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Thread: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

  1. #1
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    Default Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    I've done some searches and nothing useful has turned up.
    I've noticed that some vintage type humbuckers have wooden spacers (I assume most pickups use plastic.
    Does the wood make any difference or is it strictly a snob factor?

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    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    wood was traditionally used back in the 50's. does it make a tonal difference? not that anyone will hear on stage. not that i can hear in the studio ymmv

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    Toneologist Davii's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    What about non-potted pickups, would the spacer material have an amount of influence?
    My mum says I'm speshal...

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    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    I can't see that making any difference at all, potted or not.

    The wood ones are nice and easy to make yourself, with some basic tools. Then again, so are plastic ones.
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    Administrator Mincer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    I really can't imagine how wood can make a difference in the sound.
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    Mojo's Minions beaubrummels's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    The only spacer that could make a difference is a magnetic one.
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    The only way a spacer could influence tone (assuming an inert material) is if it was so mis shapen or so soft that the bobbin could move even once tightened down.

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    Senior Member David Garner's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    Listen, if y'all can't hear that maple spacers lend a woodier, more organic tone, I don't know what to tell you.









    Fine, it probably makes no difference. But maple is prettier, so if I ever disassemble the pickup, mine will look nicer.









    Full disclosure, I have no idea what kind of spacers are in any of my pickups.

  9. #9
    tonewood instigator
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mincer View Post
    I really can't imagine how wood can make a difference in the sound.
    I'm putting this on the record. Next time we spark a tonewood debate I'm quoting this with zero context.
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Garner View Post
    Listen, if y'all can't hear that maple spacers lend a woodier, more organic tone, I don't know what to tell you.









    Fine, it probably makes no difference. But maple is prettier, so if I ever disassemble the pickup, mine will look nicer.









    Full disclosure, I have no idea what kind of spacers are in any of my pickups.
    Eric Johnson prefers balsa spacers because they sound more airy to his ears than maple.


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    Ultimate Tone Slacker eclecticsynergy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    What I want to know is, have any of you tried mahogany?

    Seriously though, it's hard to figure how they could make any appreciable difference. Pickup makers who want to be vintage correct use 'em anyway.

    When Tim Shaw was designing a new pickup for Gibson - one intended to sound as much like the original PAFs as possible - he chose to use plastic spacers. Tim knows what he's doing when it comes to pickups and these sound great; they bring a pretty good price on the used market, especially for a factory Gibson pickup.

    Still, many boutique winders (including some guys who have studied vintage PAFs extensively) use wood. Not sure whether that's for any tonal purpose or if it's just so they can say they do.
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    Toneologist Davii's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    I don't always use spacers
    My mum says I'm speshal...

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    Ive got a guitar with Wooden pickup spacers -1979 Pedulla MVP

    maybe on a spectral analyzer you could see some micro roll off -but absolutely nothing you could hear.
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    Toneologist Discharged's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    The only reason Gibson used wooden spacers is because they were made with scrap materials, so no added cost other than manufacturing. And for the record, Gibson made p'ups considering'em as a "necessary evil" to be able to sell their guitars. And it still is, if you ask me.

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    tonewood instigator
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Discharged View Post
    And for the record, Gibson made p'ups considering'em as a "necessary evil" to be able to sell their guitars. And it still is, if you ask me.

    /Peter
    Chapman thinks the same thing, but for different reasons. They openly admit the only reason they include pickups in a guitar is because they wouldn't sell without them. They heavily believe in pickup swaps.
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  16. #16
    PenultimateTone Member Demanic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    It makes me wonder why they don't just sell their instruments at a lower cost without pickups.

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  17. #17
    tonewood instigator
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by Demanic View Post
    It makes me wonder why they don't just sell their instruments at a lower cost without pickups.

    Sent from my Alcatel_5044C using Tapatalk
    If I owned a guitar company, I would offer at least three options for pickups (with descriptions of course) and a reduced price BYOP option. I've acquired so many OEM pickups over the years that I've debated making a coffee table out of them.
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  18. #18
    LoveMachineologist jeremy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    that slows manufacturing waaaay down. cookie cutter is much more efficient

  19. #19
    tonewood instigator
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    Well my company, if I had one, would be a small boutique type business that sold only the finest of hand crafted instruments.
    Like the fool I am and I'll always be
    I've got a dream, I've got a dream
    They can change their minds but they can't change me
    I've got a dream, I've got a dream
    Oh, I know I could share it if you'd want me to
    If you're goin' my way, I'll go with you

  20. #20
    Mojo's Minions
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    Default Re: Wooden Pickup Spacers?

    Quote Originally Posted by eclecticsynergy View Post
    What I want to know is, have any of you tried mahogany?

    Seriously though, it's hard to figure how they could make any appreciable difference. Pickup makers who want to be vintage correct use 'em anyway.

    When Tim Shaw was designing a new pickup for Gibson - one intended to sound as much like the original PAFs as possible - he chose to use plastic spacers. Tim knows what he's doing when it comes to pickups and these sound great; they bring a pretty good price on the used market, especially for a factory Gibson pickup.

    Still, many boutique winders (including some guys who have studied vintage PAFs extensively) use wood. Not sure whether that's for any tonal purpose or if it's just so they can say they do.
    Just an FYI really......
    .........the Shaw pickup's main vintage correct part is the bobbin having the 'square in circle' marking on the top. James Finnerty from ReWind has looked at the various components of the Shaw, and concluded that practically every element of that pickup is 'wrong' if you get down the nitty gritty of what makes a PAF. However Gibson themselves may well have been the more pertinent part of that decision.....they certainly made the decision on speccing a non vintage correct (cheaper to buy) wire over what Shaw himself wanted (the vintage correct coating).
    So I'd most likely guess that the plastic spacer was a Gibson (Norlin) decision. The Heritage series that the pickup was designed for, was supposedly a 59 reissue, but was essentially a generic LP of the era with a 2 piece top and ABR. So there was not an overwhelming desire in any part of the process to make anything accurate.

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