Pickups

Minihums vs. Filters

1

I’ve always felt the pull of the Gold Top, and now this comes out:

https://www.sweetwater.com/...

I’ve always wondered, though, how much difference there really is between a Minihumbucker and a Filtertron.

Whenever I see descriptions like the “narrower magnetic field creates a brighter-sounding pickup with a beautiful clarity,” all I think is “Gee, sounds a lot like a Filtertron.”

For anyone who’s experienced both, is there a significant difference between the two?

2

The Gibson Minihums are a bit spikier and drier than Filtertrons. Not quite as brutal as the Firebird mini, but in the same sort of vicinity.

A Les Paul Deluxe is a cool guitar, very versatile. The snappier pickups are dandy in this application. Really nice clear neck pickup, a crisp treble unit and a combined tone that has a lot more personality and detail than you might expect.

3

The Gibson Minihums are a bit spikier and drier than Filtertrons. Not quite as brutal as the Firebird mini, but in the same sort of vicinity.

A Les Paul Deluxe is a cool guitar, very versatile. The snappier pickups are dandy in this application. Really nice clear neck pickup, a crisp treble unit and a combined tone that has a lot more personality and detail than you might expect.

– ade

Thanks!

So is spiky and dry a good thing?

4

agree...mini-hums have more upper mid grit like a p-90 but humbucking so w/o any single coil noise...filtertrons are a bit darker and more reserved by compare

mini-hums are highly underrated

cheers

ps- it's unfortunate that so many early 70's deluxes with mini-hums got modded for full size humbuckers....& once routed there's no (easy) turning back

5

Whenever I see descriptions like the “narrower magnetic field creates a brighter-sounding pickup with a beautiful clarity,” all I think is “Gee, sounds a lot like a Filtertron.”

These descriptions are funny, anyway. I believe there are only three or four of them that are used for the existing gazillion different pickups.

By looking at a LP Deluxe I always think that a P90 in the bridge position would make a great combo with a neck Mini-Hum. Since the routings are an exact fit I wonder why I haven't seen this (reversible) mod more often.

6

I had a late 60's early 70's Deluxe gold top and it had the most wonderful tone,i was surprised how great it sounded doing the Rockabilly thing like Scotty Moore,i bought it for that 70's Thin Lizzy tone,but couldn't stop playin' Scotty riffs!

Be interesting to hear if these reissues sound as good.

7

Whenever I see descriptions like the “narrower magnetic field creates a brighter-sounding pickup with a beautiful clarity,” all I think is “Gee, sounds a lot like a Filtertron.”

These descriptions are funny, anyway. I believe there are only three or four of them that are used for the existing gazillion different pickups.

By looking at a LP Deluxe I always think that a P90 in the bridge position would make a great combo with a neck Mini-Hum. Since the routings are an exact fit I wonder why I haven't seen this (reversible) mod more often.

– sascha

Mike Ness from Social Distortion has this setup on at least one of his deluxe. I was in line for one of the new LP deluxes before I decided on a 6228 instead. I just find Les Pauls too small, they feel like a heavy violin to me. I had a P90 goldtop and thought of switching those overwound P90s to mini hums.

8

I joined this group in the antiquity of 2006 and that was the year I sold an 1977 NOS burst LP Deluxe Still In Original Shipping Carton if I recall some of the proceeds went to buy 1959 Filter Tenny

9

I sold an 1977 NOS burst LP Deluxe Still In Original Shipping Carton

What, didn't you like it?

10

Mike Ness from Social Distortion has this setup on at least one of his deluxe. I was in line for one of the new LP deluxes before I decided on a 6228 instead. I just find Les Pauls too small, they feel like a heavy violin to me. I had a P90 goldtop and thought of switching those overwound P90s to mini hums.

– Chmason85

Really? I never saw this. I always thought he's a P90 guy to the core.

11

Really? I never saw this. I always thought he's a P90 guy to the core.

– sascha

I thought that as well, especially considering how he kind of trashes the minis in interviews, but I’ve seen pics of him with the mini in the neck and P90 in the bridge

12

Early '70s Gibson LP Deluxe with stock P90s. Best playing guitar I've ever owned and the pickups sounded terrific. Under each pickup was a metal fixing plate that was drilled for mounting either soapbars or Minihumbuckers. A previous owner had fitted the gold metal bits. I really wish I still had this but somewhere along the line I needed the cash. And so it goes....

