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Throbak Koss-301

JLee

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Nov 27, 2010
Messages
58
Any users? I have a set on order for a 1980 Tokai LS-80.

I have Throbak PG-102 and ER Custom sets and love both of them. The LS-80 currently has OX4 Low Winds with Throbak UOA5 magnets and Throbak covers. I always felt there was a level of complexity that’s missing compared to my Throbaks, so I ordered a set of the Koss-301s.

Not necessarily trying to cop Kossoff’s tone, but they sounded like they might be a good fit for this guitar, which has a deep, darker voice.
 

TM1

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Jun 27, 2003
Messages
8,027
They’re Great pickups! I have a set in a ‘61 single cut Melody Maker and they really made that guitar come alive!
 

Emiel

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Oct 30, 2015
Messages
49
The Koss set has a 8.6K neck pickup, won't that make the sound too dark and woofy?

Funny fact: I too have a LS80 fitted with exactly, OX4 low winds (Alnico IV).
 

JLee

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Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
58
I’ll let you know how the Koss set works out. Didn’t think about the neck...
 

JLee

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Nov 27, 2010
Messages
58
Holy s**t these sound amazing!
I ordered the pre-repair set. I was concerned about the hotter neck pickup, but these balance beautifully and the neck is nice and clear.

Not at all what I’ve know as A2 tone. None of the excess sponginess I’ve always associated with A2. Bright, open, woody and snarly! Very, very honest pickups. Absolutely cannot hide sloppy technique behind these pickups.

So much character and harmonics.

These are great for copping Clapton’s Fresh Cream tones.

Absolutely fantastic! Well worth the price of entry in my opinion.
 

Sol

Active member
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Oct 26, 2001
Messages
645
Can I ask how bright the Koss-301 set is compared to your other ThroBak sets?
Also how do the Koss 301s compare with the PG-102 ?

I'm considering ordering a set but I'm still undecided, so your observations are very welcome.
 

JLee

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Nov 27, 2010
Messages
58
I currently own the Koss 301, PG-102 and ER Customs. I’ve also owned the Pre-Ts.
All are/were in different guitars.

The Koss set is the brightest, but not by much. I still wouldn’t consider them overly bright. Has bite, but the highs are not at all strident. Really nicely balanced.

Less low end punch than all of the other sets, but A2 in the Koss set vs A5 in all of the others. They come across as clearer sounding, but that’s not to say the other sets don’t have clarity. All the sets I own/owned have great string separation. Neck position is heaven. Everything you hear about classic PAF neck pickup tones. Woody, warm and a little hollow.

The PG102 set has a crunchier tone with a more direct attack. Softer attack with the Koss set, but still nicely defined in the low end. Like being punched in the face with a velvet glove rather than a leather glove.

The ER Customs have a nice low mid emphasis that’s great for thinner sounding guitars. They’re not as hot as the PG-102. I imagine they’re not terribly far off a Patent Number PAF with the short A5 magnets. They are in a semi-hollow and really brought that guitar to life.

The PG-102s are the hottest set, followed by the ER Customs and Koss set. Different guitars, so hard to say if the Koss set has more output than the ER Customs. They all have enough output to push a NMV amp into overdrive.

The Koss set cops a great Fresh Cream tone. The PG-102 set is the closest I’ve ever gotten to Peter Green tone. Too many people focus only on the out of phase tones, but these nail Peter Green’s tones in every position.

Dont pay any attention to the Koss set’s readings. The hotter neck is nice and clear and the bridge pickup has plenty of push and balls. They are so well balanced.
 
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Sol

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645
Wow. Thankyou for perhaps the most detailed frank and helpful reply to a pickup question I've ever had.
I really appreciate your help. If anything else should come to mind don't hesitate to contact me privately.
 
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JLee

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Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
58
Wow. Thankyou for perhaps the most detailed frank and helpful reply to a pickup question I've ever had.
I really appreciate your help. If anything else should come to mind don't hesitate to contact me.
Likewise, if you have any more questions, fire away!
 
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Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
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645
I love the Koss set that Jon Gundry/ThroBak makes!!
TM1 : Are you happy to include your own experience with the Koss-301 set from ThroBak ?
If you could include the guitar type as part of your experience I'd be genuinely obliged to you..
 

Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
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645
I think they might possibly be my all time favorite set! They have such a sweet tone!
Thanks again. Could you briefly clarify which ThroBak pickups are in which guitar ?
 

JLee

Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2010
Messages
58
PG-102 in a ‘81 Tokai LS-120
Koss-301 in a ‘80 Tokai LS-80
ER Custom in a ‘81 Tokai ES-100

the LS-120 is more balanced and leaner sounding than the LS-80, which has an overall fuller tone with a bigger low end. The ES-100 is bright and snappy.

The LS-120 had Manlius Fat Dianes, the LS-80 had Burstbucker 1/2, then OX4 Low Winds and the ES had stock Gotoh.

The Throbaks all have more complexity than any of the sets they replaced. There’s that PAF hollowness and air and more harmonic content. Especially the Koss set.

I’ve owned Fralin, WCR, Shed, Wizz and a few others. Wizz are the only set I’ve owned that rival the complexity of the Throbaks, but didn’t work in the guitar they were in.

All are sporting VIPots and either vintage bumblebee caps or Vitamin Qs.
 
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Sol

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I'm really glad you joined this forum mate, your a real asset, thanks again for adding additional clarification info, much appreciated.. :)
 

Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
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Sorry J Lee, can I pick your brain again and ask you about the Pre - T set you mentioned ?
It's just I have a couple of sets of Pat# and early T Tops, and knowing their characteristics any comparisons to the Koss - 301 would be interesting not least as Jon uses the 301 winder for his pre T and T Top pickups ?

I promise to leave you alone after this with no more headache inducing questions... Promise.
 

JLee

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Nov 27, 2010
Messages
58
I love talking gear! No worries Sol!

The Pre-Ts were in a semi-hollow that was really bright. Same guitar had the Wizz, prior to installing the Pre-Ts. I was getting ear fatigue from the Wizz. In that guitar they had a big upper mid spike and it got grating on the ears.

The Pre-Ts were fatter with more of a low mid emphasis and smoother top end. I had issues dialing out the low end in the neck position. I also didn’t find them as complex as the Wizz or my PG-102s.

If I ever get another SG, I plan on buying the Throbak Pat Numbers!
 

Sol

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Oct 26, 2001
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645
Well, as you may know, Angus Young's current first choice SG is a 1967 model. Today he has Seymour Duncan wind him 'buckers at approx 7.7Kohms and are wax potted . I'm assuming they are pre T or T Top recreations, as 7.7K became the most common T Top output during the 1970s.

He must have gone through many unpotted T Tops, perhaps due to the sweat of intensive touring rotting the pickups delicate insulation throughout the 70s and 80s, it seems reasonable that he would approach Seymour Duncan for a solution.

I've no doubt that ThroBak with that 301 winder are producing great pre and T Top reproductions.
I wanted to share the above in thanks for your help with your pickup tone descriptions.
 

TM1

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I have the Koss set in a 1961 Melody Maker (single cut)
 
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