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Considering replacing 69s pickups with lace sensors. Anything I should know?

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I MIGHT consider replacing the stock pickups with lace sensor pickups for a change. Is there anything I should know about swapping pickups that might be different on the Variax opposed to a normal guitar, or should the pickup area be pretty much the same until it leads out to the other components?

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Been a while since I replaced the pickguard, but I do recall it looking slightly alien...nothing under the hood looks like a normal guitar. One or more self-contained "boxes" (for lack of a better term) containing God knows what. Now admittedly mine was not through inspection of the guts, and for all I know it might be stupid easy to trace the pickup wires and figure out where the new ones need to go, but at first glance it doesn't seem as simple as wiring any old set of pickups to a 5-way switch, which I've done any number of times.

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Swapping pickups should be easy as long as they are standard passive pickups.  I remember seeing wiring diagrams here but you can just connect them the same As the ones you remove.

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For bulk resistances on the single coils, keep it within the 6k-Ohm to 7k-Ohm range to

avoid any potential problems with signal flow or current in the active circuitry downstream.

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I had Fender Lace pickups on my early 90's Strat Deluxe - Blue, Silver and Gold. I hated them. They had no character at all. I replaced them with Tom Anderson stacked humbuckers and it was a huge improvement. I have a JVT-69S and find its pickups compare fairly well with the Tom Andersons, they are noisy, and don't have quite the fullness, but I think I'd prefer them over how I remember those Lace sensor pickups sounding.

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Try these. They ain't cheap, but worth every penny. It's a small operation, and the site is hard to view on mobile devices, but they make some great noiseless pickups.

 

https://kinman.com/

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Try these. They ain't cheap, but worth every penny. It's a small operation, and the site is hard to view on mobile devices, but they make some great noiseless pickups.

 

https://kinman.com/

I second this recommendation - I have Kinman Woodstock plus in my 71 Strat.

Though interestingly, I emailed Kinman to ask about psarkissian's suggestion to stay within the 6-7Kohm range, and was told the resistance and output are different things - this may be a furphy created by someone way back when, equating K-ohms "with output".... It seems people still run with it.

To cut a long story short, the suggestion was to stay away from the hotter Kinmans - there's info on their site about grading their Strat style pups from lower output to higher.

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I second this recommendation - I have Kinman Woodstock plus in my 71 Strat.

Though interestingly, I emailed Kinman to ask about psarkissian's suggestion to stay within the 6-7Kohm range, and was told the resistance and output are different things - this may be a furphy created by someone way back when, equating K-ohms "with output".... It seems people still run with it.

To cut a long story short, the suggestion was to stay away from the hotter Kinmans - there's info on their site about grading their Strat style pups from lower output to higher.

I'd be lying if I said I knew one way or the other if the hotter ones would cause problems or not...but I'll bet that they'd work just fine. I don't think that these guitars are quite as sensitive as is often portrayed.

 

Regardless, I love my Kinman's. I put the "blues set" in one of my Strats.

Did you go with their wiring harness? That's the best part...no soldering, and the option to have one master tone control, while the other blends the neck pickup with whatever else is selected. Bridge with about 2/3 of the neck pickup's output blended in is a great sound. Still get the character of the bridge pickup without the piercing shrillness that usually comes with it.

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I'd be lying if I said I knew one way or the other if the hotter ones would cause problems or not...but I'll bet that they'd work just fine. I don't think that these guitars are quite as sensitive as is often portrayed.

 

Regardless, I love my Kinman's. I put the "blues set" in one of my Strats.

Did you go with their wiring harness? That's the best part...no soldering, and the option to have one master tone control, while the other blends the neck pickup with whatever else is selected. Bridge with about 2/3 of the neck pickup's output blended in is a great sound. Still get the character of the bridge pickup without the piercing shrillness that usually comes with it.

Yea well it does appear psarkissian does lean a wee little bit towards the safety net. :)  I guess it's for good reason, but I have issue with some information dissemination hereabouts....

 

Anyway, yes I went the whole hog, and installed the Kinmas harness. I actually don't experiment much with the additional tonal range - I should check it out more, not that I find the bridge to be shrill at all - biting yes, but it's meant to bite!

Sadly, I rarely trot the old bird out since I retired her from gig-work. She's well worn now, and I don't want to have to refret her again if I can help it, so I only take her to the odd blues jam now.

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Yea well it does appear psarkissian does lean a wee little bit towards the safety net. :) I guess it's for good reason, but I have issue with some information dissemination hereabouts....

 

Anyway, yes I went the whole hog, and installed the Kinmas harness. I actually don't experiment much with the additional tonal range - I should check it out more, not that I find the bridge to be shrill at all - biting yes, but it's meant to bite!

Sadly, I rarely trot the old bird out since I retired her from gig-work. She's well worn now, and I don't want to have to refret her again if I can help it, so I only take her to the odd blues jam now.

If it's a guitar you like, go with stainless frets...one and done, especially if it's not a daily player anymore. You'll never have to think about it again.

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Also well polished stainless frets feel wonderful.

That's the best part. I was instantly hooked. Bending is effortless by comparison. Wish I had done it years ago.

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That's the best part. I was instantly hooked. Bending is effortless by comparison. Wish I had done it years ago.

you saying it's as much if not more to do with the frets "grabbing" the strings in a bend, as the gauge of strings? I do a lot of bending - I'm a hafta look at that!!!

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you saying it's as much if not more to do with the frets "grabbing" the strings in a bend, as the gauge of strings? I do a lot of bending - I'm a hafta look at that!!!

Absolutely...feels like glass. I bend a ton as well, and with 11's. Stainless frets definitely made it a bit easier on the fingers.

 

When I pick up a guitar with standard frets now, it almost feels like I'm dragging the strings across sandpaper. Some may like that "bite", but why fight the instrument of you don't have to?

Stainless is a much harder and smoother surface. Highly polished (depends on who's doing it) nickel/silver frets can give you a similar feel initially, but it doesn't last.

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Having used Evans/ EMG/ SD/ Dimarzio/ Fender Noiseless and a pile of others over the years I have recently gone back to good old noisy Fender single coils in 3 of my Strats.I think the stock pickups in my JTV69 are excellent! I am sure the Kinmans are great just not for the Robin Trower tribute I am doing now lol! So great to have so many choices.

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Having used Evans/ EMG/ SD/ Dimarzio/ Fender Noiseless and a pile of others over the years I have recently gone back to good old noisy Fender single coils in 3 of my Strats.I think the stock pickups in my JTV69 are excellent! I am sure the Kinmans are great just not for the Robin Trower tribute I am doing now lol! So great to have so many choices.

They'd totally do Trower.... ;)

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