close most of the time.

After changing them out I really suggest giving it a week or two and adjusting them closer/further and changing the pole screw heights a little at a time.

On some pickups (particularly under wounds) this makes such a huge difference it is unbelievable.
 

Konrad00711

New member
Joined
May 24, 2016
Messages
25
Well, it can be problematic as there aren't mamy "used" options around. But I keep looking ;)
 

El Gringo

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Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,186
Thx for replies. I think I will go for Antiquities first because they are higher output than MHS and are fairly easy to get here where I'm living. They seems to be a lot sweeter/creamier that MHS pups. Unfortunately I can't find Throback pups anywhere.

Any love for Bare Knuckle buckers? There are plenty of them around and I wouldn't have any problems to get em.
www.throbak.com - telephone -616-734-8977. You can purchase direct from ThroBak , turn around time from when you order to when they are at your door is 2 weeks .
 

Amp360

Active member
Joined
Feb 16, 2012
Messages
288
I've had three sets of ThroBack pickups and didn't like either of them.

Someone gave me a set of the Peter Green ones and I wanted to love them but I just couldn't.

I figured it was the old of phase thing so I bought a set of a different model of them. The KZ-115 MXV. I ended up putting them into an Epiphone Les Paul that my friend had and then he didn't like them so we pulled them out and I sold them.

Then I bought an old Custom that looked and played great for really cheap. It didn't sound good plugged in but unplugged it sounded great. I pulled the pickups out yesterday and they're ThroBaks. They're model MT-102B

On their website it described the set I have as being the 'Mick Taylor' set, which I would love. Just for kicks maybe I'll stick them in my R-8 just to see if they sound better in that guitar before I dump them.

I've heard Duncan Antiquities that sound way better than either set of ThroBaks I've owned. Honestly I've heard those Guitar Fetish pickups that sound as good. They're beautifully made and are really nice to hold but the tone isn't there. I swear online there's this Emperor Has No Clothes going on with about 70% of what people like. Maybe that's why I don't do the forums that much.

If anyone wants a deal on them let me know. I have them on Reverb right now. Personally I wouldn't buy them but one person's trash is another's treasure.

I have a ES-355 that has the old pickups in it from 1968. Not sure what those cost but they sound great in that guitar. I have a GMP with Seymour Duncan Antiquities and they sound great. Way more like my older Gibsons than any set
 
Last edited:

El Gringo

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 8, 2015
Messages
5,186
I've had three sets of ThroBack pickups and didn't like either of them.

Someone gave me a set of the Peter Green ones and I wanted to love them but I just couldn't.

I figured it was the old of phase thing so I bought a set of a different model of them. The KZ-115 MXV. I ended up putting them into an Epiphone Les Paul that my friend had and then he didn't like them so we pulled them out and I sold them.

Then I bought an old Custom that looked and played great for really cheap. It didn't sound good plugged in but unplugged it sounded great. I pulled the pickups out yesterday and they're ThroBaks. They're model MT-102B

On their website it described the set I have as being the 'Mick Taylor' set, which I would love. Just for kicks maybe I'll stick them in my R-8 just to see if they sound better in that guitar before I dump them.

I've heard Duncan Antiquities that sound way better than either set of ThroBaks I've owned. Honestly I've heard those Guitar Fetish pickups that sound as good. They're beautifully made and are really nice to hold but the tone isn't there. I swear online there's this Emperor Has No Clothes going on with about 70% of what people like. Maybe that's why I don't do the forums that much.

If anyone wants a deal on them let me know. I have them on Reverb right now. Personally I wouldn't buy them but one person's trash is another's treasure.

I have a ES-355 that has the old pickups in it from 1968. Not sure what those cost but they sound great in that guitar. I have a GMP with Seymour Duncan Antiquities and they sound great. Way more like my older Gibsons than any set
The ones I use are ThroBak MXV-SLE-101 Plus .
 

Wilko

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Joined
Mar 11, 2002
Messages
20,148
Pickups don't get pushed harder. Pickups do the pushing.

IMNSHO, an ES-3xx type guitar doesn't want or need a pickup with higher output. That's where the mud comes in. Clapton's tone from his '64 335 was stock pickups that at that time were all pretty much the same 7.8-ish pat sticker pre-T humbuckers. those do a great job at getting the tone of the guitar to come through. Amp gain and/or pedals is what is need for anything resembling the bluesbreakers type tone from a 3xx guitar.

I do it with a stop converted '65 335 with stock pre-T pat sticker pickups. ANything hotter than antiquities just won't make you happy. You've already ruled out the hotter type throbaks, prolly for the same reasons I'm trying to say.

here's a sample:

 
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