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Thread: brass vs nickel base plate?

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    Mojo's Minions crguti's Avatar
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    Default brass vs nickel base plate?

    I've been googling about this topic but I cannot find anything to tell me what's the sonic difference of using brass vs nickel base plate in a humbucker.
    Has anyone experimented with this? I would like to hear what were your findings.
    Last edited by crguti; 05-02-2012 at 02:20 AM.

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    AFAIK, brass baseplates cause "Eddy currents" (unless a ceramic magnet is used) while nickel silver don't.

    Sonically, the HB's that I've tried with Alnico magnets and brass baseplates were rather on the quiet / clean / cold side.

    This is no more a problem with ferrite magnets although I personally dislike the raunchy mid tone of powerful pu's with brass baseplates (don't know if it's due to their baseplate alone, though).
    Duncan user since the 80's...

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    Mojo's Minions Edgecrusher's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    No clue. I know this though some of my favorite RioGrande humbuckings have nylon baseplates. Hows that for heathenistic.

    I think like most thing with pickups there can be some differences what those differences turn out to be are purely subjective.
    "It keeps you fit - the alcohol, nasty women, sweat on stage, bad food - it's all very good for you." -Bon Scott

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    you better than any girlfriend, because it screams louder, it's easier to pick up, and it shuts up when you take your plug out." -Rip Glitter

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    Mojo's Minions crguti's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    I have read that brass and nickel-silver are both non-magnetic material... so there should be no difference in sound. Is it right?
    it's hard to believe that the metal base plate doesn't influence the sound.

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Quote Originally Posted by crguti View Post
    I have read that brass and nickel-silver are both non-magnetic material... so there should be no difference in sound. Is it right?
    it's hard to believe that the metal base plate doesn't influence the sound.
    What I've said sums up my own readings on this subject.

    See for example what Bill Lawrence says there...

    http://www.tdpri.com/resources/tele-...ate-materials/

    There's also loads of info on music-electronics forum (pickups winders section).
    Duncan user since the 80's...

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    Ultimate Tone Member copperheadroads's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Swap out a nickel silver base plate for a brass plate you can notice a difference in treble & there's something different about the low end ...this is more noticeable in the neck position

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    Mojo's Minions crguti's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    ^ but what's is the difference?, more or less high/lows?

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Less highs.

    Brass baseplates are used to tame the highs, usually coming from ceramic magnets in a well-designed p'up.

    However, most asian p'up producers use it just because is the cheapest to produce.

    HTH,
    Pepe aka Lt. Kojak
    Milano, Italy

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    Mojo's Minions crguti's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    ^thanks Kojak.
    I have noticed that the Tone Zone has brass base plate, maybe changing it to nickel will bright up a bit the pickup.... an a brass base plate will help a JB to tame down the brighness.

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    Something Cool uOpt's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    All conductors have Eddy Currents in them. Brass can mean a wide variety of mixes with different amounts of copper so the conductivity might be higher than nickel.

    The important difference is that nickel is magnetic at room temperature and that's a strict no-no at least for a humbucker baseplate with the legs. It'll pancake out the magnetic field.

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    Ultimate Tone Member copperheadroads's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Quote Originally Posted by uOpt View Post
    All conductors have Eddy Currents in them. Brass can mean a wide variety of mixes with different amounts of copper so the conductivity might be higher than nickel.

    The important difference is that nickel is magnetic at room temperature and that's a strict no-no at least for a humbucker baseplate with the legs. It'll pancake out the magnetic field.
    I have not noticed a nickel silver baseplate magnet ..I just tried 2 large neo magnets that have over a 100 lbs of lifting force & it would not even attract to the baseplate at all
    I never tried using my gauss meter

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    I'm convinced this is where the trademark DMZ midrange and darker high end come from. Not better or worse, just different.

    I have not verified this with my own experimentation yet.
    HAIL HYDRA

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    Ultimate Tone Member copperheadroads's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Most of Dimarzio's pickups use brass baseplates & have use them for a long time ,I have noticed that some there newer pickups use nickel plates

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    And the ones that don't are their more "classic" sounding models.
    HAIL HYDRA

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Quote Originally Posted by King IzzO))) View Post
    I'm convinced this is where the trademark DMZ midrange and darker high end come from. Not better or worse, just different.

    I have not verified this with my own experimentation yet.
    I've exactly the same feeling.
    Duncan user since the 80's...

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    That and the allen screws IMO.

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Look at the TZ, AZ, Norton, AN.
    HAIL HYDRA

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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Of the DM high power pickups collection, the tone zone is the only one without allen screws, and in my opinion it sounds better with.

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    Imperator of Indignation idsnowdog's Avatar
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    Default Re: brass vs nickel base plate?

    Brass is mellow, round and low midrange centric. Nickel steel is brighter, clearer and more punchy. I have a Dimarzio Super D with a nickel steel baseplate and I have a Pearly Gates with a brass baseplate. The Super D has better note definition and is clearer after getting a nickel steel baseplate and the Pearly Gates is darker, rounder and more mellow with the brass baseplate. Part of the reason why Dimarzio uses hex heads is to compensate for the darkness of the brass baseplate.
    Last edited by idsnowdog; 05-02-2012 at 04:04 PM.

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