13

I sold an 1977 NOS burst LP Deluxe Still In Original Shipping Carton

What, didn't you like it?

– Proteus

My first good guitar was a 1970 LP Deluxe Goldtop, then on to a succession of SGs and Firebirds. That shipping guitar carton one was never played -- ever -- by me. I think I got it in 1999.

14

Whenever I see descriptions like the “narrower magnetic field creates a brighter-sounding pickup with a beautiful clarity,” all I think is “Gee, sounds a lot like a Filtertron.”

These descriptions are funny, anyway. I believe there are only three or four of them that are used for the existing gazillion different pickups.

By looking at a LP Deluxe I always think that a P90 in the bridge position would make a great combo with a neck Mini-Hum. Since the routings are an exact fit I wonder why I haven't seen this (reversible) mod more often.

– sascha

Neil Young's pretty well known for the opposite configuration

15

Neil Young's pretty well known for the opposite configuration

– Otter

The bridge pu in Young's guitar is a Firebird Mini Hum which is a bit of a different animal than the Mini Hums in the LP Deluxe. I like the Mini-Hums....but actually (to my ears) they sound better in a semi-hollow. I played a NOS Gold Top Deluxe Reissue a few years ago (it was one of those Gibby "Guitar of the Month" things. It sounded pretty good and I almost pulled the trigger on it. However, a couple years later, I played an Epi Riviera Reissue w/ Mini Hums and it sounded killer.

16

I love p-90s but in the wrong room the hum is brutal. I did recently play a 79 Goldtop and it did have a nice thick chirp to it clean and on the verge of breakup. But was very heavy

17

The Gibson Minihums are a bit spikier and drier than Filtertrons. Not quite as brutal as the Firebird mini, but in the same sort of vicinity.

A Les Paul Deluxe is a cool guitar, very versatile. The snappier pickups are dandy in this application. Really nice clear neck pickup, a crisp treble unit and a combined tone that has a lot more personality and detail than you might expect.

– ade

Hmm... I hear FTs as spikey and dry, it's why I'm not a big fan. But on a jazzbox, a floating mini-hum is some of the sweetest tones I've ever heard (Johnny Smith)

18

This thread has prompted me to get out my '75 Deluxe and evaluate it again - it had been a few years since I took it seriously, or even played it for more than a short pass.

The exercise has vindicated (at least to me) my tendency to hold onto more stuff than I turn back into the wild, as I'm appreciating it more than I ever have.

I suppose I should say that I'm more likely to hold onto older, more "vintage" stuff - especially if I've had it for years - than new acquisitions. This is partly for sentimental reasons - and I wouldn't have bought them back in the day if I hadn't liked, or expected to like, them - but also because I recognize they're appreciating. I could have harvested that appreciation any time in the last 20-30 years, I guess, but none have ever depreciated, so the longer I hold onto them, the more they'll bring when the time comes. This may be short-sighted, as I might have let go of more modern guitars which will also appreciate in time. My Charvel Surfcaster, Ric 620, and Burns Brian May come to mind as possible regrets...but man, I just couldn't get anything musically useful out of them.

But back to the Deluxe. I do like the mini-hums. They retain much of the girth and warmth associated with full-humbucked Les Pauls, but add some bite and articulation up top. The neck pup is especially huge-sounding - and, as every time I play a guitar so equipped, I do appreciate effective vol and tone pots for both pickups, as they enable me to dial in exactly the blend I start to hear in my mind's ear after the guitar itself suggests it.

The guitar is completely all-original, and looks great, with a clean and pretty pristine (and so tasteful) cherry sunburst up top, only moderate belt-buckling on the back (nothing through the finish), original barely-greenish keystone tuners, flawless plated parts, and surprisingly figured and iridescent fret markers.

