Original post by richedie:


I have the Dragon IIs in my Mccarty and they are amazing in this guitar. A sheer tonal joy to play in every way!

I have never liked pickups to be too hot and these do not feel too hot....maybe middle of the road - medium output pickups? I found that some high output pickups compress too much and lose versatility but these seem thick and tight, yet retain good cleans and versatility.

Has anyone measured these puppies?


Bruce O'Donnell:

Pickup guru Bill Lawrence says it best on his website: DC resistance (Rdc) tells you as much about a pickup's tone and output as the shoe size tells you about a person's intelligence!


That may be technically and scientifically true, and I've heard all the experts talk about how DC resistance does not have anything to do with output. But as coincidental as it may be, for myself and many other laymen I know, higher DC resistance just happens to coincide with higher output in most models I've had experience with (which is a great many, from various manufacturers). Jim Collins:

So I too would be interested in the DII specs, DC resistance and magnet type, anyone?

Jim Collins:

DC resistance does have something to do with a pickup's output, but it is not necessarily the defining factor in a pickup's output. If you were to compare two pickups, the DC resistance is useful in determining relative output levels, but ONLY if the pickups are similarly constructed.

Take two similarly constructed humbuckers, one measuring 8K ohms, and the other measuring 16K ohms. The 16K humbucker will be hotter, because they are similarly constructed. Take the magnet out of the 16K humbucker, and what do you have? You have a pickup that still reads 16K ohms DC resistance, but has no output. One must account for the type and strength of magnet before drawing any conclusions from the DC resistance measurement.

Take three popular Duncan pickups: the Custom, the Custom Custom, and the Custom 5. These three pickups are identical in all but one respect: the magnet. The Custom has a ceramic magnet, the Custom Custom has an alnico II magnet, and the Custom 5 has an alnico 5 magnet. Each will read the same DC resistance, but the output levels and tone will differ.

The construction of a pickup is all important when it comes to relating DC resistance to output level. A typical, vintage style Telecaster bridge pickup will probably run in the neighborhood of 7K ohms, give or take a few. Compare that with what has become known as the 10K Broadcaster pickup -- a Tele bridge pickup that appeared, briefly, on 1950 Broadcasters, and also, briefly, on NOS Nocasters. This pickup measured in excess of 10K ohms, yet was no hotter than any other, vintage style Tele bridge pickup. Why? It used alnico III magnets and thinner gauge wire.

Compare a Joe Barden Tele bridge with a vintage style Tele bridge pickup. The Barden will measure somewhere around 4K - 4.5K. (I don't recall, exactly. It has been years since I used Bardens.) The Barden pickup is quite a bit hotter than a typical vintage Tele bridge, yet is measures lower on the DC resistance scale. What gives? It is a humbucker pickup, with a ceramic magnet.

I once put a Duncan JB jr. pickup in the bridge of a Strat, along with two Van Zandt Strat pickups. The Duncan measured significantly above the Van Zandts, in DC resistance, but the JB jr. was nowhere near as loud. (In fact, the Van Zandts dwarfed it.)

Construction is everything. DC resistance is useful as a comparison, but only if the two pickups are similarly constructed.

Bruce O'Donnell:

Exactly Bill Lawrence's point - you can only compare apples and apples. And since few of us want a pickup that's identical to the one we want to replace, there needs to be a way to compare apples and oranges. There is no correllation of DC resistance to tone. I don't care how hot a pickup is, I care what it sounds like. Ever played a PRS Chainsaw? It's one hot mofo, but it's the tone equivalent of a chainsaw (hence the name ) because of where the resonant peak falls. Measuring the voltage output of a pickup across the frequency range of a guitar would allow you to compare pickups across the board, i.e. you'd have a calibration plot of the response of the pickup to a standard input just like you do with microphones. There are many vendors who have pushed for a standard of measuring output (in millivolts) for pickups, except no one can agree on a standard for frequency range and resolution, input levels and type, etc. Providing a frequency/voltage output plot for each model on a website would be a thousand times more informative than those ambiguous "tone charts".