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PaulC

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Mar 5, 2022
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HI guys, I recently bough a new Luke III and have a question about the new "high output" humbuckers. I have several high end guitars from PRS, Tom Anderson, Gibson, etc and I notice that the output of both humbuckers on my Luke III are lower output (as measured on my Fractal AXE FX3 input meter) than any of the my other guitars. Is that normal? The boost obviously makes the pickups really hot but without this it seems low for what is marketed as "high output".
 

PaulC

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Mar 5, 2022
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UK
I totally agree. My Humbucker on my 2020 LUKE III is absolutely not hot output, but disappointingly low!
That’s a relief to hear as I was wondering whether mine had a problem. I actually like the tone as it’s super clear and defined but not what I had expected based on the blurb. The boost really brings it to life though.
 

tbonesullivan

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Aug 24, 2012
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This is what the Music Man site says: “The HH model is outfitted with newly designed custom Ernie Ball Music Man high-output humbucking pickups”
I definitely don't remember that when the Luke III with the EBMM pickups came out. The Luke III originally had Dimarzio Transition pickups, which are fairly high output, and when the EBMM pickups came out they were definitely said to be more open sounding and lower output than the transitions.

I've got a PRS CE24, and those honesty are some of the hottest pickups I have ever played, and I have an Axis, Steve Morse, and a bunch of guitars with SD JB pickups to compare it to
 

racerx

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Mar 10, 2021
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Hey @PaulC - I think "high output" is a relative term in this context. A lot of music marketing speak can get fuzzy due to this.

IMO - the current gen Luke 3 pickups are "high output" relative to vintage voiced humbuckers and single coils. For reference I'm a lifetime player of the "PAF Sound" style pickups. I think the Luke is certainly hotter than those and more open as tbone said. However, if you're comparing the Luke 3 pups to a very specific aggressive/hot output pickup - then your tastes may vary. The nice thing about the Luke is the onboard boost if you need that extra saturation or volume boost up front. I've covered a lot of ground between old-white-guy-rock and terrifying licks on the Luke, and I've always been able to find a sweet spot for sound.

For my money the Luke 3 is my all-around favorite lifetime guitar. Others are beautiful and have their specialties, but if I could only have one on an island - I'd take the Luke. If you find the sound is "very weak" (etc), then try troubleshooting some basics (i.e. replace the battery, new cable, run to the front of an amp/sim without anything else in the chain, try different presets/etc.). Good luck - I hope you find the love of sound you're looking for!
 

PaulC

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Mar 5, 2022
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UK
I do miss some power🤔 I almost thought mine had a problem too.... If it was adjustable I would raise it.
That was my reaction until I realised you can not raise it. I guess we need to realise that, if it’s good enough for Luke …it
Hey @PaulC - I think "high output" is a relative term in this context. A lot of music marketing speak can get fuzzy due to this.

IMO - the current gen Luke 3 pickups are "high output" relative to vintage voiced humbuckers and single coils. For reference I'm a lifetime player of the "PAF Sound" style pickups. I think the Luke is certainly hotter than those and more open as tbone said. However, if you're comparing the Luke 3 pups to a very specific aggressive/hot output pickup - then your tastes may vary. The nice thing about the Luke is the onboard boost if you need that extra saturation or volume boost up front. I've covered a lot of ground between old-white-guy-rock and terrifying licks on the Luke, and I've always been able to find a sweet spot for sound.

For my money the Luke 3 is my all-around favorite lifetime guitar. Others are beautiful and have their specialties, but if I could only have one on an island - I'd take the Luke. If you find the sound is "very weak" (etc), then try troubleshooting some basics (i.e. replace the battery, new cable, run to the front of an amp/sim without anything else in the chain, try different presets/etc.). Good luck - I hope you find the love of sound you're looking for!
Thanks for your input to my post. I think my tastes are also very much PAF oriented and that is why I do like the voice/tone of the EBMM pickups - they are definitely open and articulate. As you say, the boost is a super useful tool and really adds something special. My question is as much as anything about checking with those who have more experience of the EBMM whether what I am experiencing is correct I.e. in my view more of a mid output pickup than the high output that the marketing blurb states. Thank you for taking the time to respond.
 

PaulC

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Mar 5, 2022
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I have dug out my multi meter this morning to check on the output of my humbucker guitars v the Luke. Appears the PRS C24s are really high at around 14k, the Tom Anderson's are circa 12.5k and the Gibson's are circa 8k. Bizarrely I can't get a reading (it shows no reading) out of the Luke to compare with. The pickups are definitely producing an output through an amp. There is obviously something I am missing about how these guitars operate so apologies if this is a dumb line of questioning but I would like to understand the relative output levels.
 

scottcentilli

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Jan 9, 2022
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Kalamazoo
My multimeter can't get readings from Cutlasses nor Valentines. I suspect it is due to the silent circuit and in your case the boost.

I have yet to own a Luke. Are the leads too short to raise the pickups?
 

PaulC

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Mar 5, 2022
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My multimeter can't get readings from Cutlasses nor Valentines. I suspect it is due to the silent circuit and in your case the boost.

I have yet to own a Luke. Are the leads too short to raise the pickups?
I think you are correct. I took the back plate off and you can clearly see where the 4 cables for the bridge humbucker are soldered onto the PCB so I have just tested the impedance there. Interestingly I got 2 readings off the cable pairs (I assume one humbucking and one split coil) and they are 17k and 8.5k. If that is correct then I can only assume the apparent lack of "high-output" is the distance of the bridge pickup from the strings which by design is fixed as there is no pickup height adjustment. I think that's me done on here as I think I proved to myself that there is no problem and this is simply how the Luke guitars are set-up. Let's see if there are any other insights from the forum.
 

scottcentilli

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Jan 9, 2022
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Location
Kalamazoo
Is there any difference between a Luke and any other body-mounted pickup design (Jazzmasters, Jazz Basses, traditional 'Tron-style pickups, etc.)? If not, add foam or springs and test raising it to see if you get your desired sound.
 

PaulC

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Mar 5, 2022
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UK
Is there any difference between a Luke and any other body-mounted pickup design (Jazzmasters, Jazz Basses, traditional 'Tron-style pickups, etc.)? If not, add foam or springs and test raising it to see if you get your desired sound.
The pickups are mounted flush to the body without springs but if I wanted to raise them I am sure I could find a way. I think the sound of the Luke III is great - the whole thread was really about trying to reconcile, as a newbie to EBMM guitars, the marketing claims of "high-output" versus the lived reality of the guitar seeming (at least to me) to be below the output levels I have experienced with other guitars I own that I believed were more "medium-output".
 

PaulC

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Mar 5, 2022
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Thanks for the input I received here. I have given the guitar a little more time and I think I am starting to really enjoy the tone. Here’s a video I made with a tone I really like from this guitar. I am using bridge and then neck pickups with the boost engaged.

 
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