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Thread: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

  1. #1
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    Default European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    I'm slightly frustrated that Seymour Duncans, Freylins and the likes cost at least $100 more here in Europe than in the States (and the right size/type don't seem available at all). So I'm looking for European alternatives for my RI Duo Sonic. I think Mustang pickups will fit, but Jaguar certainly won't without lots of modding (I love the Jag sound though, both for surf and alternative music). My guitar has a 22.5 scale, and I'll likely add a top mount tremolo. I like 60s garage/underground/surf, but also modern alternative/underground. Not really that high gain, but often with some nice single coil distortion (not metal or rock-like music). I find the stock pickups to be rather characterless and flat. I started talking to the guy from the Creamery in the UK. Are there any other options, and specific pickups that I should consider for this project?
    Last edited by WeeGuitarGirl; 04-22-2019 at 08:33 AM.

  2. #2
    Tone Member BenPerkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    $100 more for the SD Custom Shop?
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by BenPerkins View Post
    $100 more for the SD Custom Shop?
    I'd need to order them in the US, and shipping and customs etc would add another ~50% on top. Hence I'm looking for a European solution to this. I don't know what's going on with pickups here. Generally, US parts are not really that much more expensive, but the prices of pickups are ridiculous in shops. And US custom shop won't change anything on that. I mean, I'd probably be looking at $400-500 worth of pickups in that tiny, cheap guitar with custom shop. That's just too much.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    Burns, The Creamery, and Bare Knuckle Pickups are all European.

    Bare Knuckle has a lot of good options that you can look into, and they have plenty of online presence so that you can find some reviews and comparisons to narrow down what you are looking for.
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    Thanks a lot. More options to look into! That's fantastic.

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    Mojo's Minions hamerfan's Avatar
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    Hi, my recommendation is David Barfuss. He is offering one Jaguar set, but he open to Custom work.

    https://www.barfuss-pickups.de/jazzmaster-asat-jaguar/
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    Toneologist playas's Avatar
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    There seem to be a good number of French and English pickup makers apart from the better known ones mentioned already.
    Maybe one of them might produce what you are after. If you look, I suspect there are more, there could also be many working out of other countries, but that should give you a start.

    Eg.
    Crel
    Tornade
    JS Custom

    Armstrong
    Gemini
    Mojo
    JS Moore

  8. #8
    Mojo's Minions ItsaBass's Avatar
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    There are European (and UK) Duncan dealers, but yes indeed, their prices seem about double what we pay here. An SSL-2 (just to grab a very common pickup) from Anderton's is the equivalent of over $120 US dollars. They are $59 retail price here.

    Any Strat form factor pickup with no stagger works, FWIW. Check European E-Bay sites for used pickups, perhaps.

    Also, replace your pots before your pickups, and see what happens; those early MIM electronics can be real garbage. If you still think they pickups sound dull and lifeless, try doubling, or even quadrupling, the resistance on the pots (i.e. go to 500 KOhm or 1 MOhm pots). Also, try pickup adjustments.

    Back to the Strat thing. The difference you hear between Jaguars and Strats is due to: 1) the fact that when you are hearing Jaguar pickups, they are almost always in a Jaguar. This means: A) shorter scale length B) much higher value pots in the Jag (4x Strat resistance, as I suggested installing, above), and C) much different attack and sustain/decay characteristics between a Jag and a Strat. 2) Lack of pole stagger. This changes the string-to-string balance.

    Jaguar pickups are just flat poled Strat pickups without ears, with a different shaped cover, put into a short scale guitar with very high resistance pots. The metal claw has been proven to have no tonal effect (though it can perhaps provide a little shielding). Bottom line, you're hearing the major differences between a Strat and a Jaguar, not the major differences between a Strat pickup and a Jag pickup.

    In other words, with all other things being equal (i.e. in the same guitar), anything you think a Jaguar pickup will give you is not actually anything special that a flat-poled Strat pickup cannot. Point being, you don't need pickups that are specifically designed to be Mustang or Duo-Sonic pickups. This opens up your options considerably; there are innumerable Strat pickups made, but only a handful that are specifically for Mustangs/Musicmasters/Duo-Sonics. Your only real consideration is that you want one pickup to be RW/RP, and that you want flat poles on the Strat pickups, so your undrilled covers will lay straight. You also could (but don't really need to) install small shims to take up the space under the cover on either side of the magnets, so the flat Strat magnets don't create a bulge down the middles the pickup covers. Or...just install the Strat pickups with drilled Strat covers, in which case you can put in any Strat pickup you want.

    Classic Strat, Mustang, Jaguar, Musicmaster, and Duo-Sonic pickups are all basically the same inside, just with different accoutrements. Mustang/Musicmaster/Duo-Sonic pickups in particular are pretty much identical (Mustang and Duo-Sonic pickups came with one regular pickup and one RW/RP pickup, while Musicmasters came with only one pickup, of course). The biggest difference is that the Strat pickups had staggered poles, while all the others are flat (until the '70s, when the Mustang/Musicmaster/Duo-Sonic pickups were made with an evenly arched "sunken stagger).

    Personally, I say just buy a pair of SSL-2s, one regular and one RW/RP (i.e. "middle"). They will be a lot easier to find, new or used, than any Mustang/Musicmaster/Duo-Sonic-specific pickup...and the only difference will be that the Strat poles sit slightly higher.
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  9. #9
    Mojo's Minions Gtrjunior's Avatar
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    Best kept secret in the pickup world is Fokin pickups.

  10. #10
    Toneologist playas's Avatar
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    Default Re: European pickups for 90s RI Duo Sonic

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaBass View Post
    There are European (and UK) Duncan dealers, but yes indeed, their prices seem about double what we pay here. An SSL-2 (just to grab a very common pickup) from Anderton's is the equivalent of over $120 US dollars. They are $59 retail price here.

    To very quickly address the price issue, basically anything SD custom shop is absolutely not worthwhile in Europe.(Unfortunately)

    Eg. I asked a local dealer about a shop floor custom mod for an atiquity P-90 and was told that they wouldn't quote me a price until they received the pickup i.e. I had to order it and agree to pay for it before knowing the price, but that it would be at least €300.

    For that price in Europe I could get two or possibly even three hand-wound custom spec'ed pickups.

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