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Thread: Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

  1. #1
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

    I had a Strat Plus back in the '80s that had Lace Sensors. I liked the sound of the pickups but not the weight or feel of the guitar and neck. Fast forward almost 30 years. I had a strat build underway and decided to go with a pre-wired pickguard with Lace Sensors.

    They're perfectly good pickups for clean jangly tones. However, I noticed a couple of things. I'm not getting any quack in the in-between positions, and the other thing is the volume control doesn't seem as effective in changing the sensitivity, just the volume. I know that sounds strange but on regular pickups you lower the volume pickup and it is less loud and also cleaner. If you turn regular pickups up, you get more shimmer, sparkle, hair, call it what you want. Digging in produces different sounds.

    I do a lot of fingerpicking, volume swells and utilize dynamics more than I used to. 30 years ago, I was an "everything on 10 all the time" kind of guy with the guitar controls.

    So now I'm going to have to look at pickups again. I had decided a couple years ago that my next build was going to be Lace Sensor equipped. I haven't given any thought to any other kind of pickup. At this point, I'll probably build up the pickguard myself. I don't want to buy expensive boutique stuff. I had s set in my candy apple green strat that I think were CVC/Toneriders. I was quite happy with those and unfortunately sold them.

    these:


  2. #2
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

    Remember, the Strat+ had a very, very, (very!) unique wiring system with stacked pots and different values than the standard 250K's used by almost all other Stratocasters. I had a set of Gold Lace Sensors in mine, they never really "popped" it you know what I mean. I have played a guitar with Reds and it was playable but in an aggressive way. The Blues are almost never heard of anymore.

    I ended up pulling my LS's and replacing a couple times, eventually ending up with VN's with 1M tones and a 1M volume with a 1M resistor in parallel to make it 500K with a useable taper. The higher pot values were required to give the Noiseless' a nice bite. That guitar has made a lot of recordings and played a lots of shows with no complaints.

    I'd pull the LS's and add Duncans or original Bill Lawrence's if you can find them. Avoid anything with "Texas" in the name.

    But moral of the story, sometimes you can't just swap pickups, you need have the correct pots and wiring too. If you like to tinker it's fun, but the reality of the situation is that if you have a dud guitar it's generally a lot cheaper to find one you like and trade in the old one. Changing pots and pickups with quality stuff is usually about a $300 deal. Why beat a dead horse?


    Chuck
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

  3. #3
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

    this was a pre-wired pickguard I bought from Sigler I have no idea what the pots are but I would like to assume they know what they are doing and used appropriate hardware. But yes, they don't quite pop when you turn them up. It's like there's a rev governor keeping them at 7.

    I'm thinking of building my next pickguard. I hadn't considered Duncan although they're a perfectly cromulent pickups. I've had Antiquities in Les Pauls before and been quite happy. The pickups in the picture are CV50 that I enjoyed quite a bit. I looked some last night and did not find a lot available aside from whole wiring harnesses. I'd rather use my own pots and switch than the stock stuff so I'm trying to find just those pickups only. I also employed a multiple caps of different value wiring scheme that I enjoyed as well and have to look up what I did and replicate it.

  4. #4
    Forum Member Don's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

    I had a new Strat Plus back in '88 and was never completely happy with the Lace Sensors. The edge that a good Strat had was missing. Mine "quacked" fine though. Maybe due to having the correct wiring as OA mentioned.

    I see another thread on here about Kinmans. I tried their Broadcasters in my Tele and liked the bridge pickup. I ended up swapping those for Fralins because I like the smooth, warm sound of a Tele neck pickup with a cover on it. The Kinman cover was metallized plastic and was there for looks. It did not attenuate the highs. I didn't need noiseless pickups anyway.

  5. #5
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

    well, I was playing for a while last night plugged into the computer and listening through the headphones. While the Lace sensors didn't sound 'great' through my Princeton NR, they sound more than fine through the DAW. In fact, they may be perfectly suited for playing 'in the box' so to speak. I might not be in such a hurry to replace them anymore.

    So that gives me a green light to build a 'live' playing strat Maybe in the late fall/early winter. Got enough irons in the fire now.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Offshore Angler's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

    So Dan, what you're basically saying is that your guitar sounds better through modeling than through a tube amp? Is that right?
    "No harmonic knowledge, no sense of time, a ghastly tone, unskilled vibrato, and so on. Chuck is one of the worst guitar players I know" -Gravity Jim

  7. #7
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

    not exactly, I'm playing into the mic input of my mac mini into garage band. No amp modeling, some EQ, compression, sometimes some pre amping through some abbey roads consoles and reverb. It's just that the sound in my headphones with those 'enhancements' sounds better than the Laces sound through my Princeton. Now regular strat pickups through the Princeton, if I could get that sound into my computer, I'd be a deliriously happy camper.

    I've messed with the amp models in GB and thus far am not really overwhelmed. Most are way too buzzy. Plus they use a ton of processing power and start to choke out my mac mini after 3 tracks. Try to put a fourth track and it can't do it. Trying to find a way to make it work but it is looking like I need more horsepower, a lot more horsepower and it's kind of like racing. How fast do you want to go (spend)?

  8. #8
    Forum Member DanTheBluesMan's Avatar
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    Re: Hmm, Lace Sensors not doing it for me

    I got told of a site that had some guidelines for dialing in the lace sensors, and what a major difference it made. I also found a gain setting in a sound preference panel on my mac that totally changed the recording levels in GarageBand. I have big fat waveforms and headroom to spare, the range on the gain controls is much broader and is no longer either/or. Plugged into the Princeton NR, they came to life and now sound great.

    Last night my sister stayed with my mom while my brother took me out to see a band. When I got home, she told me that she couldn't believe how loud the pipes in the house's heating system were. I guess it wasn't my imagination that this place is exceptionally noisy. I have a test recording of a ribbon mic via an active Cloudlifter and I was hearing pings from downstairs along with the Big Ben-ian clangs of the upstairs pipes.

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