Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

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Larry Mal
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Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:00 am

I am thinking to pull the trigger on a "Woodstock AVN" set for my G&L Legacy. I mean, I'm almost certain to do it so aren't looking for validation necessarily, although my mind could always be changed I guess.

I like what I hear. I did a search here and there was a lot of talk about (unsurprisingly) Jaguar and Jazzmaster pickups from them, but what about the Strat, Tele and P90s models? Anybody have any experience with those?
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by lastlol » Fri Feb 01, 2019 10:45 am

I tried a Telecaster set some years ago. I found them sterile, uninspiring and cold... Not saying they're bad pickups, I just didn't like them at all. Not my cup of tea.

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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by mbene085 » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:10 am

They're good pickups but not worth the money if you ask me. He moved his operation to Asia and still has among the most expensive noiseless pickups you can find.

Honestly, Larry, take the $130 gamble and try yourself some Wilde pickups.

His noiseless designs are superb, but if you mean what you say about wanting to see meaningful advances in guitar technology, you owe it to yourself to check out his microcoils. They are true single coils, and the strat sets are available in alnico for $128 or neodymium with adjustable polepieces for $150.

They were his final design. The have the high end response you can only get from a true single coil, but have such little copper wire in them that they are extremely low (not unlike how Lace Sensors aren't "noiseless" but approach humbucker levels of quiet).

The neodymium design is really fascinating and totally adjustable but has a wider frequency response than most people are used to in a strat pickup. The alnico model sounds more familiar to strat users.

Made in the USA by his daughter and wife and are literally half the price of Kinmans.

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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by Larry Mal » Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:22 pm

Good ideas, and I'm looking into the Wilde pickups... that being said, though, I would buy the Kinmans used. I'm kind of interested to try them out and that's the level of commitment that I have right now, I'm not going to spend $350 for a set but I'll spend half that and see how it works for me.

If not, then not, but if I like the Kinmans- and I like the clips I hear- then I would consider them for other guitars other than this Legacy. But the Legacy is where I'd want to experiment first.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by NICQ » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:18 pm

I have bought a Kinman P90 Hx for a Les Paul Junior years ago and I think it really was worth the price. It does really sound like a P90 but zero hum even with high gain distortion. Very responsive pickup - has a nice mid character.. I honestly can not say anything bad about it and at least that model is far from sterile. I have some Dimarzio Rail Blade Singlecoils and yes - they sound lifeless and sterile.. but not the Kinman P90 Hx. I have the overwound version I think - forgot hiw it was called..

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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:44 pm

I gotta say, this is making me look deeper into the Wilde Microcoils.

This is a sound I could live with.
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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by mbene085 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:19 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 4:44 pm
I gotta say, this is making me look deeper into the Wilde Microcoils.

This is a sound I could live with.
These clean and dirty tones aren't anything so sneeze at, either.

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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:33 pm

Yeah, I'd seen those, and they seem like overall pretty versatile pickups. Maybe I'll take a shot at them.
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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:45 pm

OK, well, it's about time I took some advice from you, so thanks! I went with the neodymium Microcoils.

These, for anyone who is following along.

I will certainly let you all know what I think! It'll be nice to get this Legacy together finally.
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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by mbene085 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:42 pm

Awesome. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on them. Bill felt the neodymium ones were the best design he ever came up with, and had all sorts of math worked out on how you could adjust the resonant frequency and Q with capacitors. He sort of begrudgingly designed the alnico ones because he knew guitarists are more or less afraid of anything too different, but the microcoil design was never meant to be traditional, classic, or any of those marketing buzzwords. He wanted these to be his big step forward and probably knew they'd be his last big innovation.

I don't have many guitars with strat or Tele-sized pickups, or I'd have tried a set myself by now. I guess I could put them in a Mustang, but I have a weird mental block against seeing polepieces on a Mustang, as stupid as that is.

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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by Larry Mal » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:00 pm

Yeah, let's have some fun with these.

I love this Legacy, it plays like a dream for me. I am becoming pretty irritated with noise in my guitars and your words that these were very quiet- which I did read elsewhere quite a bit- makes me think this could be the recording guitar that I want it to be. I haven't used it a lot lately, but it's one of those things that I play it and realize that it it was my only guitar I'd be doing OK.
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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by mbene085 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:14 pm

Well, Ron Kirn once posted on TGP that if he had to only pick one pickup to build with for the rest of his life, it would be the microcoil. Apparently Bill wanted to discontinue all his other strat and telecaster pickups after he designed them, because he thought the MCs just did everything better.

Maybe I should get over my polepiece phobia and put them on a Mustang to try out.

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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by Ronkirn » Thu Jul 11, 2019 3:38 am

The Micro-Coils are an audiophiles pickup... there is a "completeness" to the sound just not heard in most other pickups.. there may be others, I just haven't stumbled across 'em yet... and at the price.. its a no brainer..

Now the Kinmans don't suck either, they too are superb... and the truth of the matter is YOU must find a pickup that YOU prefer.. What I like, or anyone else for that matter, is meaningless... we all hear slightly differently... and that can mean something like the Micros may have a sound YOU just don't care for.

The reality is, the only way to ever know is to try different sets,, but if sonic perfection is your goal.. Bill's pickups come pretty darn close to a bulls eye..

rk
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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by Larry Mal » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:05 am

How does everyone feel about the Kinman P90s, then? I think that'll be the next thing on my list.

I know there are different types of them, and I know that I will want an underwound/clean/unsaturated type without question, as a rule I'm not into overwound pickups much.
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Re: Can we revisit Kinman pickups?

Post by mbene085 » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:15 am

I don't want to seem like an anti-Kinman crusader, but I believe his P90's are significantly more pricey than Lindy Fralin's noiseless P90's, and Lindy's are wound in the USA vs the kinmans being made in the Philippines.

Lindy's designs also happen to sound amazing. Plus, he offers several cool variations including an alnico-poled noiseless P90 if you want that Fendery string attack vs the clunkier attack of a traditional P90 with its bar magnet and screw polepieces.

That's not to take anything away from the Kinmans. I've heard good things. But if a cheaper, equally good sounding equivalent is being made in the US by as good a guy as Lindy, that'll be my choice every time (much as Bill's pickups are my choice whenever they cover the size/sound I'm looking for).

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