After I bought the guitar in the mid-80s, I had it refretted at Lays (the S-I-T string people) in Akron: the guitar was obviously much played (and presumably loved) when I got it, and needed some attention. Lays might have had to plane the neck a bit too. The fret job is flawless, looks original, and the playability is amazing. Fat (2mm), very low frets (barely 1mm), and no buzzing, fretting out, or compromise of wildly wide bends anywhere - including even the 6th string above the 12th. Pretty fretless-wonderful.

Truss rod hasn't been touched in my memory. The strings are deadly dead at the moment, and 11s; I might put .0105s on it, as it does feel a little stiffer than a Lester should be.

Annoyances: the cussword-cussword-cussword retaining wire on the super-slender Tunamatic is somehow deformed in a way that makes it pop a little loose and come up under the 1st string for highly annoying sitar effects. I'll deal with that during the restring. And there seems to be an intermittent contact issue in the output jack, which I should be able to track down and deal with.

But the weight, good gawd. There's just no fixing 9 lbs / 11 oz. And it creates a silly balance problem, in the context of which an SG's neck dive seems funny. This thing has body dive. Small as the body is, it wants to slide off (whichever) thigh to the right, so that my left hand on the neck, and right forearm on the body, have to cooperate to keep the guitar in place. It's not a lot of effort, and it's instinctual, but it does contribute - along with the sheer weight on my leg - to the awareness after awhile that the guitar isn't very comfortable. I swap from leg to leg to spread the pain, I suppose, like we roll over (and over) in bed trying to stay comfortable. (And if I wore a strap and stood up with it, I can't imagine how long my shoulder and back would last.)

That all does add up to the sense that the guitar is a great rock-stable, inert mass. You don't have to (you don't get to) throw it around, so you learn to address it with the minimum hand and finger motion necessary - and it does respond to that. Minimal input, maximal output. Nigel was right: it's still sustaining.

19

Well you can't just say all that and not show us a picture damnit.

20

two things that make Filtertrons pretty unique is the perfectly symmetrical screw coils and the large magnet. a Gibson minihumbucker has neither, and sounds pretty different as a consequence.

21

you can't just say all that and not show us a picture damnit.

OK. Is like this.

I hate when I guess wrong on strings. The Boomer David Gilmour .0105 set is not what this thing wanted, and now I've cut'em too short for any other guitar I'd be likely to put them on. They're too slinky, and too bright. Pure nickel 11s is what it gets next time.

And that humpy bendy saddle-retention wire...I hope they fired the guy who thought that was a good idea. After fighting with getting it to stay down out of the way of the saddles and stay in its little holes, I left it off. The strings are doing a fine job of holding down the saddles. I'd put a Tru-Arc on it, but I'm out of all but aluminum (not with mini-hums) and titanium (too expensive).

22

That's a very nice cherry burst! I've standardized all my guitars to regular Ernie Ball 10s, tired of messing around with different brands and materials...I don't think I hear a difference anyways. Still, I'd encourage anyone to experiment. Pure nickel is always nice in my experience.

Those TOM wires are painful, and I could see messing with it would only make it worse.

Serpentune is definitely the way to go. I'm sure you've ruminated on an intonatable version (something like an elongated hole with set screws would be my immediate guess), do you think you'd ever make em?

23

That's a very nice cherry burst!

It is, but I don't deserve any credit. All the guitars I acquired during the 80s came through the local music store where I was working. Some (Electra/Westone) I got SLM-direct buddy deals on; the others were my choice of what walked through the door on trade or for sale. It's a great way to get first dibs on local guitars, but the smaller the market, the fewer that come in and the less the choice. And it was a small market. But I was pretty lucky.

I don't think I hear a difference anyways

I don't know that I hear a diff, but I feel it. I'm over-playing these.

do you think you'd ever make em?

I would, but the shop wouldn't.

24

Those TOM wires are painful, and I could see messing with it would only make it worse. Otter

I also have a forty year old Les Paul w/a wire Tom bridge. I fought with it for thirty-five of those forty years (I'm the original owner), and I pulled the damn thing off about five years ago (buzzing and irritation solved)! The strings hold the saddles down just fine.

25

My 2018 Goldtop had the retaining wire on the ABR1, I also removed it with no issues; string tension is plenty. Also, at least on the new ones, even without the retaining wire my saddles stayed put during string changes, they’re in there pretty tight in the first place.


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